The average cost to build a barn is approximately $50,000. But there are many factors that will impact your price, which means you might pay significantly more or less.
Whether you plan to use it for storage or to house livestock, read this guide to learn more about barn construction and how to hire the best builders near you.
What’s in this cost guide?
Cost to build a barn per square foot
The price range for a standard wood barn is $45 to $65 per square foot, without electricity or plumbing. A traditional hay barn of about 1,200 square feet that can house livestock, feed and equipment typically starts at about $45,000 and can cost much more depending on the features needed.
This estimate includes a concrete slab foundation, wood framing, wood siding and a pitched roof as well as digging trenches for plumbing, installing plumbing and electricity, and finishing the interior buildout to include stalls for animals, storage and so on.
Labor costs involved in building a pole barn
There are several ways you can build a pole barn. You can buy DIY kits, hire a pro to assemble the barn kit or hire several contractors to build a custom structure. Or, you can hire a general contractor (with barn building experience) to assemble a team and oversee the day-to-day operations.
Hiring a general contractor will incur a labor charge, but this could be the best option if you lack experience or don’t have the time to oversee the project yourself.
General contractors often work with other subcontractors (plumbers, painters, roofers, etc.) to bring your construction project to life. The hourly rate for general contractors ranges between $30 and $85 per hour. However, many contractors don’t charge by the hour. Instead, they charge a flat fee or take a percentage of the overall cost of the project.
Here’s how much general contractors charge for various completed projects:
- Existing structure repair: $3,085
- Replacement of portions of existing structure: $7,299
- Complete renovation or new custom building or structure: $29,294
Below are some of the services and contractors you or a general contractor may need to hire to build your barn:
If you’re building from scratch, you’ll likely need a carpenter. Carpenters build, install and repair structures made out of wood.
The cost to hire a carpenter can vary. On an hourly basis, general carpenters charge $35 to $75 per hour. But the average fixed price for projects is $320, and prices can be as high as $2,000.
If you need electricity, you'll need an electrician to wire your barn. The cost to hire an electrician for repairs ranges between $45 to $120 per hour, and wiring installation is $50 to $125 per hour.
If you’re building a horse barn, garage or other structure that requires water, a plumber will need to run water lines, install pipes and perhaps even connect the unit to the septic system.
Hiring a plumber to install pipes ranges from $50 and $130 per hour, but many plumbers charge a fixed price for their work. Here’s a look at how much plumbers charge to install pipes:
- A few pipes: $458
- Several rooms: $1,686
- Entire home: $2,289
While some barn kits come pre-painted, others will need paint on exterior and interior surfaces. This protects the siding from corrosion and rotting.
Painters charge between $25 and $75 per hour for exterior work and $27 and $90 per hour for interior work.
The type of flooring you install will dictate whether you need flooring specialists, who typically cost between $25 and $75 per hour. Here’s a look at how much you might pay to install flooring, depending on the total square footage:
|100-250 sq. ft.||$1,008|
|251-500 sq. ft||$1,512|
|501-750 sq. ft||$2,521|
|751-1,000 sq. ft||$3,529|
|1,001-1,500 sq. ft.||$5,042|
|1,501-2,000 sq. ft||$6,050|
|2,001-3,000 sq. ft||$10,083|
Metal and asphalt shingles are popular roofing options, and you may require a roofer to install them.
Roofers tend to cost between $15 and $200 per hour, but your final expenses will likely be determined by your roof’s material and size. Here’s how much it may cost to install a roof, depending on its size:
|1,000 sq. ft. or less||$4,725|
|1,000-2,000 sq. ft||$9,192|
If you’ll use your barn as a heated garage or workshop, or if there are water installations inside that could freeze, you’ll likely need insulation. Insulation can also provide better working conditions and lower your heating bill.
The average cost of insulation is $889, and prices can reach as high as $2,300. On an hourly basis, expect to pay $40 to $100 per hour.
Siding may be included in a barn kit. If not, or if you’re building a custom pole barn, the labor cost for siding installation ranges from $35 to $90 per hour.
The price also depends on the location, size and type of material used. For example, vinyl siding costs between $2 and $6 per square foot.
Pole barn construction cost factors
The following are common factors that impact pole barn prices:
Barn material prices
A metal barn costs approximately $7 and $25 per square foot, while a traditional wooden barn costs an estimated $45 per square foot, according to the Buildings Guide.
Metal barns are sometimes more cost-effective because they are easier to maintain and are not susceptible to termites and other pests that can damage wood. Meanwhile, wood barns are more traditional and — in some people's opinion — more appealing.
It's possible to save money by purchasing a prefabricated barn that you or someone else puts together.
The size of your pole barn will be among the largest influencers of its cost. A larger footprint requires more concrete, construction labor, etc.
However, the price per square foot may decrease as you scope out your project and decide to make your barn bigger.
Do you want a loft? Stairs? Several rooms? Horse stalls? The more interior buildout needed, the higher the cost.
For example, a horse barn requires stalls, which cost $2,000 to $2,500 each to build. The cost is about the same for a foaling box, which should measure at least 12x12 feet.
Some horse barns require a tack room, a horse wash rack, and space for hay storage and a tractor. It’s convenient for a horse barn to have a wide center aisle with stalls on each side to use as a pass-through and to provide visibility into the stalls. This extra space will increase costs because of the additional square footage it creates.
Straight wall barns cost between $7 and $25 per square foot to build. The total cost depends on the size of the building and the interior layout.
Quonset-style barns are less expensive to build than those with straight walls because fewer materials are needed. These generally cost between $5 and $15 per square foot.
The arched walls of Quonset-style barns are not ideal for every situation, however. An S- or P-model Quonset-style offers more usable floor and wall space than the Q-model, which is essentially a semi-circle.
Permits may be required depending on your local codes and zoning laws. You can typically find this information on your government website. Or, try asking your general contractor.
How much are pole barn kits?
Prefabricated barns tend to be more affordable than building one from scratch, with prices starting at a few thousand dollars. But pole barn kit prices can exceed $20,000, depending on the size, materials and other features.
Here are some examples of pricing from various retailers:
|Barn kit size||Estimated price|
Before you buy a kit, pay attention to the details. Find out if it includes a door (for example, walk-in and overhead doors) windows, roof sheathing, trim, trusses, etc.
How to save money
Here are some tips to save money on your pole barn:
Choose your materials wisely. Talk to your contractor to identify high-quality, affordable materials for your roof, siding, flooring, walls and more. Although it may be tempting to choose the cheapest option, don’t sacrifice quality.
Get quotes from multiple contractors. Getting estimates from local builders and contractors will help you determine which pros might be overcharging for their services — and which ones have fair, competitive prices.
Take your time. You don’t have to complete all aspects of your project at once. If money is tight right now, don’t rush it. You can slowly build it over time, and finish after you’ve accumulated enough funds.
How to find a builder or general contractor
To find a reputable pro, take the following steps:
Go online and compare pros. By searching online for contractors and barn builders near you, you’ll be able to quickly compare customer reviews and ratings.
Review photos of completed barns. Look for customer uploaded photos that show the builders’ workmanship. Or, ask the pros to send you photos of similar work.
Check their credentials. Make sure the pro you hire has the proper license, credentials and certifications in your state and city.
Make sure they have experience. Not all general contractors and carpenters have experience constructing barns. For this project, you’ll want to hire a pro who understands all aspects of barn building.
Ask many questions. For example, ask the pro for a realistic timeline. Also ask them about permit requirements, who their suppliers are and what the payment schedule is.
Get free quotes from several pros. Aim to get estimates from at least three to five contractors or builders. If one pro offers a significantly lower price, be skeptical and ask about materials.
If you want more tips on how to hire, visit Thumbtack’s Safety Page.
Pole barn FAQs
Here are the answers to some of the most common questions people have about pole barns.
Which is cheaper: a pole barn or metal building?
Building a pole barn is generally cheaper than building a metal building. A metal building typically requires more material and labor to put together.
Which is cheaper: a pole barn or stick-built home?
A pole barn is often cheaper than a stick-built home. Because a pole barn relies on widely spaced poles instead of a fully framed stick-built home, it requires fewer materials.
Can you get financing for a barn?
You may be able to find ways to finance your barn, garage or a detached structure. Talk to your financial institution or a finance expert about personal loans or a home equity line of credit (HELOC), for example.
Are pole barn houses sturdy?
Pole barn houses can be very sturdy, depending on its quality. If built properly, they can resist high winds and heavy snow loads.