Thursday, June 1, 2023
HomeBarndominiumPotential issues for first time builders of a Barndominium

Potential issues for first time builders of a Barndominium

Here you will find some of the most common and potentially project halting issues that get overlooked by the first-time home builder. Knowing the steps you need to take in the preparation for your build is going to be key to your success. If you know what needs to be addressed and in what order, this will be enough to put you at ease. I am going to start from the top of the list, with the most common issues that home builders face.


Research your local building codes. You may not be aware that there are local building codes in all states and counties. Each area has a different set of standards that must be followed per state regulations. These are rules that the municipality in which you are building puts in place based on specific requirements for that area of the country. The builder must follow all the rules and requirements when building a barndominium or shop house to keep it legal, as the build progresses forward. A building inspector will come to the build site to hold the builder accountable to these codes and will sign off on the build as it is completed. Different areas of the country will have separate rules and guidelines to which you must adhere. Most codes for instance will involve specific measurements you must follow so your build is within the law, however more important than the law the building codes are set in place to keep your family safe from structural instability and from sub-standard building practices. 

spray foam insulation

Insulation is more important than you might think. Insulation is something that is not taken very seriously by first time home builders, and may just seem like a standard material for the home. Often times, when the first heavy winter hits it is too little too late to realize that you may not have installed enough insulation in your home. Metal is not a good insulator, it’s actually pretty terrible. Metal will draw in heat during the summer and dissipate heat in the wintertime.

For insulating purposes metal is not an ideal material, however taking a little more care when installing your insulation will do the trick. I recommend adding extra insulation beyond what is required. You will never regret adding extra insulation but you could have potential issues if you don’t add enough to keep the temperature regulated in your home in the winter.

Warehouse at a lumberyard with stacks of construction material on shelves.


Longetity of materials can be an issue in some areas. Let us talk about building materials. Everyone knows what happens to metal when moisture is introduced; very quickly rust will start to form on the outside of the material. Surface rust will have little to no effect on the structural integrity of the building, but corrosion can eat straight through the steel over time and really cause some irreversible structural damage to the frame of the building. There are products on the market to spray onto the metal frame to repel moisture. If your building in an area that gets a record amount of rainfall every year, it may be in the interest of longevity to treat the steel frames with a spray-on rubberized coating that will protect the metal from any type of substances it could come in contact with it. Sealant or caulk is another preventative measure you can take to keep moisture away from your metal frame.

shophouse floor plans

Finding financing for your barndominium can be very stressful. I wrote a separate article on financing your Barndominium build that you can find on In that article we discuss why some banks have a tough time lending money for barndominium builds. Banks are not typically familiar with shop homes or barndominiums as they may only do a handful of loans for them per year.There are some financing options on the market now that are geared towards metal buildings. Research the financial institutions that are familiar with your type of build before you apply. If you decide to go with a traditional bank for your financing just be sure to provide the loan officer with as many details on the build as possible, including a rough budget & floor plans for the barndominium you plan to build. The goal is to make the bank feel as comfortable with the build as possible and minimize any risk to the bank.

white farmhouse floor plans 

The sound of rain on a metal roof can be extremely loud. I really enjoy the sound of rain falling on a metal roof, it is just one of those sounds that takes me back to my grandmother’s old country house, but if you’ve ever heard the sound of a “rain storm” hitting a metal roof, well let’s just say the noise can be overwhelming. You will want to know what you prefer before making the decision to go with a metal roof. Aside from the loud noises associated with a metal roof they can also cause some other unwanted issues such as showing dirt and pollen, depending on the color. This is more of a trivial issue and not something super high on my list to take seriously but something to be aware of, nonetheless.

barndominium house style 

Cracking and settling concrete can cause some safety concerns. Cracks in your concrete could be caused by a number of things.The main cause of cracks is fluctuation in temperature causing the concrete to expand and contract, stressing the surface to the breaking point. Another cause of cracking of newly poured concrete is that the soil under the concrete is not supportive of the heavier concrete, so check the ground thoroughly for sinkholes or uneven ground. You will want to cut breaks in your concrete if you are pouring large slabs for a driveway or patio area, if you do not cut breaks to allow for a certain degree of flex when the temperature decides to change after the surface hardens you will certainly be battling cracks in a very short period of time.

lakehouse barndominium

Drainage and water flow can be a huge potential hazard. The correct drainage system is something you want to have a solid handle on before you start building. You will want to look at your property map, plat, and any other documentation you can gather in regards to your property to determine if there are any flood plains on the property. You will need to pay special attention to the topography of the land, avoid low lying areas that look like they could hold water. Avoid building near any ditches, gullies, or ravines that could potentially serve as paths for flash flooding. Know where your drainage ditches lead to, and make certain your gutters are routed to a safe area, away from the build. I highly recommend visiting the build site during or directly after a heavy rain to get a firsthand account of pooling water or drainage routes that were not noticeable under dry conditions. It may be necessary to bring in some rock and do some grading or a culvert installed to better direct the flow of water, sometimes if the water cannot be directed easily, ditches must be dug to divert the flow of water further. Picking a spot to build is important and you not only want a beautiful spot for your future home you want a safe location for your family away from any possible flooding.

As you have noticed there is no shortage of potential issues that could arise during the building process and these are just a handful of the most common issues. For every issue you can think of, there will be two that hit you by surprise. With a little bit of pre-planning and doing your homework you can gain the knowledge to face any issue that might arise. 

Aaron Scott
Aaron Scott is a freelance writer and researcher that has written hundreds of articles for online companies in the area of construction, design, finance and automotive. He's a Southern boy that enjoys creek fishing, hunting and camping. He's rarely seen without his trusted beagle hound "Scooter"
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