The Original Barndominium from Fixer Upper

Barndominiums 101

Imagine if you could live in a big, beautiful house with rural charm without going broke trying to pay for your mortgage.

Picture if that house was customized to meet your every need and perfectly designed to match your personality.

It might sound like a pipe dream, but it is a very real possibility if you get a barndominium.

What is a Barndominium?

Florida Barndominium Building Guide

Barndominiums are becoming a big deal, but you might still not be familiar with them or their benefits.

Simply put, a barndominium a barn which serves as a home.

In other words, structurally speaking, a barndominium is a barn, but it includes the finishing, insulation, doors, windows, and other residential features required to make it a functional living space.

Many barndominiums styled to look like barns or classic farmhouses, but with others, the “barn” nature of the structure is much less obvious.

This new type of structure comes with many misspellings. It is also commonly referred to as: bardominiums, barndominums, barndaminiums, etc…

Why Are Barndominiums Popular?

There are many benefits to choosing a barndominium for your next home, and all of them contribute to why barndominiums are popular.

But the main reason is that barndominiums allow you to have it all: a home which is huge, but surprisingly cost-effective.

Living in a Big House and Saving Money? Yes!

Generally speaking, most of us assume that cost and space are a constant trade-off when choosing a home. Either we spend more for a larger home, or we spend less for a smaller home.

But barndominiums are the great exception to that rule.

In fact, depending on your current living situation, there is a chance that you could live in a much larger home than the one you are in now for a significantly smaller cost if you purchase a barndominium.

Main Benefits of Barndos

A Single Slope Barndo

Here are some of the reasons why more and more home buyers are flocking to barndominiums:

  • Fast, easy, and economical construction: With a barndominium kit and the help of a skilled contractor, you can rapidly and affordably build a home of your own.
  • Open floor plan: One of the main appeals of barndominiums is that they feature spacious floor plans with few obstructions. Such a layout can be satisfying both from a functional and aesthetic point of view.
  • A big house for a small cost: You can live in a huge house if you choose a barndominium at a cost which is startlingly low (we will go into details on barndominium costs shortly).
  • Choose materials, layout, finishing, style and features: A barndominium can be constructed out of metal, wood, or other materials to suit your preference. A completed barndominium can look like a traditional rural farmhouse or a sleek modern building. The finished appearance of the structure is entirely up to you.
  • Can be modular: You will discover while shopping for barndominium home kits that some of them are modular. So, they may be scalable to your needs if you want to add a more living space later.
  • Residential or commercial (or both): While barndominium homes are becoming a popular trend, these structures are not exclusively residential. In fact, they are ideal for a wide range of commercial uses as well. They can serve as churches, retail stores, workshops, and so forth.

Do Barndominiums Have Drawbacks?

Barndominium With Wrap Around Porch Floor Plan135072GRA
Wrap around porch barndo

With so many benefits, you might be wondering whether barndominiums have any disadvantages.

While there are not a lot of potential disadvantages, there are a couple to consider.

First of all, if you are in an urban area, it may be more challenging to get approval for a barndominium than it would be if you were in a rural community. This is why you hear a lot about Texas barndominiums and others in wide open spaces.

Most of the other drawbacks of barndominiums are the same as they are for other large buildings. Obviously, if you need to relocate, you will not be able to easily move your house with you. Additionally, living in a big house means spending more time on cleaning and maintenance.

Who Should Consider Moving Into a Barndo?

Could a barndominium be the right kind of home for you?

Here are some signs that it could be the ideal option for your needs:

  • You enjoy spacious, open layouts.
  • You have the budget to invest in a larger home, but do not want to spend an arm and a leg.
  • You want to be able to customize a large home to your exact needs.
  • You have a practical reason to want a large, functional space, for example because you want your home to also include a workshop.

These are just some of the many scenarios where a barndominium could be suitable.

How Much Does it Cost to Build A Barndominium?

We have mentioned a number of times now that one of the key benefits of building a barndominium is saving money.

So, how much exactly can you expect to spend?

At the lower end of the price range, it costs around $80-$90 per square foot to build a barndominium.

That includes the price of the foundation as well as the finishing.

In other words, if you are able to take care of some of the construction work on your property yourself, your cost per square foot for your building kit could be significantly lower than that, perhaps around only $40 per square foot.

At the upper end, the cost might be around $125 per square foot.

With other traditional styles of home construction, costs are more likely to range between $100-$155 per square foot.

So, you can see how a barndominium is more affordable than the typical home.

That means that you get more bang for your buck, and you can afford a larger structure than you would be able to otherwise.

What are some of the factors which impact the barndominium price per square foot?

  • Type of foundation: Different types of foundation are more or less expensive. You will need to choose a type which is suitable for your structure and location.
  • Cost of materials: Many barndominiums are made of metal, but some are made of other materials. Plus, finishing materials may differ as well.
  • Doors, windows and features: Installing doors, windows and additional features can all raise the cost of a structure.
  • Insulation: The insulation you choose can impact the cost to build your home. Keep in mind, however, that it may be less expensive in the long run to opt for higher quality insulation now. Doing so may save you money on long-term heating and cooling bills.
  • Delivery cost: There can be variations in how much it costs to deliver a barndominium kit depending both on the specifics of what you ordered as well as your location.
  • Labor cost: How much you pay contractors to build your barndominium may range significantly based on their experience, processes, and more. If you choose DIY for some portion of the work, that is one way you could lower your costs (though it still requires a time investment).
  • Cost to purchase the land and outfit it with utilities (water, power, cable, etc.): Do not forget to factor in the cost of your land as well as any steps you need to take to prepare it when calculating the full price of a barndominium.

Types of Barndominiums

There are essentially two main types of barndominiums: those made of metal, and those constructed out of wood.

Wood Barndominiums

Tennessee Barndominium Builders

This type of barndominium may be known as a “pole barn,” a “post-framed building,” or simply a “pole building.”

This is a more traditional method of construction, though it may include some pre-engineered elements.

The main attraction to wood as a building material versus metal is probably that the cost per square foot for the materials tends to be cheaper.

Nevertheless, the building process tends to be slower and more involved, requiring a higher level of expertise. This can offset those costs savings.

Plus, in the long run, metal offers a number of compelling benefits wood does not (see below).

Metal Barndominiums

Red Patriot Barndo
© Rafter P

The most common material used for metal barndominiums is steel.

Constructing your home out of steel offers the following advantages:

  • Save time and money on construction. With prefabricated metal parts, it is fast and easy to build a metal barndominium. As such, it also is more cost-effective than putting up a wood structure.
  • Spend less money maintaining your home. Because steel is much more durable than wood, upkeep is minimal, saving you more money as well as time and stress.
  • Your house can stand up better to harsh weather. Steel is far less likely than wood to buckle under high winds or other intense weather conditions.
  • You won’t have issues with wood rot. If you live in a climate where humidity and mold are common problems, steel is a much smarter choice than wood as it will not be susceptible to wood rot.
  • Pests don’t chew on steel. Termites and other pests that feed on wood will not harm your steel structure.
  • Your home is fire-resistant. Although fire can damage metal, it is still more resistant than wood.
  • Steel offers superior longevity. Few materials can stand the test of time as well as steel. If you build a barndominium today, it should be in excellent condition for the rest of your life. Indeed, you should be able to pass it down to your descendents.
  • Metal can be an eco-friendly building material for a barndominium. You can build a barndominium from recycled steel. Even though your building should stand for a very long time, if it needs to be demolished for whatever reason in the future, you can rest assured that it too will be recyclable.

How to Build a Barndominium

Want to take the next steps toward getting your own barndo?

Here is what you need to do to make it happen.

1. Choose a location for your barndominium.

Before you can build a barndominium, you will need to choose a location. Consider both the features of the environment and building codes for the area. Again, you are most likely to get a permit to build a barndominium if you are doing so in a rural area.

2. Prepare your land for the barndominium.

If you need to make any modifications to the land before you construct your barndominium, that is the next step. You might need to run utilities to the site, for example.

3. Choose a floor plan, come up with a timetable, and get approval and permits.

Once you are all set up with your vacant land and you have selected a building site, you can move onto the next step, which is either creating or choosing an existing floor plan.

While taking care of this step, also see if you can come up with a realistic schedule for constructing your barndominium.

Once you have a floor plan and a timetable, you can bring both to your local regulators and apply for building permits.

At this stage, you also can bring your floor plan and schedule to your bank to obtain financing.

Some people attempt to procure financing before coming up with a building plan, but your chances of approval for a loan increase the more concrete your plans are.

4. Order your barndominium kit.

Now it is time to order the materials you need for construction. There are a lot of options here, but one of the easiest is to purchase a barndominium kit.

When you buy a barndominium kit, prefab components for your structure will be delivered to your building site.

5. Build your barndominium.

Once you have the prefabricated components of the barndominium, it is time to construct it.

Options here include hiring a contractor or building your home yourself. It is also possible to have a contractor take care of some steps will you handle others.

Regardless of the path you choose, you will need to have some other form of temporary housing while you are awaiting completion of your project. It is typical for barndominium construction projects to take around six months.

6. Move into your new home.

Once your barndominium is completed, it is time to move in and enjoy living in a big house for way less money than you probably imagined was possible!

Move Into the Huge Home of Your Dreams Quickly and Affordably with a Barndo

Excited to move into a beautiful, spacious, and affordable barn house? Continue exploring our site to learn in-depth about barndominiums. Be sure and check out our recommended contractors for floor plans and prefab barndominium kits!

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