Building A Barndominium In Ohio (OH) In 2024

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Ohio is one of the best states to build your own home. Also, it’s even better if the house turns out to be a barndominium, also known as a barndo or barn home.

Usually, they have plenty of living space, and the functional, agricultural architecture of a barndo blends in with the Midwest landscape more than a modern structure does.

Barndominiums have become increasingly popular over recent years as one of the fashionable things to build. But, a barn home isn’t only about what looks good.

Barndos are also affordable, quick to build, give plenty of space for your money, are proof against the extreme weather in the Midwest states, and are a good investment for the future.

Suppose you’re looking for a good barndo builder in Ohio; plenty of choices exist. You can buy a barn home from one of the many metal building manufacturers that serve most US states. The companies either supply a kit for you to select a local erection contractor, or some assemble the metal shell and leave you to finish your home using local labor.

Alternatively, some manufacturers take on the complete project, from design to handing over the keys. These turnkey barndos can be well worth the money if you want the job finished as soon as possible with minimal hassle.

Although you can build barndominiums using steel, wood, or multiple materials, and some contractors specialize in each, there are distinct advantages when using steel for the building’s structure and siding. So, we’ll concentrate on metal barn homes in this guide.

6 Advantages Of Building A Barndominium In Ohio

Like many Midwest states, Ohio has hot and humid summers, strong winds, and frigid winters. Besides, OH has around 312 miles of coastline with Lake Erie, further affecting the weather. So, it takes a particular type of home to withstand these extremes. 

Generally, barndominiums are prefabricated steel houses, but not always. Some owners start with a preexisting barn and gradually add metal structures, wood, masonry, and other materials to make it look more like a modern home.

However, it doesn’t matter which barndo type you have built; a barn home has significant benefits, especially if made with structural steel.

1. Easily Built

A typical barn home uses a metal post frame structure found in farm buildings, sheds, stables, and other functional buildings. Therefore, they’re easily built and can be erected quickly as all the parts are previously engineered in a factory.

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However, don’t be discouraged by this. A finished steel barndominium can be as cozy inside as a conventionally built house and, from the outside, can be indistinguishable from other types of homes.

2. Reduced Costs

A buckeye builder can assemble a traditional home in about a year, depending on its complexity and size. In contrast, a barndo will be up and finished in around six months if there are no issues.

Therefore, building a barn home reduces labor costs, and using steel structure and sidings minimizes the cost of materials compared to a timber-framed home.

3. Durability

A steel barndominium will be more durable than a conventionally built home, especially when confronted with Ohio’s extreme weather. 

The all-steel construction you can choose means it’s less susceptible to the effects of extreme cold and the snow that comes with it. Typically, harsh winters can cause rot and deterioration when using wood as a structural building material or siding.

Fortunately, this doesn’t happen with steel. If you ensure you use the correct type and amount of insulation, you will be snug and warm during winter and cool in the summer.

So, when spring arrives after a harsh winter, and you take stock of the damage caused, you will be pleasantly surprised at the much fewer repairs necessary to maintain your steel barn home.

But, just because you use steel on the outside doesn’t mean you can’t use wood elsewhere. The interior is completely protected from the weather, so wood and other materials are safe and unharmed.

The state of Ohio averages 19 tornadoes each year, usually occurring from May to August. Wouldn’t it be helpful if you owned a home that was also a tornado shelter?

Typically, we make tornado shelters from steel, the same metal as your steel barndo. So, you have an ideal combination with a stormproof foundation and a building designed against tornado winds.

4. Customizable

Because a barndominium’s outside walls take the weight of the entire structure, the inside uses non-load-bearing partition walls to create the rooms. So, even if the exterior looks the same, the interior can be unique, depending on your preferences.

Furthermore, suppose you buy a pre-owned barndo and don’t like the interior. In that case, a carpenter can easily dismantle and reposition the partitions wherever you want without worrying about compromising load-bearing walls.

Alternatively, you can move your living space to a second-floor mezzanine and use the first floor as an open-plan garage, workshop, or hobby room.

Furthermore, you can use the main house as a first phase and incorporate more annexes later, as each room has its own structural walls. The combinations and permutations are almost endless.

5. Free from Pests

Wherever you have hot and humid summers and wet, cold winters, your wooden homes will suffer from mold, dry rot, insects, and rodents.

Fortunately, these pests can’t get sustenance from steel, and rodents can’t gnaw their way through from outside. So steel barndos are essentially pest-proof.

6. Minimal Maintenance

Steel barndominiums don’t suffer from pest-related damage, and they have a structural strength much higher than wood, so they suffer less from weather-related and accidental damage.

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Furthermore, metal barndos don’t use wood slats as sidings and are easy to clean with a water hose.

Can You Build A Barndominium In Ohio? (Points To Consider)

Yes, you can build barndominiums in Ohio. 

Local residents have had what we now call barndominiums for decades. The only difference was that they called them shouses (a mixture of “sheds” and “houses”).

Therefore, when people started to want barndos in OH, the general public and permitting agencies didn’t find them strange or unusual; the buckeyes just carried on with their business and called a shouse by another name.

Ohio is big, so there are many areas you can choose from when deciding the best place for your barndo. (Or should we say shouse?)

So, if you haven’t found a building plot yet, it’s time to consider several points before you do, or you might find it difficult to get building permission.

Accessibility

Your location must be accessible 12 months of the year and have a suitable access road. You’ll find this is even more important if you’re applying for finance.

Lenders want your project to have a resale value. And, if inaccessible, its value will usually plummet.

Utilities

According to the residential zoning regulations, your home must have a water source, drainage, and electricity to function as a home. If your plot hasn’t got these, find out from the local authority if it’s acceptable to go fully or partially off-grid.

Perhaps, drill a borehole, install renewable energy like solar or wind generators, heating systems like air and ground source heat pumps, or install a septic tank.

Consult the International Property Maintenance Code for information on this and other issues. But remember to confirm anything found online with your local permit office, as websites are often not up-to-date.

Residential Zoning

You can’t build a barndo anywhere. In OH, the local and state government categorizes land as suitable for a specific use.

As each town, city, or county has unique zoning regulations, you should research the area you are interested in. For example, Munroe Falls has everything you need to know on its Department of Planning and Zoning website. Other townships will have similar resources. 

Before building a barndominium, the authorities must approve your parcel of land for residential use.

However, you may have zoning issues if you intend to renovate an existing barn into a residence, as it will already have an agricultural or industrial category rather than residential. In this case, apply for the class to be changed.

Generally, a real estate attorney should do this as it often requires specialist knowledge.

Terrain

Consider Ohio’s terrain when choosing your building land.

For example, the southern part of OH near the Appalachian Mountains contains elevated regions requiring additional resources to grade the soil before pouring foundations. 

Varying Weather

Because OH has varying weather throughout the state, you should research the type of climate each area has.

For example, in northern regions, expect heavy snowfall. 

Building Codes

Ohio requires new buildings and renovations to comply with statewide building codes, thus ensuring you have a safe home.

UpCodes is a valuable resource for consulting Ohio building codes. 

Homeowners Associations

Check with local Ohio Home Owners Association laws and regulations for information on where and how to build.

Cost Of Building A Barndominium In Ohio

Building a  home in the US isn’t affordable in any state these days. Ohio is no exception, even if you build a barndominium.

Typically, the average build price for a barndo is $95-$125/sq. ft., slightly higher than the national average of  $80-$100/sq. ft.

And don’t forget the other costs that many people forget when they buy a barndo, such as:

  • Land purchase costs
  • Land clearance
  • Labor costs for barndo erection
  • Finishing
  • Interior design

Barndominium Kit and Erection Costs

Suppose you buy a prefabricated steel barndo kit, which is the cheapest way, and hire a local contractor to do the work.

In that case, you can expect to pay around $20,000-$95,000 for a basic model, plus $35,000-$65,000 for additional labor.

Land Clearance and Foundation

Removing vegetation and tree roots, and grading the soil to be ready for foundation excavation costs about $1,000-$5,500, depending on the plot size, slope gradient, and amount of vegetation.

Additionally, a typical foundation costs up to $17,000.

Additional Items

Pay additional costs for a habitable barndo and building code compliance.

  • Insulation$2,500 average. The building codes specify how much insulation and the R-value for Ohio’s climate zone.
  • HVAC – Up to $15,000 on average
  • Electrical$2,500 average
  • Plumbing$1,500 average
  • Drainage – Up to $10,000 average
  • Roofing & Siding – Generally, these essentials come with a barndo kit. However, sometimes, you only buy the structural skeleton without an outer skin. Therefore, in this case, you must purchase these as extras. Typically, this costs, on average, $15,000 for roofing and $25,000 for siding.

Remember, all figures can increase or decrease depending on the size of your barndo, market factors, and others.

Ohio Zoning and Legal Landscape

Zoning regulations are always a factor in every construction project. They influence where you can build, its height, area, and its purpose.

Typically, your local town’s zoning board governs the zoning regulations, and the town enforces them. Contact the local township or city zoning inspector to find out the regulations governing your area. 

Zoning regulations ensure your property complements the local government’s long-term plans and are there to protect all residents and businesses in the area.

Ensure your land has residential zoning already in place. Otherwise, you must apply to change it to comply with the land’s new purpose.

You can request a copy of the zoning information for your county or township by contacting the local zoning or planning department.

Zoning Assessment

Always ensure the zoning regulations permit you to build your home exactly where you want to.

Generally, the zoning rules restrict your property using the following:

  • Plot dimensions
  • Plot use
  • House type
  • House use
  • The building’s floor dimensions
  • Building’s height to eaves and ridge
  • Its position relative to other properties

Land Use in OH

Ohio zoning boards classify districts into zones depending on their use and the type of property wanted in that zone. However, sometimes, they will accept mixed-use areas such as small businesses or recreational parks linked to residential areas.

Typically, the classifications are:

  • Industrial
  • Agricultural
  • Recreational
  • Commercial
  • Residential

However, things don’t stop there. These zones can be split into smaller categories. For example, what property type is allowed in the residential zone, such as single-story, multi-story, single-family, multiple-family, etc.?

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Potential Problems

As zoning regulations aim to ensure complementary land use within each zone, sometimes these can be too restrictive. When this happens, you can apply for a “zoning variance,” which allows a homeowner legal non-compliance with the existing zone.

For example, when renovating an existing barn into a liveable home, the location will initially be for agricultural buildings. To convert this into a residential barndominium, the Ohio zoning rules require a change to a residential zone as the building cannot continue to be in its current classification.

So, you must apply to the zoning board for a change of use variance using a real-estate attorney.

Building Codes

Ohio building codes, as do all US states,  exist to ensure the structure remains safe at all times. Each local district uses the International Building Codes to guide and then adapts them to suit the local conditions and legal framework.

In the case of Ohio, they keep all building codes consistent throughout the state. Although various codes relate to different types of buildings, the regulations for a barndominium are for residential premises.

In this case, codes ensure the following, among others:

  • Structural integrity
  • Energy efficiency
  • Fire safety
  • Mechanical safety
  • Electrical safety

Suppose you want your barndominium construction project to remain legal in the Buckeye state.

In that case, you must fully understand the building codes, research which permits you need, and comply with each regulation.

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How To Build A Barndominium Home In Ohio

Building a barndominium in the Buckeye state as a home for you and your family isn’t difficult if you follow a professionally produced plan. Furthermore, it isn’t much different from building a conventionally built house, although the detailed procedures might differ.

Let’s look at each step.

Buy Some Land

Everyone wants their home to look good in its surroundings, so choose a building plot that complements your barndominium’s design.

You already have the advantage that Ohio is predominantly an agricultural state, so a home resembling an American farm building should fit perfectly.

However, you also want to enjoy plenty of balmy evenings sitting on the porch watching the sunset, so choose a plot with beautiful scenery. Additionally, consider the following:

  • Check whether there are restrictive zoning regulations in force.
  • Has the plot an access road open all year round?
  • Is the plot big enough for all your plans? This could be for your home, sheds, garden, family vehicle parking, horse stables, room for livestock, and other purposes.
  • Are there utility connections nearby?
  • Do the local regulations allow me to install a septic tank if necessary?

Choose a Contractor

Use a local building company licensed to work in Ohio and with suitable insurance. Choosing one who has worked on barndominiums before makes sense as they have expert knowledge of how components fit together.

Ask the contractor if they have worked with specific mortgage lenders, as choosing these finance companies makes getting home loans much more accessible.

Secure Building Permits

Usually, your general contractor will organize building permits for you as part of the project management role. Alternatively, if you select a turnkey project from a barndominium supplier, they will get the permits for you.

Whichever company gets the licenses, remember it’s your responsibility to ensure they’re in place, and you are accountable if anything goes wrong. Don’t get fined or worse if your permits aren’t in order.

Clear the Plot

Clearing the plot can be a lot of work depending on its size, the barndo foundation area, and the foundation type. Generally, foundations and footings need graded soil, clear of vegetation, and tree roots.

However, piled foundations are often the exception here. Many contractors bring the utility connections and drainage pipes onto the site at this stage, ready for connecting later.

Foundations

Design the foundations based on the barndominium’s dimensions and weight, the soil conditions, and the building codes. The permit office will expect sealed plans and calculations from a structural engineer showing the finished foundation design.

Depending on the ground conditions, you can use one of the standard foundation types: basement, foundation, pier-and-beam, slab-on-grade, or piled foundations.

Excavate the required trench, install the reinforcing bars, and pour the concrete as necessary. Finally, allow the concrete to cure before continuing.

Barndo Construction

Assemble the barndominium onto the new foundations. Remember that a barndo’s exterior walls are the only load-bearing structure, so the perimeter foundation must always support them.

Generally, only those with an appropriate license can construct a barndominium, so don’t try to do a DIY job unless you have the correct licenses and insurance.

Typically, erecting a barndominium in Ohio can take up to six months before you can move in.

Barndominium Builders Of Ohio

Barndominiums have become increasingly popular as a cost-effective alternative to new-build conventional housing for reasons we’ve discussed previously. They could be structural steel shells, wooden-pole, or post-frame barndos. Take your pick.

However, it pays to select a local construction company or barndominium supplier specializing in building barn homes to a high standard to get the best value for money.

Evidently, you have to keep within your budget when choosing a contractor. But, don’t automatically choose the cheapest quote before looking at all the others. You only get as good as you pay for, and selecting the right contractor will often be a midrange quotation.

However, looking through all the building companies in Ohio and those based out-of-state can be difficult due to the number available.

Therefore, to help you along, we’ve compiled a list of things to look out for when creating a shortlist. Using these and the list of companies in the next section will help you choose the right company for the job.

Experience

Make your primary decisions before looking for a contractor. Is it to be a steel or wood barndominium? What’s its size, and where do you intend to build? Also, what’s your budget?

All these points will help you choose an experienced company that knows what it’s doing. Usually, selecting a specialist company will ensure your finished product is something to be proud of.

However, choosing an experienced company to handle everything isn’t always possible, so, in this case, select a professional general contractor.

Reputation

Good contractors have excellent reputations and customer reviews and testimonials to prove it. Ask around among friends, family, and work colleagues to find a company that has provided a professional and value-for-money experience.

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Generally, there’s nothing better than personal recommendations.

Lender Approved

Probably, the best recommendation a construction company can get is one from a mortgage provider. Lenders want reassurance that their money is safe. So, they will often stipulate a contractor as part of the contract when you’re after funding for your barndominium.

So, ask the lender which companies they approve of and choose one of these. Alternatively, many contractors already have a list of lenders they work with and publish these on their websites and literature. 

Buckeye Builders List, OH

Some of the most significant decisions we make when building a barn home in OH are:

  • Where do I buy the barndominiums from?
  • Who will design the barndo?
  • Is the barndo to be wood, steel, or mixed material?
  • Who will assemble it on-site?
  • Which company will pour the foundations?
  • Who will do the finishing work?

The following list offers 14 separate companies; some only do one or two items from the previous list, while others do everything. Also, some are local Buckeyes, while others are based elsewhere and serve Ohio among several other states.

For your information, we haven’t listed them in any particular order.

  • Kirkham Building Systems produces custom timber post-frame barndos. Their team helps you select the correct design to comply with building codes. Partner with lenders. Address: 3777 State Route 37 W Delaware, OH 43015. Phone: 740-548-7810
  • Dutch Builders LLC builds all post-frame and barndo homes and uses various base plans combined with your customizations. Address: 8305 Ashridge Arnheim Rd. Sardinia, Ohio 45171. Phone: 937-446-4400
  • Worldwide Steel, based throughout the Midwest, is ideally located to serve Ohio. Specialists in steel barndominiums. Address: 10606 State Route YY Peculiar, MO 64078. Phone: 800-825-0316
  • Pole Barns Direct sells barndominium shells to the entire state. However, you must provide foundations and finishing work. Address: 505 Nassau St. W East Canton, Ohio 44730. Phone: 877-712-2767
  • MQS Structures offers several types of post-frame and steel truss building shells, including barndominiums. You provide foundations and finishing work. Address: 2843 Lifer Lane SW Lancaster, OH 43130. Phone: 855-677-3334
  • Parry Homes Columbus produces high-quality turnkey barndominiums. Address: 6351 Sawmill Rd. Dublin, OH 43017. Phone: 614-665-7038
  • Weaver Barns uses prefabricated buildings and kits to produce any size barndo and other structures. Depending on your location, the company may include erection costs in the total price. Address: 1696 State Route 39 Sugarcreek, OH 44681. Phone: 330-852-2103
  • Avodah Contractors LLC uses multiple materials to provide a high-end feel barndominium. Alternatively, you can choose a quality turnkey project. Address: 6655 Lincoln Way E Wooster, Ohio 44691. Phone: 330-601-1324
  • Rhino Steel Buildings provides prefabricated metal barndo kits customized to your specs. However, they don’t handle foundations, erection, or finishing. Address: 4305 I-35 North Denton, Texas 76207. Phone: 940-312-7646
  • Sunward Steel Buildings prefabricates and builds barndominium kits and custom-engineered structures. They don’t provide foundations, erect, or finish your home but will align project management with your building team. Address: 600 E Hampden Ave Denver, Colorado 80224. Phone: 303-759-2255
  • Sugarcreek Builders LLC renovates and converts existing barns and builds new barndos. Furthermore, they help find suitable barns to buy and renovate. Address: 4861 Leihley Hill Rd NW, Sugarcreek, OH 44681. Phone: 330-390-0208
  • Attica Lumber Company will construct wooden poles, and post-frame barns to your barndo specification. They do everything from design, getting permits, installing foundations, and erecting the shell. You then find a contractor to convert it into a barndo. Address: 406 East Tiffin Street, Attica, OH 44807. Phone: 419-426-3451
  • Pebble Construction provides post-frame, pole-barns, and barndos. You can build a wood or metal barn building and convert it into a residence. Address: 8026 Industrial Parkway Plain City, Ohio 43064. Phone: 614-504-6481
  • JDM Structures offers six standard barndo kits and provides custom barndos to suit your specs. They also offer foundation, erection, and finishing work. Address: 5840 County Road 201, Millersburg, Ohio 44654. Phone: 877-536-2276

A list of the top barndominium builders in Ohio can be viewed here.

Ohio Barndominium Financing Availability

As long as you know what you want to borrow and if you can afford it, have the required documentation, a sound building plan, and comply with the lender’s requirements, finding a barndominium finance lender in Ohio need not be too difficult.

A detailed building plan is achievable, especially if you buy the barndo from a recognized supplier. Usually, they will search your local building codes and produce plans you can submit to your lender.

And don’t forget to choose a contractor who works alongside barndo finance companies.

Typically, when building a barndominium, you require funding before you start work to pay for materials and labor. This finance is called a construction loan. Usually, these loans have lower interest rates and better terms than other loans. But, they often need higher downpayments.

Alternatively, you can choose one of the government-backed home loans, which are excellent for low-interest rates and downpayments. But, you must satisfy their stringent requirements.

For example, a VA loan is only for eligible current armed service personnel and veterans. And a USDA loan helps buy in one of the less populated areas of the US, such as Ohio.

No matter which home loan and lender you choose, you must have the best credit rating you can manage. For private lenders, your rating must be excellent and have a good income-to-debt ratio.

Heartland Bank

Several construction companies work with Heartland Bank, a local lender with 17 offices in Ohio and other states. They provide secured loans for all types of home construction projects.

Address: 430 North Hamilton Road, Whitehall, OH 43213
Phone: 800-697-0049

The Citizens National Bank of McConnelsville

The Citizens National Bank is a community bank and an official lender for the USDA Farm Services Agency.

Address: 100 East Main St, McConnelsville, OH 43756
Phone: 740-962-4565

Southern Hills Community Bank

Southern Hills Community Bank has eight offices in Ohio to help the community get the mortgage funding they need.

Address: Various locations
Phone: 888-898-9839

Barndominiums For Sale In Ohio (Listings)

After reading this guide, you may decide that building a barndominium from scratch in Ohio isn’t for you. You may even decide against using a barndo kit. But don’t give up.

There are usually plenty of previously owned barn homes of one sort or another available to buy.

Many people don’t realize there are several advantages to purchasing a barndo that someone else built. You don’t have the hassle of dealing with contractors, manufacturers, and the potential pettiness of local county bureaucrats.

A pre-owned barndo has got over all its teething problems, and generally, the gardens are starting to mature.

Perhaps you don’t like fitting in with another person’s room layout. If that’s the case, don’t forget that barndominiums only have load-bearing walls around the perimeter, and you can remove and reposition the interior partitions to whichever configuration you want without causing structural issues.  

So, if you prefer buying a pre-owned barndominium, plenty are on our lists for sale.

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Adam Marcos

Adam Marcos, a veteran with 25+ years in custom home building, now serves as Managing Editor of BarndominiumZone. He passionately helps people on their journey of creating their dream barndo homes, offering valuable insights and practical advice. With a warm and approachable demeanor, Adam inspires readers to embrace unique living spaces that reflect their aspirations. Join him on a transformative adventure, turning ordinary spaces into extraordinary havens of creativity and fulfillment. Experience the magic of bringing visions to life, one barndo at a time.

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