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Metal Pole Barn Storage

Why Do They Call It a Pole Barn?

The term “Pole Barn” goes back to the Great Depression in the 1930’s. American Farmers began to utilize old utility poles to help construct cost effective barns for their agricultural needs. After the stock market crash of 1929 and during the Dust Bowl of the early 1930’s – Farmer’s needed to adapt their existing practices to take advantage of the most abundant and cheapest resources. Farmer’s buried these poles into the ground, attached a metal roof and added steel sheeting for the sidewalls. Out of necessity, the “pole barn” was born. 

“Pole Barn” become “Post Frame”

    1. The Utility Pole is Replaced

      Eventually, the old utility pole was replaced by a creosote-treated pole. These poles lasted longer in the ground and helped extend the lifespan of the poles by reducing the potential rotting of the pole. Today, these creosote pole are no longer used as creosote has been been labeled as a possible carcinogenic and OSHA has set permissible exposure limits. You can still find old creosote poles on old farm builders through the United States. 

    2. Poles become Posts

      Both the utility pole and the creosote-treated pole have been replaced by modern construction materials. Instead of the recycling old utility poles, today we utilize our pressure treated, squared off posts or columns. The engineered posts of today offer superior strength and easy of construction compared to the old methods. While the technology has improved, the basic principal of burying posts into the ground remains the same. The terminology “pole barn” still lasts, but is more accurately called “post frame construction”. 

    3. Fully Engineered Buildings
      Pole Barn Post

      Post Frame Construction



      For a long time there was some hesitancy from builders and architects to adapt to this new style of building. The professional world was skeptical that the “pole barn” could withstand wind and snow loads required in modern buildings. After lots of academic research, the professional world started to appreciate the unique features and strengths of the traditional pole barn. This “post frame” method consisted of the two posts opposite each other buried into the ground and connected by the truss. This diaphragm provides the backbone of the building and helps transfer wind load directly into the ground. Today, post frame construction is utilized across all segments including industrial buildings, warehouses, retail projects and even residential houses as it offers superior engineering at a lower cost that other construction methods. 

The “pole barn” started out of necessity by putting some old poles in the ground and putting up a building. Today, it is a billion dollar industry full of engineers running constant calculations to ensure that your building is designed to last a lifetime. That’s why we suggest that you Build with Walters…Build with Confidence.