A pole barn construction is a building method that utilizes vertical posts and horizontal beams to support the structure. Unlike traditional framing methods, pole barn structures don’t require a foundation. Instead, tall posts are driven deep into the ground as the foundation.
The most common materials used for pole barn construction include wood, metal, and concrete. These can be designed for various purposes, such as agricultural storage, workshops, and residential homes.
Pole barns with metal or steel construction are known for their durability and have become popular with many builders and homeowners.
However, to protect it from rust and add beauty, painting your barn steel structure is recommended, without which steel panels will corrode and wear off, meaning your building will not last as long as it should.
In this blog post, I’ll walk you through the necessary steps to give your pole barn house a fresh look, so let’s get started…
Painting Metal Pole Barn
I agree – painting the metal pole barn DIY can be daunting for many people, but getting a beautiful and durable finish is not impossible.
To protect your investment for years, just follow the easy steps below.
Step 1- Prepare the surface
To prepare the metal surfaces for painting, it’s important to clean them first. You can achieve this using a power washer or a wire brush to scrub away dirt, grime, or rust.
You may need to use a chemical rust remover like TSP for heavy rust or grime. It’s a potent cleaner that effectively eliminates all grim. But as the chemical is corrosive, wear gloves and a face mask. Also, you may need to use a ladder or rent a cherry picker for the surfaces too high to reach.
Once the entire surface is cleaned, use sandpaper or steel wool to rough up the surface, which helps the paint stick better. Then use a damp rag or cloth to wipe down the pole barn to remove any sanded dust.
Step 2- Apply a rust inhibitor and primer
After the surface is clean and dry, apply a rust inhibitor (using a paintbrush, roller, or sprayer ) to help prevent rust from forming on the metal.
After the coating has dried, apply a primer to the metal barn structure so that the paint will adhere properly.
Acrylic direct-to-metal primer is specifically designed to adhere to metal surfaces such as those of pole barn structures. So, use a brush, roller, or sprayer to apply this primer and provide a strong base for paint.
If you are using a brush or roller, make sure that you apply the primer evenly and in a thin layer. If you are using a sprayer, you need to hold the nozzle about 12 inches away from the surface and ensure that you overlap each stroke so that you don’t miss any areas.
Do not overspray the areas, as it can cause the primer to run or get the coating thick, which takes too long to dry. Also, after spraying, check and brush all the areas left uncovered with the airless sprayer.
Once completed, let the primer dry completely overnight before moving on to the next step.
Step 3- Paint the metal pole barn
After the primer has dried, choose direct-to-metal paint (or oil-based enamel paint) and use your airless paint sprayer to apply the paint evenly on the galvanized pole barn steel surfaces.
When spraying the paint, make sure that you hold the nozzle about 12 inches away from the surface and overlap each stroke as you paint. Do not overspray the areas, and do not forget to cover the areas with a brush that is left.
Allow the first paint layer to dry completely, and then apply a second coat for a good finish and protection. Depending on the structure’s condition, you may need to apply even a third coat if necessary.
If you are using oil-based paint, also make sure that you apply a top coat of polyurethane to protect the paint from chipping or peeling off.
Paint the Roof or Side First – What’s Better?
If you ask me, I prefer painting the metal sides of a building first because it is easier to walk around the structure and paint the metal roof last.
But if you are already a pro DIYer, it doesn’t matter which part you start with if you follow all the steps correctly.
It is up to you as both options have their advantages.
- If you start with the roof, you can avoid dripping paint accidentally on the barn siding.
- But, starting with the sides, you can avoid getting paint on the roof.
So, when painting an aluminum shed, a rusty pole barn, or a steel building, it doesn’t matter which way you do it. If you are careful, use the right type of paint, and take your time, you can complete your project successfully.
How Much Does it Cost to Refinish a Pole Barn?
The cost of building a pole barn varies greatly depending on the size and type of materials used. Knowing what you’re getting into before beginning your project helps ensure that you don’t end up spending more than necessary.
On average, you can expect to pay between $15 to $50 per square foot installed. This also means a 30×40 pole barn would cost around $18,000 to $48,000 to build.
When painting a pole barn, you can expect to pay anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000. The cost will depend on the number of coats that need to be applied and the type of paint used.
On average, you should be able to cover 300 to 400 square feet per gallon of paint. So, if you’re painting a 30×40 pole barn, you would need approximately 11 to 14 gallons of paint. Additionally, the cost of brushes and rollers should also be considered.
What Color is Good to Paint Your Pole Barn Structure?
To select the appropriate paint color and finishes for your pole barn, take into account the surrounding environment. If your pole barn shed is situated in a rural area, choose a color that complements the natural surroundings. However, if your pole barn is in an urban locale, opt for a color that makes it noticeable.
You should also consider the purpose of your pole barn structure. For example, if you are using it for storage only, you can opt for a light color to keep it cooler inside. However, if you’re aim is to use your structure as a workshop, it’s good to choose a darker color for better visibility and increased safety.
For a pole barn, some of the best options are earthy shades like light brown, dark green, taupe, beige, and white. Increasingly popular is the use of two colors to give your pole barn structure a unique look. Before choosing from these colors, think about the color palette of your home and shop around for attractive paint colors that complement it because you want your pole barn to stand out without looking out of place.
Picking the right paint finish from the available options can also be tedious. However, if you weigh up your needs and check out the reviews, you can select the best one from glossy, matte, eggshell, satin, and semi-gloss.
Choose the one depending on how you will use your pole barn. For example, if the building is exposed to weather and high temperatures, an eggshell finish works best and can withstand the harsh environment better. Conversely, if you want a more stylish look, it’s better to go with glossy or semi-gloss paint finishes. These are also more durable and easier to clean.
The Bottom Line
Pole barn structures are cost-effective, easy to build, and versatile. You can use them to store large items, such as farm equipment or vehicles. But what happens when it looks a little dated or needs a fresh coat of paint?
Although it may seem daunting, painting them is something you can tackle on your own as long as you follow the proper steps. Ensure you select durable paint and color that you’ll be satisfied with for an extended period.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for over a decade serving customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, and Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.