Horse Barn Construction

Pros and Cons of Timber Frame Mortise and Tenon For Horse Barns

Building a custom horse barn is an investment, and with any major decision, knowledge is critical. B&D Builders wants you to be armed with information so you can make an educated determination when it comes to building a custom barn.

When designing and planning your custom horse barn, expert craftsmanship and knowledge of the detailed architecture are key. There are various types of construction and being able to determine which option fits your specific needs will put you one step ahead in the process.

Pole Barns

This style of design requires large wooden poles to be buried in the ground serving as support for the roof of the structure.


Pole barn construction is inexpensive and allows for easy customization. Adding extra features like insulation and steel framing is simple.


For the safety of animals, pole barns are not generally recommended because they can become a poisonous and hazardous environment. The wood decays and erodes over time creating unsanitary conditions. These two components also cause the poles to shift, creating more pressure on the frame and walls. Since they become unsafe over time, these barns are typically seen as temporary structures. If you are looking for a long-term horse barn solution, pole barns may not be the best option for your needs. They require constant repairs and upkeep; therefore, higher insurance costs should also be expected.

Steel Frame Barns

Steel frame barns are assembled with steel columns secured in a concrete floor.


Steel framing has begun to rise in popularity over the last few decades due to the durability of the structures. For construction purposes, it is easy to move around and secure in place. The steel creates a sturdy, durable support for the barn that can last for decades.


These buildings can be expensive to construct and maintain. Since many contractors are not familiar with how to efficiently build this type of barn, the price of labor, although comparable to the competition, may take longer and therefore cost more money in the long run. The massive amount of energy used to stabilize a comfortable temperature in these structures can also be costly. The steel used to create the frame absorbs heat 400 times faster than wood, which reduces the impact that wall insulation offers by 60%.

Timber Frame, Mortise and Tenon Horse Barns

This type of timber framing is considered to be one of the strongest. This method has been used by woodworkers for thousands of years. The entire frame is made solely out of wood, and involves connecting two carefully designed and cut pieces of timber to fit perfectly into a 90-degree angle. 


This method requires precise cutting and assembly, and finding a trusted team of experts to design and build the barn may be challenging. If your contractor is not qualified for this process, then you may run the risk of the wood splitting and causing breakage in the joint. Because of this, it’s important to qualify the builder based on experience, expertise, equipment and success with similar projects.


The mortise and tenon method serves as an extremely strong support for the timber frame barn. The construction can last for decades with minimal maintenance and repairs. This type of assembly offers flexible floor plan options, so you can build a barn that suits your specific needs. These wood-based structures are naturally energy efficient. Timber does not absorb heat as much as metal. On top of that, Structural Insulated Panels are easily installed in timber frames. These panels offer notable cost savings on energy and an eco-friendly environment. Therefore, the cost of heating and cooling is insignificant when compared to the other options.

Timber frames are not only beautiful, but they also offer a lot of additional benefits. At B&D Builders, we have a trusted, expert team of architects to assist with timber frame construction and we enjoy educating our clients on different options. If you would like to hear more about the advantages that timber-framed horse barns have to offer, please give us a call at 717.687.0292 or contact us to get the conversation started!