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Why you shouldn’t build a barndominium from scratch!”

Rethinking Construction: Why Building a Barndominium from Scratch May Not Be the Best Option

Barndominiums have captured the imagination of many looking for an alternative to traditional homebuilding. These structures, which blend the rustic charm of a barn with modern living amenities, offer flexibility in design and an attractive aesthetic. However, constructing a barndominium from scratch presents numerous challenges and potential pitfalls. In this article, we will explore the reasons why opting for a steel frame barndominium kit might be a more practical, cost-effective, and time-efficient choice compared to building from scratch.

modern barndominium farmhouse

Challenges of Building from Scratch

1. **Complex Planning and Design**

Building a barndominium from scratch involves intricate planning and design phases. You need to hire architects and engineers to draft plans that not only meet your aesthetic and functional requirements but also comply with local building codes and regulations. This process can be time-consuming and expensive.

2. **Navigating Building Codes and Permits**

Understanding and adhering to local building codes and obtaining the necessary permits can be a daunting task. Each jurisdiction has its own set of rules governing construction, which can significantly vary, especially concerning non-traditional structures like barndominiums.

Steel Frame Barndominium Kit delivery

3. **Cost of Materials and Labor**

The cost of sourcing materials and hiring labor for a from-scratch project can fluctuate unpredictably. This variability can make budgeting difficult and may lead to significant overruns, especially if unexpected issues arise during the construction process.

4. **Construction Delays**

Building from scratch is often susceptible to delays due to factors such as weather, labor or material shortages, and other unforeseen circumstances. Each delay not only pushes back the move-in date but also potentially increases the overall cost of the project.

Advantages of Steel Frame Barndominium Kits

Against the backdrop of these challenges, steel frame barndominium kits present a compelling alternative. These kits offer several benefits that address the drawbacks of building from scratch.

1. **Speed of Construction**

One of the most significant advantages of a steel frame kit is the speed of assembly. These kits come pre-engineered and with all the necessary components cut to precise dimensions, ready to be assembled. A kit can typically be erected much faster than a building constructed from scratch, reducing labor costs and minimizing the impact of weather-related delays.

2. **Cost Efficiency**

Steel frame kits are designed to reduce waste, and the bulk manufacturing of components generally makes them more cost-effective compared to buying materials piecemeal for a scratch build. Additionally, the predictability of a kit purchase means you can budget more accurately for both the cost of the kit and the assembly.

3. **Compliance with Codes**

Kits are engineered to meet building codes, which simplifies the compliance process. Manufacturers of these kits often provide documentation that assists in obtaining the necessary permits, easing the bureaucratic hurdles associated with building approvals.

4. **Durability and Maintenance**

Steel, as a building material, offers superior durability and resistance against pests, mold, and fire compared to traditional wood construction. This makes steel frame barndominiums a safer and more sustainable long-term investment with lower maintenance costs.

5. **Flexibility and Customization**

Despite being pre-designed, many steel frame kits offer a range of customization options. Buyers can choose from various layouts and finishes, ensuring that the end product meets their specific needs and tastes without the complexity and cost of a from-scratch design.


is one of the most significant factors influencing the decision to choose steel frame barndominium kits for construction. This durability advantage not only impacts the structural integrity and lifespan of the building but also affects the overall cost-effectiveness and sustainability of the project. Here’s why longevity is a crucial influencer when considering steel frame kits for barndominiums:

white barndominium with cupolas

1. **Structural Durability**

Steel is renowned for its exceptional strength and durability, which makes it an ideal material for buildings meant to last. Unlike traditional wood frames, steel is impervious to many factors that typically degrade building materials. It does not rot, warp, or succumb to pest infestations such as termites. Steel’s ability to withstand harsh weather conditions—including heavy snow loads, hurricanes, and high winds—further bolsters its credentials as a long-lasting material. This resilience ensures that steel frame barndominiums maintain structural integrity over decades, providing a safe and stable home environment.

2. **Maintenance and Repair Costs**

The longevity of steel significantly reduces the need for frequent repairs and maintenance, which are often required with wood-framed buildings. The corrosion-resistant properties of treated steel, and its inability to host mold or fungi, mean that the internal structure of a barndominium remains intact and free from common ailments that could otherwise lead to costly repairs. This reduced maintenance requirement not only eases the financial burden over the building’s life but also offers convenience and peace of mind to homeowners.

3. **Sustainability and Environmental Impact**

Choosing materials that have a long life span contributes positively to environmental sustainability. Steel frame construction promotes resource conservation in several ways. Firstly, steel is 100% recyclable, and a significant portion of new steel products contains recycled materials. This reuse of materials reduces the demand for virgin resources and minimizes waste. Additionally, the long lifespan of steel structures means that the energy and resources invested in their construction yield benefits for a more extended period, diminishing the environmental impact over the building’s lifecycle.

4. **Cost-Effectiveness Over Time**

While the initial investment in a steel frame barndominium might be higher than in traditional construction, the longevity of the material ensures that this cost is amortized over a more extended period, resulting in overall savings. Homeowners can save on replacement costs, significant structural repairs, and maintenance over the life of their home. Moreover, the enduring quality of steel can enhance the resale value of the property, as prospective buyers appreciate the reduced upkeep and longevity associated with steel construction.

Eco-Friendly & Sustainable

5. **Energy Efficiency**

The airtight construction possible with steel frames when combined with proper insulation techniques can lead to significant energy savings. A durable, well-sealed envelope helps maintain indoor temperature extremes, reducing the burden on heating and cooling systems and thereby lowering utility bills. This energy efficiency is sustained over the life of the building due to the lasting nature of steel’s structural properties.

While the allure of creating a completely custom barndominium from scratch is undeniable, the practical realities of such a project can often be overwhelming and fraught with risks. Steel frame barndominium kits provide an appealing alternative, offering faster construction times, cost predictability, ease of assembly, and long-term durability. For those considering a barndominium, a steel frame kit is not only a logical choice but a strategic investment in minimizing hassle while maximizing value and enjoyment of your new home.

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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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

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