Pole barns are perhaps the best equivalent to a blank canvas that any building can get. Some examples of the different uses that pole barns can serve would be as storage, a workshop, residence, and a garage. The flexibility of pole barns can be attributed to their speed and ease of being built, the fact that they are built nearly bare-bones which allows for maximum customization, and that their size and design is completely customizable as well. Their nature means that it can be essentially built in any orientation and for any use that the owner desires.

Although, just because pole barns can be completely customized to suit any needs, doesn’t mean they are always the safest or most comfortable place that they can be.


One of the first ways that a pole barn can be made more comfortable is by regulating the temperature. Insulation might be the first addition you should make to help regulate the temperature in your pole barn since it helps to keep the heat right where you want it to be, whether you want it inside or outside the pole barn.

When sourcing insulation for your pole barn, it’s important to make sure your insulation comes from a reputable dealer. There are surprisingly lenient regulations on the composition of insulating materials; meaning that there is a greater chance of toxins to be included in the insulation. For example, EPA guidelines on insulation allow up to 1% of total composition to be asbestos, despite the majority of the public perception being that asbestos use has been banned in the US. When choosing an insulation, make sure to avoid more common offenders, like vermiculite insulation or cheaper pipe wrap insulations as they more often contain toxic materials like asbestos.

There are also other toxins that can be found in lower quality insulations such as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), like formaldehyde which is a known carcinogen but is used as an industrial fungicide, disinfectant, and germicide. When you’re picking insulating materials, in addition to choosing a reputable dealer, it’s a good idea to choose materials like fiberglass. Fiberglass is less likely to have asbestos contamination and is no longer manufactured using formaldehyde, while still providing great insulation benefits.

Heating and Cooling

Right alongside insulation is a means to heat and cool your pole barn independent of the weather. There are plenty of options for this from pellet stoves or waste oil heaters for heating, to ceiling fans and residential air conditioning units to keep it cool. Although more expensive, getting ductwork and an HVAC unit would simplify climate control for the space. Be mindful of that unless the building is large enough to warrant such a system, it could easily be overkill for smaller buildings that would benefit equally well from the smaller methods mentioned.


HVAC units provide additional safety benefits since they filter the air as it passes through before getting redistributed throughout the building. This feature is especially beneficial for pole barns that are utilized as a garage or workshop since the air can easily become full of suspended particles that cause adverse health effects if inhaled too frequently, such as metal fume fever.

However, regardless of whether an HVAC unit is used or not, it’s important to ensure that there is sufficient ventilation and frequent usage of personal protective equipment like respirators when working with materials like wood and rust that have a tendency to leave suspended particles in the air. Even if you’re not working with anything that can leave bits and pieces suspended in the air, ventilation is still valuable to prevent stagnant air.

Stagnant air invites small nuisances such as mold, mildew, and rust to become big problems since proper air circulation makes it much more difficult for such issues to spread. Pole barn vents are a simple yet effective solution to ventilation problems while HVAC systems offer the most comprehensive remedy.

Windows and Lighting

One thing that’s easily overlooked but can add a surprising deal of comfort and safety to your pole barn is windows. Good quality windows will let in plenty of light while also boasting the ability to help regulate the temperature and promote airflow by simply being opened. Like the other ideas mentioned, installing high-quality windows is a worthwhile investment because they’ll last longer and will have better insulating properties. Windows are especially beneficial if artificial lighting has a tendency to give you headaches.

Thankfully, there are modern lighting solutions that should be able to simulate sunlight and help in cases where artificial lighting gives headaches. Of course, eventually the sun will set and you will need some form of lighting if you spend any time in your structure after dark. Making sure that there is adequate lighting is crucial for both safety and comfort.


In today’s age of electronics and technology, outlets are invaluable for any structure to include. Outlets should be placed with considerations of the distance between each outlet, the intent of use for the pole barn, and ease of accessibility. A great way to ensure this is the case is to mount extension cord reels to the ceiling so they can reach just about any corner of the building while also being out of the way whenever they aren’t in use. It’s estimated that there are roughly 2,000 cases of injuries associated with extension cords every year just from accidental trips; don’t let yourself or a loved one become part of that statistic.

While considering various electrical components to your structure, it’s a great idea to utilize conduit to run all the electrical cords through. There are many benefits of conduit, but with pole barns, a major benefit is to prevent pests from damaging the wires. Chewed and otherwise compromised wires can lead to all sorts of nasty repercussions like fires and power surges that can fry important and expensive appliances. Conduit is also much more visually pleasing than bare wires and it comes in a variety of different materials that offer customization to best fit your needs and budget.


The floor of a pole barn could be argued to be more important than the walls because the floor is the one surface that everything will come in contact with at one point or another. Aside from a bare dirt or gravel floor, just about every option would benefit from getting sealant treatments to make the surface less prone to staining and water retention.

Epoxy is a popular sealant choice because it not only provides aforementioned resistances, but its smooth surface also lends it to be much easier to clean. Additionally, epoxy further enhances your enjoyment of the space by being offered in a wide variety of colors and designs so you can be sure it suits your taste perfectly.


If you intend to have any plumbing in your pole barn, then you should consider insulating the pipes, or even wrapping them in heat tape if you live in a colder climate. Not only would insulation on the pipes help prevent frozen, and subsequently burst pipes, but it will also help to protect yourself and others from experiencing burns from hot water pipes.

For the sake of comfort and convenience alone, it’s worthwhile to include a bathroom in your structure, which would inherently require some amount of plumbing.


Furniture is something that every pole barn can have. That doesn’t mean it needs to have a custom couch and entertainment center like in a standard living room, unless of course you want that. Furniture for pole barns usually includes benches, tables, and workbenches; hardy and rather universal pieces. Plenty of people also relocate their old furniture and appliances into their pole barn instead of throwing it out, because it’s better for your wallet and for the environment!

You’ll often find older models of refrigerators, freezers, and televisions in pole barns for this reason. Plus, you can upcycle pieces like industrial wire spools to use as tables which can fit in perfectly with a rustic style that most pole barns have about them.

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