So, are you interested in building your own barndominium or shop house sometime in the near future? I’m sure you started out your journey much like everyone else does, by doing a deep dive online to kick off your research. Many of the videos and articles you find online will refer to “post-frame construction.” Someone who is new to the building construction processes and concepts isn’t going to understand what post-frame construction is really. So, what is post-frame construction and is it important to your barndominium build? Let’s find out!
Post-frame construction is referring to a highly engineered and methodically designed wood-framed structure that is extremely strong due to its meticulous design. Not to be confused with the similar styling of a pole barn as they use round poles as support. This single difference makes post-frame construction superior in every way, mainly coming down to the integrity and strength of the building. The strength of the post-frame construction process allows for very large expansive spaces upwards of 100ft to be obtained by way of highly engineered large heavy-duty wooden trusses that support the roof of the building and are supported by posts. Post-frame construction does not limit you to any specific type of exterior siding with many different exterior siding options available on the market. You have the freedom to choose what style, color, and materials will fit your barndominium house plans best
Foundations for post-frame construction can vary depending on the area, climate, and weather conditions of the region that your building. You obviously can’t have a slab foundation on the beach in Florida or on the sands of New Mexico; the sand just won’t support a foundation of that kind. There are limitations based on certain factors but you still have options. Some post-frame buildings are constructed on columns coming from the ground where they have been secured with concrete. Many post-frame projects are erected over the top of basement foundations, or on a megalithic size poured single slab of concrete. It’s important to check with your local building department to verify if there are any limitations or specific requirements for your foundation in your area. They will be able to direct you towards the correct options that will work for your region and will probably be happy to connect you with some reputable and trustworthy contractors to do business with, if you ask nicely. Networking with the right people can be extremely beneficial and can potentially save you thousands of dollars in both the short and long term by doing business with the right contractors from the start and getting quality work done that will result in extending the life & longevity of your finished barndominium.
Columns & trusses are the most important materials in the post-frame construction process. The columns are laminated and hydraulically compressed yellow pine wood. This is some of the strongest wood you can buy and it has been specifically treated to ensure the strength and integrity of the column. Many companies will double and triple laminate the wood for added strength. The trusses are a magnificent feat of engineering, being one of the main components of a post-frame construction project. The time and detail that has gone into the design and manufacture of trusses is mind-boggling. They are placed and centered precisely over top the laminated columns that will ultimately support the weight of the heavy-duty wooden trusses resulting in an extremely rigid building. The trusses can be arranged in a way that the trusses are supported by upper and lower columns allowing for a much larger expansive space to be obtained that have no need for supportive walls or support beams.
Exterior siding options are plentiful when it comes to post-frame construction projects. You have the freedom to choose any siding you desire, for the most part. You are only limited by your imagination and potentially the region in which you are building. Steel is an insanely popular option for siding barndominiums. It typically comes in 26 gauge or .015 or .019 inch thick sheets of steel and can come in any color or shade imaginable. Steel has a very long shelf life and can withstand wind, rain, ice and anything else mother nature can throw at it. Steel is a fantastic option that isn’t going to degrade, rot, or fall apart. Other options are available as well if you want a different look than the metal siding. Brick, stone, vinyl, and especially textured composite siding has seen a wild increase in popularity in recent years for being a greener option than vinyl. Environmental incentives textured composite siding has an attractive surface texture that looks and feels similar to wood grain, at $4-$7 SF it can be a real contender in the exterior siding arena and has fantastic curb appeal from the road.
The cost of post-frame construction compared to traditional construction processes is better due to a few important factors. Speed of construction is one very important aspect that keeps the cost down over traditional processes. With the trusses pre-constructed it’s a much quicker process piecing everything together versus having to build the frame stick by stick. The ability to control the speed of construction will undoubtedly allow you to save on building costs. The price of materials will fluctuate due to the region of the country you will be building in and the availability of materials. The housing market in general, at the time, is also a big factor. With less structural materials to purchase and less material waste on the job site because of the pre-constructed nature of the process, you’re actually saving more money than you first realized.
So now that you know what post-frame construction is, you can accurately determine if it’s an option you would like to pursue with your barndominium build. Do the proper research and it’s hard to go wrong. With so many products and materials on the market, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Talk with professionals and get as much advice as you can so that you can have the information to make the right choice for you and your family.