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A Guide to Building a Barndominium in Utah

Planning to build a barrndominium in Utah? This guide covers everything you need to know about building one. 

What Is a Barndominium?

A barndominium is a modern residential concept as an alternative to traditional housing. It is inspired by the traditional barn design and the modern-day concept of condominium; and features both of their traits as a structure. The only difference is that rather than wood (barn) or concrete (condominium), the main materials used in building a barndominium is metal and steel.

Typically, a Barndo features the following traits:

  • Concrete floors
  • Columns
  • Gabled metal roof
  • Big windows
  • Sliding barn doors
  • Rustic wooden stairs
  • High vaulted ceilings

But apart from it is easy to build and is a unique concept, Barndominiums have also gained popularity due to their low construction cost. In fact, many consider it solely for the said reason. 

Barndo as an Alternative Housing in Utah

Several alternative housing concepts are readily available today. And while Barndos offers an array of perks, it does not mean it is the “best” structure to build.

As such, I enumerated below several things first-time homeowners like you would benefit from building a barndo in Utah.

Barndo Is Cheaper than Building a House in Utah

First on the list is its low-cost construction.

In Utah, building a traditional house can cost you an average of $100 to $200 per square foot, with total spending ranging between $120,362 to $451,000. However, if you opt to build a barndominium instead, the average amount you will spend ranges between $70 to $90 per square foot only—and that is significantly cheaper!

And that is because barndos material, labor, and even interior and exterior finishing costs are lower. 

One reason is that barndominiums are essentially faster to build or assemble—especially if you opt to use prefabricated kits—compared to building a traditional house which can take months or even a year to complete. And with such a perk, it automatically lowers your overall labor charge in return.

Steel and metal—which are the primary materials for building the structure—are also relatively cheaper compared to hardwood and concrete that are used in conventional houses. They are easier to maintain as well and is not prone to common housing issues such as mildew and mold buildup. Hence, it is cost-effective. 

Bardominiums are versatile

Another reason to love barndos is its flexibility in terms of design and function.

The structure’s concept is dubbed as an open living space which, essentially, translates to a space that is “easier to design and customize.” You can, for instance, freely design the interior without limits. You can also turn it into anything you want as barndos are, by design, like a canvas. 

With that, it is a great housing structure for those who are specifically working from home, as it can be turned into both a residential and office space.

It is easy to add and remove rooms too; a great feature for Utah’s everchanging and often extreme weather. You can assemble a makeshift pool area during summer, for example.

Barndos are durable and safe from natural disasters

Aside from being versatile and affordable, barndos are known for being durable as well.

All structures are built with a threshold that can break by extreme winds. However, barndos can mostly withstand hurricanes, unlike their wood counterpart. It is because steel, its primary material, is much more superior compared to wood in terms of toughness and lifespan. It is fire-resistant as well. It is not prone to mold and mildew too, which often is the main cause of why wood rots and breaks early. 

In return, this makes it a great material of choice for areas that often experience extreme weather conditions. And one good example is Utah. 

But do take note that it is still recommended to consult with a designer with which suitable design specifics you should employ for your barndo, particularly if you are building it in an area that typically experiences extreme weather and natural disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes, and storms. 

Barndos are energy-efficient

Last but not least: barndominiums can help conserve energy.

Essentially, steel and metal—which are the primary materials of the structure—provides natural weatherization. It helps to reduce energy consumption while optimizing the insulation system’s function further, making barndominium more energy efficient. 

Building a Barndo in Utah

Estimated Cost

When it comes to the overall cost of building a barndominium, several factors affect the cost accordingly. In Utah—as well as other states, in general—these aspects often include the land’s size and value, labor, materials, and even the structure’s style and design.

In general, however, the average price or barndominium is typically estimated by calculating it in square feet. In Utah, for instance, the median cost of building a barndo is around $120 per square foot. And that’s relatively lower in price compared to when you build a traditional house which costs around $150 per square foot. 

However, such an estimate is for a barndo with a basic structure built only. Hence, if you wish to have your contractor add some important furnishings like countertops, kitchen cabinets, and flooring, prepare to spend more.

A fully customized barndominium, for example, will cost you between $120 to $150 per square foot—or even higher!

But apart from that, other housing miscellaneous such as land clearing and grading, inspection, permits, as well as house interior and exterior design, could also influence the project average cost. 

Cost of Materials

As mentioned, one of the factors that could heavily influence the estimated cost of building a barndo is the quantity and quality of the materials that will be used. So I listed some of the basic materials you will need for your dream house project. 

  • Foundation. The kind of foundation used in barndo is the same as the one used in conventional houses. Built using footers lining the all-load bearing walls, the barndo’s substructure can be a slab, crawl space, or a basement foundation. 
  • Structure Framing. Barndominiums can be framed in several ways. The typical, however, is a 2×6 studs “16 OC along with a 3/8 plywood.

    But if you want something different, a red iron framing with wood or metal stud is a great option as well. Not to mention that it is an excellent house frame for structures with high ceilings and large roofs. 
  • Roofing materials. There are several types of roofing materials that you can use. Wood shingles, clay tiles, and slate tiles are a few examples. But for Utah’s weather, a standard 29-gauge painted metal will also work well.
  • Exterior and interior walls. Your desired design for your interior and exterior walls also adds up to the overall cost. For the interiors, any type of wall design would work. Although professional builders recommend using something suitable to the area’s usual weather. 

    Painted drywall, for example, is a good choice for a barndo’s interior. Laminated, tiled, or stoned work well as well. For the exterior, on the other hand, bricks and stones are often the top choices. 
  • Insulation. When it comes to the insulation system, barndominiums are typically installed using the standard insulation. It is, however, added with spray foam to further optimize the system’s function. The spray foam essentially provides resistance to extreme seasonal weather which can help in keeping the utility bills low. 

Land Price in Utah

The value of land in Utah varies depending on a specific area. But in general, the median price of land in the said is $2, 450 per acre (2020), according to National Agricultural Statistics Service. It increased by 1.2% (2019) and 6.1% (2018).

Prefabricated Barndo Kits

Building a structure from scratch has many perks that many homeowners love. But not all can financially and mentally afford the method’s requirements. As such, builders come up with a solution of providing ‘Prefabricated Barndominium Kits.’

As its name suggests, a prefabricated barndo kit is a complete package of barndominium materials. It contains the most basic materials one need for assembling the structure such as the outer shell, the first and secondary framing, roofing materials, wall sheeting, flashing, trim, fastener, sealants, and even floor plans and blueprints. Some contractors do provide additional materials and furnishings like windows, doors, and even insulation as well. 

Prefabricated kits, in essence, were developed as a cheaper alternative to building from scratch. It is also a much quicker option to build the structure as everything is readily made, and all you have to do—or your contractor—is to assemble the materials. Aside from that, opting for prefabricated kits takes out the hassle of sourcing out materials, too, which is extremely time-consuming and physically demanding. 

Furthermore, barndominium kits come not only in one style. Many contractors these days provide a variety of designs to barndo too, which ranges from simple, small cabins to high-end looking cottages.

Barndo Builders in Utah

While assembling a barndo on your own or with the help of a few people, hiring a contractor to complete the job is still the best way to build your dream barndo. And in Utah, there are a couple of steel companies that can help you with the job. 

A few of them are:

  • Western Steel Buildings. Western Steel Buildings is a company that specializes in creating metal poles. It is based in Utah and has been serving locals for years already. It has a credible reputation for building all kinds of structures.
  • Roper Buildings. Roper Buildings has been in the industry for 15 years already. The company, which is known for metal pole building, is a great choice if you want a contractor that can help you realize your dream barndo design. 

One Response

  1. How far are the 2000 sq ft complete kits (HVAC, etc…) on back order?
    And what is the build time?
    We’d like to be moved in BY September 20th, 2022
    Assuming the land is stumped and escalated etc…

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