All of The Pole Barn Terminology You Need to Know
In the world of pole building, there’s all sorts of terminology thrown around that you may not be familiar with. If you find yourself scratching your head when you hear words like “purlin,” or “gambrel,” we’re here to help.
Take some time to look over this list of pole building terms before you invest in a building of your own and you’ll have the confidence to talk shop like a seasoned professional.
Pole Building Glossary
Any architectural features added to the structure of the building, such as a cupola or hay door.
An extension to an existing building; usually an addition will increase floor space or height.
A projection from the roof that is attached to and supported by the building, also known as a porch or a lean-to.
The distance between structural posts along the building’s length.
A horizontal structural member that provides support.
Regulations put in place by a city or county to describe design procedures, loads, and other construction details.
The top and bottom of a building’s roof truss.
The exterior coverings of a building, i.e. metal cladding, wood, stucco, or brick.
The vertical distance between the floor and the bottom chord of the truss.
The horizontal distance between structural posts, for example, from one exterior wall to opposing exterior wall with no posts in the middle.
A foam strip that contours to ribbed metal panels to close any openings between the metal and the framing.
The small structure on top of a roof that holds a weathervane.
A piece of lumber that has been cut to a specific size, such as a 2×4, 2×6, or 6×6.
A track that stabilizes a sliding or rolling door during use.
Dual Pitch Roof
A gable roof where the slope on one side is steeper than the other.
The line where the sidewall and the roof plane intersect.
A translucent panel that is installed on the top of the wall underneath the eave to allow more natural light into the building.
Also called a man door, a walk door, or a personnel door, this is a standard hinged door that allows for access to a building by turning a doorknob (or lockset).
A flat piece of material running horizontally on the end of the trusses.
Components used to create weather-tightness at breaks or openings and enhance a building’s look.
A triangular shaped overhang of the roof on the gable wall of the building.
Primary members of the pole building structure.
The distance between the primary members of the post frame.
A roof with two sloping sides.
Also referred to as an endwall, this wall is perpendicular to the ridgeline of the building. It is typically the triangular shaped wall on the building.
Steel that has been coated with zinc to help it resist corrosion.
A “traditional” barn style roof. This style is similar to gable, except the pitch changes from being very steep at the eaves to being less steep between the eaves and the ridge.
Horizontal structural member (usually a 2×6) that runs between posts.
The elevation of the floor of the building.
An architectural feature to simulate an active hay door, most recognizable as the elevated “double x” door on the gable wall of a building.
Beams used to support roof trusses over door openings.
IBC (International Building Code)
A unified set of standard regulations based on years of industry experience and expertise.
Material used to cut down on heat transfer.
Vertical framing members at the sides of an opening, like a door or window.
An extension from a building with a sloped roof that “leans” on the structure for support, such as a porch.
The distance from gable wall to gable wall.
A second story of a pole building, usually supported by beams and posts.
The same thing as a personnel door, walk door, or entry door.
Metal exterior coverings, usually made of steel, which are fastened to the frame of the building.
A building with a standard gable roof that features a raised center section, and two enclosed lean-to’s on each side.
The named size of a framing member, which may be different from the actual size. For example, a 2×4 is actually 1 ½” x 3 ½”.
The spacing from the center of one post to the next post center.
The portion of the roof that projects past the edge of the sidewall. A standard overhang is 12” wide.
Doors installed on vertical tracks that open upward, otherwise known as a garage door.
The same thing as a man door, entry door, or walk door.
Also known as a pier footing, a 24-36” vertical column that is poured in concrete that allows the post load to be dispersed below the frost level in the ground.
The angle of a roof. A standard pole building has a 4/12 pitch.
Vertically straight up and down.
A structural frame of a building made of wood posts.
The height of the non-buried portion of a post.
A framing material (usually a 2×6) that runs from truss to truss to support the roof. The roof cladding is attached to the purlins.
A type of building material that reflects thermal radiation and reduces heat transfer. Radiant barrier is also used to minimize condensation in a pole building; it is typically installed between the cladding and the purlins.
The peak of the roof.
A pressure-treated 2×8 installed at the bottom of the wall in place of the bottom girt.
A door supported by wheels in a track that moves horizontally along the face of the building, also known as barn doors.
Covering for the bottom of roof overhangs.
Dimensional lumber that has been treated with a preservative to prevent rot and termite damage.
Metal pieces that trim out the edges of steel cladding.
A pre-manufactured rigid structure that spans the width of the building from one post to another; a truss is what forms the slope of the roof.
Component that allows air to escape through the peak of the building.
Material on the lower section of a wall used mainly to add to the look of a building.
It can be overwhelming trying to navigate a topic you’re not familiar with; hopefully this guide to pole building vocabulary makes it easier to discuss your potential project with confidence.
Once you’ve got the hang of all the lingo, contact Beehive Buildings to test out your new knowledge!
This is well worth a read. You presented great insight and information. Thanks.