Pole barns are one of the most common building structures around. They can be open buildings used for equipment and feed storage or fully enclosed to house livestock, tack rooms, or work areas. The typical pole barn is constructed of wood posts and wooden roof trusses and light gauge sheeting on the roof, as well as walls over wood runners.
A century ago, wood was easily the best choice in materials. It was inexpensive, readily available and owners usually designed and built their own buildings. Over the years, however, steel construction has become more popular and presents significant advantages over wood materials. Pre-engineered steel buildings are now the method of choice for most commercial, industrial, and warehouse structures due to their economy, ease of construction, and design flexibility. Pole barn owners, however, still lean toward building out of wood. Common perception is that wood remains cheaper than steel and that building with wood is easier and faster. These perceptions are not necessarily correct. Choosing a pre-engineered steel building over post and wood framing is more economical - it is quicker and easier to construct, is safer and more durable, and brings direct savings to the owner.
Steel building components are manufactured to very rigid standards and specifications. There are no “seconds” or substandard materials in a pre-engineered metal building. You are guaranteed that each piece meets strict industry standards for strength and is designed specifically for use in your building.
Every component is designed and manufactured to meet strict design load criteria. This means your steel pole buildings will handle all the load requirements of your location. Properly designed and built metal buildings have withstood hurricanes, tornados, and all kinds of extreme conditions.
Pre-engineered steel buildings are designed and made specifically for your building. Each component is designed and manufactured to match perfectly with the others. Each piece is labeled and easy to identify and cross-reference on the assembly drawings. This means your steel pole buildings will fit together precisely. Because each component is detailed and made for your particular building, erecting the building is quick and easy. Steel pole buildings go up fast and require less labor.
Steel components won’t weather or degrade over time like wood. Steel will remain rigid for the life of the building. This structural strength means less stress on fasteners and components and provides a safer building for years to come.
Steel pole buildings are non-combustible so they will not add “fuel to the fire” in the event of fire.
Most wood posts are pressure treated and can be poisonous to livestock or other animals if ingested. Wood structures are typically not recommended for use in housing livestock.
Because steel is much stronger than wood, it allows for much greater design flexibility. You can typically span the entire width of your building with no interior posts required and the columns can be set further apart on the sidewalls. The result is a much more open building with less weight and greater structural integrity.
Steel components won’t warp, split, twist, swell, shrink, or decay like wood. Steel components will not have to be replaced or repaired and will remain long after the wood frame building is gone.
Pre-engineered metal buildings use heavy 26 gauge sheeting for roofing and siding, as opposed to light gauge 28 or 29 gauge material on most wooden pole barns. Fasteners are also higher quality for steel buildings and won’t need to be replaced like on a typical wooden pole building. The light gauge metal sheeting on most wood pole buildings will require replacement over time. Wood runners hold moisture against the light gauge metal sheeting causing the sheeting and the fasteners to rust prematurely. The fasteners lose their grip and the sheeting becomes loose requiring repair or replacement.
Steel buildings simply don’t wear out over time like wood structures. Barring some catastrophic event, your steel pole building will last a lifetime and then some. Wooden buildings have an economic life of 15-20 years and require lots of maintenance along the way. Wood siding will have to be replaced, usually around 7-10 years down the road. If non-metal roofing is used, it will also require replacement at some point. A pre-engineered metal building requires virtually no maintenance and provides decades of worry-free service.
One of the first objections some people make to a steel building is that it requires a concrete foundation and floor, adding significantly to the initial cost of the project. A metal building doesn’t require a full slab, although it does require concrete piers at each column location to provide proper structural stability and meet design load requirements. The required piers provide load bearing capacity and an above grade connection so that the posts are not subject to moisture and decay. These foundations add to the initial cost of your pole building, but the advantages over the life of the building are tremendous.
Steel pole buildings are the best choice for the environment. Steel is 100% recyclable and is the only recycled material that doesn’t lose strength when it is recycled. There is also no waste from steel buildings because no cutting is required on-site and all cut-offs at the factory are recycled.
A steel building has an “A” fire rating versus a “C” rating for a wood building. You could save significant money on insurance premiums for the life of your building.
Steel buildings offer many advantages over wood pole barns, but the debate will continue as long as both options are available. Before you build a pole building, you owe it to yourself to consider all the options to make an informed decision. Compare the costs - not just the initial costs for site prep, materials and labor, but also the longer term costs of ownership like maintenance, repairs, and insurance. Decide how much value you place on safety and environmental friendliness, too. When it’s all said and done, we believe you will find the value of a pre-engineered steel building is much greater than that of a wooden pole building.
See the benefits of steel for yourself. Call Rapidset Metal Buildings today for a free, no-hassle quote. Or price your building online with our PWS system - you will receive a quote and drawings right away, online, with no high pressure salesperson or waiting for a return email. Give us a chance and you’ll see why our customers say,