How to Roof a Pole Barn

metal roof
What You'll Need
Strong tin
Hack saw
Roofing nails
Large hammer
Safety equipment (gloves and ladder)

A pole barn is a quick and easy way to house a large amount of farming equipment or even livestock. Once the poles and walls have been erected, the next step is to secure a strong and safe roof that can be installed by following a logical sequence of steps.

This will leave a pole barn that is completely secure against the elements and means all equipment or livestock will be protected from bad weather and any other external factors that could cause damage. You will need intermediate do-it-yourself skills to complete this job.

Step 1 - Measure Roof and Tin

Using a safe ladder, accurately measure the dimensions of the barn and keep a record of these. Make sure there is enough tin to completely cover the barn roof and leave an edge of roughly eight to 12 inches. The bigger the barn, the greater the edge will have to be. This will help with drainage.

Step 2 - Cut Your Tin

Cutting tin roofing

Put on safety gloves and use a hacksaw to cut up the tin into equally sized and easy-to-handle pieces. This will involve hard manual work so it may be worth considering the rental of an electric saw for this job. Alternately, it may even be possible to get the tin pre-cut and delivered. However, personal cutting of the tin will allow for adjustments when and where it may be needed. Remember the sheets will have to overlap.

Step 3 - Overlap the Tin

Secure the first tin sheet using a sturdy ladder, roofing nails, and a strong hammer. Overlap each sheet in turn, covering the previous sheet by roughly six inches. This step is important because correct overlapping will ensure the pole barn is protected against all inclement weather and other external factors. The overlapped sheets will form stronger barriers as they are effectively doubled in thickness.

Step 4 - Create a Ridge

a tin roof

Once the last piece of tin has been nailed down, make a small ridge cap at the peak of the roof by bending the tin inwards. This will help with draining because any water that directly hits the ridge will drain downwards and away from the barn. A ridge will stop pools of water from developing.

Step 5 - Check Rigidity

Tin is not the softest of materials to use so carrying out a visual inspection once the job is complete will make sure that all of the sheets and nails are firmly secured. The danger is that if one is loose, it can create a gap that will allow moisture inside. If any sheets or nails are loose simply remove and replace them immediately.


Because tin can be very difficult to penetrate it is possible even roofing nails will struggle to pass through an overlapping layer. In this eventuality, try drilling a small hole through the tin sheet before passing the nail through it.