Should You Choose Sliding or Overhead Doors for Your Pole Barn?

Overhead door pole barnOne of the many decisions you’ll need to make when choosing a customized pole barn is the door type. You can opt for either an overhead door that raises up or a sliding door that pushes from left to right (or vice versa) – so what’s the better choice?

The sliding versus overhead door decision really comes down to what you plan to do with your pole barn. If you’re going to use it for purely agricultural purposes, a sliding door (or multiple sliding doors) can be a good option. However, if you’re planning a commercial or residential use pole barn, we recommend an overhead door.

Sliding Doors for Agricultural Applications

Pole barn sliding doors have long been the most popular choice for agricultural buildings, machinery workshops, and airplane hangars. This exterior door type works well for oversized equipment (such as combines, farm trucks, and airplanes) that wouldn’t be able to fit through a standard overhead door. Having sliding doors in your pole barn also gives you more interior clearance, since you don’t have to worry about installing overhead door tracks.

In addition to being used for machinery storage buildings, sliding doors are also sometimes used on horse barns, since they are cheaper than Dutch doors. Modern sliding door tracks are also incredibly low maintenance, since they’re designed to be self-aligning, self-cleaning, and self-lubricating.

Steel sliding doors are designed to stand up to just about anything you throw at them, including bad weather, animal contact, and even accidental machinery contact. That being said, they don’t create as tight a seal as an overhead door and aren’t as secure against theft. This is why we typically only recommend sliding doors for pole barns that will be used for purely agricultural purposes.

Overhead Doors for Residential and Commercial Use

When it comes to non-agricultural pole barn uses, overhead doors are usually your best bet. Overhead doors create a tighter seal, which protects against both theft and the elements. Unlike sliding doors, overhead doors can also be outfitted with electronic openers. If you plan to use your pole building as a garage and you ever find yourself in a situation where you’re driving home in the rain or snow, you’ll probably be pretty happy to be able to open the door with the click of a button rather than getting out and pushing it open manually.

While some people worry that overhead pole barn doors will be considerably more expensive than sliding doors, the smaller sizes are actually comparable. Larger overhead doors may be slightly more expensive, but many pole building owners decide that the slightly higher cost is worth the added security and convenience.

Overhead doors can also be designed to accommodate fairly large vehicles and equipment. Commercial overhead doors come standard up to 24’ in width, and 26’ or 28’ wide doors are available, but require a special manufacturer’s quotation. Standard overhead doors are 14’ tall, which is high enough to accommodate any vehicle of highway legal height.

Still Not Sure What Door to Choose?

If you’re still not sure what type of door to choose for your pole building, contact us directly. Let us know how you plan to use your pole building, and we’ll make a recommendation and even provide you with a free building quote.

4 thoughts on “Should You Choose Sliding or Overhead Doors for Your Pole Barn?

    1. For an overhead door you are probably looking at somewhere around $50,000. Have you considered a bi-fold door?

  1. Do you install overhead doors on an existing pole barn? My pole bar in 100×60’ and has two sliding doors. I would like to replace the sliding doors with remote controlled overhead doors.


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