Just ran across the idea of using a pole barn for a full time house. We would use it more for a cabin (barn) in the woods but the idea is intriguing. Everything I read says its more affordable but outside of the sure size and heating the barn, what sort of pros/cons come into play with using a pole barn as a full time house.

Additional is steel framing more optimal as opposed to wood?


  • I knew a guy that was doing this, somewhat, only inside the metal building he'd framed up conventional walls and a ceiling. There were typical doors into his framed area from both the outside the building and from inside the main part of the structure. The heat/AC was setup to condition only the framed-in space. So really, the metal building provided the external roof, but inside his framed enclosure, it was like you were inside anyone else's house. Meanwhile the main part of the building was like a massive garage. I always thought it was pretty cool. – elrobis Jan 16 at 21:20
  • Thanks @elrobis it sounds cool right. Trying to understand what the down side it because from what I have been reading it provides better insulation that conventional build. – Tom Jan 17 at 3:36
  • I would think one down side would be all the horse manure. – Alaska Man Sep 8 at 19:15

Depends on the building codes where you are located to determine if a pole barn is an acceptable structure for habitation. In most jurisdictions it would still require all of the same creature comforts such as insulation, plumbing and electrical to be habitable.

At that point it's really just a house framed like a pole barn which would give you the ability to have lots of free interior space without the need to put in supporting walls. You would most likely need some interior beams and posts but no need for full walls.

I've been to several "venues" that were old barns converted into entertainment spaces. On really hot days it seemed like you could smell the 100 year old wood leaching out the chemical smells of urine from decades of farm animals peeing on the walls. So just a thought when considering living in a barn. If it wasn't used for housing animals you probably wouldn't have the smell issue.

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