Barn Evolution: The Rise Of Metal Buildings And Pole Barns

  • Author: Fazal Umer
  • Posted On: November 18, 2023
  • Updated On: January 6, 2024

Stuck on whether to build a traditional wooden barn or opt for a more modern approach with metal buildings and pole barns? The truth is that metal structures and post-frame buildings have evolved steadily in the agricultural building industry.

This article will provide an in-depth look at the evolution of these types of barns, their advantages, construction methods, durability, and cost-effectiveness. Let’s dive into everything you need to know to make an informed decision!

Historical Evolution of Metal Buildings and Pole Barns

The story of metal buildings and pole barns begins with the inception of post-frame structures, which transformed dramatically during the era of modernization in the 1960s. Today’s metal buildings and pole barns have evolved significantly from these early forms, offering a whole new level of durability, design options, and construction methods that match our contemporary demanding needs.

Beginnings of Post-Frame Buildings

Post-frame buildings, also known as pole barns, started in the 1930s. Farmers used them a lot for their needs; they built simple wood structures because they were strong and easy to make.

Over time, these wooden structures changed. Updates came in the 1960s with metal plates added to them. This was a big step in their evolution.

Modernization in the 1960s

In the 1960s, new ways of building changed many things. Steel became vital in making these buildings. The updates significantly improved post-frame buildings and pole barns. This change helped to shape metal building systems.

This period also brought more options for aspiring homeowners, such as prefabricated metal buildings that were easy to build and maintain

Modern Day Metal Buildings and Pole Barns

Today, metal buildings are a fantastic sight. They can take any form or shape. This is because of new ways to use metal building materials. Nowadays, we use standing seam metal roofs in metal buildings, making them strong and sturdy against harsh weather. 

Pole barns have a different look and feel but are still sturdy structures. Today’s pole barn is more than just a place for housing farm animals and tractors, unlike the barns of yesteryears. Notably, they are now used as homes, barns with living quarters, and businesses with homes combined. Both types of modern-day builds show giant leaps from their old designs and use.

Differences Between Pole Barns and Metal Buildings

In discussing the differences between pole barns and metal buildings, we will delve into the construction methods used, assess their respective durability levels, and explore any design limitations inherent in each building type.

Construction methods

Pole barns and metal buildings have different construction methods. Pole barns also have various construction methods depending on the type of pole barn you intend to build. You can choose from three types of pole barns. The first type is post and beam barn homes, which use heavy wood beams for structural support and do not require interior walls to support the building.

Secondly, we have metal and steel barn homes that are constructed using metal frames attached to a concrete slab. Most of the other building parts are also made from prefabricated metal. This type of barn is commonly known as a barndominium. Here are popular 2-bedroom barndominium plans that you can use for your dream home!

Lastly, we have the combination pole barn made from various building materials. The interior is built using the post and beam method with wood, and the house is finished using prefab metal walls and roofs. 

But for metal buildings, it’s different. Workers use steel parts instead of wood. First, they set up vertical steel frames to make a sturdy frame for the building. They then add horizontal trusses made of steel as well. Metal buildings are more durable than pole barns because we only use steel parts to build them.


Metal buildings last long. They are strong and can stand up to tough weather. This is more than pole barns can do. Pole barns may need fixes more often. One key part of a metal building is its low upkeep needs. You don’t have to work hard to keep it in shape. It stays durable for many years, making it worth the cost.

Design limitations

You cannot construct huge wooden pole barns; the wood in these barns sets a size limit. On the other hand, metal buildings don’t share this issue. They can be as big as you need them to be. 

Additionally, pole barn roofs are fixed with screws, while metal building roofs lock together. This means pole barn roofs may leak over time, but metal ones won’t. So, if you want a big barn that won’t leak, go for a metal one!

Advantages of Metal Buildings and Pole Barns

Let’s explore how the superior strength, durability, and weather resistance of metal buildings and pole barns provide safety, security, and cost-effectiveness. Discover more about these innovative constructions in our next section!

Strength and durability

Metal buildings and pole barns are tough. They last long because they are robust and resilient. Steel is used to make these structures strong. It fights off harsh weather better than wood.

Pole barn kits made of steel can also stand up to harsh weather. Metal buildings keep pests away,  remaining sturdy for longer without harm from rot or bugs.

Weather resistance

Metal buildings and pole barns are great at withstanding harsh weather. Due to the sturdy steel, they can stand tall during big storms that bring heavy wind or rain, making them durable in extreme conditions. These metal structures are also fire-resistant. You will have peace knowing your building stays safe in any kind of storm or even fire.

Safety and Security

Metal buildings and pole barns are very safe. They use steel, which is solid and fireproof. Steel does not catch fire easily, making these buildings safer in case of a fire. Wooden pole barns are also safe but can be more susceptible to fire as compared to steel ones. 

The buildings are also robust and sturdy. They can last for many years without any significant problems as long as you use an experienced builder, such as Wick Buildings


Metal buildings and pole barns save you money. They need less labor to build than other types,  making them more affordable. Metal buildings can cut construction costs by up to 30%. Pole barns are even cheaper to build. Metal buildings even have lower insurance costs. They also last longer without needing regular fix-ups.


The rise of metal buildings and pole barns has changed how we think about barns. These structures are strong, safe, and cost less money to build than traditional stick-built homes. They can stand up to extreme weather, too. Eventually, It is up to you to decide which type is right for you: a modern metal building or a practical pole barn. 

Infographic Provided By large steel buildings Kansas Company, K-Construction

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Author: Fazal Umer

Fazal is a dedicated industry expert in the field of civil engineering. As an Editor at ConstructionHow, he leverages his experience as a civil engineer to enrich the readers looking to learn a thing or two in detail in the respective field. Over the years he has provided written verdicts to publications and exhibited a deep-seated value in providing informative pieces on infrastructure, construction, and design.