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Steel Barn vs. Pole Barn: Which is Easier to Build?

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December 30, 2013

Part 3: Comparing Metal Barn and Pole Barn Construction

This is the third part in our series on pole barns vs. metal buildings. First, let’s get the terminology straight. Many people use the term “pole barn” when they are actually talking about a pre-engineered steel barn.

Sometimes you hear them referred to as “metal pole barns.” The term “pole barn” actually refers to wood-framed structures. Steel-framed barns and other structures are usually built with pre-engineered metal building systems. So which is better between a steel frame vs. wood frame?

The Building Packages

Both pole barn and metal barn kits generally include all framing materials, sheathing materials, and fasteners. (However, quantity and quality of contents do vary from company to company, so be sure to get a complete list of what is included with the kit.)

All RHINO Steel Building System orders come with three sets of plans plus an anchor-bolt layout. The plans are engineer-stamped. A letter of certification is included with each set of plans. Every order contains a detailed construction manual and DVD.

Many pole barn companies include little or no documentation with the package. Instructions tend to be minimal at best.

Steel Barn Kits Arrive Ready to Assemble

In a steel barn package, every component of the framing is cut to length, welded into shape, drilled and punched for easy assembly, and clearly marked for identification.

A RHINO metal barn assembles in a systematic logical order, much like a giant erector set. To erect a steel barn or metal building, just follow the easy directions.

Most pole kits do not pre-cut the lumber to length, nor do they mark the individual pieces of the kit.

Fewer Pieces, Stronger Structure with Metal Barns

Steel barns and buildings erect by connecting two columns together with two rafter beams to form a “frame.” Frames attach to a slab foundation, concrete perimeter wall, or concrete footings with strong steel anchor bolts.

Typically, steel frames are spaced 20’-25’ apart. Pole barns normally space posts and trusses 8’ apart. That means far fewer pieces are needed to build a stronger structure with steel.

The web design of wood trusses, combined with the truss chord and posts, mean ten or more pieces to produce a “frame” comparable to the metal framing system. Steel’s superior strength means only four steel components are required for each frame in prefabricated metal barns and steel buildings.

The larger the building, the more time steel construction saves.

Better Fasteners for Stronger Connections

Wood pole barns use nails and truss plates to assemble the main building framing and trusses. As moisture content in the wood framing changes, the lumber contracts and expands. This constant movement makes nails pull out over time. The pole framing will “loosen” and sag.

Steel barns and other metal buildings connect with high-strength bolts and self-drilling screws. The components of a steel building are unaffected by temperature or moisture changes. Steel barn framing goes up straight and stays rigid and straight for decades.

RHINO also uses special fasteners for the Galvalume roof and wall sheathing with a Lifetime warranty against rust. The sealing washers included with these screws assure a watertight seal against leakage.

Call Now for More Information about Steel Barns and Metal Buildings

RHINO’s experienced steel building specialists are capable of answering all questions about steel barns and about steel frames vs. wood frames. Ask for a fast, friendly quote today. Call us, toll free at 1.888.320.7466.

Related Blogs:
• “So What’s the Difference Between Pole Barns and Steel Barns?”
“Which Is the Better Buy— Pole Barns or Metal Barns?”

- by Bruce Brown,
Steel Building Systems, Inc

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