Pole Barn House

Pole Barn Constructed House

If you were to drive out in rural areas in Iowa the chances are you will come across a pole barn constructed house. Lots of these are being built now for cottages, hunting cabins, and homes. They are built the same way as a pole barn, but with more windows and doors. Because you don’t have the cost of a foundation ( usually a slab is poured after the structure is built) and it takes less time in labor costs and less material to build them, it greatly brings down the cost of  these type of buildings. With an all metal roof and siding there is little maintance, and is guaranteed to last 50 years. Compare that to a  coventional built  house.

Another example of a pole constructed house.

If  the slab floors and  6 inch walls  are well insulated they can be very energy efficient and most of all… since it is pole constructed are taxed at a lower rate then a coventional built homes. Most counties in Iowa if the pole barn house is in a rural area don’t require a building permit. Lucas county where my farm is only requires a permit for the septic system. So you can see why a lot of people are building these for homes.

In this post I will show you the style of bole barn house I plan to build in 3 years and I will show you the inside of what my pole barn house will look like with pictures  I took while the guy down the road was building his. He did it all for under 75,000 dollars and you won’t believe how much house you can get for your money. Now to do this all for under 75,000 you have to be willing to do most of the inside work yourself.

The above picture is my neighbors 30 x 40ft with 12ft high walls pole barn house. The 75,000 included his septic system, rural water hookup, and power ran to his house from the electric company.

The house I plan to build will look a little different than my neighbors and similar to the two story house below. I got this from APB Pole Barns.

APB Pole Barns

To get detailed building plans for this two story home and sealed plans signed by an engineer licensed in your state go to http://www.pole-barn.info/pole-barn-homes.html


I will build a passive solar designed pole barn house where I will have lots of windows facing the south with an 6ft porch overhang so when the sun is higher in the summer it will not heat up the house. I will also have radiant floor heating installed in the concrete slab.

Radiant floor heating layout

The roof will have scissor type trusses on 16 ft high walls with a great room like in the photos below of my neighbors place.

I also plan to have a big stone fireplace like he put in.

I will also have a loft that will have a 2nd bedroom and bath, similar to his.

Pole barn houses are easy to add on to. this is a picture of my friend Tom’s house where he is adding on a 24×30 ft garage 3 years after he built the house.

I think the place looks great and you can see these homes look like a coventional house on the inside. When I build my pole barn house I will do a post on each step so others can see how it is done. Until then enjoy more pictures of my neighbors house down below.

About Gordon Milligan

I am a conductor for a commuter railroad in Chicago IL, I have bought a 40 acre farm in South Central Iowa that I plan to retire to in 3 yrs. I want to raise and grow most of my own food using sustainible and organic methods. I have a blog that journals my journey to becoming a farmer.
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113 Responses to Pole Barn House

  1. bc says:

    These look awesome. What’s the downside, i.e. why wouldn’t someone build a pole house?

    • Hay glad to see you here, I love your blog and am honored you have stoped to look at mine. One of the big downsides is it is hard at this time to get a coventional home loan to build or buy and that makes them a little harder to sell. Most people are building them without getting a loan. I think as time goes by and more of these homes are built, that will probably change.Some other downsides is you also have to build a storm shelter, and they can be a little noisy during a rain storm with the steel roof.

      • Todd says:


  2. Susan Lea says:

    Great-looking house! We entertained the idea of doing one to replace our daughter’s double-wide, but are ending up expanding into our attic for purely economic/real estate value reasons. Around here a second structure on the same property is just not that appealing to buyers (not that we’re intending to sell, but some day our kids will have to after we’re gone.) There are lots of companies doing these, which spells healthy competition to me! It’s great that you got to see your neighbor’s house in the process; I’m sure that will help alot when you go to build yours.

  3. Langela says:

    It’s so exciting to be in the planning stage! I don’t know who your neighbor had build his, but the Amish did our barn and had really reasonable rates. They are hard-working and do a really nice job. Also, we went with Lockridge’s for our materials and they collected a couple of bids for the job and let us decide who we wanted to build it. There is a Lockridge’s in Chariton, near you. They had the best prices and are local. When we insulate this winter or next spring, we will have the Amish come out and spray foam insulate all the walls. This gives the metal more structure and fills all the gaps and holes. It does cost about 2 to 3 times as much as traditional rolled insulation, but is so much better and will save money on the utilities in the future. We plan to use rolled insulation on the interior walls and ceilings of any rooms to help save some money.

    • My neighbor had Bloom Construction Company from Oskaloosa Iowa do his and I know what you say about the Amish around there, they are hard workers and are real competitive on pricing. We had the Amish do our pole barn and pasture fence. Pole barn builder was Owen Nisley, they do great work. I am real interested in the spray foam insulation. I would like to do that when we build the house. You will have to give me the name and number of the people who spray yours. I would like to call them and get an idea how much that would cost for a 30 x 40 with 14ft high walls.

      • Langela says:

        I wonder if it’s the same Nisleys that have the discount grocery south of Chariton. They have relatives that live down by us. I have been to their store up there a couple of times, too. Also, when we did our barn, we had them put 1/4 inch bubble insulation under the roof when it was installed. This takes care of condensation. I’d imagine though that you’d just have them spray foam the ceiling and everything. If you want, just leave your email address as a comment on my blog and I’ll email you the info I have. I won’t publish the comment so you won’t have to worry.

      • Yes… Owen Nisley is related to those Nisleys. I heard about that store. My friend Tom Stone drives the Amish around from job to job and he told me about the store. I will contact you on your site with my email address. Thank you very much.

  4. Laura says:

    Hi, Gordon. My name is Laura my husband and I are building a 30×50 cape cod style on a basement. Any thing important, or warnings, or things I should know or ask?

    • Desiree says:

      Laura–I would love to see it also. my husband and i would like a pole barn with basement!! thanks!!

      • Will says:

        Gordon – Thanks for the posts and please keep them coming!
        Desiree/Laura – have either of you found any information/plans for building a pole barn over a basement? Any information you have and can share would be greatly appreciated.

  5. Hi Laura, is this a pole barn constructed building you are building? If it is I would love to see pictures of this and How it was constructed. I have never seen one put over a basement.

  6. Hi Gordon. My name is Stacey and I am thinking seriously on building a pole barn complex with living quarters. I have the land(my dad is a farmer) and I figured I could cash in on my current house value, end up with a better floor plan, that will help me take care of my handicapped sister and aging parents, but still have my personal space. I have learned when you have fancy homes, you don’t always have good old fun for fear of things getting torn up. I want to think it all through to get the best bang for my buck. We have Amish in this area and have you heard of grabber post? I am hoping to have four living quarters. Two handicapped accessible. Also a kitchen in the garage for big family functions. If you have any suggestions or help on design plans, feel free to let me know. Is it hard to do a second story, I heard you had to change your construction for support. Is at true?

    • Hi Stacey, thanks for stopping by. I want to congratulate you on seriously considering to build a pole barn constructed house. This is a very green way to build, using much less lumber and material than a conventional built home. The metal roof and siding last much longer which will save you time and maintenance cost, and the metal then can be recycled at the end of its life span and not filling up land fills like conventional siding and roofing materials do. With you wanting to build a home with four separate living quarters with a central kitchen you can do it for half the cost of a conventional built home.

      I have decided to build a two story pole barn house and am currently working on the floor plan and will do a post about that in a few weeks. Maybe my plan will give you some ideas for your own home. I have recently found a site that might be able to help you plan your pole barn house here http://www.larrys-house-plans-guide.com/pole-barn-house-plans.html

      When building a two story with a second level of living space you do have to make a few changes in the construction. For one, post shouldn’t be any further then 8′ apart around the perimeter and be at the same intervals, so you can put up a ledger board like when building deck and attach floor joist to ledger boards using Joist hangers. I would also have your roof framed using rafters or trusses at 16″ on center apart instead of 4′ like they do for single story or for barns. I would then use 1/2″ plywood instead of purlins on the roof to screw your metal to the roof. This ties your structure together more and makes the structure more ridged and sturdy. You also do this so you can walk on your roof so you can do repairs, clean out Gutters, add solar panels or satellite dish.

      To answer your question about Graber Posts, I have heard of them and think they are the thing to use. They are three laminated 2×6 or 2×8 that can come up to 40 foot lengths. The bottom portion that goes into the ground is treated so they don’t rot. The post are lighter and don’t twist, shrink or turn like conventional wood posts. Lots of pole barn builders are using this type of post now.

      I hope this has answered your questions,

      • John Conder, central il says:

        Hi Gordon, John here,
        I have worked in the construction industry for 20 plus years. I am also planning to build a post frame home. I plan to borrow my basement idea from steel structures. If you excavate and build your basement first including a steel decking supported roof i believe you can even use radiant floor heat for the main level. I haven’t researched the cist yet but I believe it will be very feasable. Good Luck on your project.

      • Hi John, we would love to see how you do that, so I hope you keep us informed on your progress. Yes you can use radiant floor heat in the main floor, it is done all the time and not that hard to do. I plan to do a post about it some time.

        Good luck with your project.

  7. Thanks Elliot, glad you liked it. I am working on my pole barn house plans now, and hope to do a post about them soon.

  8. Alicia says:

    Hello! I’m so glad I found your blog! I am looking to build a pole building for my son and I on my mother’s property in eastern Washington. My father recently passed away, and I am going through a divorce, so it seemed a natural fit when my mom offered me a piece of her acreage to live on. We have seen such an increase of these homes in the last few years, but most folks are doing them illegally. I am currently in talks with our county builders and planners to work something out. I have an auto-cad program that I’ve been playing with, and the layout possibilities are endless with pole construction! I also like that you can take your time building inside during unpredictable weather. I have also looked into the spray foam insulation, and will most likely go with that. I’ve also seen a denim/wool material being sprayed into the walls, but am unsure what the exact product is called. One tip I have found for pole construction is that you can get your total building cost down by buying materials at second hand/salvage stores, and builders supply discount stores, which we have a TON of in Washington. I have also seen cabinetry, lighting, and other finishes for dirt cheap on Craigslist, which is quite popular out here too. I have been running the numbers, and with help from friends, I am looking to do a 30×36 one story 2br 1ba building on a concrete slab for around $40,000 all said and done. I will check back regularly to see what you and your followers are coming up with! Good luck to you all – and wish me luck too! =)

    • Hi Alicia, I am glad you found my blog too. I hope you can work something out with the county so you can build your pole barn house. I too think you can build your 30×36 house for 40,000. The picture in my post of where there is a garage being added on to a pole barn house is my friends Toms place. He built a 30×40 home for around that amount, so I know it can be done. Especially if you can save cost by buying windows, doors, cabinets, and other building material at salvage/second hand stores and Craigslist.

      It sounds like you are doing your research and have a good understanding of the building process. Keep us up to date on your progress and I wish you luck.

  9. Len Koch says:

    Can I get a blueprint on the 2tone brown house with 2 dormers on the roof and the front porch across the front.
    Do you have a website with plans?
    Len Koch

  10. Blake says:

    Hello Gordon, I built a pole barn house on a lake down here in Louisiana. I am just now finishing it up after two years of construction. I had a builder build the shell then I did the rough in plumbing (and almost everything else). Once the rough in plumbing was done I called the builder and the slab was poured. We installed steel cable from pole to pole going across the building before the concrete was poured in order to provide additonal stability. The part of the poles that are in the ground are encased in a pvc sleeve keeping them from ever contacting the ground. The building is 30 x 56 x 14 with scissor trusses over the 30 x 40 living area and regular flat trusses over the 30 x 16 garage area. It is 2 bedroom 2 bath with a sleeping loft (15 x 23) over the bedrooms. I kept the ceiling open over the living room and kitchen area…its 17ft high to the peak! I used knotty pine tongue and groove on the ceiling and walls in the living/kitchen/dining/loft areas and used drywall in the bedrooms/bathrooms and loft walls. We had open cell spray foam sprayed directly to the metal siding (3″) and metal roof (4″) which makes for a very efficient building. The foam also cuts the noise from rain to levels of a shingle roof. It has been an adventure over these two years, but it is paid for. I have more details if anyone needs.

    • Thanks Blake for commenting on this blog and sharing this. It sounds like you have done a lot of things with your pole barn house that I will be doing. I know it must have been a lot of work but know you must feel pretty good about finally getting it done and having the satisfaction of doing most of the work yourself. It sounds like a very nice pole barn house you have built and my readers and I would love to see pictures of it if you wouldn’t mind sharing them. You could email them to me and then I could add them to this post for all to see. My email is gordon.milligan@sbcglobal.net I really like your idea of using pvc sleeve to protect your posts from never having to touch the soil, away from water and termites, is that standard practice down there in Louisiana?. I also like your idea of using scissor trusses for the loft area of your house and then using regular flat trusses for the bedrooms and garage area, I was wondering if I could do the same. I will be emailing you and will have a few questions.

      Thanks again for sharing this,

    • Marieka says:

      Hi Blake,
      This sounds exactly what we would like to do, except we don’t want a garage but more bedrooms instead. Do you have the blueprints?

      • Blake says:

        Hi Marieka,
        I do have some drawings….. I drew up a rough draft of what I wanted using Microsoft Paint. I then emailed that to one of my friends who is a draftsmen. He then created a workable plan with correct dimensions using Autocad. I would be glad to share them if they will help.

    • Andre says:

      Im in south La looking to build a 2br 2bath pole house. who built the shell for you. I would love too have details

  11. CleanCutBen says:

    Hi Gordon,
    I don’t want to change your plan too much as it looks like you’ve put a lot of thought in to this, but I’ve been hired to replace numerous posts buried in the ground (mostly built in the late 70’s). If you’re willing/able to spend more money up front look in to pouring your post holes full of concrete and setting a Perma-Column Wet Set bracket in the wet concrete. Perma Column also markets concrete columns that you can set in the hole, but I’ve found it cheaper to pour a 16″x42″ column and wet set one of their brackets (even at $40/bracket). I just put numbers together last night for a customer- 29 post holes took $650 worth of concrete and about $1200 in wet set brackets. This is $1850 you’d not have with conventional posts buried in the ground (actually it’d be less than that since you won’t be paying for treated wood to be buried in the ground), but I think it’s worth the extra expense.
    Also, one drawback to a pole barn house is the concrete floor. Ask people who’ve lived on concrete or work on a concrete floor and many will mention sore feet and failed knees. It is cheap square footage for sure… just need to figure out how to make soft concrete.
    Best of luck on your project. I’m in Southeast Iowa and we’re seeing more of these projects all the time.

    • Thanks for stopping by and I appreciate you sharing that information, I am always looking for ways to do something better and it sounds like you do this for a living and know what you are talking about. I was thinking of maybe using a PVC sleeve on all my post like Blake did on his house (Blake is one of my readers). That way none of the post will touch the bare earth. Blake has sent me lots pictures of his house and has given me permission to do a post on his place. Once I get over this flu I plan to get going on that post. I will have to check out those Perma-column wet set brackets you are talking about. Once again thanks for sharing that information.

      • CleanCutBen says:

        Ahh flu sucks, sorry to hear you’re going through it.
        I’ve seen the PVC sleeves and the concept makes sense in theory since the treated posts fail at the point where they enter the ground. Most of the posts I dig up and replace are still intact from 12″ below grade on down to the bottom of the hole. I don’t know why they rot off at the air contact point, but that seems to be their habit… I’d be curious to hear from others about the PVC solution.

      • I know what you mean when you say the post rots towards the top where it gets more air. I have replaced a couple of wooden privacy fences in my day and that is where they rot. I wonder if you put the PVC sleeve so it goes up so it is covered up by part of the slab if that would make a difference?

      • CleanCutBen says:

        Hey Gordon, I thought you might like a cow/calf story… my wife has a few head of Milking Devon’s and one had a surprise calf for her this morning out by the bale feeder. The cow wasn’t supposed to calve for a while (the Amish guy we bought her from just last Saturday said she wasn’t due until the end of May…) So now there’s a bottle calf in my basement to go along with the three Hereford pigs (yes, it’s a pig breed) that my Dad dropped off last week after one of his sows died. Thank goodness for good neighbors with feeding tubes and a little knowledge to spare, I think the calf is going to make it. Hopefully she’ll be reunited with her momma within the next few days. Make sure your wife’s cool with baby animals in that pole barn… my basement smells like a pet store right now!
        I’d post some pics if you’re cool with that. Sounds like maybe some of your readers might enjoy it?

      • Hi Ben, I do like your cow/calf story and that is a cool story. My readers would be interested in that and maybe I could do a quick post about your calf story with pictures of the Devons and Hereford hogs. The heritage breed of livestock is part of what this site is about. I am familiar with the Hereford hogs, it was a breed that was developed in northern Missouri and southern Iowa. Please send some pictures by email to me so I can do a post about them or add them to a post I am doing about some heritage chickens on my next post.
        Thanks for sharing that story, it sounds like you and I are into the same kind of farming and I am glad to hear you like the heritage breeds.

  12. Betty says:

    Great information. I appreciate you taking the time to document and provide insight. We’ve been saving to pay cash for a home and are considering a pole shed home. We have two friends that have done it. We are handy, my husband is an electrician, so we will be taking the project on ourselves. Still in the planning stages.

  13. Debbie says:

    I am interested in a home…in front connected to a pole barn. Is it possible

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  15. This is an awesome page thanks for sharing all the great info. Im looking to finish my pole barn next to my pool and this has given me some great ideas. My barn is about 5 years old now my biggest concern was the finishing the floor. I was wnting to use tile but was affraid that the concret under the tile may crack in the future and cause problems. I know they put a strip in the concrete for relief to prevent cracking. Should this be a concern or does something differnt need to be done first?

    • Yes this should be a concern, if you put down tile on cement and the cement cracks the tile will also crack. The strip in the concrete to prevent cracking that is in your floor will also cause your tile to crack. You need to put down a underlayment first, and what I would use is Schluter Systems Ditra Ceramic Underlayment. It is light weight and would allow independent movement from the concrete floor and your finished tile surface. It comes in 3ft rolls and would also act like a vapor barrier on top of your concrete. You can see it here http://www.prosourcecenter.com/servlet/the-716/Schluter-Systems-Ditra-Ceramic/Detail. Good luck with your project.

  16. Jon VanZee says:

    Gordon this has been some of the best info i have found. Im in the very beginning stages of planning a pole building house in Pella, Iowa. I’ve been doing my research and could use a lot of pointers in the planning process. Im thinking a 40×80 building house/shop split with a basement under the house side. trying to go energy efficient with solar and maybe geo thermal. But if someone could please give me more ideas. Thank you!!!!

    • Welcome to the site Jon, I am glad you found the posts helpful in your planning. Pella is only about 1 hour drives from my farm. The skies the limit with what you can do with pole constructed homes. Just think of it as another form of framing. Keep checking back we will have other post about pole barn homes.

  17. Terry Jackson says:

    I have a question. The PVC sleeves that you put on the poles do they have PVC caps glued onto the bottom of the sleeves coming up the sides of the pole? Also here in Missouri and Oklahoma the build regular houses with concrete floors with ceramic tile or wood flooring glued down on bare concrete and don’t seem worried about cracks.

    • Hi Terry, those are some petty good questions and I will try and answer them the best I can. First I don’t believe the PVC sleeves have a end cap. They just slide over the post and then the bottom of the Sleeved post sits flush on a concrete pad or footing. It would be real hard for termites or carpenter ants to get to the post from there. Most wooden post rot were it meets the surface of the ground and that is where they really do the job. Do you really need them? I don’t know, your post are going to be imbedded in concrete and then they will be covered with steel that has a roof overhead. I know the pole barn homes in Iowa that I have seen built didn’t use them. I think if you want to make sure your house last longer then 30 years then I might use them just to be sure.

      Now as far as your concrete floors go, for wooden and Laminate flooring over concrete the experts say put down a vapor barrier because moister can wick up through the concrete and the vapor barrier keeps the wood or laminate flooring from warping. If you have a old concrete floor that is older then 15 years then I think it would be safe to put tile down directly on the concrete because any cracking in the concrete would have happened by now if it was going to. If it is fairly new concrete then I would use the underlayment to be sure if the concrete crakes it wont crack your tile.

  18. Rhonda Perry says:

    My husband and I are wanting to build one in North Idaho on 5 acres. I really like the look of the second photo example you have on this page. I would love to see the floor plan on it. Do you know where I might find that information?

    • Sorry I don’t know where you can get floor plans for that one, I liked it too and found that one online. You could give that picture to any pole barn builder and they could do it in what ever floor plan you like. I am sure you could make your own floor plans for it, it is not hard and I plan on doing a post about it in a few weeks.

  19. Teo Mestas says:

    My wife Janice and I built a 24×60 post & beam home in 1980. We dug footings, layed two courses of blocks and set a sill plate on the foundation wall and set the posts on the sill. We used corner brackets to initially hold the posts in position. Just another possibility for those of you concerned about ground contact posts. We used 6×6’s and 2×6’s for posts and girts, and 2×8 rafters and floor joists. All saw mill oak. We still live in the house today and it is solid as a rock. We came through a 120 mph storm 5 years ago with no wind damage, while many other homes in the area unfortunately suffered major damages. We enjoy the sound of rain on the metal roof, even through the insulation. We are now planning to build a post & beam home in Florida for retirement. I enjoyed reading all the posts, takes me back to those construction years.

    • Thanks for stopping by Teo, glad you enjoyed it. It sounds interesting the way you built your house, do you have any pictures when it was under construction? I would love to see those.

    • Lisa says:

      Teo… could you tell me who you plan on using for the construction in Florida ? My husband and I are looking for land outside of Tampa area. Thank you, Lisa

  20. Mike Smith says:

    Gordon. My wife and I own 63 acres in Davis, County Iowa southwest of Bloomfield. We are about 70 miles from your place. We live in Texas, but are planning to move to Iowa in two years. We plan to live much as you have described and our schedule to move is much like yours as well. We have considered several types of homes, but keep coming back to the pole barn idea. They are simply more cost effective and practical. This style of home has become very popular in Texas and they have become known in these parts as “Barndominiums”. There is some great info here. Thank You for doing this. We will continue to check in.

  21. Andy Didato says:

    Andy D.
    Plans are in the works for a pole barn house with attached 30 by 40 garage.And a 40 by 40 living space with 3 bedrooms 1 full bath and 1 half bath.One floor living is the best. Building in Irons, MI. Best way to build with low cost per square foot and lots of room to enjoy with the family. Best of luck to everyone who is leaving the traditional stick built house to a simplified way of building.

  22. Darrell Geiser says:

    Have you thought about doing an attic truss? I think you can span at least 36′ without any support wall. That would make alot of extra living space if you can get an 16′ room the length of your building. The only bad thing is you would have to bump up your roof pitch to a least a 9/12. Just some thoughts to ponder. I build pole barns for a living and am thinking about building a 36’X60′ as my house.

    • Thanks for stopping by Darrell, I had looked at using attic trusses but it didn’t give me the room I wanted so I have decided to make it two story pole barn to get that extra space.

  23. LisaTapley says:

    Thank you for posting the information and pictures. We break ground TOMORROW!! on our 28×44 post frame home. I am so excited! We are doing scissor trusses in the 28×20 living/dining/kitchen area for a higher ceiling in that space. 8ft. ceilings throughout the rest. We have a construction company doing the work up to the drywall and they will walk away for us to finish the rest. We checked the option of doing a basement under ours and was told it would be more of a conventional type home, and the cost would really go up. Being that we are in Southern Indiana we are looking at the option of going with a storm shelter when the garage is added in the spring. We are doing the radiant floor heating with the house on a natural gas boiler system. I’m told with the amount of insulation that we will have and the metal surrounding us that our energy cost will be minimal compared to what we have been used to paying. I have been visiting your site over the past year while searching our options and ideas. Very good information!

    • How exciting Lisa to hear that you are breaking ground tomorrow on your Pole Barn House. I would love to see pictures of the building process, if you would be willing to share some. I could post them here or on future posts about my pole barn house. This will help others who are thinking building a pole barn house. You are doing a lot of things we are going to do like the radiant floor heating and building a storm shelter. We haven’t decided what we will do for air conditioning, do you guys know what you are going to do?

      Good luck on your build and keep us posted.

      • Lisa Tapley says:

        I will gladly share photos! On the A/C we are going with a simple 13 seer a/c unit with the expectation that we won’t use it much. With 7″ between the outside and inside filled with insulation, and the possibility is a dehumidifier to remove the humidity, I don’t expect it to run as much as the one in the previous house. We explored geothermal but got a quote for $30,000. Not feasible on a 1300 sq. ft. home. It’s now raining on our third day, but trusses were set yesterday!

      • That will be great Lisa, I will love to see the photos when you are done. I see why you passed up the geothermal, at 30,000 not many of us who are thinking about a pole barn house can afford that costly of a heating and cooling system.

        Good luck on your continual build and keep us posted.

  24. This is EXACTLY what my husband and I are planning on, and in roughly the same timeframe, with the exception of a smaller acreage. (I have early onset Parkinson’s and he works more than full-time, so it needs to be small enough for us to care for it with the time/abilities we have.) I’m very excited to see how you progress!

    • Thanks for your kind comments Jacqueline, we have been making progress with a lot of hard work. I wish you and your husband luck on your own adventure. By the way, the picture of you as a child that you use for your Avatar reminds me so much of my daughter Danielle.

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  26. Steve says:

    Im going to build a polebarn house this year. An info. U might have would be appreciated. Thanks posting what u have,I will try to do the same. Thanks Steve in Tennessee

    • Hi Steve thanks for stopping by and sharing a comment. What information I have I put on my site is all I have. I would love to see and hear more about your own polebarn house if you would like to share. Take lots of pictures and keep track of what you do. Your house will be built before mine is.

      Good luck on your project.

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  29. nick says:

    Is there a way to get plans for these homes from you guys? Very interested… Thanks

  30. Jody Henthorn says:

    Do all states let you build a pole barn house??? My husband and I want to build one but not sure our township will let us??? We live in Allegan, Michigan

    • Hi Jody, thanks for checking out this blog. I have to tell you, not all places allow these types of structures to be used as residents. The best way to find out if your county building codes allow them is to call the township or county where you want to build your pole barn house. Good luck and let me know if you do end up building one.

  31. Rick says:

    Neat ideas. My wife and I are looking at some ground and trying to plan some. One issue I have not heard being talked about is mice.. A real issue in Iowa. With a regular frost proof foundation or basement it will be easier to keep them out. What are people thinking or doing about this? ……under the tin and right in

    • Hi Rick,I am glad you found my blog and your concern about mice getting into pole barn homes out in Iowa is a valid one. When they first started building pole constructed houses there was a problem with mice getting into the building, but not anymore. This issue was solved years ago with the help bottom trim that looks like Z flashing that goes on the bottom on your grade board before you start putting the metal sides on and the metal siding sits on it. It is the same color so it doesn’t stand out and it does a very good job of keeping mice out. You can also get a composite grade board that already has a shelf built into it that your metal sits on. This not only keeps mice out but will never be eaten by insect or rot.

  32. Kathy Keba says:

    Hi, I’m Kathy and I’ve just been told by my architect boss that a pole house would be a better option than fixing up the really old house that has no foundation which I just bought with 14+ acres (yeay, I can live with my horses!!!). A local builder does lots of pole barns and has done pole houses also, gave me a good ballpark figure, so after I speak to the building official I will start my plans. My question is this….the PVC pipe around the post….doesn’t it compromise the stability of the post? I’ve drawn a lot of plans for pole barns for the NY area I live in and the way it’s done here is the pole rests on a block or bag of concrete (but I don’t think they do the 2nd any more) in a 48″ deep augered hole that is then filled with gravel, about 18″ dia.. Since concrete really never dries, of course if you pour it around the post it will be constantly feeding moisture and its accompanying tendency to rot, so that is NOT done, neither for stockade fences, which tend to blow over in a high wind if set in concrete. So back to my question…is the pvc pipe the exact size of the post or what? I would think it would wobble till the rest of the building was added….and even then cause some movement. I’d rather be wrong so please set me straight on this.
    Also, on another site about pole houses it was mentioned that 2-story, as mine will be, are hard because the longer posts will twist over the years and loosen everything up on the 2nd floor level. Do you have any ideas on how to address this in the initial building process so I don’t have to worry about it in 20 years when I’m in my 80’s? Thank you so much.

    • Hi Kathy sorry it has taken me so long to get back with you on this. I think you have the wrong idea what the pvc sleeves look like. If you will read the other post I have done on pole barns will answer all your questions. Good luck on your own project.

      • Kathy Keba says:

        Could you be a little more specific as to where I could find the info about the pvc sleeves? I would love to have the time to search all that you’ve written but don’t right now as I am designing a couple of versions of what I hope to build in prep for meetings with the tax assessor and code enforcement official. And thanks for the info about the lam posts. My architect boss mentioned that to me yesterday and I know that’s the way to go.

    • One more thing about the poles twisting on a two story pole barn house. In the past they used to build these with sold timber for the poles, they no longer do that. Now they use laminated post that don’t twist over time. Also the second floor on the house also keeps this from happening

    • Ok here you go, this is what I am talking about and you can order these from Home Depot.

      • Kathy Keba says:

        Awesome!! thank you so much.

      • One more thing Kathy, this company is called Post Protectors, if you are using the 3 ply 6in laminated post, Home Depot doesn’t offer those for sale there on that site. Please call Ken who owns the company at 877-966-8768 and he will tell you how to get free shipping and the right protectors for your post. I just talked to ken and he is more than happy to help you out.

  33. Steph says:

    I like the way the first pole barn house on this page is laid out. What would be a round about cost to build one like this?

    • I think it could be done for under 60,000 if you do most of the inside work yourself. Just material with windows will cost about 18,000 as a rough guess. It will cost another 7 to 8 grand to have the shell erected. I hope that helps.

  34. Karen Cummings says:

    I am looking to have someone build one for me. Turn key. About how much would it cost for a 1500 sq. ft living space with a 30×40 barn attached. All under one roof. I live in Indiana. Thanks, Karen

    • Lisa says:

      Hey Karen! We just built a 1300 sq ft. We did a lot of work ourselves, however we were quoted $128,000 turnkey, not counting septic, or the barn. That did include the radiant floor heat which I have to say is the way to go! (In my opinion!). Hope that helps! (Southern Indiana.)

      • Todd Fifield says:

        I have a home like this also. I also have in floor heat just wondering what other people are using to heat the water with i am currently using a outdoor corn boiler.

      • Thanks Lisa for your response, that sounds about right. If you can do a lot of the work yourself saves roughly 25 to 35 percent of the project.

  35. Thanks for sharing Todd, most people in Iowa use a hot water heater or boiler that is fired by propane.

  36. Glad I found your blog!! I would like to build a horse barn with living space in it, and your blog has given me loads of great ideas! THANKS!!

  37. Shawna Burgett says:

    Hi, my husband an I are looking at building a pole barn house. But I need some of questions answered before I will tell him yes.
    I’m terrified of the wind.
    1. Can you hear the wind blowing inside there?
    2. Do they shake an so forth?
    3. Can you build on top of a basment?
    Not worried about the rain noise that doesn’t bother me. Just if I hear the wind blowing I’m freaking out. I keep saying dig me a hole an I will live there. Lol…
    I was in the tail end of a tornado so that’s why I get so freaked out. An we currently live in a single wide trailer an you hear every thing in here. The wind getting up under the siding. And where we live it gets very windy on this ridge. We live in Kentucky where the weather is unpredictable.

    Also my husband says he will use thicker an closer together wood , better windows an all that stuff. Making it sound good so get what he wants. Been there done that!!
    Please help give me some peace of mind. Thank you

    • Hi Shawna, you don’t need to fear about living in a pole constructed home. When the house is done you won’t be able to tell on the inside that it is pole constructed and it will look and function like a conventional home.
      To answer your questions you can not hear the wind blowing inside these homes any more then a regular home and pole barn homes actually holds up better in strong winds then a conventional built home because the wind load is transferred to the poles that go into the ground. This is much stronger then a conventional built home that has 2×4 walls that are attached with nails to a sub floor deck.So there is no shaking our rocking of the structure.

      I don’t know how you could put a basement under these types homes and what I was going to do was build a underground storm shelter that we could also use to store or fruits and vegetables from the garden. Another option would be to build a room inside the home with concrete block like a walk in closet and have it big enough that you can go in there during storms. Hope this puts your fears to rest and good luck with your pole barn home.

  38. Good morning Shawna, I echo Gordon’s comments. I have been designing homes for years and there is a strong trend toward pole-barn style homes. I recently designed one in Illinois that incorporated a storm cellar under the living room floor. This is possible by using typical basement walls, then using steel decking over the cellar to support the concrete being poured for your house floor. This particular design had cellar access through stairs in the garage. You will be very comfortable and secure in your pole home. Your husband is on the right track.

  39. John Jones says:

    I am really glad I found this sight. As I look toward retirement, I have been considering building a home the way I want with minimal costs and minimal help and this foots the bill. This has given me great ideas, I learned more in 20 minutes of reading here than I have in 2 months of digging around on my own. If I only had one negative to say it would be, make this info more accessible , because I fell upon it by accident as I was just surfing the web. Thanks to everyone for the input, your thoughts are great. Maybe people could send in ideas of things you definitely don’t want to do in your building process, a kind of been there done that deal. Thanks again, I will definitely be reading these posts on a regular basis.

  40. Greg says:

    Hi Gordon,
    I know this post is almost 3 years old but if by some miracle you get this please get in touch.I too have bought a 65 acre piece in Lucas county and am about to build a pole building house this summer. I would love to be able to talk to you about it.

  41. Lynn says:

    Maybe someone can help me. My husband and I are looking at building a pole barn (vs steel building) and over time converting it into a retirement home (about 5 yrs away). Cost is a big factor. We are looking at a 30′ x 50′ X 16′ high plus a 18′ X 50′ 12′ high “bumpout” for additional downstairs space. A 30′ X 24′ garage space is included on the ground floor for 2 cars. We live in TX (about an hr north of Houston) and I’m a bit worried about it holding up in high wind. Also my husband is 6’5″ tall without his boots on :):) and I was looking for higher ceiling heights. Suggestions?? Should I go back to the barnominium with a steel building or can we do this with a pole barn that is strong???

    • Hi Lynn, glad you found my site to get information about pole barns. I am not that familiar with steel buildings but what I do know is that pole barns are very strong and hold up to wind forces better then stick built homes of the same size. Also with pole barns you can make the ceiling height whatever you want. Give APB pole barns a call at (210) 650-2276 and ask for Robert. APB Pole Barns are a Texas company and can answer any questions and give you a price for what you want to build. I hope I was some help and good luck with your build.

  42. Jordyn says:

    Hi Gordon my husband and I now live in a 910 sq. ft home on a slab in Pekin,IL and are looking to buy a acre of land and build a pole barn onto that. I am wanting to know how to start this project and try and figure out all of our expenses vs. buying a home. If you could email me with some direction I would greatly appreciate it.

  43. Kalanda Severin says:

    The light white circles that are in your photos are orbs. This is a blessing. It is very good sign.

  44. Andria Slater says:

    How much is it roughly to build one in indiana?

    • Andria, the cost of construction varies widely across the country. Your best bet is to take a floor plan sketch to a builder who is used to doing pole structures and get a quote. Cost will vary on the amount of square feet, exterior design, single story, two story, finish materials, etc..
      Larry’s Home Designs

  45. Jason says:

    The first picture of the pole barn house, Where did you get it? That is what we are looking to build. Would like to see the plans for ir.

  46. Dustin says:

    I have been interested in building a pole barn home from shell kit I live in central florida and am worried about whether it would ever be able to get a certificate to occupy from state, Ive heard they frown on amature built houses.

    • Sorry Dustin, I am just now noticing your comment. Yes lots of places this would be hard to do because of building regulations. thank god its not the case where we plan to build.

  47. Jennifer says:

    We are planning on building a 30 x 70 x 8 pole house. I have done a lot of research and cannot find any information on framing a floor without laying concrete first. We do not want to put a slab down. We are planning on digging down 3 feet and going up 1 foot from grade level to start the floor. That would give us a 4 ft crawl space. We have talked about doing a beam down the center and on each side to lay the floor onto. What are your suggestions?

    • Hi Jennifer, I think I can help you but first I need a little more information. First where are you going to build? Then are you talking about digging down 3 ft and then putting in a concrete footing and then pouring or building a 4 ft block or concrete wall on top of your footing?

      • Jennifer says:

        We are building in Wyoming in the country. We have planned on doing 8 ft. increments for the poles. Trying to not go the route of pouring a retaining wall, but will it be necessary? We were wanting to build just like a pole barn, with the poles going down 4 ft. deep, then have the floor 4 ft. off the ground. After putting the metal on, we were going to back fill the dirt up against the metal. That way, the floor would only actually be foot off the regular grade. I hope this makes sense. I draw pictures better than trying to explain through words!

      • Ok Jennifer, I understand where what you are doing now and you are right there is not a lot of information out there on the web to help you understand how to build and this is what keeps folks like you and I up late at night trying to figure it out. But you are in luck, I can help you with this one. One of the things that are great with pole built structures you can put your floor at any height, so putting in your floor 4ft off grade can be done easily. You are on the right track of having a beam down the center of your building and having your floor joist rest on that and is the way I would go. Here is how I would do it using 2×10 lumber for your floor joist . First put two rim joist 2 x 12’s on the two out side walls of your building at the height of where you want the floor to go minus the thickness of 2×10 joist because this is what your joist will set on for the outside walls. Lag bolt them both through your buildings post, one rim joist on the inside and one on the outside of your building sandwiching your buildings post. This is basically the same way your contractor will do your roof trusses (if you use more trusses then just at every post).

        For the center support post I would put in concrete piers that are on a footing below your frost line. The footing is nothing more then a concrete at the bottom of your pier holes about 8 to 10 inches thick or same as a lot of pole barn builders put in the bottom of your building post holes . To make the piers use those cardboard tubes that you pour concrete in that you can buy at any store like Home Depot .The piers need to be no less then10 feet on center and would be above grade at least six inches. You could just use treated poles to set on top of your footing if you want to fore go the concrete. You would do this the same as you would when building a deck except you are going to the inside of your home instead of outside. I would have a bracket on top of the concrete pier that will hold 3 2×6’s that are nailed together that sit vertical on your pier. On top of the 2×6’s is where 3 2×12’s that are nailed together and this runs down the center of your living quarters for your 2×10 joist to set on. You use 3 2 x 12’s in the center support because most of the weight of your floor system is on the center support. If your building is 30 feet wide I would buy my 2×10 joist 16′ long so they over lap some on the center support. This is how I will be doing my basement support for my floor system above my basement. Hope this helps, any more questions ask me here, and good luck on your build. One more thing, I wouldn’t have earth up against your steel, it will rust out your steel in short order.

  48. Jennifer says:

    Thank you for that great information. We have been doing a lot of research, and found out about floor trusses. We have thought about using those as well. I’m glad we are on the right track. Sounds exactly what we have been thinking of doing. I didn’t think about the metal rusting. Thanks for catching that. Will have to figure out what to put between the metal and the dirt.

  49. joe m says:

    You can build a whole lot more for less than 75K. It doesn’t make sense to me for someone to try to save money while still hooking up to utilities to continue paying out. Living off grid is the future. A few solar panels can do alot. And using passive solar technology can and will give you a zero energy house. A gambrel roof will give you a one story house with a 2nd floor. Look into trombe wall and solar chimney to find out how you can heat in the winter and cool in the summer. Superinsulation is also a keyword. Nobody should have to spend more than $20K total. $75K is a lap of luxury IMO.

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