Everything You Need To Consider When Building a Pole Barn Home

By: John Garcia | Date Posted: April 8, 2022

Building a Pole Barn Home

The American dream is to be prosperous. To work hard and build generational wealth. One part of the dream is owning a home. As home prices continue to skyrocket, many future homeowners are looking for a way to buy or build without burning through their savings or paying thousands of dollars over appraisal value. If you aren’t willing to budge with home size or quality, a pole barn home could be the perfect solution for you.

What Is a Pole Barn Home?

A pole barn home is not your standard home build. This design combines two things: living space and storage. They are open concept plans where laminate posts are secured into the ground using a concrete pad — eliminating the need for interior stud walls. They can be single or multiple stories. Traditional pole barn homes don’t have basements, but this doesn’t mean it is off the table. Note that adding a basement will increase the cost significantly.

Why Build a Pole Barn Home?

There are several reasons why many are choosing a pole barn home over a traditional home build:

  • Reduced costs: Pole barn homes don’t have a basement. Meaning there is no major foundation work. No major foundation work equals less concrete and less labor. This can save you tons on your bottom line since concrete foundation costs anywhere from $6,000 to $15,000 — depending on the square footage, the type of concrete, concrete thickness, and labor costs;
  • Storage: As mentioned above, one of the pros of pole barn homes is that it combines living space with practicality. There is no shortage of storage space in the shop side for your cars, heavy machinery, and all of your toys;
  • Open floor plan: Pole barn homes are wide open. They create the ideal space for entertaining guests and quality family time. Since there are no load-bearing interior walls requirements, you can keep things as open as you wish. Open floor plans are trendy because they make a space look larger;
  • Personalization: When you build a home, you can plan everything exactly how you want it. Since they are open floor plans, you have even more personalization capabilities. You can choose from several different styles, layouts, and interior components (like lofts). With pole barn homes, the sky (or vaulted ceiling) is the limit;
  • Vaulted ceilings: Vaulted ceilings create a sense of space. They draw eyes upward — making even small areas appear more spacious. This is great for homes with less square footage;
  • More energy-efficient: Traditional “stick-builds” have studs that are placed closely together (generally every 16 to 20 inches). Pole barns have columns that are spaced further (generally 8 more feet apart). When there is more space between studs or columns, there is more room for additional insulation. Additional insulation helps keep hot air in and cool air out during colder months and vice versa during hotter months;
  • Fast construction: Pole barn homes require different construction techniques that are less time-consuming than traditional home builds;
  • Reduced maintenance: Have you ever heard the phrase “the less moving parts, the better”? Since pole barn homes use more simple construction processes and materials, they generally have less ongoing maintenance.

Pole Barn Home Building Steps

Pole Barn Home Building Steps

There are a few critical steps to consider if you are considering building a pole barn home.

As a starting point, consider the following tips when building the foundation:

  • Precast concrete pads or poured-in-place foundations are the best. These foundations provide the solid, non-shifting, load-bearing support you need for your pole barn.
  • When backfilling the column hole, ask your builder if crushed rock (e.g., gravel) is available. Crushed rock is stronger than soil, enabling it to withstand lateral and uplift forces.
  • In the column holes, do not use packaged, powdered concrete mix as the foundation. When dry, powdered concrete sets, water must penetrate the ground. When moisture is not present in the soil, the concrete remains loose and unstable.

Secure Financing First

First and foremost, you need to determine how you are going to pay for the build. Not all lenders are willing to offer loans for pole barn homes. This is because pole barn homes are more of a recent trend. To elaborate, appraisers have appraised pole barns, but not pole barns with living quarters. This makes it more difficult to determine value — oftentimes resulting in a lower valuation. This means that the build can end up costing more than it is valued at, meaning you either need more of a down payment out-of-pocket, or you may not be able to afford it.

Map Out Your Floor Plan

Begin planning out your floor plan in advance. This is a fun part of the building process. You get to map out exactly how you want things to look. If you aren’t much of an artist, you can meet with a general contractor, an architect, or a pole barn home builder. Meeting with a local builder will give you the best insight into what you can expect since pole barn homes in Cass County, IN are entirely different from pole barn homes in Anchorage, AK.

Acquire Necessary Permits

Next, you will need to figure out the type of permits you need. The exact permit requirements vary from state to state and sometimes even local guidelines. Be sure to check with your local construction governing body to determine what you need.

Some choose to build a home with their own two hands, but it is always a good idea to work with a local expert. It helps ensure you are abiding by local jurisdictions.

Purchase Land

Once you get financing and the proper permits, you can look for land to build on. Some areas are not well suited for pole barn homes, so bear that in mind as you shop for land. Once you acquire land, you need to get the land surveyed to ensure funding goes through. You also need to make sure that your land is level before beginning.

Thank you for reading!


John is the founder and chief editor of Homienjoy. With over 15 years of experience in the home improvement industry, John is passionate about helping homeowners confidently tackle their projects. Holding a civil engineering degree and working as a contractor, project manager, and consultant, John brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the Homienjoy community.

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