Barndominium Vs. Pole Barn House: What’s Better

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You want your new home to be unique, and you may have decided you want a barndominium to be your next new dig. These structures offer more functionality, durability, and affordability than traditional homes. 

All three are great features, but what if you don’t like the idea of your new residence being constructed out of steel? Pole barns are a great alternative to the heavy metal feel of barndominiums and share many of the same features as its counterpart. 

Can’t decide which option is right for you? Read on to compare the pros and cons before making your final decision.

Barndominium Vs. Pole barns: The Basics

So, what are the primary differences between these two popular barn homes? 


These are typically barns that have steel frames with the following characteristics:

  • Concrete foundation
  • Column mounted to the foundation
  • Metal siding and roofing 

Pole Barn 

Barn homes using a wooden frame and post-construction are pole barns. The primary features that set these apart from barndominiums are:

  • Open and flexible floor plans
  • Closely spaced wood posts for support 
  • Wooden posts are anchored in the ground

Benefits of Pole Barns Vs. Barndominiums

When deciding if you want a pole barn or barndominium, it’s important to remember that each style has unique benefits that can add to the value of your property. 


Creating a stable barn structure is crucial, and the steel framing found in barndominiums holds up against mother nature’s fury more reliably than wooden pole barns. Think about how hurricane-force winds can top 100 miles an hour. 

Buildings constructed from steel can typically withstand these events with minimal damage, whereas wooden homes can sustain significant damage, including damage from flying debris.

Fire Resistance

You probably already know that steel frames are fire-resistant and would require heat above 2500 degrees Fahrenheit to melt. However, if your barndominium did catch fire, the interior walls and flooring could be a total loss. 

When it comes to pole barns, wooden structures have a lower threshold for combustion. The damage caused to a wood frame and post home would be devastating. Fortunately, fire retardant insulation and even barrier paint coating on the exterior can go a long way in minimizing damage. 

Durability Against Mold and Pests

Steel does have its kryptonite, and that is oxidation (rust). However, this form of rot is a manageable problem. When considering a pole barn, you don’t have to worry about it rusting away. However, moisture and pests can be a serious threat to your wood framing

Any building can suffer damage from excessive dampness, mold, and rotting of interior walls. Fortunately, there are several options to combat these threats and safeguard the durability of your barn home. From water sealants and carefully planned drainage designs to regular pest inspection and protective metal coatings, you can enjoy your home for many years to come. 

Pole Barn Vs. Barndominium Construction Costs 

With the ever-rising cost of steel, building a barndominium becomes even more expensive than a pole barn residence. Even though wood prices have also soared since the supply chain issues arose during the pandemic, these wooden-structured barn homes are still extremely budget-friendly. 

Also, consider the amount of labor involved. Though barndominiums are more durable than their wood-post counterparts, construction is more complex. Pole barns are fairly straightforward and can be purchased as a kit you can put together on your own and forgo contractors if you have the training needed to complete this type of project. 

Finally, the cost of having a concrete slab poured for a barndominium will increase your budget noticeably. Being able to anchor your pole barn directly into the ground can save you several thousands of dollars. 

Which Gets Built Faster: Barndominiums or Pole Barns?

Steel-framed structures require special equipment, such as a crane, a specially trained operator, and a construction team. You can construct a pole barn frame in a day, with or without assistance. 

This timeline changes significantly if you plan to have a basement foundation for either home style. You can count on waiting a month or two before installing your steel or wooden barn framing. 

Long-Term Structural Stability

Much like a traditional house, foundations can shift, parts of the home can lean, and a slow destabilization of the overall structure can happen. A Pole barn home is susceptible to this issue because its poles are anchored directly into the ground. As a result, rain, snow, flooding, drought, and other climate events will impact stability over time since dirt doesn’t provide a solid surface. 

Barndominiums are directly anchored to the concrete slab you had installed before building. While a foundation can also experience cracking and shifting, it will be less pronounced and have minimal impact on your home’s long-term stability. 

If you plan to build a pole barn home in Miami County, IN, speak with your builder about using cement to help keep the supports in place. 

The Takeaway

The barn home construction you ultimately decide on should match your preferred style and the limitations of the property it will sit on. If you choose a wooden pole barn home, consult with your builder first to determine what issues you might face and what steps can be taken during the construction phase to address those risks. 

The same can be said for steel-framed barndominiums. At the end of the day, both home types have unique advantages and disadvantages, but you have to decide which best suits your housing plans.