A barndominium, or a barndo, is a barn that has been converted into a living space, and barndos aren’t just popular for those living among farm animals!
They are perfect for those who want space to work, lots of room, and a place to get dirty. This hybrid concept is becoming a big home trend. It has been gaining popularity over the past few years, and it has been featured in a few home improvement TV shows.
What is a Barndominium?
A barndominium blends airy spaces with a bit of a rustic touch. Combining living spaces with barns is not an entirely new concept, however. Farmers have been doing this for centuries for practical purposes.
Barndominiums can be low maintenance, energy-efficient, and very affordable. Most barndos have high ceilings, energy-efficient windows, spray foam insulation, stained concrete floors, and engineered concrete slabs.
Like a warehouse, it is a metal building with masonry at the front and a beautiful porch. Also like a warehouse, it is very affordable to construct. But unlike a warehouse, its interiors have been upgraded.
Why Would You Want to own a Barndo?
Barndos, since they are structures that are made of steel, settle less than wood-framed homes, making them less likely to develop air leaks over time. You may also benefit from lower home insurance rates from owning a barndo because they are less likely to burn and can better withstand tornadoes and earthquakes.
Barndos are becoming more and more popular in areas that experience frequent natural disasters, such as the South, with many hurricanes and tornadoes, and the West, which experiences many earthquakes.
You can start with an old barn or purchase a barndo kit. Should you decide to renovate an old barn, you may have to raise the building a few feet to create a concrete foundation underneath.
You may also need to install a new roof and reconstruct the frame if the barn is old. The next step is to install wiring for electricity, HVAC system, and plumbing. After that, you can add interior finishes and insulation to make the place homier.
How Much Does an Average Barndominium Cost per Square Foot
Basic assembly and materials of an average barndominium will cost you around $30 to $40 per square foot – and we’re talking about essential, bare-bones, DIY building. The price may vary depending on when you build, who your builder is, and what features your barndo will include.
A barndo gives flexibility in the interior’s design.
Because it is customizable and open, it allows you to fit each area for specific purposes. Plus, you need not limit an area of your barndo to a living space.
You can also use them as home offices, community centers, a restaurant, bar, or shop. This flexibility is also the reason why the cost for constructing a barndo varies so widely!
What Constitutes a Barndominium Cost
Market trends can affect the cost of materials to build your barndo. For example, if there is a surge of people renovating or rebuilding their homes at the same time you’re building your barndo, the demand for building materials and prices will increase. (Construction materials were up 20-25% in 2021!)
While it may be difficult to foresee when prices will go up, before you embark on building your barndo, get a feel of the market. See if any outside forces may drive material prices up, such as shortages or high demand.
Expect to pay a minimum of $125 per square foot if you hire a general contractor, or to be more detailed:
- $35 to $60 per square foot for workshops
- $30 to $50 per square foot for roof-covered outdoor areas such as a porch
- $125 to $140 per square foot for cooled and heated spaces
These are all rough estimates but should give you a ballpark figure on how much construction will cost. If you live in a more expensive area, expect to pay a little more, and in other areas, you may pay slightly less.
A critical piece of advice is to make sure you shop around before hiring a builder.
You can forgo the general contractor and DIY your barndo. However, you still have to hire HVAC professionals, plumbers, and electricians if you don’t have the skills or certifications to install those yourself.
The most significant price determinant, however, is how customized your barndo will be. Some factors that can affect the price:
- Are there any particular features you will include?
- Will it be a single-story building or two?
- Will you be building in phases?
- What kind of insulation will you be using?
Customized features in your barndo can increase the cost of building it, so decide where you want to splurge and where to be more thrifty.
Where you build your barndominium can also affect the price of building it. However, the location should be a factor you need to prioritize since you can’t change once the building is done.
If your materials and labor come from a distant place, your cost can go up. The type of terrain where you’re building your barndo, or if you need to clear any rocks or trees before building, can also affect the cost of construction.
Is it Cheaper to Build a House or a Barndominium?
On average, a barndo is cheaper to build than a house. The price is lower primarily because of the barndominium building kits available for purchase, including a roof and exterior walls, at a lower cost.
As mentioned earlier, the basic building of a barndo will cost you around $30 to $40 per square foot. In contrast, a traditional home can set you back $115 to $145 per square foot.
Why is this so? A traditional home, before you start building it, requires an architect to design it. With a barndo, there are already plenty of pre-made designs you can choose from.
The companies that sell designs usually sell the materials you need to construct your barndo and include the foundation and roof as well.
Another cost saving factor is that you have the option to build your barndominium yourself, without the help of a contractor. There are many material kits available in the market, making construction easier to handle.
You also pay less with labor because a barndo’s roof and exterior walls go up relatively quickly compared to a traditional house. You can sometimes get it done in as little as two weeks.
Also, most traditional homes are built with wooden frames, while barndominiums are made from steel frames. Steel frames allow you more flexibility of design, lower construction costs, and lower maintenance costs.
Unlike wood, you don’t need to repaint it at regular intervals. Steel is also resistant against termites, mold, and rot.
But, as you can already assume, the final cost will be determined by the size of the barndo and the features you want to include.
How Much Does an Average Barndominium Cost?
The average cost of building a basic barndominium is $180,000 to $360,000. The price is low because it is constructed relatively quickly, saving you money on labor costs.
The cost of the kit can also range from $5,000 to $70,000, depending on the style you want and the size. The kit includes the roof, beams, and walls.
You can opt to build a turnkey barndominium which will cost a little bit more, but you won’t have to hire any subcontractors.
The turnkey kits can include the following:
- Heat and water pumps
- Plumbing and electric
- HVAC systems
- Stained concrete floors
- Insulation and drywall
- Double pane windows
- Custom countertops and cabinets
How Much Does a 2,000 Square Foot Barndominium Cost?
The price range varies depending on if you DIY or if you get a turnkey barndo. For a 2,000 square foot turnkey barndominium, the cost can range from $190,000 to $250,000.
For a DIY barndominium, you can buy a shell for as little as $10,000. Constructing it can cost you as little as $80,000, but you have to do all the labor yourself.
The best thing to do to come to a decision is to get some quotes from contractors and shop around for prices on the kits.
How Much Does a 3,000 Square Foot Barndominium Cost?
A 3,000 square foot barndominium can range from $120,000 to $375,000.
Again, this number is dependant on how many unique features you want to be included, who will be constructing the bando, and where you will be building it.
How Much Would a Luxury-Style Barndominium Cost?
A 2,500 square foot luxury-style barndo will typically cost you up to $320,000, with the kit costing $127 per square foot.
On average, a luxury-style barndo will start at $250,000. The price variance will depend on how much high-grade materials and high-end finishing you will have in your home.
The kits still come with the framing materials, design, hardware and siding, and doors and windows. The materials the components are made of for these luxury-style barndos are also more opulent, such as Western red cedar, Douglas fir, or other Northwest timber for the framing materials, and cedar board and batten siding.
You can expect fine craftsmanship, and much time has been spent manufacturing the components of the kits.
More often than not, building a luxury-style barndo is not a DIY project. Labor will be a significant factor in the final cost.