What is a Barndominium?

A barndominium is a type of residential home that combines the convenience and livability of a traditional home with the warehouse-style of a barn. These hybrid dwellings are becoming increasingly popular, particularly in rural areas, as they afford extra living space without the expense of building a traditional home. For example, a barndominium could be a one-story home with multiple bedrooms and a large kitchen, while still retaining the exposed rafters and open floor plan of a barn.

The Benefits of Building a Barndominium

The most attractive advantage to building a barndominium is the cost savings compared to building a traditional home. The average cost of building a barndominium is between $50 and $70 per square foot, while traditional homes can cost between $150 and $250 per square foot. Barndominiums are built with metal buildings kits which are then outfitted with interior amenities and finishes. The cost of the metal building kit can be reduced further by opting for a simpler structure or utilizing second-hand materials.

Barndominiums are also appealing because they offer much more open space than traditional homes, allowing for more flexible living arrangements and plenty of room for entertaining. Furthermore, their hybrid nature makes them particularly energy-efficient, as their plastered or insulated walls and insulated windows are much better at trapping heat in the winter and keeping it out in the summer.

The Advantages of Buying an Existing Barndominium

Buying an existing barndominium has its own list of benefits. For one, it cuts out the expense and effort of building a new structure and the potential delays that come with it. Furthermore, existing barndominiums often contain high quality amenities that cannot be found in a traditional home. These amenities may include solid concrete floors, exposed ductwork, high ceilings, and exposed plumbing.

An existing barndominium also offers the opportunity to make immediate improvements. For instance, you could give the home a fresh coat of paint or update the flooring without needing to hire contractors or buy expensive materials. And, if you want to complete a thorough remodel, most existing barndominiums will have enough interior space to make the project safe and manageable.

Barndominium Cost: The Basics

The cost of a barndominium can vary significantly based on the size, quality of materials, and whether it is built new or bought existing. However, there are a few basic elements that make up the majority of the overall cost:

Metal building kit: This is the largest part of the total cost and typically ranges between $20 and $50 per square foot.

Interior finishes: It costs between $15 and $25 per square foot to install drywall, paint, trim, and fixtures.

Roof: Depending on the type and quality of the roof, it will typically cost between $4 and $8 per square foot.

Foundation: The foundation is typically made up of poured concrete slabs and costs around $6 per square foot.

Ultra-Efficient Barndominiums

In recent years, energy efficiency has become an increasingly important consideration for barndominium owners. To maximize energy-efficiency, building materials should be chosen for their R-value, or thermal resistance. Popular additions to a barndominium designed with energy efficiency in mind include closed-cell foam insulation, extra insulation between the trusses, insulated windows and doors, and a rainscreen to keep water out of the walls.

Some barndominium owners may even take additional measures to make their homes as eco-friendly as possible. Eco-friendly building materials include airtight insulation, low-VOC paints, cork and bamboo flooring, and water-saving plumbing fixtures. Depending on the materials chosen, eco-friendly construction can add a few extra thousand dollars to the cost of building a barndominium.

How to Cut Barndominium Costs

If the total price tag is more than you can afford, there are a few ways to trim the cost of a barndominium.

Shop around: Shop around for the best prices on metal building kits and other materials. Remember, you don’t have to buy the most expensive materials to get a quality structure.

Be flexible about upgrades: You can always forgo some of the upgrade options, like extra insulation, and add them later as your budget allows.

Consider second-hand materials: Purchasing second-hand materials is a great way to save money and still get a quality structure.

Do it yourself: Doing the work yourself will significantly reduce the cost of the project, but make sure you are familiar with the necessary skills before you dive in.

Building a barndominium allows you to get the best of both worlds: the open feel of a barn with all the amenities and convenience of a traditional home. The cost of a barndominium can vary significantly, but with a few smart strategies and some flexibility, you can create a high-quality and sustainable structure that fits your individual needs and budget.

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