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HomeBarndominiumUnderstanding Barndominium Lingo: A review of Essential Terms

Understanding Barndominium Lingo: A review of Essential Terms

Decoding Barndominium Slang: Essential Lingo for Your Build

The world of barndominiums, affectionately known as “barndos” by enthusiasts and industry insiders, is rich with its own set of terminologies and slang. Whether you’re planning to build your own barndo or just curious about this growing trend in alternative housing, understanding the lingo can enhance your comprehension and communication during the construction process. This article explores common slang terms and key phrases associated with barndominiums, helping you navigate your barndo journey with confidence.

white barndominium with cupolas

What is a Slang Term for Barndominiums?

**Barndo:** The most common slang term for a barndominium is “barndo,” a casual and affectionate abbreviation that captures the simplicity and rustic charm of these structures. It’s used widely among builders, owners, and enthusiasts to refer to these unique blends of living spaces and functional areas like workshops or garages.

Important Barndominium Terms to Know

Understanding specific terms can help prospective builders and buyers make informed decisions. Here’s a rundown of essential barndominium-related lingo:

**1. Shell:** The exterior frame or structure of the barndominium, often completed by builders who then leave the interior finishing to the owner. Buying just the shell can be a cost-saving option for those who are handy or wish to customize their space over time.

**2. Turnkey:** A term borrowed from traditional real estate that also applies to barndominiums, referring to a construction project that is completed to the point where the new owner can simply “turn the key” and move in immediately. This option is ideal for those who prefer a hassle-free transition without the involvement in the day-to-day building process.

**3. Open Concept:** A popular design feature in many barndominiums, ‘open concept’ refers to large, unobstructed spaces that aren’t divided by walls. This layout is particularly favored for its flexibility, allowing owners to customize the interior according to their needs, whether for large family gatherings, workshops, or studio spaces.

black barndominium with large windows on the front

**4. Clear Span:** Critical in barndominium design, clear span refers to the distance of the open space within the structure, free of supporting columns or barriers. This architectural feature maximizes usable interior space, essential for activities requiring large, uninterrupted areas.

**5. Loft:** Many barndominiums incorporate a lofted area, which is a partial second floor often used for additional living space, bedrooms, or storage. This is an efficient use of vertical space in a structure that might otherwise feature high, unused ceilings.

**6. Barndominium Kit:** A package that includes pre-designed materials and instructions for building a barndominium. Kits are popular for their cost-effectiveness and ease of assembly, making them a favored choice for DIY enthusiasts.

Eco-Friendly & Sustainable

**7. Slab Foundation:** Most barndominiums are built on a concrete slab foundation due to its durability and the structural stability it offers. Understanding this term is crucial since the type of foundation affects both the construction process and the longevity of the building.

**8. Custom Build:** Unlike buying a kit or a pre-designed model, a custom build involves starting from scratch with bespoke designs tailored to specific preferences and needs. This option offers maximum flexibility but requires more time and often a larger budget.

**9. Energy Efficiency:** As sustainability becomes more important, knowing terms related to energy efficiency, such as “radiant barrier” or “R-value,” is crucial. These relate to materials and technologies used to minimize energy consumption within the barndominium.


Understanding the slang and specific terminologies associated with barndominiums is not just about keeping up with the jargon; it’s about being well-prepared to engage with builders, architects, and suppliers. Whether you’re discussing plans with a contractor or customizing a barndo kit, familiarity with these terms will ensure you can accurately articulate your vision and requirements, leading to a smoother construction process and a finished product that meets your expectations. So dive into the barndo world, and let the lingo be a fun part of your building adventure!

Aaron Scott
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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