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Building a Barndominium in Tennessee

Looking for an affordable housing alternative in Tennessee? Then the barndomnium might be the right option for you. Here’s a quick guide to building a barndo.


What Is a Barndominium?

Also called barndo, a barndominium is an alternative housing concept developed by merging two largely different housing structures—the traditional barn and the modern condominium. Essentially, a barndo features both the same notable characteristics of a barn and a condominium. 

That said, here are a few structural features of a barndo:

  • Concrete floors
  • Gabled metal roof
  • Sliding barn doors
  • High, vaulted ceilings and exposed beams
  • Columns
  • Wooden staircase

Unlike the two housing structures, however, a barndominium’s shell is built using steel and metal rather than concrete or hardwood. Assembling it is relatively easy and the construction period is quite short—thanks to prefabricated barndo kits—compared to when you build a traditional house structure.

When it comes to overall design and interior, barndominiums are inherently versatile thanks to their open floor plans. And for that very reason, the structure is very customizable and accommodates not only one but several interior styles and designs.

Barndo As an Alternative Housing

Building an alternative housing structure like the barndominium in Tennessee is not only easy in the pocket but is also a great option thanks to its other perks. And for a state with weather that goes from mild to extreme, the structure’s durability, as well as its ability to conserve energy, is indeed worthy. 

That being said, here’s a brief explanation as to why building a barndo in Tennessee is a great decision. 

  • Low-cost construction. First on the list is its construction cost. As someone who aspires to own a house, the first thing to consider is the budget. And with the rising cost of the traditional house today, it is understandable to find people looking for cheap alternatives such as barndominiums.

    Building a barndo in Tennessee is relatively cheap. Aside from the labor pay being not as high compared to other states like New York and California, the structure’s materials are inherently budget-friendly. Builders sell ‘prefabricated barndo kits’ too—which I will elaborate further in the next sections—that are cheaper compared to when you individually source each material. 

    Moreover, the construction period is shorter compared to when you build a traditional house. And thus, in essence, the labor expense is low.
  • Energy-efficient. Barndos have the capacity to save energy as well. Essentially, steel and metal have natural weatherization. Builders typically add a spray foam too to balance out the temperature. And, in return, helps homeowners save money through low utility bills.
  • Versatile and customizable. When it comes to outer and interior design, a barndo is very customizable and versatile. In fact, it is a great option for people who prefer a unique design for their house. 

    Essentially, that is because bardominiums have open floor plans. It allows homeowners to decide the number of rooms, the size, and even add extra spaces if needed. 

Building a Barndo in Tennessee

Building a barndominium in Tennessee is not a walk in the park. From planning to budgeting, it requires effort and time to complete such a project. 

That said, to help you iron things out, below are some of the important factors you need to know about building a barndo in Tennessee.

Average Cost

In building a barndominium, the average price varies depending on several factors. The owner’s preferences, for instance, will largely influence the cost of materials. The state’s cost of living as well as the size and design, on the other hand, will affect the cost of labor pay. To put it plainly, there is no fixed price in building a barndo.

That said, to give you an insight, the estimated cost of assembling a barndo in Tennessee starts at $100 per square foot. And it could go higher depending on some of the factors above. 

However, do take note that the estimated price can only accommodate a barndo’s basic structure and with no furnishing. And if you want to add extra furnishes like kitchen cabinets and countertops, then prepare to spend at least $150 per square foot—or even higher than that.

Still, $150 per square foot is relatively low compared to when you build a traditional home (basic structure) in Tennessee which starts at $150 per square foot. 

Land Prepping

Unlike conventional housing structures, buying a barndominium does not come with land and you will rather buy it separately. That said, part of the overall cost includes land prepping and site works such as land clearing, demolition (if there is an existing building), as well as building permits.

  • Land clearing. The average cost of land clearing across the United States typically costs between $1,500 to $5,000. Quite expensive but it already includes land grading and excavation, as well as a soil test. 
  • Demolition. If you bought land with an existing structure—an abandoned building, for instance—then you will have to conduct demolition work. Depending on the team you hired and the amount of work to do, the estimated price for demolition starts at $3,000 and can go as high as $25,000.

    The cost will largely be influenced by several factors such as the land’s location, the size of the house, as well as the presence of toxins like asbestos in the old house materials. 
  • Building permits. Lastly, you are also required to get a building permit. Such a requirement however is not free and is usually priced between $1,200 to 2,000. But do take note that the said estimate may vary depending on the area and its law concerning building permits.

Prefabricated Barndo Kits

As I mentioned earlier, there is a much cheaper way to build a barndo. And it is

through prefabricated barndo kits.

A prefabricated barndominium kit is a budget-friendly package of construction materials used to assemble the structure. Yes, you read that right, it is much cheaper compared to when you build from scratch. And unlike when you individually source the materials, the ones in the bundle are already premade and predrilled. All you need to do is assemble them. 

In essence, using prefabricated kits instead of starting from scratch will also lower the cost of labor. And it is because the construction time is much shorter. 

In return, it will reduce the overall expense.

That said, below are a few of the materials included in the kit.

  • Roofing
  • Structure’s shell
  • Flashing
  • Main and secondary framing
  • Sealants
  • Wall sheeting
  • Fastener

Do Banks Finance Barndo Construction?

While a barndo was developed as a cheap housing alternative, some may still find it financially overwhelming to build. It is especially true these days when the cost of living continues to rise.

On a good note, there are now banks and other financial institutions across the country that assist folks who wish to build a barndominium—be it for residential, commercial, or agricultural purposes. 

In Tennessee, for instance, you can ask Farm Credit and First Bank for monetary help. Both are working to finance local folks in the state who ventured into agricultural projects, including building a barndo. Both institutions have a credible reputation and have been helping the local people of Tennessee with their agri-related projects and businesses. 

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