Barn Framing Techniques - Different Wall Framing Styles
From a simple Post-Frame to a more expensive and complex Timber Frame, you have a choice of building your barn with whatever frame you like.
There are many different ways to frame a barn, but we'll list only (4) mostly
used wall framing techniques here. Each image is hyperlinked (click on
image to enlarge it). We would like to note that no matter what barn
framing technique you'll be using to build your barn, from outside, you can make
any of these barns to look exactly the same. It's the difference in
foundation and the framing style that differentiate barns.
Conventional Framing (Stud Frame)
When stud framing is used to frame a barn, we recommend to use 2x6 studs.
Spacing of studs should either be 16" o.c. or 24" o.c. Whenever possible,
try to space wall studs the same distance as your roof rafters. As seen on
this image, studs, floor joists and rafters are all spaced 16" o.c. and in line
with each other. When building a barn with 24" o.c. spaced trusses and no
loft, it's best to space your wall studs 24" o.c. as well.
Notes: If you want to build a barn with stud frame and vertical wooden
siding, you must first fasten 5/8" CDX plywood sheathing on frame exterior, then
house wrap and finally your siding. The less expensive way is to fasten
horizontal lath 24" o.c., house wrap (if building to be insulated) and then vertical siding.
Advantages of Stud Frame: It's easier to convert a stud-framed
structure into a house. Also, stud walls are easier to insulate and to
finish with regular drywall.
Disadvantages: More expensive to build than regular pole barn.
Foundation Required: Footers with cement blocks, poured wall
foundation or monolithic slab.
Rustic Oak Framing
To provide a rustic exposed oak frame look, a barn may also be built with
rough-cut green oak lumber bought at a local saw mill. This type of frame
is built of main supporting 4x6 oak posts (usually spaced 8'-12' o.c.), 4x4 oak
door posts, 2x4 oak horizontal girts (spaced 24" o.c.) and top & bottom braces.
Such frame is best used with vertical wooden siding, since the siding is
fastened directly into horizontal oak girts.
[more construction images]
Notes: Oak Wall Frame requires a single heavy wall header such as 2x12
LVL instead of two 2x12 Yellow Pine headers as used on pole barns. The
best approach to attach an LVL header is to turn all main 4x6 posts, notch them on top and
place the header in the notch instead of hanging it on the nails (see
Advantages of an Oak Framed Barn: Provides rustic look, does not
require plywood sheathing or lath to fasten vertical siding, less expensive to
build if concrete piers are used for foundation.
Disadvantages: Harder to build and walls can not be finished with
regular drywall due to the use of green lumber.
Foundation Required: Concrete piers or poured wall foundation.
Note: Cement block foundation is not recommended for this type of framing unless
all of the blocks are filled with concrete and thicker footing (12" thick with
re-bars) is used.
Post Frame (Pole Barn) Construction
The simplest and the least expensive way to frame a barn is to use post frame
construction. Post frame consists of upright pressure treated posts
(spaced 8' o.c.), 2x8 p.t. splash boards, double 2x12 MSR headers, 2x4 SPF girts
and roof trusses. What contributes to money savings is the elimination of
concrete foundation, ease and speed of construction.
Notes: Just like any other barn, a regular pole barn may be built with
loft and roof rafters. In addition, any pole barn may be upgraded to
include glue-lam posts, concrete foundation, wooden or vinyl siding and other
Advantages of Pole Barn: Simple & economical and does not require
expensive concrete foundation.
Disadvantages: Harder to insulate and to finish interior walls.
Foundation Required: By placing pressure treated post in a ground, a
pole barn may be built without foundation. As an option, a pole barn may
also be built on top of Perma Columns (manufactured concrete columns), concrete
piers, poured wall foundation or on a properly designed monolithic slab.
Post & Beam (Timber Frame) Construction
The most noticeable difference between Post & Beam barns and other barns is
the use of heavy beams throughout construction. Main supporting posts,
floor joists, wall header beams, braces, rafters and purlins are all built out
of wooden beams. Of course, all of these beams have difference sizes and
are designed to carry the dead & live loads. Timber Frame barns are heavy
built and provide a very rustic look. Unfortunately, they cost
significantly more than a regular pole barn.
Advantages of Post & Beam Barn: Perhaps the main advantage of this
barn, is its rustic look & heavy built frame. Also, a regular house may be built using Timber
Disadvantages: Most expensive than any other barn listed here.
Foundation Required: Concrete poured wall foundation.