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.


Stud Frame Construction
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.


Oak Frame Construction
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 image here).

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 Construction
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 option.

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 Framing
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 Frame construction.

Disadvantages: Most expensive than any other barn listed here.

Foundation Required: Concrete poured wall foundation.