As homeowners begin to gravitate towards less traditional homes, they’re opting for alternatives like tiny houses or barndominiums. A barndominium is exactly what it sounds like – a blend between a barn and a condominium.
Barndominiums feature the traditional appearance of a barn or farmhouse on the outside with a contrasting modern and open interior. But the updated-barn style isn’t the only benefit to barndominiums, though. They’re more affordable, too.
Let’s explore the cost, building process, benefits, and drawbacks of a barndominium to see if this up-and-coming type of home is right for you.
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How much does a barndominium cost?
The average cost range of a barndominium is $50-$100 per square foot.
Barndominiums, or “barndos” are typically cheaper than a traditional modular house. They cost around $100 less per square foot to build. Though a new barndominium may be less expensive, price ranges fluctuate depending on the interior and exterior building materials you choose.
Barndominium building process
Image source: Outdooroo
The first step in building a barndominium home is buying the land it’ll be on. Depending on where you live, you may need to acquire building permits and meet local zoning requirements and building codes. Additional work such as excavation, pouring a concrete slab, plumbing, and foundational work will increase the total cost.
Once you’ve secured the amount of land you need, you’ll need to decide to either choose a barndo kit or customize it yourself. Kits offer barndominium floor plans, a steel or wood barndominium shell, roofing, windows, doors, and siding. Though options may be limited, ordering a barndominium kit will help save money on labor costs and materials – but you are responsible for interior items like insulation and countertops.
If you select a barndo kit, all of the materials are bundled together in the same delivery and typically built within a couple of weeks. If you’re converting a barn into a home, you’ll find that your barn might not have a foundation, which is common. In order to proceed with the build-out, you may want to consider lifting it and building a foundation for your barn home.
If public utilities aren’t available near the property, then you’ll need to install electrical wiring, plumbing, HVAC systems, a septic tank, and dig a well if necessary. Each additional utility can jack up the final cost.
When the barndominium build is complete, you can start on the fun part – decorating your living quarters. Whether you decide to stick with the traditional farm-style house with exposed wood beams or choose to go for a more modern look in your new home, these costs are really up to you.
Pros and cons of a barndominium
Pros of building barndominiums
Cost-effective - While the cost of building a barndominium is lower than other traditional homes, opting for a kit can save you more money on things like windows and doors as opposed to starting from scratch with new construction.
Energy-efficient and eco-friendly - Most of the building materials used for barndominiums, especially if you opt for steel construction or metal roofing, are eco-friendly. Having a metal building as opposed to a wooden pole barn with interior options like spray foam insulation will help you save money on energy bills.
Quick build - Since all of the building materials in the kit are delivered together, barndominiums are built way faster than a traditional home.
Low maintenance - Traditional houses are going to require a level of routine maintenance such as painting, plumbing, gutters, etc. Since most barndominiums are built with metal materials, having a steel building can last longer than other building materials and require less maintenance.
Cons of building barndominiums
Location limitations - Some local building codes may not allow you to build a barndominium, which is why you’ll usually see more custom homes in rural areas where codes and restrictions are more lenient.
Corrosion - Because barndominiums are typically built with metal materials, there is always the risk of corrosion if you live in a more volatile climate. This can threaten your home’s structural integrity.
Are barndos worth it?
Building a new home doesn’t always have to be so black and white. Custom homes like tiny houses and barndominiums are great options if you’re looking to build in open, rural areas with more freedom to design your living space the way you want. While installing utilities and acquiring all of the necessary permits can increase the price, building a barndominium is still typically less expensive than building a traditional home.