Wood Pole Barns vs Steel Barns

wood pole barns vs steel barns

Since way back in the 1930s, wood pole barns have been widely celebrated. However, in today’s times with the evolution of technology, steel barns have risen to the forefront.

Let’s consider the pros and cons of wood pole barns vs steel or metal pole barns and highlight key advantages.

Structural Integrity

In construction, precision is important and is easy to do with metal. Every hole, bolt, diameter, size, and fit remains constant. However, when you’re working with wooden pole barns, there is always a lack of precision. This leaves holes in the structure which over time leads to degradation and problems over time, particularly in wood structures given that it’s organic.

steel vs wood building The process of rot and decay as well as swelling from moisture, causes expansion or contraction in the joints. The overall structural integrity of the building is therefore impacted, remember that wood is also likely to bend, warp, or even crack. This is unlikely in a metal pole structure.

Steel buildings are designed to withstand all types of extreme weather including high winds, heavy snow, ice storms, torrential rain, and temperature changes. Steel buildings also have the benefit of being essentially fire-proof themselves, unlike wood pole barns.

Construction Cost

There’s no doubt, from an initial material cost standpoint, wood pole barns are the less expensive option. However, when you look a little closer and factor in the long-term cost of building construction and ownership, steel comes out on top. A wood pole barn takes longer to construct than a prefabricated steel barn and time is money. With steel, there’s also less on-site wastage of construction materials since components come pre-cut and drilled.

Wider-Span then Wood Pole Barns

metal frame buildingsIn comparison – the metal poles can be at a wider span and higher load bearing than their wood counterparts. This wide open space frees up more usable floor space than wooden pole barns, again less material is used. In comparison, the steel pole barn ends up being as much as 60% cheaper than the wood barn.


To add to this – traditional wooden pole barns would have a life span of around 30 years as compared to steel poles which can last well over 75 years. You can also bear in mind that metal structures can also be made to look just like their wood counterparts, in aesthetics, without losing integrity.

Added Advantages

pole barn building overhang Steel pole barns have significant versatility and for quite a few reasons it is indeed more advantageous than using wood. Some of these include benefits such as:

  • Being Weldable
  • Hot and cold formable
  • Water Resistance
  • Corrosion resistance
  • Heat Resistance
  • Adaptability
  • Easily Expandable

These are just a few of the reasons that wood Pole Barns are no longer our top pick. Consider the benefits of steel pole barns and make the right decision for your needs

If you’re interested in a steel barn be sure to request a free steel building quote!