What Is A Barndominium? Pros, Cons, And Cost
With uncertainty surrounding the US housing market, including record high prices and low inventory, many consumers are seeking out alternative living options. One option more people are turning to is the barndominium.
Barndominiums are an increasingly popular phenomenon as they offer versatility in their design and function while being economical, low maintenance, and energy efficient.
At Western States Metal Roofing, we proudly manufacture metal roofing and metal siding panels for residential and commercial projects. While we do not sell or construct barndominiums, we work with many contractors and builders that do.
If you are looking for a cost effective, low maintenance home that offers you more flexibility in how it’s utilized, a barndominium may be the perfect solution for you.
In this article, we introduce the concept of a barndominium and go over what you need to know to help you begin to decide if it’s the right choice for your lifestyle.
What Is A Barndominium?
A barndominium, also known as a barndo, is an open concept building, made from either metal or wood, that combines living quarters and a working area. While the midwestern parts of the US tend to use wood frame barndominiums, steel frame barndominiums are more popular in the south and southeast parts of the US.
No matter if you use wood or steel, all barndominiums carry the entire weight of the roof system along the perimeter. This makes the interior of the barndominium similar to a warehouse, giving you an open space with endless design possibilities. Even during construction, barndos have the design flexibility for walls to be moved around to change the layout and room sizes.
The term “barndominium” was famously used by Chip and Joanna Gaines on the HGTV show Fixer Upper when they turned an existing barn into a beautiful home. Now, the term can be used to describe any metal construction from a simple one story barn house to a large, luxurious home.
The living area can include the same comfort and amenities you would find in a regular home from the basics of plumbing and electricity to the more luxurious including a second story, open floor plan, vaulted ceiling, and even a wraparound porch.
The working area of a barndominium can include anything from a simple storage warehouse area with barn doors to a large workshop. The working space can be customized to meet your needs and the type of business you have.
A steel barndominium is a cost effective way to utilize your space to its fullest potential in all areas of your life.
How Long Does It Take To Build A Barndominium?
Most barndominiums take approximately 3-6 months to construct. However, just like with a conventional home, a barndominium’s construction time depends on various factors including the level of customization. The building process on a simple barn home can be done in just a matter of weeks as opposed to a custom barndominium that could take over a year.
Barndominiums also greatly vary in size which has a major impact on construction time. In general, barndominiums are much quicker to build compared to traditional homes, and can be completed in roughly half the time.
Popular Sizes For Barndominiums
Just like a traditional home, a barndominium floor plan can be made to be any size and customized to your specifications. However, there are sizes that are more common for barndos:
- 40x30 (1200 square foot)
- 40x60 (2400 square foot)
- 40x75 (3000 square foot)
- 60x60 (3600 square foot)
- 60x70 (4200 square foot)
The right size for you will depend on how much living space, as well as storage and workspace, you will need. The benefit of a barndominium interior is that you can maximize the space to use it any way you wish.
How Much Is A Barndominium?
The cost of a barndominium varies almost as much as the cost of a house.
Factors that go into the cost of a barndominium include:
- Quality of materials and finishes being used
- Labor charges
- Custom features
- Construction material pricing (price surges due to shortages)
With barndos, you have the option to purchase a basic barndominium kit, which only includes the essential components of the walls and roof, or a complete turnkey barndo. Turnkey barndominiums include every detail you would need such as cabinetry, windows and flooring.
Below is a general price range for each basic component of a barndominium home:
Do Barndominiums Hold Their Value?
Barndominiums maintain their resale value and can even experience a gradual increase in value overtime. However, the value of a barndominium does not increase nearly as rapidly as a traditional home.
While barndominiums are becoming more popular, they are still rare in certain parts of the country. This is something to take into consideration if you are building a barndominium in an area where they are less popular and intend to resell it in the near future. Between a lack of comparable properties nearby and appraisers that are unfamiliar with the structures in general, getting an accurate appraisal for a barndominium sale can be more challenging.
What Are The Advantages Of A Barndominium?
- Energy Efficiency
Barndominiums offer exceptional value on a per square foot basis, and are exceptionally beneficial for large families or when a business requires a large workspace. They also have lower insurance rates and taxes.
Is A Barndominium Cheaper Than A House?
Barndominiums can be cheaper than traditional homes as a future barndominium owner has the option to be their own general contractor and buy a barndominium house plan directly online, saving anywhere from 15-20%. However, if a general contractor is used, then the cost of building a barndominium is comparable to a traditional home.
When a metal building such as a barndominium is insulated, it becomes energy efficient by keeping air from escaping and putting less stress on the heating and cooling system. This energy efficiency generally results in lower utility bills.
Barndominiums enjoy the same benefits as metal roofing and siding, which includes their longevity.
How Long Do Barndominiums Last?
As long as you keep up with the occasional maintenance of the roof and siding, you can expect to enjoy your barndominium for 50 years or possibly even longer.
By being made out of metal, barndominiums have similar durability to steel structures with resistance to:
- Extreme weather
Are Barndominiums Safe?
Barndominiums have the strength and durability that comes with being made from metal, making them just as safe or even more secure than a traditional home. The structural integrity of a barndominium also makes them last longer with less maintenance.
There are endless possibilities when it comes to the design and function of a barndominium. When choosing to construct a fully custom barndo, you can control the size of your living vs work area and design your workspace to be anything including a:
What Are The Disadvantages Of A Barndominium?
- Difficult to find financing options
- May be difficult to resell
- Zoning restrictions
Financing For Barndominiums Is Harder To Find
With the increase in barndominium popularity in recent years, more lenders are open to financing a barndominium. However, finding a loan for a barndominium is more difficult than getting approved for a mortgage for a traditional home.
While more difficult through traditional housing lenders, finding financing for a barndominium is possible. They can generally be financed through farm credit lenders.
Before you inquire about financing with a lender, you need to compile as much information as possible including interior details of your barndominium, materials list, subcontractor bids and a timeline for your project.
Custom Barndominiums Are Difficult To Resell
A barndominium is not a conventional home, so while they are gaining popularity, they do not appeal to the mass market. Since they are a niche market with a floor plan that is customized to each owner’s specifications, it may be difficult to sell in the future if you decide to do so.
Zoning Restrictions For Barndominiums
Finding a location to build your metal barndominium can be difficult. Barndominiums are often not allowed in cities and towns due to building regulations. They are more common to find in rural areas where the building code is more relaxed.
What Are The Best States To Build A Barndominium?
As a structure itself, barndominiums are compatible with almost any state and environment. They may require extra insulation in extreme cold weather, but that is no different than any other type of dwelling.
However, some areas are more favorable for barndominiums from a cost perspective. The south and midwest are areas with considerably cheaper labor and land which helps keep construction costs lower.
What Are The Cheapest States To Build A Barndominium?
- West Virginia
Is A Barndominium Right For You?
If you’re looking for a living and working space and ready to enjoy an affordable, low maintenance home, a barndominium may be right for you.
Western States Metal Roofing works with many metal building professionals that are active in the barndominium construction market that can make your metal home plans come to life. If you are interested in building your dream barndominium, contact us today.
Contractors work with us as we’ve been leaders in metal manufacturing for over 25 years. We offer manufacturer direct pricing on metal panels in over 100 specialty colors that you won’t find anywhere else.
For design inspiration, check out our free color visualizer to start creating your dream metal home today.