Pole Barn Kit Poles

Digging Holes

Flickr: Jake Sutton

The most important part of your upcoming build is the pole barn kit poles or posts. Your poles will be the main focus of the structure providing it structural integrity and load bearing capacity. The depth of the poles varies depending on your location as well as the type of ground you will be dealing with. After you sink your poles, the possibility of rot is always there. The good news is, there are new products and methods that mitigate this. When you are ready to set your poles, you run into a list of choices on how to sink them.  This article will help you narrow down how to tackle the task of setting your poles. When this is complete you will be so pumped the rest of the barn will go up in no time.

The depth of the poles will depend on the frost level of your building site. This is the level that the ground will stop being frozen in the dead of winter. If you do not bury the poles deeper than the frost level, frost heaving can occur and dislodge the position of the pole. It’s safer to put the poles in an extra 6” or so than to be cheap and run the chance of having an unstable pole barn.

Digging your holes for pole placement can be achieved in a variety of ways. You and a friend can hand dig all the holes, which is not the preferred method. Renting an auger is another method that usually requires two people for safe operation although single operator augers are available.  I would highly recommend using an auger and if you don’t agree, dig the first hole and then tell me what you think. If you have the ability to get your hands on a small tractor or bobcat, they make an auger attachment that can be mounted to the piece of equipment, hands down, the easiest method.

Once the holes are dug there are a few methods that can be used to secure the pole barn kit poles in the ground. Any of the following methods are acceptable but some are better in preventing rot and keeping the poles in better condition for longer periods of time. They are listed in order, number one being the most recommended.

  1. Easy E – Using a preformed footing and securing the pole to the footing. This footing can be purchased and will make the process of setting the poles much easier while protecting the pole from rot. It will look like the Full Pour but you will not have to wait for the footing to harden before securing the pole.
  2. The full pour – Pouring a footing and then bolting the pole to the footing. This can be accomplished by pouring a footer that runs the length of the barn or by filling the hole with concrete and placing a bracket inside before the concrete hardens. Then you can bolt the bracket to the pole without the pole ever touching the soil.
  3. Plastic Protection – Purchase a plastic footer that will allow you to place the pole inside the form and fill it with concrete and then bury the form that is now attached to your pole.
  4. Lag luster – Place lag screws into the bottom of the pole with a few inches of the screw hanging out and then backfill the pole with concrete. This will provide a strong bond with the concrete and pole.
  5. Pre-Footer – Pour concrete into the hole and allow it to harden, drop pole and fill with a gravel, sand, and concrete mixture.A great example of this method is located at decks.com.

*All names are made up for your amusement but the methods are legit.

The link below is a great video showing the process of making footings for the Full Pour method.



Things to consider:

-Before digging your holes make sure you will not be digging into any buried water lines or wires that may have been buried long before you arrived at the site. Your local building department should be able to square you away.

-While we are talking about the building department, be sure to ask them about the frost line in your area and any codes that would require you to dig to a certain depth.

-Poles come in all shapes and sizes so if you are on a budget don’t forget to consider the use of old telephone poles. They are extremely durable and have great load bearing features.


This is a general article to get the creative juices flowing and things to consider when planning your pole barn kit build. This will also help those who would prefer to have a kit built for them. It’s good to know what goes into the building process to ensure your getting a quality structure.