Post-Frame Achieves ANY Look

01/21/2010 00:25

Many people simply think of a plain "pole barn” when they try to imagine a post-frame structure. Although some post-frame buildings are still referred to by the slang term “pole barn,” post-frame is far more advanced in its design and engineering than the “good ol’ pole barn.”
This ain’t your grand pappy’s “pole barn”! Meigs Inc., a Wick Buildings dealer, built this post-frame landmark for Mt Olympus Water & Theme Park in Wisconsin Dells. Using architectural foam, they made a building that looked like the ancient Greek forum - but much more quickly, energy-efficiently and economically.

Nowadays, few if any professional builders use rounded poles that pioneered the concept. Professional post-frame builders use engineered designs and solid-sawn square posts or laminated columns for post-frame buildings – not the old utility poles that once typified “pole barns.”

This post-frame garage features horizontal siding, Timberline asphalt shingles, shutters and painted cedar shingles - all details matched the accompanying 100-year old house perfectly.

Although post-frame design was pioneered for agricultural buildings, the number of commercial and retail applications for post-frame has exploded. Post-frame is now a construction method of choice for any number of different residential, commercial, retail, industrial, religious, and public buildings.

Countless structures are now erected using post-frame methods, including strip malls, convenience stores, restaurants, office complexes, and many other types of retail, public, commercial, and residential applications. Schools, churches, fire stations, airplane hangars, and many other kinds of structures may be erected using post-frame design.

Post-frame accommodates unique siding and roofing options to meet anyone's taste, as illustrated by this strip mall built in Indiana by FBi Builders.

A wide variety of materials never envisioned by industry forefathers are now routinely incorporated into post-frame design. So many types of materials may be used on the facade, one may easily mistake a post-frame structure for another kind of building.

Today it makes little difference whether the building purchaser favors the aesthetics of wood siding, brick, or stucco; virtually any look is possible with post-frame. They are aesthetically pleasing and durable structures that are typically easier on the eye than other commercial buildings.

Professional engineer Ron Sutton is a design professional who works for Morton Buildings, and member of the NFBA Technical and Research Committee. According to Sutton, “We regularly design and build churches and other buildings using a wide variety of building materials, including wood, brick, stone, and many other building products. The features of post-frame design allow us to incorporate flexibility so we may employ architectural enhancements of all kinds to achieve the desired appearance.”

Sutton notes that post-frame construction methods are often selected for many high-profile buildings. Post-frame design methods have been used for banks, real estate offices, medical offices, insurance agencies, funeral homes, and other professional buildings, due largely to the architectural flexibility of post-frame design. An architect who submitted one Building of the Year application used post-frame methods to design his house, citing the fact that he could incorporate more diverse architectural features than with any other type of construction.

Sutton participated in the design of the Meadowview church in Lexington, N.C., a Morton Building.

“Whenever I think of aesthetic enhancement, I think of the wide array of materials that are out there,” says Sutton. “Post-frame lends itself easily to provide overhangs, dormers, cupolas, bay windows, decks, parapet walls and many other things that are not easily done with traditional wood, masonry, and metal construction. You may use any type of exterior fascia, such as brick masonry and stone, vinyl, steel, or wood siding.”

Any type of roof covering, such as composite or cedar shake shingle, slate, tile, metal, and other membranes may be used. It is easy to select any roof pitch, and you can even install “low-slope” roof decks upon which any roofing system may be installed.

An energy-efficient and economical post-frame mansion

Post-frame is long-lasting, code-compliant, and energy-efficient. It is a great choice for churches, garages, public buildings, schools, airplane hangars, storage buildings, retail buildings, industrial facilities and more.

Retail establishments are more economical, efficient, flexible and beautiful using post-frame techniques.

This story was written by John Fullerton and originally appeared in Frame Building News magazine, the official publication of the National Frame Building Association. To subscribe to Frame Building News magazine, please visit


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