April 16, 2021

Post-frame Building vs. Stick Frame Building

Post-frame building and stick frame building—what are they, and what’s the difference? Think of a building with the mindset of the human body. The frame is the skeleton of the structure. Post-frame and stick frame are two types of building techniques used in the construction. While they both use timber to develop the frame, the building techniques and purposes are not the same.There are many differences in foundational elements, build time, and practical applications between the two.

Post-frame Building and Stick Frame Building Applications

The layouts of these two building structures are completely different. Post-frame building allows for a wide-open layout. A traditional stick frame building will have support walls and separate rooms. You can certainly bend the possibilities for each of these structures to make each personalized to you. However, here are some common building applications for each structure.

Post-frame Building

  • Pole barn
  • Commercial buildings
  • Agricultural buildings
  • Recreational centers
  • Garages
  • Barndominium

Stick Frame Building

  • Residential homes
  • Traditional animals barns
  • Doctors office
  • Residential buildings

Stick Frame Building

Building with a stick frame technique is the traditional method of construction. Most homes you see are built with a stick frame structure. When it comes to this building technique, a stick frame structure heavily relies on a concrete foundation for its support. They are built upon a basement or crawlspace with internal load-bearing walls built throughout the structure for ultimate support. Stick frame building would have no support without a solid foundation and load bearing walls.
Necessary materials for construction
A stick frame structure certainly takes more material to build than a post-frame structure. One of the main materials that are used in a stick frame structure that isn’t used in a post-frame structure is concrete. This method of building requires a solid concrete foundation. Stick frame structures also require much more timber than a post-frame. The design of the frame requires the timber to be closer together, thus adding more material to the list. This method of framing needs to take the material needed for the load-bearing walls into consideration as well.
Build time
A stick frame structure will take longer to build due to a few factors in the construction process. Let’s begin with the foundation. First, the ground will need to be dug up to the proper depth. Next, the footings will be installed. After that, the concrete will be poured and smoothed evenly. To finish, the concrete must have plenty of time to cure. It will be months before the actual building can begin. The amount of timber needed for this construction increases the build time as well.

Post-frame Building

Unlike the stick frame, the post-frame does not require a poured concrete foundation for support. The said “foundation” of this method is made by inserting the timber directly into the ground. Some builders choose to pour a concrete foundation, even though it is not required. Choosing not to pour concrete as a foundation in your post-frame structure will dramatically decrease your price.
Necessary materials for construction
Post-frame structures take fewer materials and labor for construction. The posts are put directly into the ground, so it’s very important to use the correct materials fit for the job. Laminated columns are preferred for this construction. Laminated columns will not rot when they are inserted into the ground. Pre-treated solid wood posts can be used, but they are more susceptible to premature deterioration.
Build time
Post-frame building is famous for its quick build time. Depending on the size of the building, the post-frame structure can be constructed and raised in days. Due to the minimal materials and steps it takes to create this structure, the build time is quite fast!


A pole barn is built with the post-frame construction method. When someone refers to a post-frame building, a pole barn is a result of this building process.
A post-frame build does not require you to lay a concrete foundation—but you can lay concrete if you prefer!
It is possible to build a residential home out of a post-frame building. Just make sure during construction everything meets code standards.
The best posts for a pole barn are pre-treated laminated columns. Basic wood beams could be used, but they are more susceptible to premature deterioration than laminated columns are.