Post Frame vs. Stud Frame

What Is the Difference? 

A post frame building consists of engineered columns (also called “posts”) that are buried in the ground, 8-10 feet apart. Post-frame construction uses columns that transfer the roof load into the ground and engineered trusses to give you clear span options on your building design. Stud frame buildings (sometimes called “stick frame” or “traditional construction”), are generally built over a basement or concrete slab with the framing studs and trusses every 16 or 24 inches apart. The stud wall construction transfers the load of the building to the concrete foundation.

From the Ground Up

To compare total costs between stud frame building vs. post-frame construction, let’s start at the beginning with site preparation and foundation considerations.

For a post frame structure, the only site preparation needed is a level surface, such as a professionally excavated rock base and gravel pad. Since the structure is supported of treated wood columns buried 3-4 feet into the ground, flooring is not essential to the overall integrity of the building. This makes an inexpensive option if additional flooring is not required or will be added later.

Stud frame structures are built on a pre-poured concrete foundation. This requires more site-work to be completed before building starts.

Cost

Post frame structures are built with Engineered support columns buried in the ground, 8-10 feet apart vs. a stud frame structure, 2x studs are every set 16-24 inches on a foundation, making post frame more cost-efficient when it comes to buying materials.

Stud frame is ideal for finishing the interior but requires more material.

Design and Expandability

With the support posts set 8-10 feet apart, post frame allows for wide, clear spaces that work well for a variety of applications. Some of those applications are office space, warehousing, retail stores, vehicle storage, fire departments, auto retailers, and more. If expansion is needed, creating larger entryways and windows is simple when connecting the old and new spaces.

Traditional construction is better when it comes to interior load-bearing walls. This is ideal for complex home designs.

Energy Savings

Insulating a post frame structure vs. stud frame, the cost is mostly what differs. In stud frame, insulation in 24-inch wood stud spacing, on a medium-sized building will have hundreds of insulation “breaks”. Therefore, allowing energy to escape through the vertical wood studs. With blown insulation rising to popularity, this is becoming less of an issue, because the insulating mixture thickly coats any “breaks”.

With post frame buildings, you can apply the insulation in continuous segments that span the eight-foot spacing. Due to the thickness of the support beams, the wall cavity is deeper, providing more insulation capability, if needed.

Which Option Is Right for You?

Modern post frame structures are highly engineered, and economical options for virtually any building. In recent times, many schools, churches, civic buildings, fire and police stations, and many beautiful private residences have post frame designs. It’s practicality, energy efficiency, durability, sustainability, short completion time and lower cost have won over many decision-makers.

However, traditional stud frame construction is still well-used and preferred by many, and maybe a better option depending on your project design.

If you need help in deciding or have questions on what would work best for you, call us! 

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