How to Build Pole Barns

Pole Barn Materials

Before starting the ­process of building a pole barn, talk with your local building inspector to see if ­you need a permit, zoning variance or other waivers for the project. Let the inspector know if you plan to use the structure for storage or agricultural purposes (which are usually subject to fewer building regulations). The inspector may want to see plans or blueprints and a property survey to ensure that the facility meets setback guidelines. You can also learn how deep to dig the post holes [source: Franklin].

You'll need the following materials to build a pole barn:

  • Poles made of pressure-treated lumber. Round poles, square posts or utility poles can be used.
  • Lumber for the framing and roof trusses (triangular, reinforced frames that support the roof) and girts (horizontal nailing boards that are nailed to the posts; siding is anchored to the grits); 2-by-4s for the frame and purlins (boards that are nailed across the top of the trusses and are used to attach the roofing); 2-by-6s for roof stringers (boards that are placed horizontally at the top edge of the poles, supporting the roof and the trusses)
  • Plywood or steel for the walls
  • Gravel and concrete to anchor the poles
  • Galvanized corrugated steel roofing sections and a roof cap that runs the length of the roof (alternatively, plywood and shingles for the roof)
  • Straight and screw-in roofing nails
  • Storm clips to help keep your nails in
  • Doors -- Sliding doors will give you a higher opening than an overhead door (the type usually found in many car garages). Overhead doors need at least a foot of clearance between the top of the door and the bottom of the truss. Sliding doors are also a little cheaper.

You'll also need the following tools to build a pole barn:

  • Digging equipment such as a tractor-powered auger, clamshell hand digger or post-hole digger
  • Hammer
  • Electric drill with attachment for roofing screws
  • Carpenter's level, a string level and line
  • Hand saw, a miter saw or circular saw and a bevel square set
  • Optional: backhoe [source: Franklin]