Sep 30 2021 / Buyer's Guide ,

Buyer’s Guide: Pole Building vs Post Frame Building

Nobody likes to get bogged down in semantics. But sometimes words make a difference. Some folks—including us, sometimes—use “pole barn” and “post-frame building” more or less interchangeably, much the same as we would “crossover” and “SUV.” And they do have a lot in common. However, there are some important differences when you’re comparing pole buildings vs post frame buildings, and it’s important to know them if you’re thinking of building in Sioux City.

What Pole Buildings and Post Frame Buildings Have in Common

First, let’s look at what both types of structures have in common because it goes a long way toward explaining why they’re so popular.


Post-frame and pole buildings both utilize a form of construction that shifts the building’s load to the outer walls instead of relying on interior load-bearing walls. This, in turn, makes open-plan construction easier and leads to a degree of flexibility that’s suitable for everything from a home to a riding arena to a raised center aisle barn.


Architectural and engineering characteristics make these buildings resistant to weather and seismic stress, as well as providing long-term durability.


Less-intensive site preparation, plus simplicity and speed of construction, combined with lower labor costs to make pole barns and post-frame buildings alike highly competitive compared to the cost of a traditional stick-built structure.

How Pole Buildings and Post Frame Buildings Differ

So clearly, there’s a lot in common between both building styles. But their differences might be even more important to you.

Pole Barn Construction

Pole barns get their name from the lumber used, typically single large pieces of timber. For a time, “pole” was quite literal; many pole barns actually used reclaimed telephone poles and other recycled lumber. So builders saved money and got a structure that was quick, easy, and useful.

But this approach has drawbacks, too. Even a brand-new post can rot, warp, or split due to the passage of time, structural stress, and weather. Insect infestation (especially termites) can happen, too. And durability can be something of a crapshoot depending on the individual builder’s methods, materials quality, and site conditions. Because of these and other concerns, it can be harder to get a permit for certain types of construction (like a barndominium in Sioux City) if the design is a traditional pole barn.

Post Frame Building Construction

What makes post-frame buildings different? Rather than a pole, many post-frame building contractors—Koskovich and Murphy included—use cross-laminated wood (which combines multiple pieces of wood into a single solid piece that’s similar to plywood, but at a much larger scale) along with high-quality heavy-duty timber.

Pros and Cons of Post Frame Building Construction vs a Pole Building

We’ve already seen some of the advantages inherent to both types of construction, and some of the drawbacks of pole barns. What about post-frame buildings? Well, on one hand, more advanced construction methods and higher-quality materials do, admittedly, come at a higher price.

But on the other hand, what are you getting for your money? That cross-lamination, combined with wood treatments, careful site preparation, and closer attention paid to joins and fasteners (among other factors) leads to a structure that’s stronger, safer, and longer-lasting than a conventional pole barn. That, in turn, means that you can often get permits for types of post-frame construction that you couldn’t get for a comparable pole barn, while also easing post-frame building maintenance concerns for the life of the structure.

Getting Answers, and a Free Post Frame Building Quote

Think of what you’ve read so far as the view from 30,000 feet. When it comes to an individual custom post-frame building, be it a barndo, an RCA barn, or something as simple as a storage shed, you’re likely to have a number of questions we haven’t addressed here. So get in touch with Koskovich and Murphy. We’ll be happy to discuss the particulars of your project, provide you with a free building quote, and then build you a custom building that you’ll use and enjoy for decades to come!