Understanding Post Frame Structure Construction

See why our structures are designed on a post frame grid system

What is Post Frame Construction?

Post frame is a construction style that has been used for centuries to create strong, beautiful, long-lived buildings. Rather than traditional stick framing found in most residential homes, which relies on load-bearing walls built above a crawl space or basement to support the building, post frame structures leverage heavy duty posts to support the barn or shop. This allows for installation without the need for a crawl space or basement and lends itself to more flexibility when it comes to layout designs. Post frame structures also accommodate taller ceilings along with personalized placement of exterior Dutch doors, large utility and breezeway doors, and garage doors throughout the exterior of the building. 

Why Barn Pros Chooses to Specialize in Post Frame Structures

When Barn Pros began, our founders shared a mutual admiration of traditional European architecture. They wanted to combine this with a balance of practicality and value while streamlining the manufacturing and logistics of building. The following details of post frame design embodies this beautifully and has come to define the process and style of all 26 Barn Pros models today.

  • Structural Integrity: Post frame construction encompasses the design, engineering specifications and high-end building material necessary to ensure your structure lasts a lifetime, no matter where in the country you live.
  • Design Flexibility and Personalization: Post frame construction allows for our structures to be designed on a grid system. This offers flexibility for the placement of stalls and exterior Dutch doors, utility or breezeway doors and roll up garage doors, as well as the placement of interior walls so you can create a floorplan that is perfect for you. We’ve designed and shipped over 2,000 post frame structures over our 30+ years and apply this experience to create well thought out layouts that are efficient and effective uses of space. Leverage our recommended floorplans and layouts as they are or let them inspire your own design.
  • Build Efficiency: Post frame structures generally require fewer material and man-hours to build, so it’s efficient for both you and your builder. We started as builders and our kits today are designed with your builder in mind. We prioritize organization and clarity in your blueprints, take-off list and kit delivery so your contractor has all the information they need to efficiently build your structure. Plus, Barn Pros build support is available throughout the duration of your project to answer any questions that may come up during construction.
  • A classic aesthetic personalized to reflect your lifestyle and stand beautifully in any landscape: Post frame construction puts the strength and beauty of timber structures on display. The warm tones and rich scent of Douglas Fir and premium Cedar creates a feeling of home that fits seamlessly into any landscape. Personalization options are numerous when it comes to paints, stains, and decorative accents, and the engineered strength created by our premium grade material will ensure that your building stands strong against mother nature and the daily demands of your lifestyle for generations.

Designed On A Grid

Our structures are designed using a pre-determined grid layout of 12’x12’ or 14’x14’. Typical building widths are 24’, 36’ and 42’ with lengths offered in increments of 12′ and 14′ based on the grid layout used.

Post Location: In Ground vs. Above Ground

In-ground post construction is the standard method for our barn models. In this setup, pressure treated structural posts are buried in the ground encased in concrete. These posts support the structure and siding is mounted to the exterior.

Above ground post construction is the standard for all of our living space models. In this method, Doug Fir select posts are anchored to a slab-on-grade foundation with perimeter 2×6 shear walls providing lateral stability. This allows for upgrades such as continuous exterior foam insulation and flame block sheathing for high fire regions. This also accounts for geographic conditions like high water tables, bedrock, and high seismic, snow, or wind loads.

Interior posts, mounted with bases every 12 to 14 feet depending on the grid size of the model, allow for open floorplans with flexible wall placements. For even more flexibility, select models allow for the strategic removal of some interior posts. These are replaced with heavy-duty engineered glulam beams spanning 24 feet to the included posts, creating more open living space.

Rafters Vs. Clear Span Trusses

Post frame with rafter construction uses posts throughout the building (based on the grid) that support the roof system and provide the structural strength of the building. This method is used in the majority of our models.

Post frame with clear-span truss construction uses posts on the perimeter walls only, creating open space throughout the building. Here, the trusses support the roof system and provide structural strength for the building. This construction method can be found with our clear-span riding arenas and several shop and garage models.

Select shop models can be designed to feature heavy timber clear span trusses made of beautiful glulam beams, precut, and designed with custom steel gusset plates. These prefabricated trusses not only offer a rustic, heavy timber aesthetic but also reduce the number of trusses needed to support the roof system, resulting in a more open and airier interior. For those interested in this option, consult with a project specialist to confirm the availability of this option for your shop project.

How Barn Pros Structure Types Leverage the Benefits of Post Frame Design

Our agricultural barn models are designed with several key features to ensure durability, functionality, and ease of installation. The barns utilize in-ground pressure-treated posts that are set in concrete every 12 to 14 feet depending on the grid of your model, providing a sturdy foundation. For models with loft space, the loft floor framing is designed for quick installation and the maximizing of lower-level clearance for doors and storage by positioning the beams flush with the loft floor sheathing. Because the barn is supported by the posts, shear walls are not necessary, allowing for flexible layout options to accommodate stalls, tack rooms, wash bays, offices, storage, and more. This post-supported design also enables large, sprawling barn layouts perfect for boarding facilities. Roof rafters are reinforced by the grid posts, ensuring the roof system is well-supported. Overall, the design prioritizes simplicity and efficiency, making installation straightforward for builders.

Post frame residential barns are designed with a focus on aesthetics, functionality, and compliance with local building codes. These structures feature Douglas Fir select above-ground posts that are visually pleasing and offer more options for high-end interior finishes compared to the pressure-treated posts used in agricultural barns.

Residential loft floors are designed with upgraded glulam beams supporting floor joists to allow space for utilities, insulation and drywall. This also provides egress access from all loft windows and options for loft windows and decks on gable ends. Vaulted ceilings are made possible by consolidating structural members near the roof, providing additional interior headspace. Roof rafters are supported by the grid posts, ensuring a robust roof system.

Post frame shops are designed to offer both functionality and aesthetic appeal. Shops without lofts use perimeter in-ground pressure-treated posts to support clear span trusses that span the full width of the shop, eliminating the need for interior posts and providing an open space ideal for storage. In contrast, shops with lofts incorporate interior posts like barn models.

Riding arenas are designed the same as shops – with perimeter in-ground pressure treated posts supporting clear span trusses and the roof system.


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