The Pole Barn vs The Timber Frame Barn

Pole Barn vs. Timber Frame: What’s the Difference 

The pole barn vs the timber frame barn from Sunset Wood Barns. As one of the leading barn builders serving the entire United States, we often get questions from customers about what exactly a pole barn is and how it compares to a timber frame barn. It’s easy to see why they’re confused because the terms are used quite interchangeably around the industry. However, there is a huge difference between the two columns.


In this article, we’re going to go into detail about what makes these two types of structures different, including their construction processes and design elements. We hope that this information helps you make an informed choice about what type of barn you want to build. 

Pole Barn vs Timber Frame – Construction Differences  

The main difference between a pole barn and timber frame construction is the way they are built. A pole barn usually uses poles that are set into the ground for support, whereas timber frame construction uses beams and posts to build the structure’s frame. The difference between these two methods is obvious when you look at their finished products: pole barns tend to be less stable than timber frame structures because they rely on just four corner posts for support; however, this can make them easier to build quickly without having to deal with any heavy overhead beams. 

Pole Barn vs Timber Frame – Design Differences 

The design of a pole barn is somewhat simpler than a timber frame barn.  It does not have the same ornamental details as a timber frame barn (such as rafters and collar ties). Pole barns are designed to have an open floor plan, with no internal walls. The design of a timber frame barn allows for the internal structure of the building to be customized to meet your needs. 

Pole barns are more traditional and supportive of a farming lifestyle, while timber frame buildings often come with more modern amenities. 

Pole Barn vs Timber Frame – Durability Differences 

The first difference between a pole barn and a timber frame barn is in their construction, which translates into different durability.

A pole barn relies on poles that are typically buried in the ground or set in concrete to support the structure. This is one of the most affordable options for building a barn, but it is not as durable as a timber frame barn. Pole barns also don’t offer much design flexibility since they use standard pre-engineered metal trusses that limit ceiling heights and roof pitch. Unlike pole barns, timber frame barns use heavy timbers that are joined together with mortise and tenon. The joints are then secured with oak pegs. This connection method, along with the dense hardwood timbers, makes the timber frame barn the more durable and stronger structure you can build. 

Pole Barn vs Timber Frame- Building Differences

Pole barns are a great choice for the DIY homeowner because they do not require a concrete foundation in order to be built. This means that the average homeowner can likely build their own pole barn without having to hire outside help. Pole barns are also built offsite by prefabricated kits, so they can be shipped to your location and built there with little mess or hassle.

Timber frame, on the other hand, is a centuries-old method of constructing buildings using heavy squared-off and carefully fitted and joined timbers with joints secured by large wooden pegs. It usually requires a group of trained craftsmen and skilled timber farmers to be built. While it’s more time-consuming and more expensive, the structure is stronger than a pole barn and more aesthetically pleasing. 

Pole Barn vs Timber Frame: Which is The Best Option?  

The pole barn vs timber frame barn debate continues to rage on. Construction of both types of barns has advantages and disadvantages, which makes it difficult to determine which barn is better. But if you want a more aesthetically pleasing, customized barn that will last for generations, our timber frame barn is your best bet! 

Our Timber Frame Barns are not like any other pole barn or post frame buildings or what you may have seen at your local hardware store. Our aim is to make sure that your barn is the perfect fit for what you need it to be, without any extra fluff. Contact us today if you’re ready to build one!