Addressing Concerns: Common Problems with Simple Pole Barns

problems with pole barns

Pole barns are simple structures, using post-frame construction with large poles as the primary structural support. The poles are anchored deeply into the ground or a foundation, providing stability and simple resistance to environmental factors like rain and wind. This type of structure allows for wide, open interior spaces, making it versatile for many things, like agricultural, industrial, or general storage purposes. They are available in a variety of construction styles utilizing steel, iron, wood and other materials.

They are known for their durability, cost-effectiveness, and relatively quick construction compared to traditional barns. There are certainly many benefits of pole barns; however, even with their simplicity, pole barns still have a few challenges you might need to overcome.

Environmental Problems with Pole Barns

The first challenge that should be mentioned right up front is environmental. Due to its open-air nature, a pole barn does not offer complete protection from the weather when it comes to heavy rain or blowing snow. However, if you require that protection up front, your purchasing decision wouldn’t likely lead you to a pole barn in the first place. But...

What if the pole barn is what you want NOW, but then LATER, you need to store something that requires better protection from the elements? 

In that case, the good news is that pole barns can be quite adaptive. Matador’s pole barns are easy to enclose since the edges are finished. Enclosure is especially helpful if more complete environmental protection is required later.

Problems with Pole Barn Installation

A pole barn is a big, massive structure. In fact, that's one of the first things you should know before installing a pole barn. The installation requires the use of heavy machinery. We can sell a pole barn as a kit that the purchaser installs themselves, but before undertaking that, it’s important to know that one 60’ truss could weigh upwards of 1200 lbs. When possible, it’s best to rely on the expert installers at Matador to have your pole barn kit installed.

We install pole barns in hundreds of counties in multiple states. So, even when we complete the installation, it is the responsibility of the homeowner to get any permits that are necessary. We will then work to fulfill all the requirements of the permit. As an example of this type of cooperation, some counties will require a wet stamp permit. When our customer tells us that that requirement is in place, we pull a copy of our plans, customize it with our customer’s name and add the official hallmark of the engineer. The signature of the licensed professional proves its authenticity and confirms its accuracy. We can also work with customers to fulfill any other permit requirements that are in place in their locale.

Aesthetic Problems with Pole Barns

Another potential problem with pole barns, which likely comes up before the purchase is ever made, is aesthetics. To be blunt, a pole barn might be industrial-looking in comparison to the structures around it. It might not give the desired aesthetic that comes with other buildings. After all, it’s meant to be durable.

However, pole barns from Matador offer the addition of enclosed gables on the roof to dress up the look and match other buildings. This is especially nice when used as a parking structure. Enclosed gables can also offer more protection from the elements. The metal roofs are painted with Valspar paints that come with a 40-year warranty against fading and are available in a wide variety of colors to match the look of their surroundings.

Another issue, though far from common, is the nature of rough-cut lumber, which we use in our poles. When we say “rough-cut,” that means just what it sounds like. The poles will not be smooth to the touch and could be notched. This is due to naturally occurring knots in the wood. But even with the occasional notches the poles are still robust, safe and warranted for 40 years.

Pest Problems with Pole Barns

To be sure, any structure built from wood can be susceptible to wood-eating animals and insects. In fact, some pole barns use more wood than others, with even wood purlins and trusses. Matador pole barns have metal roofing and trim, black angle-iron trusses and red-iron purlins. However, the only wood on a Matador pole barn is the rough-cut pressure-treated poles.

Pressure-treated wood is extremely important to combat pests. This type of lumber uses a chemical preservative infused into the pores of the wood to resist decay and damage from insects like termites, carpenter bees and carpenter ants. It’s also important for even pressure-treated wood to avoid contact with the soil. Matador pole barns are anchored firmly into concrete to prevent soil contact.

Corrosion Problems with Pole Barns

While wood can be susceptible to pests, it’s true that metal can be subject to corrosion. Metal buildings can develop rust and corrosion over time in areas with high humidity or salinity. For this reason, buildings should be inspected every year. Any sign of rust can be knocked off with a wire brush, coated with a protectant, and then painted to prevent further damage. In coastal areas, it’s also possible to request having your Matador pole barn built with galvanized purlins, which offer even more protection from corrosion than our already strong, red iron purlins.

Why Choose Matador?

The journey of choosing and maintaining a pole barn is kind of like navigating the diverse landscapes of life itself. To be sure, there are challenges. In life, your challenges will be complex. With pole barns, they might be environmental, aesthetic, or structural. But in either one, those challenges can be met with a solution that solves the immediate problem and enriches the overall experience.

Matador is committed to addressing issues head-on to transform obstacles into stepping stones, making it your forever pole barn. Our goal is customer satisfaction, and we stand behind our metal pole barns.

There’s no time like the present to start thinking about your pole barn needs. Contact us today