Friday, April 12, 2024
HomeBarndominiumWhy people are building Barndominiums

Why people are building Barndominiums

With the tiny house craze exploding across the nation, and everyone wanting a piece of the pie there’s a bunch of unique styles and sizes showing up on the market. All the while most first-time homebuilders want to stay small but need something large enough to comfortably accommodate a growing family and a tiny home can be just a bit too tiny. A barndominium is the perfect fit for someone looking for a home that can be a smaller carbon footprint and fit perfectly into a natural setting. The Barndo craze is just picking up momentum in the residential construction sector. With the same general concept as a tiny home, being compact and extremely functional with an all-metal frame construction, you are left with an extremely rigid and capable home that will last your family a lifetime. 

wood barndominium


Barndominiums are traditionally cheaper than buying a home or building a traditional home of the same size. Barndominiums across the US are being built on “average” at about $70-$90 per square foot, versus a stick built home at $90-$150 per square foot. So, there is a substantial price difference in building cost. Barndominiums are certainly cheaper to construct than a stick-built home. Prices can fluctuate from area to area, so it’s important to find out what lumber costs, or steel costs in your specific area. There are companies out there that will give you a steel package quote and a lumber package quote for your barndominium and you can choose what materials are more cost effective for your specific build. The material market is important to keep track of too when considering a build. Even environmental disasters in one part of the world can drive up the cost of materials all the way across the globe. Some companies provide barndominium shells for you to finish and those cost around $26 per square foot but be aware this is a “shell” minus doors, walls, and void of most if not all interior features. It’s simply a framed-up shell and a roof so there’s plenty to still be done. So, we are starting to see why many families are opting for a barndominium home over a traditionally built home and it’s not just the price.

black barndominium


I think the real reason for the recent uptick in barndominiums being built, has to do with the durability and low maintenance of a metal frame building, over a wood-built structure. With the expansion of the internet allowing access to vast amounts of information linking people with ideas at a rate that has never before been witnessed in our short human history, more and more individuals wanting to build a barndominium are doing their own research and concluding that they will have to constantly maintain the wood over the years and still have an inferior product in the end. All traditionally framed homes are going to be framed up with 2×4 studs, these studs can hold a uniform weight of up to 40lbs per foot of materials. A 10 ft. board will have a max load of 400 lbs. in the center of the board in comparison to barndominiums. Metal post-frame construction that typically uses a post for support, allows for a more open spacious room with less structurally supportive load-bearing walls being in the way. For comparison, a 3 ft. #2-grade 4×4 standard metal post will respectively support 17,426 lbs. of load. It’s not difficult to see the advantages of metal post-frame construction and the astonishing difference in structural rigidity going from wood to something stronger like metal. It really is phenomenal the amount of strength metal has over wood. 

BM2400 country barndo

Lifespan of materials

Wood is going to rot over time…it may take years and even centuries in some cases, but it always returns to dust. Metal on the other hand is a heartier material in the face of environmental exposure and can withstand some miraculous loads of weight and exposure to heat, chemicals, and wind in excess of hurricane forces. A new metal roof is estimated by professional roofing companies to last you up to 40 years, this longevity is due to the metal not rotting or succumbing to the elements nearly as quickly as shingles will degrade as they sit exposed to the harshness of the environment. Shingles will last a maximum of 25 years before needing to be completely removed and replaced, whereas a metal roof if taken care of properly can literally have 2 times the lifespan of standard shingles. The same general rule goes for the siding. Wood siding lasts around 20 years before needing to be replaced. Many builders are choosing to side their barndominiums with textured metal siding that replicates the look and texture of wood grain in many different shades and colors making the grain look and feel more realistic on top of lasting much longer with less maintenance. Metal is the top siding option for anyone building a new barndominium or shop house.

shouse plan


Barndominiums and shop-house construction projects have been made popular by integrating workspaces and living spaces into a single useable area. For instance, something interesting I noticed recently, that I believe is unique to barndominiums, are that some builders have started to incorporate garage doors in their living rooms, having them installed so they will lift and fold up & out of the way with the simple push of a button. Maybe, it was just me, but I was spellbound by these doors. What a unique and functional idea! It’s amazing what large open doors like this can do to your living room, turning your once enclosed, cramped, standard living room into a large open-air indoor-outdoor living area. For the entertainers out there, who love to have guests visiting your home, this is perfect and definitely a conversation starter. It’s just amazing how there are endless possibilities to totally transforms your home into an even more useful space. Builders are always talking about the functional and practical use of space when designing a barndo. Most of the barndominium floor plans that I have seen lately are open floor plans with high ceilings.



New builders are starting to realize that they can simply go online look through a collection of amazing pre-designed plans to find the perfect barndominium or simply work with Buildmax in designing their very own custom barndo plans. After buying a nice quality set of  barndominium house plans you are ready to build a custom barndominium home for a lot less out of pocket expenses. This is a much more appealing option to many families across the country. D-I-Y projects are a fantastic way to save money on your build and add equity to your barndominium build. Search YouTube for tutorials on different projects that you can complete yourself to save money on your build. Be sure that your project isn’t compromised by your skill level and do one project at a time. Go green, consider powering your home with a renewable energy source like a solar panel kit that can be ordered from many retailers online such as Amazon. There are plenty of ways to save on your build and get the most bang for your buck.

barndominium exterior

Housing Market

To buy or build, that’s a common question to ask if you’re considering building a barndominium. The current market has a lot to do with the answer to that question. Is it a suitable time to build a barndominium? What will it be worth when I’m done? Is buying a house a cheaper, smarter option for me? I wrote a whole article on this subject named When Is a good time to build a barndominium? Where I go in-depth on some of these questions and the factors involved as well as how you can answer these questions for your own project. In short, I think today is the absolute best time to build a barndominium or shophouse aka Shouses! While material prices are good and stable and we already know we can get it built cheaper than a traditional home, the stability of the finished product ensures it will be there for years to come, so building a barndominium now would be a solid investment for the future!


As a Internet visionary in the early 2000’s, Tony has developed several successful web-based homebuilding companies assisting thousands of families across the nation. He has been married to his high school sweetheart Arlene for 40 years. They live in rural Kentucky near their two adult children and four grandchildren.
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We are super excited with results and service. Tony offered really helpful suggestions. Our dream build was pretty complicated but he and his designer were able to meet our needs.

James B

Recent Client