Metal Buildings vs Pole Barns

Metal Buildings vs. Pole Barns

Pole barns and metal buildings might appear similar at first, but the differences between a wood-framed structure like a pole barn and a pre-engineered metal structure are significant. To help clients understand each, the construction pros at Ludwig Buildings have put together a helpful list of information to consider when deciding on the ideal structure:

Steel vs. Wood

The primary difference between a metal building and a pole barn is how they’re constructed, which naturally leads to each structure’s durability:

1. Metal buildings are fabricated from completely non-combustible materials. Rather than rely on wood, steel buildings have steel walls, roofs, and framing structures. Metal buildings can be engineered to accommodate a panoply of uses and can be expanded upon as needed. 

2. Pole barns have an interior frame that’s made of wood with exterior metal panels. They get their name from the engineering act of placing wood posts in a concrete foundation or vertically in the ground to support the building’s roof trusses and outer walls. The structures can be built in a wide variety of sizes. 

Since metal buildings are pre-engineered, all of the parts are fabricated in a highly-controlled environment to make sure that the dimensions are exact. This leaves little room for human error during the assembly process, which means clients know that their metal building’s the most stable and secure that it can be. Most metal structures are topped with a standing seam metal roof, while pole barns typically utilize large screws to mechanically fasten their roofs. 

Durability and Construction

The most obvious difference between steel and wood structures is the framing material that they use. While wood is a readily-available material that is cost-effective and generally simple to work with, there are certain traits that make wood-framed structures more vulnerable to the elements that must be taken into consideration:

1)  Wood can be damaged more easily by lightning, insects, birds, and other animals or pests.

2) Since wood is a more combustible material, it can catch fire if exposed to sparks, flames, or other sources of extreme heat. 

3) Wood is more susceptible to weather damage such as mold, rot, and other moisture-based forms of deterioration.

4) Extreme temperature fluctuations can cause wood to split, shrink, and splinter, which allows the bolts and screws holding it together to weaken and sag.

On the other hand, steel is one of the most durable, strongest building materials on the market today. A steel building can provide generations of low-maintenance protection from the elements for anything or anyone inside. Pole barns will usually have structural posts approximately 6’ to 8’ in the center. A pre-engineered steel building will have frames that range from 20’ to 30’ in the center, which delivers a cleaner, sharper appearance inside the structure, along with greater flexibility for positioning entryways, overhead doors, and windows.

Don’t need a huge building? Metal buildings will still work for your needs as they are highly adaptable and can be expanded as your business and storage needs grow. If you’re interested in learning more about metal buildings vs. pole barns and the benefits of each, reach out to Ludwig Buildings Enterprises today to learn more about our services and to schedule a free construction consultation. Your perfect building awaits! 

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