Barndominium Floor Plans, Costs and Financing Options
A barndominium is a style of home that resembles a barn. The word is a combination of “barn” and “condominium.” Barndominiums are often built on a large plot of land in a rural area.
Most barndos are made of metal. This makes them an attractive option for people looking to build a home because it’s more affordable than other materials, like wood, brick or stone.
However, the fact barndominiums are metal often raises a lot of questions — especially from first-time homebuyers who are looking into the idea. But, rest assured, barn houses are very much a legitimate alternative to traditional-style homes, and in many ways, they’re even better.
Carports and More offers excellent barn home prices for a wide range of sizes and styles. To see some of the customization options we offer, head to our Carport and Garage Builder.
Do Metal Buildings Make Good Homes?
Barndominiums make great homes, but they offer so much more than just a place to raise a family. Lots of barndo owners turn part of the home into a workspace or a shelter for animals.
Other homeowners dream of building a wooden ranch-style home, but can’t afford it. A metal building, or in this case, a modern barndominium, is a great solution for homeowners who want vaulted ceilings and a more open floor plan but are working with a tighter budget.
But even if you don’t want an open floor plan, you can easily build interior walls to separate the kitchen from the living area or home office.
Another common misconception is that it’s not possible to build a 2 story barndominium. This can be a deal breaker, especially for families who need a lot of bedrooms. Although two story barndominiums are less common, with the right floor plan, they’re not difficult to build.
We’ve included on this page detailed information about different floor plan options for barn houses. But when it comes time to start the design process, you’ll want to work with a professional architect — especially if you plan on building a two-story barndominium.
Barndominium Pros and Cons
Most concerns about barndominiums stem from the fact metal buildings aren’t commonly built for homes. Most of the time, people picture homes as structures made of wood, brick or stone.
But as steel buildings have become a more popular choice for homeowners, the benefits of building a barndominium have become more apparent. One of the biggest benefits, as we’ve already mentioned, is the cost savings associated with building a barn home.
Often, the parts for barndos are made of prefabricated metal and only need to be put together, not built, at the construction site. This is often a much cheaper process than conventional construction, where everything is built on site
Despite the fact barn houses are made of prefab metal panels, you’ll still be able to customize your home. At Carports and More, we give you complete control over your barndominium’s dimensions, color, roof style, doors, including walk-in and roll-up doors, windows and more.
That being said, you won’t be able to customize a barn home to the same extent as you would if you hired an architect to design a home using other materials. At least, not on the outside. But the inside of barn houses allows for a ton of flexibility in regards to the interior living space.
In fact, a lot of homebuyers purchase only a barndominium shell, which includes only the essential pieces you need to build a barn home. From there, the design of the home is entirely up to the homeowner. You can hire your own contractors and build anything you want.
If you’ve done any barndo research, you’ve likely seen images of incredible barndominium designs featuring large windows and elegant balconies. Purchasing a barn home shell is one of the best ways to free yourself up from a prefab barn home and design exactly what you want.
However, the more you customize your barn home, the more you’re going to spend.
Building a barndo will save you money in the long run as well.
When people build a home, they typically want to live in it for a long time, if not the rest of their lives. Barn houses are, in many ways, a better long-term solution than other home styles.
Sheet metal roofs, in particular, are known for longevity. Whereas most asphalt shingle roofs have to be replaced every 20–30 years, it’s not uncommon for a metal roof to last more than 40.
Metal buildings also require less ongoing maintenance than homes made of wood. Steel is not as susceptible to the elements and, unlike wood, it’s not affected by mold, mildew or rot. A metal structure can also better withstand rodents and insects, such as termites.
In addition, barn houses are more energy efficient than homes made of other materials. The metal frame used to support a barndo’s shell can support more insulation than a wooden frame, and therefore retains more heat in the winter and more cool air in the summer.
A lot of people are also hesitant to buy a barndominium because they’re unsure how safe they are. But barn homes are required to meet the same development standards as any other home.
So, if you live in an area that receives a lot of heavy snowfall or experiences high wind speeds, a barndo can be customized to withstand those conditions, just like any other home style.
Barndominium Cost vs House Cost Breakdown
The cost to build a barn home varies significantly, depending on the square footage of the structure and all the amenities you plan to include. But in most areas, the cost of building a barn house starts at $20 per square foot for the shell and $85 per square foot for a completed unit.
Building a custom home from the ground up typically costs $100–$400 per square foot.
In order to get a better idea of how much it cost to build a barndominium versus other styles of homes, let’s look at a specific example:
A 40×60 sq ft metal building is a very common barndominium size. If you were to buy the shell at $20 per square foot, you’d spend only $48,000. To build a custom home, you’d likely spend at least $240,000. With a barn home, that leaves you with $192,000 to spend however you want.
And, when your barndominium cost per square foot comes out to $85, you’ll spend only $204,000 for a completed home.
But keep in mind, these are only the up-front cost savings. A metal barn home will also help you reduce the cost of your energy bill by up to 40 percent. In addition, you’ll get a discount of up to 30 percent on your homeowners insurance, which cost the average homeowner $1,083 a year.
And once you’ve completed construction on your barndo, you could add energy-efficient windows or solar panels, which would reduce your bills even more.
At this point, you’re probably wondering how barndominium financing compares with other types of homes. Frankly, getting a bank to finance barn house construction is considered to be more difficult than getting a loan for other home styles.
The main reason is that not a lot of barndominiums exist. This makes it harder to appraise barn homes and determine the value of loans for building them. However, you can improve your chances of getting a construction loan for a barn house by doing the following:
- Apply for a mortgage with a farm credit lender or your local bank/credit union.
- Have a legitimate architect draw up blueprints for the structure in advance.
- Go ahead an get quotes from contractors/subcontractors.
- Get an appraisal for the property and the structure you plan to build.
- Gather some data, such as property values, on existing barndominiums in your area.
There is no guarantee your application will be approved, but by doing as much work as possible before heading to the bank, you’ll increase your chances of securing financing for your barndo.
How to Build a Barndominium, Step by Step
Before you can construct a barn home, you need to finalize your barndominium house plan. This will determine the dimensions of your barndo, as well as the materials needed to build it.
Barndo floor plans vary significantly based on several factors, but some barndominium house plans are more common than others.
One of the most common is 2 story barndominium floor plans. In a typical family home, the master bedroom is located on the first floor and the remaining rooms for either guests or children are built upstairs, and 2 story barndominium plans are no different.
However, if you’re building something for only one or two people you should consider barndominium floor plans with lofts. Typically, barn home floor plans with lofts include one bedroom in the loft and the communal areas are all on the bottom floor.
A third barndominium design that a lot of people build is a barndominium with a shop. This is basically a barn with living quarters attached. The appeal of this barn house plan is that your home and shop are under one roof, which is both cost-effective and economical.
Barn houses are often constructed on large plots of land in rural areas to begin with, which is great if you also need a shop, stables or a storage area for RVs, boats or any other vehicles.
Once you’ve determined your barndominium floor plan, you can move on to the construction phase. Hiring a contractor that specializes in barn houses is your best bet.
The construction process for building a barndominium is similar to building any other home.
The first step is excavating the site and pouring the concrete slab foundation. Once that’s complete and you’ve set up all the necessary utilities, you can construct the barndominium shell, which is essentially the steel frame of the structure, plus the sheet metal siding and roof.
At this point, you can install the plumbing, mechanical and electrical systems. Once those are installed, it’s time to insulate the barndo shell. This is a critical part of the building process because there are additional factors you’ll need to consider.
Steel roofs on barndominiums, for example, attract and trap heat. This, combined with high ceilings, can make it particularly difficult to cool barn houses, especially in the summer.
Noise can also be an issue in barndos, particularly if you’re planning to build a barndominium with a shop. If you’re going to be doing work that produces a lot of noise in the attached shop, you’ll need to use insulation specifically designed to reduce noise.
Once you’ve insulated the inside of the barndo, all that’s left is hanging the walls and installing the trim, cabinets, shelves, granite countertops and hard-surface floors. You can even turn the concrete floors into stained concrete floors to cut down on costs.
Now, your barndo will be ready to move into.
Barndominiums as Homesteads
There are people who want to do more than build a house. Homesteaders, or homeowners who want to sustain themselves by living off their land, is becoming more common for families.
Homesteading is still niche at this point, but a barndominium is one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways to live as a homesteader, which involves raising animals and growing crops.
Barndominiums are a great fit for homesteaders for several reasons.
They’re cost-effective homes, which makes it easier to invest in other parts of the homestead.
They can be built with attached, non-residential exterior space to be used for the homestead.
They’re energy efficient, which is better for the environment.
Stylistically, barndominiums look a lot like traditional barns.
But, contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a ton of land to start a homestead. There are a lot of families that start mini-homesteads on less than 5 acres. However, it can be tough to fit everything you need, which is why 6- to 10- acres is ideal for most homesteaders.
Just to be clear, there are no laws or regulations that require you to start a homestead or do anything related to homesteading if you build a barn house. It’s merely a lifestyle that a lot of barndominium owners are interested in and decide to pursue.
If you are interested in learning more about barndominiums, including barn house prices, barn home construction or barndo financing options, please contact us and one of our knowledgeable sales representatives will answer any questions you have.