A Comparison Between Post Frame & Steel Frame for a Pole Barn

Original Article Published May 19, 2020

A post frame structure has been used for the pole barn in this picture.

If you're in the market for a new building project, it's important to consider your options carefully. Two popular building methods are post frame and steel frame construction. Post frame buildings, also known as pole barns, use wooden posts set in the ground to support the structure.

On the other hand, steel frame buildings use steel framing members to provide structural support. When it comes to building type, both methods are used for a variety of purposes, from farm equipment storage to commercial buildings.


One significant advantage of post frame buildings compared to steel buildings is their lower cost. Post frame construction is generally less expensive due to the use of less specialized equipment and less labor costs. Additionally, post frame structures can be constructed faster than steel frame buildings.


Residential post frame building, pole building, or metal pole barns



When it comes to design flexibility, post-frame Midwestern Buildings offers a wide range of options for roof pitches, with designs ranging from 3/12 to 8/12. This ensures that you can match any existing buildings you may have.

On the other hand, steel frame buildings have a more limited range of options when it comes to roof pitches.



The design process for post frame buildings is often simpler than that of steel frame buildings, with fewer engineering requirements and fewer engineer-stamped plans needed. Additionally, post frame buildings offer more building options, allowing for greater customization of the structure.

  • Post-Frame/Midwestern Buildings need a level site to build on - that’s it! Take care of any ground irregularities you’re all set for construction.

  • Steel Frame is heavy and requires reinforcement. Steel buildings require a concrete foundation, increasing your overall cost.



Pre engineered metal building with metal roof including roof trusses

Another obvious difference between post frame and steel frame construction is the framing materials used. Post frame buildings use wooden poles and trusses, which are chemically treated to withstand extreme weather conditions and wind loads.

Meanwhile, steel frame buildings use metal panels for the walls and roof, which are pre-engineered for optimal energy consumption and to meet local building codes.

  • Post-Frame/Midwestern Buildings have a simplified design using fewer materials per square foot of building space.

  • Steel Frame requires more materials to cover the same amount of space you’d get with a post-frame structure.


Agricultural pre engineered buildings with metal construction methods for post frame buildingsWHAT ARE THE REMODELING OPTIONS?

  • Post-Frame/Midwestern Buildings require simple tools for most remodeling projects for your pole barn.

  • Steel Frame buildings are more difficult to remodel; most requiring welding.


  • Post-Frame/Midwestern Buildings have wall cavities up to eight long feet that can hold six inches deep of fiberglass insulation. Attic space can hold up to a 14-inch thick batt of insulation.

  • Steel Frame designs force insulation to be compressed between the roof purlins and wall girts.



Mini-storage commercial building or post frame buildings or pre engineered metal buildings

These are the primary differences between post-frame and steel frame buildings. And, if you need help with installation, we partner with many local contractors so you are assured of fast, quality construction. Ultimately, the choice between post frame and steel frame construction depends on your specific needs and preferences.

While both methods can provide a permanent structure with ample storage space, post frame buildings may be a better fit for those looking to save on energy costs and labor, while steel frame buildings may be a better choice for those looking for a more specialized building that meets stringent building codes.


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The Mansea Metal Difference

We Are The Manufacturer

Most of the companies who advertise metal roofing and siding or post-frame buildings are simply reselling products produced by someone else. We produce our own products from rolled steel and have large indoor yards that keep our lumber protected. That way, we control the quality and time of delivery to you. And that creates jobs right here in your home town.

Higher Quality Steel with Superior Finishes

The truth is not all steel is alike, especially when it comes to finishes. That’s why we use Sherwin-Williams WeatherXL™ Coil Coatings. Created to withstand most anything that comes its way, designed to maintain extreme resistance to abrasion, chipping and marring with tremendous color and gloss retention. And you get to select your favorites from more than 22 striking color options

You Won’t Be Shorted On Lumber

When we price a building package, we give you everything you need to ensure structural integrity. Like longer gable posts that extend to the top of the truss, not just tying in at the bottom. And long-lasting pressure-treated wood measuring .60 CCA. You won’t get this quality at a ‘big box’ store. Plus, we use 6x6’s along with 2x10’s and 2x12’s that are #1 grade.

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