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The Difference Between Post-Frame & Pre-Engineered Steel Buildings

If you’re considering a new building for your property, you have several options. Post-frame steel buildings and pre-engineered steel buildings are similar and they’re easier to order and build than other types of construction. 

However, there are some significant differences between post-frame buildings and pre-engineered buildings. Before you make a decision about your new permanent structure, you should understand how the two styles are different. We’re describing the differences between post-frame structure and pre-engineered steel buildings and which you should choose for your property.

Post-Frame Structures

Post-frame structures are a type of construction based around wooden posts or poles. Instead of building a foundation, the walls of post-frame buildings are connected to poles or posts that are sunk deep in the ground. Horizontal pieces and frames manufactured off-site connect these vertical poles, and the rest of the structure is built from there.  Compared to just about any other type of construction, post-frame structures are incredibly cost-effective. 

Post-frame structures are also incredibly versatile. Dealerships, warehouses, and even retail shops can opt for post-frame facilities to save time and money during commercial building. Modern detached garages and workshops can be quickly built using post-frame techniques. Pole barns are among the most common types of post-frame constructions in the world. 

There are many different sizes and styles of post-frame steel buildings, and they can be customized to meet your needs. As long as you use a supplier who provides quality materials, a post-frame structure can be the perfect addition to your property. 

Pre-Engineered Steel Buildings

The most common alternative to post-frame structures is the pre-engineered steel building. Instead of relying on prebuilt wooden frames, they are made of steel. They are manufactured off-site, just like post-frame buildings, then put together on the building site. Because of the steel involved, you may require professional builders to put them together. 

Compared to post-frame construction, the steel frame involved in pre-engineered buildings raises the cost of materials significantly. Unlike pole barns, they require a foundation, increasing prices by 10-20%. Steel frame buildings are less expensive than traditional construction, where everything is built on-site, but still more costly than post-frame structures.

Finally, pre-engineered buildings can suffer from several problems in the long-term. They’re at risk of rusting, and they’re harder to customize once they’re built. Their entirely metal construction also makes them colder in winter, even with insulation. 

Which Building Is Better?

When you’re deciding whether to build a new structure, you’re likely to choose between a pre-engineered structure and a pole-barn-style building. 


Both post-frame and pre-engineered steel structures are cheaper than traditional construction. However, post-frame buildings are generally less costly because of their heavy use of lumber.

Ease of Construction

Since both post-frame and pre-engineered buildings involve off-site construction, they can both go up quickly and simply compared to standard methods. However, since pole barns don’t require a foundation and rely on a wood frame, they can be rapidly built by anyone with some helpers. Pre-engineered buildings, meanwhile, should be built by professionals to avoid injuries. They also require foundations that take time to make. 


A building that’s entirely made out of metal, like a pre-engineered metal structure, is a building that will take a significant amount of work to insulate. On the other hand, a post-frame structure can be easily insulated and will not absorb cold the same way, saving energy costs.

Ability to Customize

If you ever need to customize your building in the future, pre-engineered steel buildings can only be updated with more steel fixtures and significant effort. On the other hand, since post-frame structures are produced with lumber, they’re easy to renovate in the future if needed. At Burrows Supply, you can customize your building right off the bat. 

Make the Right Choice

There’s no one perfect building solution for everyone. However, if you’re looking for a quick and convenient way to improve your property with a new building, a post-frame structure is likely the best choice for you. Whether you just need more storage space or you’re looking to build a whole new space, a post-frame building will serve your needs and keep costs down no matter what. 

Find out just how a post-frame building can improve your life by contacting Burrow’s Post Frame Supply today. 

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