Benefits of a Pole Barn vs. Metal Building

If you are planning on constructing a building in your future, you have probably stumbled across the options of both pole barns vs. metal buildings. There are several factors to consider when deciding which option to pursue for your residential, commercial, industrial or farm property. The main difference between a pole barn and a metal building is the method of construction and material.

  • Pole Barn: Also known as post-frame, is a wood frame building system that offers many advantages. They are referred to as pole barns because wood posts are placed vertically in the ground or on a concrete foundation to support the structure’s outer walls and roof trusses. The structure can either be heated or unheated and may be built in a variety of configurations and sizes.
  • Metal Building: A structural steel framed building that is constructed with completely non-combustible materials. These structures require a foundation and then are anchored into the concrete. This is a good option for those who are interested in exceptionally wide interiors such as 120’ and larger.

Pole barns serve many functions and have many benefits. Whether you are looking to construct a horse barn with a riding arena on your property, add an insulated agricultural shop to your farm, or build a residential shouse on a new piece of property, a pole building is a perfect solution.

One of the biggest drawbacks of large span metal buildings is the size of the column and rafter to column connection inside of the building sidewall. “This takes up valuable interior wall space and detracts from the interior appearance of the structure. A wood framed structure has a consistent sized column throughout its length that provides a clear vertical wall and a clean appearance. This makes the wood frame structure easily adaptable for many other applications,” says Ted Helmink, Vice President of Engineering Services at Lester. “Wood frame structures are easier to modify than a steel frame structure so if your needs change over time it’s easier to make modifications such as insulating and finishing the interior,” adds Paul Boor, the Vice President of Engineering and Product Development at Lester.


A Lester building is a complete building system that is engineered to last. All structures are designed to meet or exceed the building requirements and load specifications for the area where the building will be located. “All our structures are run through a rigorous engineering analysis with the proper wind and snow load requirements to ensure the structure is going to last. It is engineered, meaning that there will not be any weak links causing the building to fail prematurely,” adds Boor.

The quality of materials is also critical when discussing the durability of a structure. Lester uses machine stress rated lumber (MSR) and mechanically evaluated lumber (MEL) in both truss and column designs. The MSR and MEL lumber are mechanically tested to provide a specified bending strength. This lumber allows for greater column spans and longer truss spans. Glu-laminated and laminated veneer lumber (LVL) material is used for headers and rafters, which combines high strength glue and economic use of materials that are high in strength. The more you learn about engineered pole barns, the more you understand why a Lester building can bring your peace of mind that your pole barn will last a lifetime – something we guarantee!


Pole barns offer incredible flexibility. With Lester you may incorporate as many options and accessories as you wish such as roof pitch, a nearly limitless color palate and the style and placement of doors and windows just to name a few. Every Lester building is designed and constructed to every customer’s needs and wants. See for yourself and bring your vision to life by designing your dream building.

The cost of steel framed buildings has a higher price point. Pole barns provide all the functionality of steel-framed options without sacrificing quality or durability. Lester buildings are pre-engineered, meaning all parts are fabricated in a controlled environment to exact dimensions and assembled on-site. This leaves little to no room for human error during construction, guaranteeing a solid and sturdy structure while also saving on labor costs. Wood frame structures typically require less concrete and rebar in the concrete foundations than steel structures, which also saves time and money by cutting down on materials and site work.


If you are still wondering if a pole barn vs. metal building is right for you, Lester is here to help. Our team has over 75 years of experience with designing, manufacturing, and constructing custom pole barns. Whatever your usage, you need a structure that is strong, functional, and dependable. To learn more about why a Lester building is the right choice, download your free copy of Evaluating Your Building Supplier or contact us to find out how we can bring your dream building to life.