What is the Best Foundation for a Post-Frame Building?

Primary Foundation Options for Pole-Barns

When considering how to progress the construction of your post-frame structure, you can select a few options for its foundation. The beauty of post-frame buildings: a foundation slab isn’t required! However, a concrete foundation might be preferred depending on how you plan on utilizing your structure. Otherwise, there are a few options for setting your columns and frame to compensate for the absence of a concrete base. No matter the direction you pursue for post-frame construction in Illinois and the Midwest, contractors know they can count on Anthem Built for the best post-frame building supplies available.

The corner of the bottom of a foundation of a post-frame building mid construction

Gravel & Concrete Pads

If budget is your primary concern during post-frame construction, a gravel and concrete pad foundation might be your best option. A contractor will level the ground using gravel and then pour a concrete pad or place a pre-fab pad over the even gravel surface. Doing so creates a large, even foundation where your structure’s frame can set atop. However, this foundation method isn’t a permanent foundation option, meaning the slab can shift when soil expands or contracts. Thus, this foundation option isn’t recommended if you wish to finish the interior of your structure.

Best Use for Gravel & Concrete Pads – Smaller post-frame structures or structures built primarily for storage, garages, warehouses, workshops and more.

Poured Concrete Foundation

Rather than clearing space for gravel and a pad, a poured concrete foundation offers some of the most foundational support for post-frame buildings. A permanent poured concrete foundation is resistant to frost (soil freezing and expanding), allowing property owners to finish building interiors as they like. Also, this type of foundation limits wood columns’ exposure to soil, helping prevent potential wood rot. As effective as this foundation type is, it takes longer to implement and costs significantly more than other foundation options.

Best Use for Poured Concrete Foundations – Large post-frame structures or structures intended to have their interior finished, such as residential homes, office buildings, storefronts, etc.

Posts Set in Concrete

Post-frame structures didn’t have much in the way of foundations for years. In fact, pole barns get the majority of their strength from their frame. As such, older post-frame construction has structures with columns set directly in the soil. However, this method was improved over time, and now, post-frame structures with posts set in the ground are also backfilled with concrete. In doing so, the portion of the column underground no longer directly touches the soil, helping minimize potential wood rot. This foundation method is still utilized for post-frame structures that do not need a full concrete foundation.

Best Use for Posts Set in Concrete – Any size post-frame structure and structures designed for industrial and agricultural use. Primarily barns, cattle pens, warehouses, storage, etc.

The beginning of a post-frame structure's foundation

Seek Additional Support for Your Structure’s Foundation

No matter the foundation (or lack thereof) of your post-frame structure, Anthem Built supplies an array of products perfect for improving the structural integrity of your buildings. Anthem Build designs and manufactures unique components specifically crafted to streamline and enhance portions of post-frame construction and repair. As such, many of our products work to protect your structure’s columns and foundation, increasing your building’s strength and longevity. Examples of our best products include:

To check out or learn more about the specialized post-frame components produced by Anthem Built, or if you wish to use these products, call 815-780-0206 to find an installer near you. Or, to become an Anthem Built Installer yourself, fill out our online form.