How much does it cost to build a pole barn?
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Build a Pole Barn Cost Guide
Updated: October 13, 2022
When building a new barn or home, you may want to consider pole-barn construction. Unlike regular construction, which uses lumber frames, pole barns and houses are built differently. They do not require a foundation or as much lumber. This means they can be built for considerably less than other structures.
Pole barns can be made into many shapes and sizes. They can be converted to garages and other outbuildings or turned into homes. For this reason, there can be a wide range of associated costs.
The national average cost to build a pole barn is $50,000 to $100,000, with most people paying around $72,000 for a 1,600 sq.ft. pole barn with wooden walls and a gable roof. This project’s low cost is $7,000 for a large pole shed with a wooden exterior and shingle roof. The high cost is $300,000 for a 2,400 sq.ft. pole barn house with luxury interior finishings, insulation, metal board, and batten siding.
Cost to Build a Pole Barn
|Pole Barn Prices|
|National average cost||$72,000|
2022 Notice: The Effect of the Pandemic on the Construction Industry
Over the last two years, the pandemic has had a major impact on all areas of the construction industry. This has been driven by many things, including labor shortages, supply chain problems, and increased demand for many materials, causing shortages and increased costs.
These issues also impact the construction of pole barns. While pole barns do not use as much material as other structures, the materials they do use, such as lumber, are still in short supply, with costs averaging 15.9% higher overall.
Pole barns are increasingly attractive as a type of residence because they are less expensive to build than other residence types. The housing crisis has meant an increase in all types of residential builds, meaning there will be delays for future projects as supply and labor shortages continue. You may find that your costs are higher and lead times longer when you begin your project. If you plan on building a new pole barn this year, consider signing a contract sooner rather than later to help lock in prices now and get your project on a schedule before costs and delays further increase.
What Is a Pole Barn?
Pole barns owe their name and construction method to their unique history. During a period of lumber shortages, farmers took old telephone poles and buried them in the ground to make their barn’s frame. These poles support the barn and provide its name. Today, a pole barn is referred to as a barn made with post-frame construction. Large metal or wood posts are buried about 4 to 6 feet in the ground for stability. The rest of the structure is built on those posts. This means there is less lumber needed for the frame.
A pole barn can have many shapes, rooflines, and styles. They can be used as a barn on a working farm or converted into a home. They are less expensive than other construction types because they do not have foundations and use less material.
Pole Barn Cost by Type of Construction
Like many buildings, pole barns can be constructed in two ways. The first is the traditional method of post-frame building. This is done on-site where the posts are driven into the ground, and then the barn is built around them. The second method is modular construction. In this case, the entire barn is built off-site, and then delivered and installed. For most construction types, this can be much cheaper and faster. For this type of barn, there is more overlap between the two construction types in costs. Because this barn type is easier and faster to build and modular construction has delivery costs, the gap is not as wide as with other types of buildings. True post-frame construction can be more expensive, depending on the soil type and placement.
|Type of Construction||Cost per Sq.Ft. (Labor Included)|
|Modular||$20 - $25|
|Post-Frame||$20 - $60|
Modular Pole Barn
The cost to build a modular pole barn is $20 to $25 a sq.ft. Modular pole barns can be built in a range of styles and sizes. They can be metal or wood and are delivered in one or two pieces to your property. They are usually stabilized and secured on-site in the same method as the traditional pole barn. This means the supporting posts must be installed in the ground. Construction is usually faster using this method, even if costs are similar in some styles.
Post-Frame Pole Barn
The cost to build a pole barn using traditional post-frame methods averages $20 to $60 a sq.ft. This construction style is best for areas without level ground. Post-frame construction does not use a foundation because the posts support the structure. This means the ground does not need to be perfectly leveled first. If you are building into a hill, traditional construction can help make the final structure more stable than modular construction. Otherwise, this construction type can be partially done DIY to keep costs down.
Pole Barn Prices by Size
Like any structure, you can build a pole barn in several sizes. In many instances, the building size is loosely tied to your intended use. They can be used for livestock, grain and hay storage, as a garage, and for many other purposes. Build the size to suit your purposes for a successful project. Below are the average costs for some of the most common sizes when built modularly and with post-frame construction.
|Size||Average Costs (Modular)||Average Costs (Post-Frame)|
|20’ x 30’||$12,000 - $15,000||$12,000 - $36,000|
|30’ x 40’||$24,000 - $30,000||$24,000 - $72,000|
|40’ x 60’||$48,000 - $60,000||$48,000 - $144,000|
|40’ x 80’||$64,000 - $80,000||$64,000 - $192,000|
|60’ x 60’||$72,000 - $90,000||$72,000 - $216,000|
|50’ x 100’||$100,000 - $125,000||$100,000 - $300,000|
|100’ x 100’||$200,000 - $250,000||$200,000 - $600,000|
20’ x 30’ Pole Barn
A 20’ x 30’ pole barn costs $12,000 to $15,000 for modular construction. For traditional post-frame construction, the price ranges from $12,000 to $36,000. At this size, the barn is 600 sq.ft. This makes it an ideal size for a 2-car garage. It can also comfortably be used to house two horses with tack and feed. Structures of this size are fast and easy to build. The costs are higher when using them for livestock, while using them strictly for storage places are less expensive.
30’ x 40’ Pole Barn
The cost to build a 30’ x 40’ pole barn averages $24,000 to $30,000 for modular construction. The price to build a barn this size using post-frame construction is between $24,000 and $72,000. Barns with these dimensions measure 1,200 sq.ft. This is enough room for a 4-car garage. You could also use a structure of this size to house 8 horses with their tack and feed. Using it for livestock increases costs because you must construct stalls.
40’ x 60’ Pole Barn
The cost of a 40’ x 60’ pole barn ranges from $48,000 to $60,000 for modular construction. The price of post-frame construction is $48,000 to $144,000. Pole barns with these dimensions measure 2,400 sq.ft. This is roughly the size of an average home. You could use a barn of this size for an auto or equipment workshop. You could also house 12 to 14 horses with their equipment and tack.
40’ x 80’ Pole Barn
The cost of a 40’ x 80’ pole barn averages $64,000 to $80,000 for modular construction. The price using post-frame construction ranges from $64,000 to $192,000. A barn with these dimensions has a square footage of 3,200 sq.ft. This is the size of a large home. You could use a barn of this size to house more than 20 horses. You could also use it for hay storage or house fewer horses and use the interior as a riding arena.
60’ x 60’ Pole Barn
The cost of a 60’ x 60’ pole barn is $72,000 to $90,000 using modular construction. The price when building with post-frame construction averages $72,000 to $216,000. Barns with these dimensions measure 3,600 sq.ft. This is the size of a large home. Structures of this size can be used for hay or grain storage. They can also be used to house horses with a riding arena in the center.
50’ x 100’ Pole Barn
The cost of a 50’ x 100’ pole barn ranges from $100,000 to $125,000 when using modular construction. The price of building with post-frame construction averages $100,000 to $300,000. A barn with these dimensions is 5,000 sq.ft. A structure of this size can have multiple uses. It can be a full-scale dairy barn housing cows and dairy equipment. It can also house up to 20 horses and equipment and also have space for a riding arena.
100’ x 100’ Pole Barn
The cost of a 100’ x 100’ pole barn is between $200,000 and $250,000 when using modular construction. The price of building with post-frame construction is $200,000 to $600,000. A barn with these dimensions is 10,000 sq.ft. Structures with these dimensions can have multiple uses. They can be used for storage, dairy farms, horses, riding, and large equipment or industrial usage.
Average Cost of a Pole Barn by Material
Like many buildings, pole barns can be built from two materials - metal, usually steel, and wood. In both instances, you need large posts driven into the ground to create the frame. After this frame is built, the building can be constructed from dimensional lumber or steel. Nearly all metal pole barns are modular. Wooden structures are commonly built using both methods. While metal was considered more expensive in the past, rising lumber costs mean there is currently little difference between the two.
|Material||Average Costs per Sq.Ft. (Modular)||Average Costs per Sq.Ft. (Post-Frame)|
|Metal||$15 - $25||N/A|
|Wood||$20 - $25||$20 - $60|
Metal Pole Barn
The cost to build a metal pole barn ranges from $15 to $25 a sq.ft. These structures are normally built using modular practices. They are delivered and installed at usually no added cost, provided you are within the range of the manufacturer. If you order from a company outside your range, you may have additional costs for delivery and installation. Metal pole barns are the building’s shell. They do not include interior work, such as stalls or modifications. If you need to add these, they are built after - usually with wood - and increase your costs.
Wood Pole Barn
The cost of a wood pole barn averages $20 to $25 a sq.ft. for modular construction. The price of post-frame construction is $20 to $60 a sq.ft. You can build wooden pole barns in many ways. They come in more styles and configurations than metal barns. Modular options usually include just the shell. Additions like stalls or arenas raise costs.
Cost to Build a Pole Barn by Type
Pole barns are so inexpensive to build that people use the structure for many purposes. They can be built as homes, garages, carports, and cabins. Their use impacts the total cost. Below are the costs to build a pole barn for multiple purposes for modular and post-frame construction.
|Type||Average Costs per Sq.Ft. (Modular)||Average Costs per Sq.Ft. (Post-Frame)|
|Pavilion||$20 - $25||$20 - $25|
|Carport||$20 - $25||$20 - $30|
|Standard||$20 - $25||$20 - $60|
|Garage||$20 - $25||$20 - $60|
|Shed||$20 - $25||$20 - $60|
|Insulated||$25 - $30||$25 - $70|
|Basketball Court||$25 - $45||$25 - $80|
|Pole Barn With Living Quarters||$50 - $90||$100 - $250|
|Cabin||$50 - $90||$100 - $250|
|House||$50 - $90||$100 - $250|
Pole Barn Pavilion
The cost of a pole barn pavilion is $20 to $25 a sq.ft. for modular and post-frame construction. Pavilions are open structures with a roof but no walls. The roof can be supported using post-frame construction. The difference is the structure has a finished roof without finished walls. For this reason, it can be even less expensive to build. Costs for modular construction include transporting the finished structure and installing it. This means costs for both construction types are nearly identical.
Pole Barn Carport
The cost to build a pole barn carport ranges from $20 to $25 a sq.ft. for modular construction. The price for post-frame construction is $20 to $30 a sq.ft. Carports may have finished walls. Some may only have a roof like a pavilion. Others may have 1, 2, or 3 walls with an open front. This makes them much easier to build than a full pole barn. They can be less expensive than other carport types because a foundation is unnecessary.
Standard Pole Barn
The cost to build a standard pole barn averages $20 to $25 a sq.ft. for modular construction. The price to build a standard pole barn using post-frame construction is $20 to $60 a sq.ft. These barns are very basic building structures. They can be left wide open inside for storage or modified for many purposes. The more modifications made to the shell, the higher the overall costs. They can be built in many sizes and styles.
Pole Barn Garage
The cost to build a pole barn garage ranges from $20 to $25 a sq.ft. for modular construction. The cost to build this structure using post-frame construction averages $20 to $60 a sq.ft. Many standard pole barns can be used as garages. They do not require serious modification for this. The only concern is ensuring the dimensions are correct for the number of cars stored there. You also want to ensure you have the appropriate door size and operate in the desired manner.
The cost to build a pole shed is $20 to $25 a sq.ft. for modular construction. The price of post-frame construction ranges from $20 to $60 a sq.ft. This method is also ideal for sheds. Sheds can be inexpensive and fast to build because many of them may be left open. Adding a foundation to your shed increases costs. Foundations are not common with post-frame construction because they are not needed.
Insulated Pole Barn
The cost to build an insulated pole barn averages $25 to $30 a sq.ft. for modular building. The price for post-frame construction is $25 to $70 a sq.ft. You must insulate your barn if you want to heat or cool the interior. This helps maintain a more comfortable interior temperature and lower energy bills. Pole barns can be insulated in many ways. This includes batts, loose-fill, and spray foam insulation.
Pole Barn Basketball Court
The cost to build a pole barn basketball court averages $25 to $45 a sq.ft. for modular construction. The price for post-frame construction ranges from $25 to $80 a sq.ft. They can be easily converted into half or full-court basketball courts. The building’s shell remains the same. The interior is laid with court material, and the hoop or hoops can be installed. This makes for a much more economical method of building an indoor basketball court, particularly for areas with moderate climates.
Pole Barn With Living Quarters
The cost to build a pole barn with living quarters is between $50 and $90 a sq.ft. for modular construction. The price for post-frame construction is $100 to $150 a sq.ft. Barns can have living quarters added in several ways. You can construct a finished loft that can be insulated and heated to include living quarters. You can also finish off a section of the barn’s main level as living quarters. In either case, ensure the area has electricity, plumbing, and insulation. An HVAC system also must be added, and the area needs windows or a separate egress.
Pole Barn Cabin
Building a pole-barn cabin costs $50 to $90 a sq.ft. when using modular building. The price to build for post-frame construction is $100 to $250 a sq.ft. The costs include adding electricity, plumbing, HVAC, and insulation. It also includes interior framing, flooring, and finish work. These are not commonly part of a barn’s interior and increase costs.
Pole Barn House
The cost to build a pole barn house using modular techniques ranges from $50 to $90 a sq.ft. The price for post-frame construction averages $100 to $250 a sq.ft. These costs include adding utilities and HVAC to the building. They also include insulating and framing the interior walls. You also have costs for interior finishing and adding flooring, a kitchen, and bathrooms. The layout, number of bathrooms, and materials impact the final price.
Pole Barn Construction Cost Breakdown
Pole barns contain much less material than many other buildings. They also do not require a foundation like other construction. This means they can be much simpler to build. Depending on what you use the barn for, you may want to add running water and electricity, but these are unnecessary. Below is the average cost breakdown for constructing a 1,600 sq.ft. pole barn with post-frame construction with a gable roof.
|Project Area||Average Costs (Installed)|
|Prep Work||$7,500 - $15,000|
|Building Shell||$20,000 - $40,000|
|Exterior Finishing||$10,000 - $20,000|
|Interior Finishing||$12,500 - $25,000|
The price of prep work for a 1,600 sq.ft. pole barn is $7,500 to $15,000. Prep work includes getting the plans for the build and submitting permits. Permit prices vary depending on what you use the barn for. Horse barns have some of the highest permit costs, while residential use has some of the lowest. Prep work can also include costs for site preparation, which vary depending on the area.
The price of the building shell averages $20,000 to $40,000. This is the barn’s basic structure without finishing. There may be walls without siding, and the roof is framed. This is the biggest cost associated with the project. This includes the posts driven into the ground for support and the building’s frame. This portion may be the largest part of your project, depending on what you use the structure for.
Finishing the shell’s exterior ranges between $10,000 and $20,000. This is the siding, roofing, windows, and doors. For storage barns, this may be the bulk of the finishing work. Some barns may have little to no interior finishing, making the exterior most of the finish work. You can have your barn finished in many materials and styles, including wood or metal siding and any roofing type. The exterior finish gives the structure its final appearance.
The interior finishing of the barn ranges from $12,500 to $25,000. Interior finishing is not necessary for all pole barns. However, interior finishing is necessary if you plan on building stalls, tack rooms, arenas, or a workspace. You may also need to add electricity or running water, depending on the structure’s use. Interior finishing is generally fairly minimal, even for working barns. The more uses the barn has, the more interior finishing it needs.
Labor Cost to Build a Pole Barn
Depending on how you use the structure, building site, and materials, you may need various professionals to assist with the build. Not all barns require plumbing or electricity, and not all builds need a structural engineer. Below are the costs associated with the professionals who are most likely to work on the project.
|Professional||Average Costs (Labor Included)|
|Roofers||$1 - $1.50/sq.ft.|
|General Contractor||$6 - $12/sq.ft.|
|Siding Professionals||$40 - $50/hour|
|Electrician||$40 - $120/hour|
|Carpenter||$75 - $125/hour|
|Plumber||$75 - $130/hour|
|Structural Engineer||$100 - $500/hour|
Cost to Build a Pole Barn House
Building a pole-barn house ranges $100 to $250 a sq.ft. for post-frame construction. While you can find modular post-frame barn homes, they are much less common. Costs are generally lower than traditional building because there is no foundation and less material. You have higher finishing costs from insulation, kitchens, bathrooms, and HVAC systems, while the cost to build the shell and exterior finishing costs are roughly equal. Below is the cost breakdown for the average 2,000 sq.ft. pole barn house built with post-frame construction.
As with standard pole barns, the building shell is one of the most important pieces. However, you have significant added costs for your major system installation, including plumbing, electrical, and HVAC. You also have additional costs for kitchens and bathrooms.
Interior finishing costs can have some of the biggest ranges for this project. Adding stories dramatically increases costs. Flooring, wall framing, wall finishing, and the general layout significantly impact the total costs. This is where you see the most differences in costs and variation, depending on the style, materials, and layout. Higher-end homes have higher interior finishing costs.
|Project Area||Average Costs (Installed)|
|Prep Work||$7,500 - $15,000|
|Building Shell||$60,000 - $120,000|
|Exterior Finishing||$20,000 - $40,000|
|Major Systems Installation||$40,000 - $75,000|
|Interior Finishing||$22,500 - $160,000|
|Kitchen||$30,000 - $50,000|
|Bathrooms||$20,000 - $40,000|
Pros and Cons of a Pole Barn House
Pole-barn houses are built using a unique construction method. This is post-frame construction and is faster and easier to build with than traditional stick-building techniques. They use less material than traditional frame homes, so they are less expensive to build.
They can be finished in several styles to take on many appearances. Functionally, they are very similar to standard-frame homes. They do not use a foundation, meaning they cannot have a full basement. Depending on the climate, you may need to insulate beneath the flooring to prevent frost issues. They may also not be suitable for areas prone to earthquakes because the post-frame construction may not be stable enough to handle significant seismic activity. If you live in an area with significant seismic activity, modifications may need to be made. Likewise, this may not be the best building method for your home if you live in an area with unstable soil or earth. Pole barns can be designed to limit damage from tornadoes, however, which can make them a good choice in these areas.
Pole Barn Kit Prices
Purchasing a pole barn kit is an alternative to traditional post-frame construction. Some kits may be a type of modular construction, where the company finishes the final assembly on-site. Other kits are designed for the homeowner to put together and finish. They can be made of dimensional lumber or steel, depending on the manufacturer. Prices typically start at around $10,000 for a kit and may go as high as $100,000 for some extremely large arena kits. Costs may be extra for the kit delivery and assembly, but some companies include these at no additional cost.
Cost to Add a Lean-To to a Pole Barn
If you want to add to your pole barn, you can add a lean-to as a type of shed on one side. This smaller structure can take some stability from the barn without needing a foundation. The price to build the lean-to on a pole barn is $15 to $17 a sq.ft. Lean-tos may be open with a roof or enclosed on two or more sides. Costs depend on how open the lean-to is and the size, purpose, and how closely it matches the style of the structure.
Pole Barn vs Stick-Built Garage Cost
You have two alternatives for building a detached garage. You can build using traditional stick-building methods or post-frame construction. Both provide a secure place to park your car and can also have several roofing styles, sizes, layouts, and be finished to appear like the rest of the property.
Pole-barn garages use less material. They also do not require a foundation, so they are generally much less expensive than stick-built garages. Below is the average cost comparison for building a 576 sq.ft. 2-car garage.
|Structure||Average Costs (Labor Included)|
|Pole Barn||$11,520 - 34,560|
|Stick-Built Garage||$30,000 - $60,000|
Enhancement and Improvement Costs
Paint a Pole Barn
Pole barns can be clad in many materials, like other barns, homes, and other structures. This means they may need to be painted after building or periodically. The average cost to paint the exterior ranges from $2 to $4 a sq.ft., depending on the condition of the structure.
Pole Barn Foundation
Most pole barns do not have foundations. The posts driven into the ground act as the foundation. However, you may want to add a frost-proof slab foundation to insulate in cold climates. This can add costs of $8 to $12 a sq.ft. If you want a standard slab foundation, prices are $4 to $6 a sq.ft.
Because pole barns do not often have foundations, you may add a concrete floor to make it easier to clean. You can use concrete flooring throughout the barn or for walking aisles. The cost is roughly $2 to $4 a sq.ft. to pour a concrete floor.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- Permits. You need a permit to build a pole barn. The permit type depends on the structure’s use.
- Permanence. Pole barns are considered permanent structures. The posts that support it are driven into the earth for stability.
- Longevity. Pole barns can last for more than 100 years when taken care of properly. They are not more susceptible to rot or other issues than a standard stick-built structure.
- Windows. Pole barns are unique because you can have much larger windows than in other structures for less money. You can include as many or as few windows in the design.
- Location. The area where you build your barn impacts the labor cost. The farther the building crew must travel to the job site, the more expensive the project is.
- Land clearing. This type of barn can be built on land that is not perfectly level. However, you need to pay more for clearing before the construction can begin if your land is particularly steep or currently has many trees, rocks, or brush.
- How much does a typical pole barn cost?
There is no one cost for a pole barn because they come in many sizes, shapes, and uses. However, the average cost to build ranges from $50,000 to $100,000.
- Can you insulate a pole barn?
Yes, pole barns can be insulated using the same materials you use to insulate a home.
- What is the life expectancy of a pole building?
Pole barns can last for more than 100 years when properly maintained. The posts used to support them can lend great stability for decades.
- How far apart can poles be in a pole barn?
This depends on several things, but generally, the posts can be up to 8’ apart with few issues. Some barns can support them farther apart, while others may need them closer together.
- Can I build a pole barn myself?
You can, but like any building project, some areas require a certain level of expertise to ensure it is done correctly. Pole barn kits are available, which can make the process easier.