What is a Pole Shed?

Dan Cavallari

For larger barns or storage sheds that need to be built on a tight budget, a pole shed is a good option. It is unlike other sheds in that it generally does not have a floor — or the floor is the ground itself — and the structure is built by placing vertical wooden supports into a hole dug down a few inches to a few feet. The holes are then filled with concrete to form the "foundation" of the building. A pole shed is typically built large and without a foundation to save time and money, and the building itself can accommodate a variety of activities within. These are especially popular for storage purposes for large machinery typically found on a farm or similar.


A common pole shed has a peaked roof and four walls, with a large opening for a door on the front side. This allows large vehicles to be driven inside for storage or repair. The pole shed is commonly seen on farms, ranches, or in town and city facilities where large machinery must be stored. Since this type of shed does not require a concrete foundation to be poured, the builder can save on money and time when building the structure. The pole supports are sunk into the ground below the frost line and concrete is poured to steady the supports, which is quite a bit cheaper and faster than a typical concrete slab foundation.

The size of the pole shed can vary depending on the purposes it will be used for. A peaked roof is common, as is a gambrel roof, which looks similar to a barn roof. Such a roof enhances the storage capacity within the shed. Floors of pole sheds can either be bare dirt, or crushed stone. On rarer occasions, wood chips may be used. Large, garage-style doors are common on pole sheds to allow large machinery to enter the shed and be locked within.

While pole sheds are a simple way to build a large and inexpensive storage unit, there are drawbacks to the design. Many of these sheds are open-air structures, which means the contents of the pole shed are exposed to the elements. Even sheds that are built with solid walls can be exposed to ground moisture and even flooding if the shed is not designed or placed well. Pole sheds are difficult and expensive to heat should the need for such amenities arise.

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