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Barn Blog

April 23, 2015

The Unexpected Disadvantages of a Roof-Only Pole Barn

If you're looking for simplicity from your next pole barn or post frame structure, you might be tempted to try a roof-only building. Buildings like these are mostly used as hay barns or for other agricultural uses on the farm.

Common sense might suggest that a roof-only pole barn would be cheaper and easier to engineer and build than a more typical structure, making it ideal for applications like keeping hay, feed, or tractors out of the rain. Or, if your interest is less practical, you might be looking for a wide open place to have outdoor gatherings or family parties. What else would you need but a roof?

However, this is one instance where common sense is likely to lead you astray. In fact, roof-only pole barns present a few challenges that their four-walled cousins lack.

The absence of walls means that there is more of a strain on existing columns to take the force from wind loads and other environmental stresses. Because of this, special engineering considerations need to be made in design and construction.

To get to the meat of the matter, columns for roof-only pole barns need to be thicker and sturdier with deeper, larger diameter holes, and more concrete backfill.

Somewhat less shockingly, the roof in a roof-only pole barn also needs to be made to a higher standard than most. A roof-only pole barn will require more trusses, more truss connectors, more truss bracing, tighter purlins, and a higher grade of truss-to-column connectors.

All things considered, it shouldn't surprise you if a roof-only pole barn ends up costing more than a more conventional design. In fact, it almost definitely will - if a contractor quotes you anything to the opposite effect, ask about the engineering requirements laid out above.

This isn't to suggest that you should never consider a roof-only structure. If your application absolutely requires a 360° unobstructed view from inside or unobstructed 360 ° entry from outside, a roof-only pole barn is probably the way to go. However, if you just need something for simple storage and want to get the job done as easily and inexpensively as possible, stick with four walls.

The Pole Barn Company offers affordable custom pole barn kits for almost any application or use, shipping across the Midwest and Eastern U.S. Click here to browse kits and get a quote!

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