Difference Between A Metal Building And A Pole Barn

Simply put, a pole barn’s framing is made completely from wood with metal exterior panels, whereas a metal barn or metal building is made from steel framing and metal exterior panels. There are several factors to consider when deciding between the two options for your farm, ranch, or property.


Often times individuals that opt for a pole barn do so to save on cost. Materials are typically cheaper to purchase for pole barn construction, which use low rib lighter gauge exterior meal panels, flat trims and poles that go into the ground. Compared to a metal building that has concrete piles or a foundation. However, you get what you pay for. A pole barn will show wear and tear and break down much quicker than a metal barn. Not to mention, wood also expands and contracts while metal does not.

In addition to a longer lifespan, higher quality heavy gauge metal panels, an open interior below the roof and better structural support, a metal barn gives you more customized options for personalization. A metal barn also provides more clearances on the inside and adds a feeling of openness.


A metal barn building has several roofing options. You can determine the height based on your specific needs. What is the purpose of the barn? Do you plan to store a large RV, boat, or tall building materials? You can accommodate for space with a second floor mezzanine.

Pole barns don’t allow as much control over roofing design. The structural support only allows for a specific height with head room limited to the bottom of the wood rafter and typically a 4:12 roof pitch.


When choosing a metal barn, owners have the option to decide on the type of siding and support that best suits their needs. Depending on the geographic location, some steel buildings may need to account for weather, such as heavy snow, high winds, or large hail.

In order for Pole Barns to support unpredicted weather or harsh climates, you would have to increase the truss spacing which limits you to a certain width, pole buildings cannot span to adjust for wider widths. They can only withstand so much when it comes to environmental factors.


The construction process is also very different between metal barns and pole barns. A pole barn requires a lot of wood to build the supports, siding, roofing, and indoor features. And don’t forget about the screws, anchors, and other parts and pieces for assembly.

Metal barns are typically much easier to build. For example, Sunward Steel Inc. offers pre-welded kits that are ready for quick and easy construction. These kits take out all of the hassles of determining the materials needed and lengthy build times.

Considering purchasing a pre-engineered metal building for agricultural or industrial use in your area? Get a Custom Steel Building Price Quote.