barndominium home on land _ getty


In recent years, barndominiums have gained tremendous popularity as a unique housing option that combines the rustic charm of a barn with the modern comforts of a home. These versatile structures have become a popular choice for individuals seeking a customizable, spacious, and cost-effective living space. 

This Redfin article aims to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of barndominiums, from their construction to living in one, while highlighting the benefits they offer, whether you land in Oregon or Texas. So, let’s dive into the world of barndominiums and explore this exciting housing trend. 

barndominium home on land _ getty

What is a Barndominium?

A barndominium is a term used to describe a hybrid structure that combines a barn-like exterior with a residential interior. While the external design resembles a barn, the interior is transformed into a comfortable living space with all the modern amenities. These structures can be customized to suit various needs, whether it’s a weekend getaway, a primary residence, or a multi-purpose space.

“The term “barndominium” is often misunderstood, as its meaning has evolved over the years,” says BuildMax. “Modern barndominiums are defined as a style of architecture that combines country, farmhouse, and modern design, drawing inspiration from traditional barns.”

Why choose barndominiums: the benefits

Barndominiums are cost-effective 

Barndominiums often offer a more affordable alternative to traditional homes. The use of steel or metal frames for construction reduces costs, and the open layout allows for efficient use of space, eliminating the need for additional walls or support structures. 

“When building a barndominium, keep it simple and practical to maintain its economical nature,” emphasizes Absolute Steel Texas. “Avoid extravagant features and focus on being cost-effective. Prioritize a great kitchen and bathroom for better resale value. Additionally, buying factory-direct can be advantageous, avoiding contractor markups.”

They are eco-friendly

Barndominiums can be designed with eco-friendly features to reduce their environmental impact. Incorporating energy-efficient insulation, renewable energy sources like solar panels, and water conservation systems can make them more sustainable and environmentally friendly options for homeowners.

“Building a sustainable and energy-efficient “green” barndominium involves incorporating eco-friendly practices,” mentions Tennessee Barndominium Pros. “Key considerations include investing in high-quality insulation like cellulose, cotton, or wool to reduce energy needs and maintain comfortable indoor temperatures. Harnessing renewable energy through solar panels on the roof helps generate clean electricity for lighting, appliances, and heating. Additionally, integrating a rainwater harvesting system allows for water collection and storage for non-potable uses, further minimizing environmental impact. By implementing these practices, you can create a space that harmonizes with the environment and promotes sustainable living.”

You can customize your barndominium 

One of the main advantages of barndominiums is their versatility. With an open floor plan, homeowners can customize the interior to suit their preferences. Whether it’s adding extra bedrooms, a home office, or a large entertainment area, the possibilities are endless.

Barndominiums are durable 

Barndominiums are built using steel or metal frames, making them highly durable and resistant to the elements. They can withstand extreme weather conditions, such as strong winds and heavy snowfall, providing long-term stability and peace of mind.

“These residential structures require careful design considerations from the beginning,” states BEST Pole Barn Kits, Pole Barn Designs & Pole Building Installers. “This includes the involvement of an engineer who assesses factors like wind, snow, and structural strength. The engineer’s calculations are then used by a designer to create a detailed plan that meets local building codes for insulation, design criteria, and aesthetics.”

They are spacious homes

Unlike traditional homes with predefined room sizes, barndominiums offer vast interior spaces with high ceilings. This openness creates a sense of freedom and allows for creative interior designs.

How to build a barndominium

Planning and design

Begin by determining the purpose of your barndominium and envisioning the layout. Consult with an architect or designer to create a blueprint that suits your needs and adheres to local building codes.

“One important tip for barndominium builds is to plan a safety room for severe weather events,” expresses DM Roofing Siding and Windows. “This room should be built with solid wall materials, such as blocks, to provide shelter. It is often located in a corner of the shop area, but it’s crucial to consider it during the initial planning phase. Collaborating with your architect and builder allows for creative integration of the safety room with the overall design of the home. This feature is particularly important in areas prone to severe storms.”

Site preparation

Clear the chosen site and ensure it is level and suitable for construction. Take into account factors such as drainage, utilities, and accessibility.

“When considering building a barndominium, it’s crucial to be aware of your limitations,” insists AVO Barndominium Builders. “While barndominium kits are popular for DIY projects, safety should always be a top priority. We strongly advise individuals without building experience to hire a licensed contractor. We frequently encounter situations where we have to fix mistakes or assist those who have exceeded their capabilities, resulting in additional costs to rectify errors.”

Foundation and framing

Choose an appropriate foundation type, such as a concrete slab or pier and beam. Erect the steel or metal frame according to the specifications in your blueprint.

“When choosing between wood and steel for your build, I highly recommend steel for long-term cost savings and peace of mind,” shares Prefab Housing Canada. “While wood may initially appear cheaper, steel offers advantages such as upfront pricing and reduced labor costs due to prefab components. Steel is resistant to rot, pests, and has lower maintenance costs. Additionally, insurance premiums can be lower due to reduced fire risk compared to wood structures.”

Exterior and roofing

When constructing the exterior of your barndominium, consider using a variety of materials to achieve the desired aesthetic and functionality. In addition to metal, another popular choice for roofing is architectural shingles. These shingles are designed to mimic the appearance of traditional roofing materials like wood or slate, while offering the durability and longevity of modern materials. They provide excellent protection against the elements and come in a wide range of styles and colors, allowing you to customize the look of your barndominium.

Whether you choose metal or architectural shingles, selecting the right roofing material is essential for maintaining the integrity and visual appeal of your barndominium.

Interior finishing

Install electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems as per your design. Divide the interior space into rooms, add insulation, and choose suitable flooring, paint, and finishes.

“When building a barndominium, prioritize a floor plan that balances functionality with the unique barn-like qualities,” shares  Love Remodeled. “Opt for an open concept layout, high ceilings, and large windows for natural light. Consider adding a cupola for aesthetics and increased sunlight. Include a well-equipped kitchen, full bath, and laundry area on the first floor. Utilize the second floor for bedrooms, a bathroom, and versatile spaces. Choose a contractor who can avoid support posts on the first floor. Create a warm color palette, incorporate mid-tone wood shiplap, natural stone elements, black hog wire fencing, and an off-white paint color for an authentic and cozy aesthetic.”

Permits and inspections

Obtaining permits and scheduling inspections is a crucial part of the construction process. It involves researching and understanding the specific permit requirements in your area, contacting the local building department, and submitting permit applications. 

Inspections are conducted at different stages of construction to ensure compliance with building codes and safety standards. This process helps protect your investment, ensures the safety of occupants, and provides peace of mind. Collaborating with your contractor or builder is essential to ensure all necessary permits are obtained and inspections are scheduled appropriately. 

Wooden barn in the backyard of the cottage _ getty

What does a barndominium cost?

Determining the cost of a barndominium depends on several factors, including size, design, location, and customization. While prices can vary significantly, here are some example price points to provide a general idea.

A basic, no-frills barndominium without extensive customization can range from $70 to $100 per square foot. For instance, a 2,000 square foot barndominium in this category could cost between $140,000 and $200,000.

On the other hand, a mid-range barndominium with some customization and upgraded finishes may range from $100 to $150 per square foot. A 2,000 square foot barndominium in this range could cost between $200,000 and $300,000.

For those looking for high-end, fully customized barndominiums with premium finishes and luxury features, the cost can exceed $150 per square foot. In this category, a 2,000 square foot barndominium could cost upwards of $300,000 or more.

Note that these price ranges are rough estimates and can vary based on factors such as location, materials used, labor costs, and specific design choices. It’s recommended to consult with builders, contractors, or barndominium specialists to get accurate pricing estimates based on your specific requirements and location.

“When building a barndominium, it’s important not to rush the planning and design phase,” says builders Barndominium Life. “Take the time to find a plan that truly meets your needs and desires. Additionally, create a realistic budget and stick to it to avoid exceeding your financial limits. Consider construction costs, materials, and add a 20 percent buffer. Utilizing a budget tracker can help you plan expenses and keep the project on track.”

Mastering barndominium living: essential tips

Maintenance

Regularly inspect and maintain your barndominium to ensure its longevity. Monitor the roof, foundation, and exterior for any signs of damage or wear.

“While it may seem unconventional, it’s wise to invest in quality for things that are not easily changed,” recommends Woody’s Barndominium Tour. “For example, don’t compromise on insulation, plumbing, electrical work, or independent home inspections. These may not be glamorous investments, but they are crucial for long-term satisfaction and safety. Opting for cost-effective light fixtures or easily replaceable features like shower/tub inserts allows for future upgrades without major consequences. By focusing on getting the foundational aspects right the first time, you can avoid the need for extensive renovations or repairs down the line.”

Interior design

When designing the interior of your barndominium, you have the opportunity to unleash your creativity and personalize the space. Balance rustic elements to complement the barn-like exterior with modern amenities for comfort and convenience. Incorporate reclaimed wood, exposed beams, or vintage fixtures for a touch of rustic charm. Integrate state-of-the-art appliances, sleek countertops, and smart home technology for a modern twist. Create functional zones within the open floor plan to cater to your specific needs. Let your personal style shine through for a warm and inviting home.

Landscaping

Enhance the aesthetic appeal of your property by designing a complementary landscape. Consider the surrounding environment and choose plants and outdoor features that harmonize with the barndominium’s style.

“Outdoor living spaces are a popular trend in barndominium builds, especially in Southern US builds, with features like wrap-around porches, outdoor kitchens, and swimming pools,” notes Metal Building Homes. “Natural landscaping using native plants and materials is another trend, reducing water usage and enhancing aesthetics. Incorporating these trends adds value and flexibility to barndominium designs.”

Why you should work with a a professional

When embarking on a barndominium project, it is highly recommended to work with a professional who specializes in barndominium construction. Keystone Construction says, “after 18 years in business and over 2000 buildings built, we believe that it’s more about the people that you choose to build with than the materials that they use.”

Expertise and experience: A professional barndominium builder brings extensive expertise and experience to the table. They have in-depth knowledge of the unique design and construction requirements. Their expertise ensures that your project is executed efficiently, with attention to detail and adherence to building codes.

“Hiring a licensed contractor for your barndominium construction is crucial,” suggests Sherman.Builders. “They possess the expertise to design and build the shell, stay within your budget, and ensure compliance with building codes. A contractor who can handle the entire project saves time and potentially reduces costs.”

Customized design: Working with a professional allows you to benefit from their design expertise. They can help you create a customized floor plan and layout that suits your specific needs and lifestyle. Professionals understand the importance of balancing functionality, aesthetics, and structural integrity, ensuring that your barndo is both beautiful and practical.

Quality construction: Professional builders have access to top-quality materials and have established relationships with trusted suppliers. They are skilled in managing the construction process, ensuring that all elements of your barndominium, from the foundation to the finishing touches, are built to the highest standards. This results in a structurally sound and long-lasting home.

“Barndominiums have gained popularity due to their unique combination of rustic charm and modern comfort,” claims Mykala Mortgage Planning. “They are often more affordable than conventional construction, making them an attractive option for those seeking cost-effective housing solutions. To ensure accurate pricing, it is recommended to find a local builder experienced in post-frame, barn-home, or barndominium construction. This allows you to target a budget that suits your needs.”

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Streamlined project management: Building a barndominium involves various tasks, including obtaining permits, coordinating subcontractors, and managing timelines and budgets. A professional builder handles all these aspects, ensuring that the project progresses smoothly and efficiently. They have established networks of trusted subcontractors and suppliers, making the construction process more streamlined.

“Building a barndominium can be confusing due to varying information from builders and lenders,” mentions Boss Hog Barndominiums. “To simplify the process, it’s advisable to choose a builder who offers comprehensive services. This includes financing, complete build-ready design, and full construction services. Many builders only provide limited options, leaving homeowners to figure out the rest. Ensure that the plans you purchase are build-ready and designed by a qualified architect. Ordering plans off the internet may result in disappointment if they don’t align with your specific build. It’s recommended to work with a builder who offers in-house services to avoid unnecessary expenses.”



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Mike McNamara

Mike McNamara

A Las Vegas Realtor since 2008. Mike has a wide range of knowledge around all things Las Vegas.

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