How to Build a Pole Barn

A pole barn is one of the easiest structures to build. If you know how to handle a hammer and saw, you can construct your own pole barn.

Before you start any construction project, ask your local Building Inspector for the building code requirements.

Select the location of your pole barn. It should provide a base area that is level and firm. Then plan the building dimensions and the materials that you will use for the different parts of the pole barn.

Parts of the Pole Barn

  1. Poles

    2’x 8’ poles are commonly used. Telephone poles are inexpensive, but come in different sizes so you will have to do the moving, cutting and placing by yourself.

  2. Roofing

    You can use plywood and shingles, but it is easier and cheaper to use pre-built trusses roofed with galvanized corrugated sheet metal.

  3. Trusses

    You can make your own trusses from lumber or buy used trusses.

  4. Walls

    You may or may not choose to install walls. It depends on how you intend to use the pole barn If you want to park a tractor and other vehicles in it, you may not want walls. If you will put walls, plywood or boards may be used.

  5. Storm clips

    If you live in a windy area or experience storms, storm clips, which are similar to joist hangers, help to keep your roof in place.

  6. Flooring

    You don’t even need to build any floor or footing. You can just cover the ground with gravel. If you change your mind, you can still construct a slab flooring later.

Steps to Build a Pole Barn

  1. When your plan is ready and you have procured the materials, you can start to dig. The poles must have a distance of 2′ to 10′ between them. They must also be at least 18″ deep. The recommended distance between posts is 10 feet.
  2. The depth of your postholes will depend on the type of soil where you are digging. You need to dig deeper in sand or soft soil, as compared to hard ground. If you have cold winters, your postholes should be at least one third of your wall height.
  3. After digging the postholes, prop the poles in an upright position and secure them with concrete.
  4. When the concrete has dried, you can lay the flooring if you plan to build one.
  5. Put the roof trusses in place.
  6. Install walls with braces, if your design includes one. Don’t forget to leave space for a door.
  7. Mount the roof. Screwed roofing nails are more secure than hammered in standard nails.