Cost To Build a Barndominium 101: Complete Guide (2024)

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Okay, you’re considering buying a barndominium, or “barndo” for short. And you realize that although it’s a great idea to have more living space for you and your extended family and room for a hobby or a small industry, you don’t know much about the concept.

Building a barndo is still relatively new as a construction project. Unfortunately, not many people know how to go about building one. However, the benefits certainly make owning a barndo worthwhile. 

This guide will explain everything you need to know about the costs of constructing your dream home. Thus allowing you to plan and budget accordingly.

Table of Contents

What Is A Barndominium?

Barndominiums are a cross between a barn and a residence, or “barn” and “condominium,” hence the name. It’s a property built in the style of an agricultural barn or renovated from a pre-existing farm building.

Because of its design, a barndo works well as a residence and storage facility, hobby space, garage, or workshop. Some owners even incorporate a horse riding arena and stables if they have equine interests!

Barndos lend themselves to the prefabricated construction style, and several companies produce kits to their customers’ specifications. Then, to assemble, hire contractors, or try DIY if you have the appropriate skills.

Although renovating a pre-existing barn can be very satisfying, using a kit for a new build incorporates energy efficiency, customizability, and affordability. Furthermore, they come with everything you need, plus complete instructions.

Alternatively, some companies produce nothing but barndo construction plans if you want to build from scratch. So, if you like the idea of a traditional-looking yet comfortable home in a rural setting, a barndominium is the solution. 

How Much Do Barndominiums Cost?

As you can imagine, pricing a project like this, whether it’s a kit or a renovation, depends on many factors. For example, you could build a small 700 sq. ft. one-bedroom, single-person’s, or couple’s residence.

Alternatively, perhaps a five or six-bedroom property with an open-plan living area, a workshop, and an indoor riding arena. Typically, whichever one you choose, its average cost ranges from $30-$150/sq. ft. depending on:

  • The barndo’s size
  • Its customizations
  • The project’s complexity
  • Labor costs
  • The construction materials’ quality
  • Its location

You can probably see from this list that you might have to compromise to keep everything affordable.

Not sure where to start? Our Barndominium Zone Package can help!
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Choose simple designs and budget materials to give you a dream home that won’t break the bank. And, if you have some DIY skills, you can save money too.

However, suppose you use one of the finance packages available for barndo and modular home construction. In that case, you may have to use a professional contractor approved by the lender.

Barndominiums Cost Per Square Foot

Recently, barndominiums have flourished across the United States, especially in states such as Texas, where flexible zoning laws and a surplus of affordable land have made barndos very popular.

Furthermore, some regions have lower labor rates and reduced average construction costs than others.

Although the barndominium concept is compatible with any state and its ambient climate, the designers must consider them individually.

For example, those states with harsh winters need more insulation than those in sunny regions. The local building codes state the required amount of insulation and other relevant factors, and you must comply with them.

Barndominium costs vary depending on the state you want to live in. The table below helps you decide where to live to build an affordable barndo.

StateCost/sq. ft.StateCost/sq. ft.
Alabama  $85 Montana $100
Alaska $130 Nebraska $95
Arizona $115 Nevada $125
Arkansas $105New Hampshire $105
California $140 New Mexico $105
Colorado $110 New York $130
Delaware $130North Carolina $125
Florida $115Ohio $95
Georgia $100 Oklahoma $105
Idaho $100Oregon $120
Illinois $110Pennsylvania $100 
Indiana $100South Carolina $110
Iowa $95South Dakota $105
Kansas $105Tennessee $100 
Kentucky $100Texas $120
Louisiana $100Utah $120
Maine $110Vermont $125
Maryland $135Virginia $110
Massachusetts $145Washington $120
Michigan $95West Virginia $80
Minnesota $115Wisconsin $110 
Mississippi $90Wyoming $135
Missouri$110

Note: Figures in this table are approximate and indicative only. Use them as a guide and to assist with your research.

Barndominium Cost Examples

The following data shows you what you get for your money, with a cost breakdown.

However, although we used the barndominium specifications and total price from real examples, we estimated the breakdown using an accepted rule-of-thumb construction method.

Barndominium 1

Specifications

  • Area: 2,688 sq. ft.
  • Dimensions: 80 ft. x 62 ft. x 10 ft.
  • Story: 1
  • Bedrooms: 3
  • Bathrooms: 2 1/2
  • Cars: 2

Home

  • Roof made with wood trusses covered in 40-year, 29 gauge painted steel sheet and trim
  • Exterior walls constructed with 2 in x 6 in steel studs, with vaulted ceiling over living space
  • Five external doors
  • 16 windows
  • External walls made with 40-year guaranteed, 29 gauge painted sheet and trim
  • 4-inch concrete floor slab

Garage

  • 30 ft. x 30 ft. (900 sq. ft.) 2-car garage
  • Two 10 ft. x 8 ft. insulated garage doors

Porches

  • 18 ft. x 50 ft. framed back porch roof with cypress post and headers (900 sq. ft.)
  • 8 ft. x 38 ft. cypress wood-framed front porch (304 sq. ft.)

Estimated cost breakdown

ComponentEstimated Minimum CostEstimated Maximum Cost
Barndo Kit$52,543$77,194
Clear Land$3,941$4,289
Labor/Assembly$78,814$51,462
Insulation$3,941$2,573
Foundation$13,136$11,150
Electrical$2,627$2,573
HVAC$7,881$12,008
Plumbing$1,314$1,715
Sewer$3,941$8,577
Siding$26,271$21,443
Roofing$21,017$21,443
Electrical$1,576$2,573
Total*$217,000

*Plus tax & shipping; including installation.

Barndominium 2

Specifications

  • Area: 2,250 sq. ft.
  • Dimensions: 30 ft. x 75 ft.
  • Story: 1
  • Bedrooms: 4
  • Bathrooms: 2
  • Cars: 2

Home

  • Roof made with wood trusses covered in 40-year, 29 gauge painted steel sheet and trim
  • Two French doors
  • Two false dormers
  • Exterior walls 2 in x 6 in steel studs framework with vaulted ceiling over living space
  • One 36-inch personnel door
  • 17 windows
  • External walls made with 40-year guaranteed, 29 gauge painted sheet and trim
  • 4-inch concrete slab

Garage

  • 30 ft. x 24 ft. x 10 ft. (720 sq. ft.) 2-car garage
  • Two 9 ft. x 8 ft. insulated garage doors

Porches

  • 8 ft. x 45 ft. front porch (360 sq. ft.)
  • 8 ft. x 30 ft. back porch (240 sq. ft.)

Estimated cost breakdown

ComponentEstimated Minimum CostEstimated Maximum Cost
Barndo Kit$43,341$63,676
Clear Land$3,251$3,538
Labor/Assembly$65,012$42,451
Insulation$3,251$2,123
Foundation$10,835$9,198
Electrical$2,167$2,123
HVAC$6,501$9,905
Plumbing$1,084$1,415
Sewer$3,251$7,075
Siding$21,671$17,688
Roofing$17,337$17,688
Electrical$1,300$2,123
Total*$179,000

*Plus tax & shipping; including installation.

Barndominium 3

Specifications

  • Area: 2,000 sq. ft.
  • Dimensions: 40 ft. x 50 ft. x 11 ft. 6in.
  • Story: 1 with loft space
  • Garage/workshop: 1
  • Bedrooms: 3
  • Bathrooms: 2.
  • Cars: 5

Home

  • Roof made with wood trusses covered in 40-year, 29 gauge painted steel sheet and trim
  • One French door
  • Four 36-inch personnel doors
  • 16 windows
  • External walls made with 40-year guaranteed, 29 gauge painted sheet and trim
  • 4-inch concrete slab

Garage

  • 90 ft. x 40 ft. x 11 ft. 6 in. (3,600 sq. ft.) 5-car garage
  • Two 9 ft. x 8 ft. insulated garage doors

Porches

  • 8 ft. x 45 ft. front porch (360 sq. ft.)
  • 8 ft. x 30 ft. back porch (240 sq. ft.)

Estimated cost breakdown

ComponentEstimated Minimum CostEstimated Maximum Cost
Barndo Kit$80,872$118,814
Clear Land$6,065$6,601
Labor/Assembly$121,308$79,209
Insulation$6,065$3,960
Foundation$20,218$17,162
Electrical$4,044$3,960
HVAC$12,131$18,482
Plumbing$2,022$2,640
Sewer$6,065$13,202
Siding$40,436$33,004
Roofing$32,349$33,004
Electrical$2,426$3,960
Total*$334,000
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*Plus tax & shipping; including installation.

Barndominium 4

Specifications

  • Area: First floor 667 sq. ft.; Second floor 620 sq. ft.
  • Stories: 2
  • Bedrooms: 2
  • Bathrooms: 2
  • Cars: 1

Home

  • Roof made with wood stick framing covered in 40-year, 29 gauge painted steel sheet and trim
  • Three personnel doors
  • 16 windows
  • External walls made with 40-year guaranteed, 29 gauge painted sheet and trim
  • 4-inch concrete slab

Garage

  • 13 ft. x 26 ft. (338 sq. ft.) garage
  • One insulated garage door

Porches

  • 8 ft. x 26 ft. cypress framed front porch
  • 6 ft. x 10 ft. back balcony

Estimated cost breakdown

ComponentEstimated Minimum CostEstimated Maximum Cost
Barndo Kit$24,189$35,538
Clear Land$1,814$1,974
Labor/Assembly$36,283$23,692
Insulation$1,814$1,185
Foundation$6,047$5,133
Electrical$1,209$1,185
HVAC$3,628$5,528
Plumbing$605$790
Sewer$1,814$3,949
Siding$12,094$9,872
Roofing$9,676$9,872
Electrical$726$1,185
Total*$99,900

*Plus tax & shipping; including installation.

Barndominium Kit Provider Cost Estimates

If you browse online and compare similar-sized barndominiums, you’ll find it’s not an easy exercise. Very few companies publish detailed price lists; so comparing like-for-like is almost impossible.

The following table gives information on three national barndominium companies: two suppliers offer steel kits, and one offers wooden barndo kits. 

SupplierBarndo AreaMaterials CostErection CostBuilding SystemConcrete Slab CostTotal Cost
General Steel30 ft. x 40 ft.$20-$31/sq. ft.$7-$12/sq. ft.$20-31/sq. ft.$10-$15/sq. ft.N/A
Barn Pros Nationwide36 ft. x 48 ft.Wood Frame ‚Äď Breakdown Not Available$202,995
R&R Ironworks28 ft. x 40 ft.Basic Shell Without Doors and Windows. Breakdown Not Available$23,778

Types of Barndominiums

There are two distinct barndominium types:

Steel

Typically, a simple steel barndominium’s average cost ranges from $30-$150/sq. ft. depending on several factors.

The frame is structural steel and covered with steel siding panels and roofs. The walls have infilled insulation along with the cabling and plumbing. Finally, the inside layer is drywall. 

Because steel has more structural strength than wood, the roof doesn’t need internal supports; the exterior walls support the entire structure without interior load-bearing walls or pillars, and you can have large open-plan areas.

Wood 

On average, a wooden (or stick-built) barndominium costs anything from $150-$300/sq. ft. Furthermore, the building process takes longer with crew on-site for a significantly longer duration.

Also, the design requires more studs and supports because of the wood’s lower structural strength, therefore increasing the already expensive lumber costs.

The exterior walls are made from lumber covered with wood or plastic siding and shingle roofs. The infill cavities also have insulation with drywall on the inside.

Building with wooden frames needs more structural supports and interior structural walls and pillars. This means smaller, less customizable rooms.

However, in practice, many manufacturers use a combination of wood for visible features and steel for structural strength. 

14 Barndominium Price Factors

Although the average cost to build a barndominiums is around $280,000, purchasers must realize that several factors affect the construction costs. 

1. Location

Barndominium costs vary significantly with the state in which you intend to build.

We’ve already discussed this in more detail elsewhere, so here, we’ll mention that average and approximate costs vary from $80/sq. ft. in West Virginia to $145/sq. ft. in Massachusetts. The price differs mainly because of labor costs and land prices.

2. Size

The cost to build a barndo depends significantly on the building’s size. Typically, a large structure indicates a high price. However, because of other factors, you can have smaller barndos with comparatively high costs.

Usually, barndo kit manufacturers and their customers estimate the cost of a new barndominium by specifying the structure’s floor area. The table shows some popular barndo sizes and typical average prices. 

DimensionsAreaAverage Price Range
30 ft. x 40 ft.1,200 sq. ft.$115,000-$145,000
40 ft. x 60 ft.2,400 sq. ft.$225,000-$290,000
60 ft. x 60 ft.3,600 sq. ft.$340,000-$430,000
60 ft. x 70 ft.4,200 sq. ft.$395,000-$500,000

3. Material

Generally, about 40% of the cost of a barndominium kit buys the building materials, such as framing, roof, siding, plumbing, electrical wiring, doors, windows, and drywall.

Typically, the cost varies with the quality of materials and quantity. However, you’ll be pleased to know that wood and steel, commonly used in a barndo’s construction, are cheaper than masonry materials.

The material cost typically ranges from $5,000 to $140,000, based on a kit’s purchase price of $12,000-$350,000.

4. Accessibility

Depending on where you build your barndo, you may have problems with access roads.

For example, the area may have rugged terrain, limited access points, or surrounding structures to consider. All these cause issues with equipment such as cranes and delivery trucks, which may increase the overall price.

Sometimes, a new access road is the only solution. Typically, these may cost:

  • Gravel roads cost $15-$25/ft.
  • Asphalt roads cost $70-$180/ft.

5. Land Clearing

Many rural lots often slope, are covered in forest, or generally need clearing of undergrowth.

Clearing these can be a problem that you must overcome.  

  • General land clearing costs $1,400-$5,600.
  • Leveling the lot before excavation costs $1,000-$3,500.
  • Sparsely wooded areas cost $1,500-$3,000/acre to clear.
  • Heavily wooded areas cost $4,000-$7,000/acre to clear.

6. Labor

Typically, labor costs account for 35% of a barndominium’s construction budget. Labor costs vary with the size and complexity of the final design, the construction crew’s size, and the project’s duration.

You’ll also find that labor costs vary significantly with the state you’re building in.

The table shows the average labor rates for contractors in the barndominium’s construction project.

ContractorAverage Cost
Architect$130-$250/hr
Draftsperson$50-$150/hr
General Contractor10%-20% of project cost
Carpenter$15-$40/hr
Electrician$50-$100/hr
Plumber$50-$200/hr
Flooring Contractor$60-$130/hr
Interior Designer$50-$200/hr
Landscape Designer$60-$150/hr

7. Permits

Every construction project requires several permits issued by the local government agency, covering many stages of the project. Typically, the stages include, but aren’t limited to, excavation, foundations, electrical, fire safety, and energy efficiency.

Generally, the permit costs vary depending on the rules set by the local government. This could be a flat fee per square foot or variable payments, depending on the permit type.

Usually, barndominium permits cost from $1,000-$2,000.

8. Finishing Materials

Finishing materials make a bare shell into a functional and beautiful home. Typically, these costs make up about 10% of the total budget. 

Finishing materials include:

  • Bathroom fixtures
  • Kitchen appliances
  • Cabinets
  • Countertops
  • Light and plumbing fixtures
  • Decorating
  • Trim

Remember that high-quality finishing materials significantly increase the total costs, using up more than 10% of the overall price. You must also realize that a home can be beautiful and functional by using mid-range materials.

Also, it’s worthwhile considering how much maintenance the materials need, its added cost, and how sustainable the raw materials are. 

Additional Considerations

Unfortunately, it’s not only the barndominiums structure that costs money. You should also consider other payments to avoid surprises:

9. Land Purchasing

Land prices depend on location, soil quality, and zoning laws. Therefore, research the best site and its cost before committing to a specific contract.

The table shows selected states and the average cost of land. Note the significant variation, with some locations being great value for money, while others make building a barndominium economically unfeasible.

LocationAverage Land Cost
Wyoming$1,600/acre
Montana$2,300/acre
Idaho$3,500/acre
Iowa$6,600/acre
Connecticut$129,000/acre
New Jersey$196,500/acre

Not only is the land price a significant factor, but you must also consider the lot’s suitability. Land surveys help determine the suitability and the lot’s boundaries and cost between $350-$750.

10. Floor Plans

Floor plans are essential to visualize the finished project and determine the layout. If you’re buying a kit, this is included in the price. Otherwise, ready-made floor plans, available on many websites, can add $1,500-$2,500 to the project.

Alternatively, hire an architect to draw floor plans for up to $5,000.

11. Foundations

A foundation supports the structure’s weight and transfers the loads into the soil or bedrock.

Generally, contractors use poured concrete as a convenient material. However, they may use steel or concrete piling as supporting columns, depending on the ground conditions.

The cost of foundations depends on the soil conditions, floor area, excavation size, and quantity of materials. Expect to pay $4,000-$45,000 for a finished foundation.

12. Utilities

Sometimes, you buy remote land for your barndo without utilities and municipal drainage connections. However, local and state laws require your barndo to have water, power, and drainage.

So, check beforehand whether these utilities are available and how much it costs for connection. Expect to pay $1,000-$30,000 for utility connections.

13. Septic Tank Installation

Septic tanks are a solution for properties without municipal drainage. The system consists of an underground watertight container, usually fiberglass, plastic, or concrete, which accepts all the wastewater from your domestic drainage.

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Often, you don’t have a choice whether to use a septic waste system. But sometimes, it’s cheaper than connecting to the municipal system.

Typically, installing a new septic tank and associated pipework costs $3,300-$10,500, depending on size, local permits, and ground conditions.

14. Customization

Most of the prices listed in this guide refer to standard barndominiums. However, if you wish, you can have yours customized to suit your preferences.

Barndominiums lend themselves to customization. But, as the design moves away from a standard floor plan, the finished barndo becomes more expensive.

Typically, customization takes longer to build and requires more crew members, including specialists, to work with high-end materials.

However, barndo customizations offer increased personal satisfaction, comfort, and a higher resale value. So, if you can afford it, it’s worth considering.

Barndominium Floor Plan Costs

Several companies sell barndominiums plans online. Go online, scroll through a list of specifications complete with a photograph of the finished building, and press the purchase button.

The following table shows twenty floor plans from monsterhouseplans.com. Alternatively, please search for other companies, but you’ll find their plan prices and finished barndominiums specifications are very similar.

By all means, browse, and you might find one more to your liking.

AreaSizeStoriesBedsBathsGaragesPlan Price
1,587 sq. ft.85 ft. x 48 ft.1224$1,200
2,030 sq. ft.50 ft. x 64 ft.132N/A$1,150
2,039 sq. ft.86 ft. x 70 ft.1323$1,150
2,113 sq. ft.60 ft. x 100 ft.1323$1,400
2,155  sq. ft.52 ft. x 108 ft.2333$1,400
2,250 sq. ft.104 ft. x 58 ft.233 1/26$1,150
2,311 sq. ft.80 ft. x 50 ft.232 1/22$1,150
2,663 sq. ft.94 ft. x 62 ft.233 1/26$1,780
2,693 sq. ft.89 ft. x 90 ft.232 1/24$1,350
2,752 sq. ft.113 ft. x 59 ft.132 1/23$1,600
2,765 sq. ft.112 ft. x 61 ft.2324$1,400
2,800 sq. ft.80 ft. x 62 ft.152 1/23$1,895
2,810 sq. ft.56 ft. x 64 ft.2322$1,600
3,040 sq. ft.84 ft. x 44 ft.2632$1,350
3,177 sq. ft.96 ft. x 57 ft.243 1/23$1,595
3,246 sq. ft.107 ft. x 55 ft.153 1/22$1,850
3,293 sq. ft.110 ft. x 65 ft.242 1/26$1,700
3,362 sq. ft.75 ft. x 54 ft.232 1/23$1,700
3,371 sq. ft.79 ft. x 62 ft.243 1/23$1,700
4,450 sq. ft.72 ft. x 87 ft.253 1/23$2,000

Barndominium Kit Costs

Buying a barndominium kit takes a lot of worry away from the purchaser. You know everything will fit together; you have all the parts necessary to construct the barndo and have complete instructions.

If you have suitable DIY experience, we recommend assembling a small kit while leaving a large one to a professional contractor.

Typically, most barndominium kits include the following:

  • Lumber and steel for framing
  • Sheet metal siding
  • Roof and rainwater management system
  • Interior walls
  • Windows & doors (some kits don’t include these)
  • All clips, other fixings, sheathing, trusses, and porch framing kit
  • Plans

The contents of each kit vary from design to design, so ensure you know what you’re buying before it arrives on-site, by which time, it’ll be too late. Prices range from:

  • $17,500 for a basic 15 ft. x 18 ft. gable roofed barndo with an 18 ft. covered porch.
  • $66,000 for a 50 ft. x 40 ft. three bedroom, two bathroom barndo, over two stories with a wraparound porch.
  • $310,000 for a large 6,860 sq. ft. barndominium kit. It has four bedrooms, two bathrooms, and open-plan living/dining/kitchen space. Expect a complete house for this price, so you’d receive all plumbing and kitchen fixtures, countertops, and cabinets.

Research the various barndo kit suppliers online to understand what barndo you want and how much it’ll cost.

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Land Acquisition

If you’re considering building a barndominiums instead of buying a ready-made house, you need land to build on.

Purchasing the lot gives you more flexibility. But, it’s much more complicated. Let’s look at some typical steps.

Find land for sale

The first step in land purchase is finding the lot that suits you. Several websites specialize in vacant land. Some of the best include:

Also, use a local real estate agent who knows what land is available in their area.

Financing your purchase

Financing a land purchase for house construction differs from buying a conventional house. Some of the financing options include:

New construction loan

A new construction loan allows the purchase of land and the construction cost. These loans sometimes convert to a standard mortgage at the end of the construction phase and are known as construction-to-permanent loans.

Generally, the lender asks for a smaller downpayment than if funding the land and construction separately. Also, lenders like to have a 10-20% downpayment on construction loans but sometimes accept smaller downpayments in exchange for higher interest rates.

Like most loans, you must have an excellent credit score, a low debt-to-income ratio, and professionally drawn detailed plans to qualify for this loan.

Lot land loan

A lot land loan allows you to purchase your construction separately from the land if it has the following in place:

  • Building permit.
  • Zoning approval.
  • Access to public roads.
  • Utilities and municipal sewer (or on-site septic sewer system) nearby.

Expect to pay 10-20% as a downpayment.

Raw land loan

Suppose your potential purchase doesn’t qualify for a lot land loan. In that case, choose a raw land loan.

However, beware: Lenders consider these loans risky, so they may be difficult to get.

Typically, you offer a 50% downpayment and pay higher interest rates.

Seller financing

There is another option. You can buy vacant land using seller financing.

Generally, the seller and buyer arrange the finance between themselves without involving third-party lenders. This option can be helpful for buyers who have problems financing their land purchase with a traditional lender.

Understand zoning restrictions before buying land

Understand what zoning restrictions exist before buying the land. Often, barndominiums aren’t allowed in towns and cities due to strict building codes. Instead, they’re more prevalent in rural areas, where the regulations are less stringent.

Zoning and building permits regulate how to use land and buildings. Failure to comply with these regulations results in penalties and fines.

Furthermore, most existing residential areas don’t allow large metal structures. Hence, permission is more likely in rural or agricultural areas.

Before permitting, local government agencies require architect’s and structural engineer’s drawings detailing loads, utilities, and elevations.

The company you buy your barndo kit from can provide these documents in a format acceptable to the permitting agency.

The land you intend to buy may not automatically be registered as residential land. Therefore, it’s essential to determine its category before purchasing.

Research your land and get documents to support your case before applying for permits or buying anything.

If you need help, ask an experienced real estate agent who has worked with vacant land before. They can usually find out the information or guide you in your research.

Is the land suitable for building?

Have the land surveyed by a professional surveyor. They can determine the lot’s dimensions, whether there is joint use with another person, and how accessible the land is.

They will also know or consult a specialist to determine if the ground is safe to build on and whether you can drill a well or install a septic sewage system. Sometimes, environmental issues make this an impossibility.

Determine the cost of connecting utilities

Utilities taken for granted in a town or city, such as natural gas, water, and electricity, are necessary for residential living. They may not be readily available to your lot, especially if it was never residential land.

Therefore, when no utilities are nearby, determine the additional expenses to connect. Also, if there isn’t a municipal sewer system, determine the cost of septic system installation.

Barndominium Cost vs. Other House Types

Sometimes, it’s helpful to see the barndominium’s cost compared to other homes. However, you must realize that each type uses different construction methods and materials. So it’s sometimes difficult to compare like-for-like. 

The following table compares the various house styles.

Note the contracted barndo costs are comparable with those of a manufactured home (before 1976, these were called mobile or trailer homes) and a container home (made from international shipping containers).  

House TypeCost/sq. ft.Cost for 600 sq. ft.Cost for 2,000 sq. ft.
DIY Barndominium$30-$40/sq. ft.$18,000-$24,000$60,000-$80,000
Contracted Barndo$40-$150/sq. ft.$24,000-$90,000$80,000-$300,000
Traditional Home$100-$200/sq. ft.$60,000-$120,000$200,000-$400,000
Manufactured Home$55-$145/sq. ft.$33,000-$87,000$110,000-$290,000
House TypeCost/sq. ft.2 x 40 ft. containers (620 sq. ft.)6 x 124 ft. containers (1,920 sq. ft.)
Container Home - 40 ft. long x 8 ft. wide x 8 ft. 6 in. high$130-145/sq. ft. Premium Quality$90,000$250,000
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10 Benefits of Barndominiums

There are several benefits to choosing a barndominiums, and it’s simple to see why they’ve become so popular.

Some benefits include:

1. Construction Speed

Traditional homes can take from 8-12 months to build. In comparison, a simple barndominium can take a few weeks, while complex designs can take up to 6 months.

Shorter construction times result in lower labor costs, thus saving you money.

2. Open-plan

Barndominiums do not have internal structural supports such as pillars and load-bearing walls. Instead, the external walls support all the building’s weight and other structural loads.

Therefore, you can keep the interior as a large open-plan space or divide it into smaller discrete rooms using partition walls.

3. Durability

Steel barndominiums have metal walls and roofs with a mainly structural steel framework. Therefore, the durable shell is resistant to termites, rodents, mold, mildew, and extreme weather.

Generally, a barndo will last much longer than a typical framed home.

4. Fire-resistant

Barndominiums are more fire resistant than traditional homes because steel melts at 2,500‚ĀįF (1,370‚ĀįC).

5. Flood-resistant

Although almost nothing can prevent your home from being flooded by extreme rainfall and rising river levels, the after-effects of flood often cause the most misery.

Traditional construction materials are porous, absorbing much of the floodwater entering your home.

Therefore, wood, plaster, and brick/blockwork soak up clean and sewage water, resulting in many months of drying out and replacing plaster, masonry, and structural wood components.

In contrast, a barndominium will only require the removal of the internal drywall lining and partition walls, leaving the shell structurally sound and relatively unharmed.

6. Lower Insurance

Because of a barndo’s resistance to fire and flood, its insurance premiums are much lower than a traditional home’s.

7. Affordability

Barndos are more affordable than similar quality traditional houses for large families and businesses looking for a large workspace.

8. Energy-efficient

Insulate a metal barndominium according to your local building codes, and you have a building that contains heat during the winter and keeps cool in the summer.

Generally, this stresses the structure’s HVAC systems less, resulting in lower energy bills.

9. Longer Lifespan

Because of the steel structure, siding, and roof, a barndominium lasts at least 50 years, provided you occasionally maintain the roof.

10. Can Withstand Extreme Climate 

Correctly designed metal buildings are better suited to areas with extreme temperatures, heavy rain and snowfall, hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes.

Hiring A Barndominium Contractor vs. DIY Route

If you know your way around construction tools and methods, you can save money by doing some work yourself.

However, most lenders specify that an approved contractor does most of the work and supervises unskilled labor. Furthermore, your barndominium must be safe to live in and look good.

Therefore, don’t attempt too much and cut corners because you’re unsure what to do. And, even if you can do the work safely and professionally, doing a few hours at the weekend won’t get you moved in any time soon. 

Hiring a general contractor to organize the on-site work is a good idea. It allows them to hire electrical, plumbing, and steel fixing specialists when necessary. Typically, contractors charge the following rates depending on their trade.

TradeHourly Rate
General Contractor$50-$150/hr
Electrician$50-$150/hr
Plumber$40-$150/hr
Interior Designer$50-$220/hr

Although it’s tempting, don’t choose the cheapest contractor’s quotation. Always select a mid-range quote to get a reasonable standard of work.

Finally, contractors hold insurance for mistakes that might happen during the working day. Insurance companies generally won’t insure an amateur for construction work.

Saving Money On Barndominium Costs

Purchasing a barndominium is expensive. Therefore, saving as much money as possible during the planning and building phase is a good idea so you don’t break your bank account.

Here are a few tips on how to save money.

Only use experienced contractors

Although hiring the cheapest contractor in the area is tempting, please don’t fall for it. Remember, they often charge cheap rates because they’re inexperienced or aren’t very good at their job and can’t get work any other way.

One of the biggest mistakes people make during a home-building project is re-doing work because of a shoddy standard of work.

Hiring a good quality contractor costs a few dollars more on their daily rate, but you can guarantee that they do things right, the first time around.

Furthermore, choose someone who has previously worked on barndominiums, as they understand how things should come together.

Track your spending

Keeping a construction project’s budget on track can be challenging if you don’t know how much things cost.

The simple way is to keep a spreadsheet listing everything you buy, including labor, permits, and materials. Keep the entries up to date, and you’ll be on top of your finances and aware of your barndominium’s budget.

Keep receipts for every purchase and scan them into a computer file or photocopy them to provide a backup in case you mislay the originals.

Receipts are always useful as some energy-efficient appliance and insulation purchases are eligible for state or federal tax or financial incentives. Keeping the required documentation safe goes a long way to helping save money.

Have a detailed construction plan

Like keeping track of the money, you should also keep to the estimated timeline for your project.

Yes, sometimes things go off course and take longer than expected. But as long as you know it’s happening and why, you can compensate elsewhere.

Create a timeline and budget plan that works and keep to it wherever possible to control what’s happening on-site. 

Keeping a plan isn’t just about staying on the timeline. You should also save all the initial documentation in one place as a hard copy and as scanned document backups. Create a portfolio of:

  • Contact information
  • Zoning regulations
  • Local building permits
  • Contractor’s quotations
  • Changes to original quotes

This information will help you run your project and ensure you know everything that’s happening.

Consider doing work as a DIY

If you can, try taking on some of the work yourself. Remember that amateurs can’t do specific construction work such as plumbing, electrical, and structural work if they want to comply with building codes and zoning regulations.

Also, if you’re using borrowed finance, the lender may stipulate that you use a certified and approved contractor. However, there are still some aspects of your project you can do. For example:

  • Clearing undergrowth before leveling the lot
  • Painting and decorating
  • Landscaping the garden
  • Other unskilled work

These are within the abilities of many people. Furthermore, the contractor may allow you to work as an unskilled assistant during the build to keep prices down.

Choose a barndominium kit

Barndominiums are based on agricultural barns’ designs and come in all shapes and sizes.

Barndominium kit manufacturers keep their costs down by mass-producing components. So if you can, choose a standardized and straightforward barndo design rather than a customized one.

Furthermore, a barndominium kit is easier to erect than a built-on-site structure.

Typically, it takes a few weeks rather than a conventional building, which can take months. Usually, this goes a long way to save money on contractor labor.

Build in inexpensive states

We’ve already mentioned that construction costs differ in many states. And you should seriously consider moving to another, cheaper state if you can.

The labor, materials, and land costs vary around the country; you should note those are more affordable.

What To Ask Your General Contractor

When hiring your barndominium contractor, don’t be afraid to ask questions and get the contractor’s replies in writing with supporting evidence.

Unfortunately, the construction industry contains many unscrupulous people who will use every opportunity to take your money and run.

If necessary, get documentary proof of the contractor’s answers. You are spending a lot of money and must ensure that the contractor is truthful.

Choose a specialist

Barndominiums can be made from wood, steel, or a combination of both. Therefore, choose someone who knows how to work with these materials and preferably someone who has worked on barndos before.

Specialists have knowledge and skills that general contractors don’t possess, so choose someone who knows what they’re doing.

Ask family and friends

Skilled and experienced contractors always have work. So, finding one who has a vacancy may not always be possible.

Ask family and friends for recommendations and then wait in the queue until they become available.

Choose multiskilled contractors

Some contractors are certified to work on more than one trade. For example, plumbing, roofing, electrical.

If you’re happy with the professionalism of a contractor and they’ve multiple skills, why bother finding another contractor? So, find out if your contractor is multiskilled.

Check credentials

Verify your contractor’s licenses and insurance. Typically, they must have different licenses depending on their trade, location, and size of contract.

Furthermore, the contractor must be authorized to work in a particular state, and local zoning boards also specify requirements.

Usually, insurance companies have dedicated email or phone lines where you can verify a contractor’s insurance policy.

Inspect previous work

Ask the contractor for references and approach their previous customers for a report on their professionalism.

If the contractor is currently working on a project, ask to come and visit the site. Many people can get a good idea of tidiness and professionalism from a ten-minute visit.

Time management

Ask the contractor what the procedure is for assembling a barndominium kit.

Experienced contractors will understand each stage and how long they should take.

Barndominium Financing Options

Most people don’t have enough money to pay for the barndominium upfront and need financial help. Typically, banks and credit unions offer loans to construct your home, which converts into a standard mortgage at the end of the construction phase.

Unfortunately, not all lenders will finance barndominium construction, so research those that do. However, you will need a downpayment and pay interest on the loan.

Alternatively, there are various federal and state government financing schemes available to eligible people:

If you think you may be eligible for one of these, browse their websites and contact them.

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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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