How to Finish the Interior of a Pole Barn

Finish a pole barn with a stain and varnish.
Finish a pole barn with a stain and varnish. (Image: pole image by lomaginson from

A pole barn is traditionally composed of a roof extended over a series of wooden posts. Its structure does not include exterior walls, as it is generally intended only to store hay and livestock. The advantage of a pole barn is that it has the capacity to hold large quantities of storage items and is easily accessible by the owners and their vehicles. The wooden poles of a pole barn require a finish in order to withstand the constant exposure to the outdoors.

Things You'll Need

  • 100-grit sanding sponge
  • Duster
  • Tack cloth
  • Wood stain
  • 2 natural-bristle brushes
  • Rag
  • Sanding sealer
  • 280-grit sanding sponge
  • Polyurethane wood varnish
  • Foam brush
  • Painter's rag

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Sand one of the wood posts with a 100-grit sanding sponge to smooth out dirt and signs of wear. This prepares the surface for a stain while eliminating imperfections and blemishes.

Dust the post to remove the loose sawdust and grit left after sanding. Wipe down the wood with a tack cloth to eliminate any remaining traces of dust.

Mix a can of wood stain using the accompanying stirring stick. The stain evens out the wood's natural color. Brush a single coat onto the post with a natural-bristle brush; then use a rag to wipe the excess quickly before it dries. Allow the stain to dry overnight.

Saturate the dry wood with a sanding sealer using a new brush. Brush the sealer in the direction of the wood grain. Wait for it to become dry to the touch.

Smooth the treated wood with a 280-grit sanding sponge to prepare it for sealing. Apply a polyurethane wood varnish to the post with a foam brush or painter's rag; this protective coating preserves the wood's condition and provides a durable, vibrant finish. Allow the first coat to dry overnight.

Sand the wood with the 280-grit sanding sponge. Treat the surface with one to two more applications of varnish, but leave the top coat unsanded. The multiple coats will ensure that necessary moisture is sealed into the wood to prevent cracking and drying. Repeat the same steps for each of the wooden posts, and use the same procedure on the floorboards if the barn features a wooden platform.


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