Difference Pole Building Stick Frame

The Difference Between a Pole Building vs. Stick Frame

There are many modern practices for constructing a new home or structure. Depending on the type of structure you are making, there is an ideal build style that will create a sturdy framework in an economic manner. The two main framing styles used today are stick framing and pole framing. Each one boasts different advantages and disadvantages. Some buildings will have a better performance over another. Whether you are building a home for the family, a barn for livestock, or a workshop, there is a style that is right for you. Let’s look at exactly how each framing style is made and the advantages of each one.

Stick Framing

One of the most popular choices in home building is stick framing. This framing method is what people traditionally think of when they think of a framework in a structure, with signature rows of two-by-fours outlining potential walls.. The wood boards are set up on top of a crawlspace foundation or basement foundation. The foundation is a concrete slab that creates a planar surface for the house to be built on. Once laid, the skeleton of the building is created including outlining where the exterior walls, interior walls, and roof will be.

To create the structure itself, the sections are to be built using different wooden components. There are several components that make up a stick frame. First, boards called sills are placed around the bottom of the foundation. These act as a receiving face for the joists. Joists run along where the floors and ceilings will go. They act as support across what will be the flooring, distributing loads more evenly across the surface. In large rooms, extra supports called girders will run perpendicular to the joists to ensure the joists do not sag. In ceilings, joists act as support to prevent sagging, especially in homes with more than one story. Then, the walls are framed using studs, which are typically made with two-by-fours spaced 16 or 24 inches apart. These are connected on the top and bottom by boards running perpendicular called plates. To complete the roof, diagonal boards called rafters are placed to shape the roof. All together, these components create the skeleton for which the rest of the materials will be installed, including drywall, sheetrock, flooring, roof shingles, and many other home components.

Pole Framing

Pole framing, also known as post framing, is a different approach for creating a structure. This style is typically seen in large farm buildings or barns. The design involves creating the outline of the structure with large poles. These are installed into the ground about 4 to 6 feet deep. Though not required, the posts are often installed into an underground cement pad to further increase the rigidity. Once the poles are laid out, a roof is installed between both sides of the structure, formed by trusses. The final structure is incredibly strong due to the large posts taking the load. To complete the exterior walls, either treated wood or metal can be used as siding. The roof is typically made from sheet metal or corrugated metal panels. You can use traditional shingles as well, but typically pole buildings are large structures and shingling would be incredibly time-consuming.

Stick Framing Advantages

The benefits of stick framing tend to lean more toward residential homes. Stick framing lends the builder more opportunity to create custom room shapes and multiple floors. Stick framing also permits the installation of the basement. Since pole frame buildings do not have a full foundation, a basement cannot be made. In general, those who need a house to live in will opt for stick frame construction because of the potential for customization, including designer inspired rooms, intricate roofing, and custom exterior walls and windows.

Pole Framing Advantages

Pole frame buildings boast many advantages over stick frame. The overall strength of the structure is much higher than that of smaller stick frames. They can be built much faster than stick frame buildings as well. The outer posts provide all the strength the building needs, including roof trusses, add-ons, and precipitation loads on a rather large roof. Post frame buildings also do not require any load bearing walls, since the load is carried to the posts and transferred to the ground. The frame design permits the use of more open-concept spaces inside. Other common applications include barns, agricultural buildings, and workshops.

Pole framing is also cheaper than stick framing, in general. The lack of a full foundation saves a large chunk of the total project since you only need slabs for the posts, if any at all. In fact, most stick-frame homes assume the foundation costs an average of 15% of the total cost. Also, the labor costs are smaller for pole frame as well. There are fewer components that go into the construction of a pole frame building than a stick frame. Some of the components even come pre-fabbed as well. This decreases labor costs for time needed to build, too. Overall, you can build a pole frame structure for much less than an equivalently sized stick frame structure.

It is easy to see the differences between these two framing styles. If you are deciding on what would be best for your next big structural project, you will know what makes the most sense. You will be able to make an informed decision about the framework in the sense of budget, performance, and appearance.

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