Barn Structures Key Terms

Understand the variety of styles and types of Barn Structures by learning the terminology

Barn structures are a common addition for a property and can serve a variety of purposes besides agricultural uses. For example, construction businesses find barns useful to perform repairs and maintenance on machinery, as well as store equipment and protect their investments from weather and vandalism. Individuals may construct a barn on their property to board horses or raise livestock to generate income.

When constructing a barn, there are several styles, types and construction materials one can choose from, such as German bank barns, steel buildings, timber frame barns and build-it-yourself kits.

German bank barns

This barn style, constructed into the side of a hill, allows one to access two levels from the ground. In areas where a hill is not present, builders form earthen hills to allow access to the second floor.

Steel buildings

Steel buildings, sold as pre-fabricated kits, allow an individual to construct a structure quickly and easily. Advantages to steel buildings, sometimes referred to as steel barns, include shorter construction time, lower construction costs, ability to expand the structure as needed, increased durability and weather resistance when compared to other construction materials, lower insurance costs and low maintenance.

Timber frame barns

Timber frame barns, constructed of wood on a foundation, utilize a construction method of mortise and tenon, pegs or dovetails. An advantage of timber frame barns is that they allow the flexibility to design the barn to serve the required function - to house animals, which requires construction of stalls, or to house vehicles, which would involve a more open floor plan.

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood

Be an environmental steward and utilize Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood for your barn construction. FSC certified wood is lumber grown on land that utilizes forest management practices put in place to protect environmental resources, such as aesthetics, recreation and water quality.

Barn construction kits

Barn construction kits allow individuals to construct their barn structure themselves, since step-by-step instructions, illustrations and pre-cut materials are included. Barn construction kits require only a limited set of carpentry skills.


With Barn Structures, pitch refers to the slope of the roof. A lower pitched roof is closer to level than a higher pitched roof. When determining which type of pitched roof your barn should have, consider your climate, as rain and snow run off higher pitched roofs more easily than a lower pitched roof.

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