Coloradans looking for alternative housing ideas are in for a treat with barndominiums!
Barndominiums, “barndos” for short, are metal buildings inspired by barns but are built with eco-friendly materials that make living in them as comfortable as condominium-living.
Barndominiums showcase the classic romantic shape and form of barns, combined with a modern interior and architectural house design, plenty of living space, and a fully customizable layout.
Are barndominiums even allowed in Colorado, you ask?
Yes, and no. Many parts of Colorado welcome barndos with open arms, but some cities do not. This post will tackle everything you need to know if you’re planning to build a barndominium in Colorado.
Advantages of Building Barndominiums in Colorado
If you’re not sold on barndos yet, here are several reasons why they’re such game-changers in the home construction industry:
- Build from scratch or old barns. These metal houses could come from old barns, whose bones are kept but upgraded into livable warehouses with eco-friendly windows, HVAC systems, and other components that would make a barn homey. If you don’t have a barn, you can just take inspiration from old barn designs and build the barn home from scratch.
- Quickly construct a home. It takes around 6 to 9 months to build a house, but building barndominiums in Colorado would shorten the time to 1-2 months less. The length of the build of barndos is further reduced if the homeowner decides on purchasing ready-made kits.
- Cheaper to build than traditional homes. Yes, the price of a barndo construction will also depend on your personal style, interior design, size of the steel barn and other factors. But barndos are still generally cheaper to build than traditional homes mainly because of the shorter build time and how much metal these houses use. FYI, you’ll find that suppliers offer a lower cost per square foot when you choosing to build larger metal homes.
- Scalable and Highly customizable. Contrary to the belief that you can’t go beyond the barn shape, these metal barns are actually highly customizable and your options of a deck, garage, single/2-story, exterior finishing, and other design are only limited by your budget. Barndos also allows you to future-proof and scale later once you’ve saved up to extend a separate home office or add a deck.
Barndominiums Prices In Colorado
So, how much does it cost to build a barndominium in Colorado?
The cost of building a barndominium in Colorado is between $90 to $120 per square foot, depending on which area of Colorado you plan to build. When compared to building a conventional home in the state, which starts at $120 to $145 per square foot, barndos can be much cheaper.
Of course, this amount is just the standard cost for simple one-story designs and could go higher (or lower) depending on the barndo floor plan you want. For example, if you’re interested in adding wrap-around patios or full-sized pools, such details could quickly double the expenses.
Barndos can be a do-it-yourself project, thanks to the availability of barndominium kits. This will remove the need to hire a contractor, which eats up the biggest chunk of a home construction’s budget. Note that you would likely need to hire specialists for plumbing, HVAC systems and electricity to ensure your barndo follows Colorado building laws.
Barndominiums Building Regulations in Colorado
Many cities in Colorado consider the building of barndominiums the same as traditional home construction. As such, builders still need to follow standard building regulations.
The State of Colorado has no standard state building code. Local towns have adopted the:
- 2012 International Building Code (IBC),
- 2015 International Plumbing Code (IPC)
- 2014 National Electric Code (NEC), and
- 2015 International Fuel Gas Code (IFGC).
You wouldn’t want to skip any of these building codes, especially if you’re putting up the barndominium yourself. These regulations ensure that your metal barns are built with structural integrity and can withstand all of the mountain elements.
Colorado-specific weathering requirements vary by county. For example, Teller County includes 85 MPH winds and 40 lb ground snow load requirements on top of general building regulations. Greenlee County is the only county in Colorado without residential building codes on traditional homes but may have new rules for barndos.
Other permits you have to secure before you can build a barndominium include:
- Zoning – If you already own land in Colorado, check if your property is zoned for residential use. Sometimes, land can be zoned as commercial years ago but undeveloped for its original purpose. Go to your town’s zoning board to confirm.
- Permits – Each city or town has different permits. In Colorado, the basic permits you’ll need to secure are building permits, electric, mechanical, plumbing, septic, and grading (which is important in erosion control for mountainous areas like Colorado). Each permit would likely come with an inspection from your town’s respective offices. Once all permits are secured, only will you be able to receive your certificate of occupancy and move into your barndominium.
Where to Build a Barndominium in Colorado?
Barndominiums have been growing in other states more quickly than Colorado and there’s a reason why: higher altitudes require special care with building structures.
However, this doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
The Front Range Urban Corridor, which includes Colorado’s largest cities like Denver, Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Boulder, and the surrounding suburbs, is already seeing a rise in barndominium construction. This is also the case in college towns like Greeley and Fort Collins, towns like Florissant and smaller cities like Aurora, Colorado.
If you’re still searching for land to purchase, find one with as little slope as possible.
Building a barndo from scratch starts with the concrete slab foundation, steel frame and steel siding – all of which require engineered steel that are designed with beams anchored into reinforced concrete. There shouldn’t be any issues with this method on flat terrains, but this is a major consideration in Colorado since the mountains have varying terrains that could affect the thickness of beams required, the area’s snow load requirements, and land that could fluctuate 5 to 10 feet throughout the barndo construction.
If you’re planning to build a barndo from an existing barn, then the site location may not be your problem. Locating these structures around Colorado would be your challenge.
Barndominium Builders in Colorado
Because of the obstacles of building barndominiums in high altitude sites like Colorado, many homeowners skip DIYs and decide to hire experienced builders to put their barndos together instead, then take over when it’s time for interior design.
Here are builders servicing Colorado locations:
- Countrywide Barns
- Contact: +1 800-615-9720 | 1020 Industrial Dr #20, Pleasant View, TN 37146)
- Makers of steel-frame buildings for both commercial and residential projects, Countrywide Barns & Buildings is a national barn builder with experience in all types of modern barns.
- DC Building
- 888-975-2057 | 11251 SE 232nd Ave. Damascus, OR 97089
- DC Builders is a design and construction firm that specializes in designing custom wood and metal barns in Colorado. They offer barndominium kits as well.
- Drop Tine Construction
- Contact: 719-214-9636 | Pueblo West, CO 81007)
- Drop Tine Construction is Southern Colorado’s best custom home builder. Based in Pueblo, Colorado, the company has been around since 2016 and showcases an impressive portfolio of modern barn metal houses.
- Pregio Homes
- Contact: +1 719-475-7994 | 111 S Tejon St #112, Colorado Springs, CO 80903
- With hands-on experience remodelling and building custom homes in many mountain towns since 2009, Pregio Homes can be the right professionals to tackle your metal barn home.
- Rocky Mountain Developers
- Contact: Englewood, Colorado
- Rocky Mountain Developers specialize in “building quality homes over 8,000 feet,” so if your land is at a high altitude and you’re interested in building a barndominium, they are exactly the experts you need.
- Sunset Buildings
- Contact: 719-227-1234 | 331 S. 14th Street Colorado Springs, CO
- Sunset Buildings is a family-owned business specializing in building garages, sheds, and large barns around Colorado Springs and nearby towns.
- Sunward Steel Buildings
- 866-464-7750 | 6800 E. Hampden Ave. Denver, CO 80224
- Sunward Steel Buildings creates some of the most impressive steel barns, homes and buildings around the state. As a local provider, these guys are well aware of Colorado’s variable weather patterns, sand dunes and high plains, incorporating building techniques unique to the Rocky Mountains.
Barndominium Financing in Colorado
Acquiring financing for your barndominium can be difficult since barndos are still a fairly new concept in the residential construction industry. As such, even banks and financial institutions may not be aware of such structures and could find it hard to categorize the building.
Generally, the fewer metal barns there are in a particular town, the more likely financial institutions would find it hard to establish a market value for barndos. Banks and lenders need to place a value on a type of home (or in this case, a metal home) because it is one of the many factors they’ll use to determine if the home is suitable for financing.
Some banks like Bank of Colorado, Waypoint Bank and Community Banks of Colorado are more open to the future than others. If you have established trust at your local bank, talk with them about financing your barndominium through them.
Alternatives would be to check out local lenders like DMC Loans or Rocket Mortgage. You can also ask around and see if your steel building company will finance you.
Is a Barndominium in Colorado Right for you?
Colorado isn’t the most popular state to welcome barndominiums. With heavy snows, strong winds and high altitudes, many homeowners never think of Colorado as the ideal spot for building metal barns.
But Colorado can just as well be the perfect site for your metal barn house as long as the bones (the metal frames and sidings) are built to withstand extreme weather conditions and mountainous elements. When done right, barndos could have a longer life than most standard home-building materials.
If you’re planning to build a house in Colorado and want an open-space, timeless design at a cost lower than traditional homes, barndominiums can be ideal for you.