There was a time when all barns were sided with wood. A drive around any rural countryside will confirm this; old wood covered barns are seemingly everywhere (although not necessarily in great condition, as wood requires maintenance).
As galvanized corrugated steel became more readily available, as well as affordable, the pendulum swung away from the traditional wood. Once pre-painted colored steel siding hit the marketplace, nearly all pole barn sidings went this direction.
In my three plus decades in the post frame building industry, pre-painted steel siding has been by far the product of choice. However the past few years, there has been more and more of other siding options both available and chosen.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, fiber cement sidings have gained popularity as a primary exterior wall material, being used on 15% of new single-family construction last year. In the past five years, fiber cement usage has increased 36% over other materials.
While I was brought up with “wood is good”, the market share for wood sidings has dropped to only 3%. From my own experience of having to repeatedly solid body stain the 1×8 Cedar channel siding on my own pole buildings – I can attest to never wanting to make this mistake again.
Vinyl is still the dominant residential siding, capturing 30% of the residential market.
What surprised me is stucco and brick are the exterior coverings of roughly 50% of all U.S. homes. Considering Hansen Pole Buildings has had several clients stucco one or more walls of their buildings in the past few years, I suppose I should not have been so surprised.
Outside of affordability, being durable and maintenance free are the keys to long term happiness with any siding choice.
When it comes to post frame construction, any exterior material which can be utilized on any building system, can be placed on a post frame building, aka “pole barn”. Keep in mind, the siding cost is going to be the same on any structure, so do not have an unrealistic expectation of savings in this aspect for choosing post frame over other framing designs.
The economics of pole building construction come from tremendous savings in foundation costs, and from the elimination of redundant framing members found in conventional stick frame construction.