How Long Do Barndominiums Last? (3 Crucial Factors)


Barndominiums continue to gain traction as an attractive alternative to traditional framed homes. Many who are considering the change to “barndo” living wonder about the longevity of barndominiums compared to more traditional housing options.

Depending on the type of barndominium construction you choose, these structures can last more than 100 years. The other factors impacting the longevity of barndominiums include the quality of construction and materials, upkeep and its environment.

This article explores the durability factors of barndominiums compared to traditional homes. Read on to learn more.

What Is A Barndominium?

People utilize the term “barndominium” in a variety of ways. Here are a few examples:

  • A barn that has been converted into a living space.
  • A metal building that includes living quarters and often has a shop or garage attached.
  • A structure that combines the simple design of a barn with the comfort and convenience of a condominium-style dwelling.

All the above definitions are correct.

Barndominiums can be constructed in a variety of styles. The three main options are:

  • Pole barn frames
  • Traditional wood framing
  • Pre-engineered metal buildings (PEMB)

Pole Barn Frames

Also known as post-frame buildings, pole barn framing involves sinking large poles into the ground and utilizing horizontal girts and purlins to complete the exterior frame of the structure.

Purlins and girts are horizontal beams utilized to provide structural support. Purlins provide roof support and girts support wall cladding.

Traditional Wood Framing

These barndos are constructed in the standard home building style.

This style involves constructing a wooden frame and then adding the exterior and interior finishes.

Pre-engineered Metal Buildings (PEMB)

Due to the rising popularity of barndominiums as a home option, many are utilizing barndo kits. These are structures that are manufactured off-site, according to the customer’s design choice. They are then assembled at the buyer’s location.

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These utilize a steel frame, and the exterior and interior finishes are added to complete the structure.

For the purposes of this article, we will define a barndo as new construction built in the simple style of a barn that includes residential living space. And we will focus on metal-framed barndominiums rather than pole or wood frames.

These structures offer the luxury of a custom-built home combined with the charm of a country barn look and feel.

Understanding The Barndominium Lifespan

Since barndominiums have only been around since the late 80’s, true longevity statistics aren’t yet available.

However, metal framing and steel siding have been in use for many years, which allows the review of the performance of those components.

Average Lifespan of a Barndominium Compared to Traditional Homes

The average lifespan of a wood-frame home is 100 years or more.

With the use of quality materials and proper upkeep, barndominiums are designed to last just as long, if not longer, as traditional wood-frame residences.

Key Factors Influencing Barndominium Longevity

The longevity of a barndominium depends upon several factors.

The main aspects that will impact the durability of barndo structures are:

  • Initial construction factors
  • Materials used
  • The environment
  • Preventive maintenance
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1. Initial Construction

Most metal-framed barndominiums are constructed utilizing prefabricated kits. Some buyers choose to handle construction themselves.

Without extensive construction experience, you run the risk of making costly mistakes that can jeopardize the structural integrity of your project.

Hiring an experienced barndo builder can save you from dealing with these types of issues in the future.

The framing posts for barndominiums are set at 8 to 12 feet apart and are driven into the ground and attached to your foundation. Improperly setting the posts will result in structural issues over time.

Additionally, ensuring your foundation is sound is another key to longevity. A well-constructed foundation will last 80-100 years without any issues.

If the ground is not properly prepared or low-quality concrete is utilized, it can result in foundation cracks and unevenness in the foundation that will translate into structural issues for your barndo.

2. Quality of Materials

Barndominium kits typically include high-quality construction materials, which include durable steel beams and stainless-steel fasteners.  With materials, the old adage – you get what you pay for – is true.

It’s essential to work with reputable builders to ensure the materials used in your barndo construction are durable, high-quality, and meet building codes and industry standards.

When it comes to siding and roofing choices for your barndominium, there are several options. You can utilize any of the options available for a traditional wood-frame home.

If you choose to go with a metal roof and siding, make sure the material is galvanized to prevent rust.

It’s also important not to skimp on the lumber used for interior finishing. The use of high-grade lumber in your building is imperative. You may be able to skimp on some items for your barndo but lumber should not be one of those items.

Equally important for protecting the inside of your barndominium is the use of quality insulation.

The Role Of Maintenance In Barndominium Longevity

Barndominiums are a popular choice due to their low-maintenance nature. Steel components are not as prone to cracking, deteriorating, and warping as the wood utilized in traditionally framed homes.

It is important to perform routine maintenance, which includes checking for rust, inspecting the roof, and performing any necessary repairs.

Climate and Environmental Impacts on Barndominiums

Areas with high humidity or that are near the ocean increase the risk of rusting in the structure of a barndominium. Rust can damage the structural integrity of the frame and can jeopardize both the metal siding and roofing in barndos utilizing these materials.

Some regions are more prone to hurricanes and tornadoes. Barndominiums are known to be resistant to damage from high winds but not many structures are completely damage-free after a direct hit from a tornado or a hurricane.

Steel barndominiums are known for their wind resistance, which allows them to withstand winds up to 120-150 mph.

3 Common Barndominium Wear And Tear Factors

As with any structure, barndominiums experience wear and tear.

With the use of quality materials, a professional builder, and preventive and regular maintenance, barndos offer superior longevity to traditional wood frame homes.

1. Structural Weak Points in a Barndominium

Many of the potential weak points in a barndominium are centered around initial construction. That’s why hiring a professional and experienced barndo builder is imperative.

A reputable barndo builder will ensure the slab is correctly poured and that the framing is installed according to the correct specifications.

Also, as previously mentioned, barndos in tropical climates are not immune to rust. Specific exterior treatments during initial construction can eliminate these types of issues.

Rust is overall the main threat to the life of a barndominium. Checking for signs of corrosion and ensuring gutters are installed to direct rainwater away from the foundation and frames are the main keys to longevity.

Regarding the interior of your barndo, there are standard physical limitations on these types of components:

  • HVAC
  • Doors
  • Windows
  • Drywall
  • Plumbing
  • Interior paint

2. Potential Issues with Barndominium Insulation

Metal, by nature, is difficult to insulate so it is important to get this right in your initial construction. You can never have too much insulation, so it is advisable to go above and beyond the minimum requirements.

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Inadequate insulation can result in condensation building up on the inside of your roof that freezes and drips, a home that is difficult to consistently cool or heat, high heating and cooling costs, and a drafty home.

3. Metal and Wood: Aging and Durability Factors

The steel framing often utilized in barndominium construction is extremely durable and long-lasting. Properly constructed and installed, it is designed to last a very long time.

Steel frames have an average life expectancy of 83 years, compared to an average of 69 years for wood-framed structures.

Corrosion is the main enemy of metal. Once rust starts, it can be difficult to eliminate.

Rust can cause pitting and result in stress cracks in the metal. It can also result in actual twisting of metal framing, due to the weight loads of the structure.

However, compared to wood framing, high-quality steel is designed to resist rust and is also not impacted by fire or damage from insects.

Wood is extremely flammable, and burns quickly. If there is a fire on your property, you are more likely to lose your wood-frame barndo to fire than a steel-framed barndominium.

Wood degrades over time due to weathering. Wood is also food for many types of insects such as termites and carpenter ants.

Overall, steel framing is more durable and less resistant to aging factors than wood frames.

How To Extend The Lifespan Of Your Barndominium

Quality materials and regular maintenance are the two most important considerations in extending the lifespan of your barndominium and preserving its resale value.

Regular Maintenance and Check-ups

The most common culprit in causing damage to the lifespan of a barndominium is water penetration to the interior. Small leaks are not usually detected until you see water spots on your interior walls and ceilings.

You should visually inspect the roof and exterior siding every three months and after extreme weather events.

Check for any visible damage, deterioration, or cracking. Keep the roof and exterior clean of dirt, leaves, and debris by regularly using a power washer on these surfaces.

Other maintenance includes:

  • Ensure all areas where screws have penetrated the metal are properly sealed with silicone caulk.
  • Address any plumbing issues quickly.
  • Ensure your gutters are installed correctly and regularly clean them out.
  • Make sure windows and doors are protected by overhangs during construction.
  • Regularly check the seals on doors and windows and reseal as necessary.

Protecting a Barndominium from Extreme Weather Conditions

Steel-framed barndominiums have a much better chance of surviving an F2 tornado or a category 4 hurricane than a traditional wood-framed house.

If you are building your barndo in a place that is subject to extreme weather, utilize these features during construction:

  • Build the roof with a gentle slope.
  • Use materials that prevent corrosion.
  • Install hurricane shutters.
  • Utilize windows that are resistant to impact.
  • Include insulation that serves as a fire retardant.
  • Install gutters that direct rainwater away from the foundation.
  • Clear trees from around your barndo.

The Importance of Quality Roofing and Siding in a Barndominium

The longevity of your barndominium depends on keeping it watertight. The importance of using quality roofing and siding cannot be overstressed.

All the siding choices and different types of roofing materials utilized in traditional homes are options for your barndo.

Steel roofs and metal siding are considered the most durable.

Barndominium Longevity: Financial Implications

Because barndominiums are a relatively new option in the residential housing arena, long-range statistics are not yet available.

However, there are many positive factors that bode well for the future of barndominiums such as the quality of materials utilized, the longevity of the structures, and rising popularity.

Cost-Benefit Analysis Over Time

The appreciation rate of traditional single-family homes is roughly 4-5% annually. By comparison, barndominiums are shown to appreciate at the same rate as commercial buildings, which is 2-3% annually.

However, barndominiums do not depreciate over time like mobile homes do, meaning they do gain value over time.

Because they cost less to construct than traditional homes and have longer lifespans, analysts predict that their resale value will continue to grow.

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Resale Value of Older vs. Newer Barndominiums

When determining value, appraisers use comparable properties to arrive at these figures.

Depending upon your area of construction, it may be difficult for an appraiser to find other barndos to determine its value, meaning the appraiser may use traditional homes as comparables to arrive at their valuation figure.

Obviously, just as with standard homes, newer barndominiums will have more value than older structures.

For the exterior, worn siding and roofing will decrease the value. Interior features such as drywall and flooring can look dingy over time. Items on the interior in obvious need of repair will also decrease its value.

Keep up with repairs and maintenance and make minor cosmetic repairs as needed to increase your resale value.

Insurance Implications Based on Barndominium Age

Since barndominiums are unique structures, most insurance companies do not have ready-made policies for these structures. There are many different types of insurance policies such as a standard homeowner’s policy, personal liability, and extra content.

Knowing what you need to consider and educating yourself about different types of policies will help you work with an insurance agent. The agent will create a custom-made policy that will cover any damages to your barndominium in the event of an accident or damage from an extreme weather event.

As with a standard home, the age of your barndominium will also impact your insurance rates. However, due to the extreme durability of metal-framed barndos, age should be less of a factor when you work with an experienced barndominium insurance company.

You should be prepared to educate less-experienced insurers regarding construction durability facts.

Common Myths About Barndominium Lifespan

Because barndominiums are a relatively new concept as a residential home and due to the metal exteriors and roofs often used in barndo construction, many think that they are inferior to traditional homes and will not stand the test of time.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Debunking Misconceptions

The most common misconception about barndominium lifespans is that they are built from cheap, makeshift materials.

Barndominiums are custom built homes that utilize high-quality materials and modern design elements.

Fact-checking Barndominium Durability Claims

Common sense alone will tell you that steel is more durable than wood. Research proves that steel framing is more durable than wood.

Steel is fabricated to have greater tensile strength than wood, is better able to withstand earthquakes and fire, and is impervious to insect damage.

Separating Barndominium Facts from Fiction

Today’s barndominiums are well constructed with high-quality and durable components. When constructed properly, barndominiums offer a weather-tight exterior that is designed to last more than 100 years.

Some people believe that barndominiums are not very energy efficient because metal is not capable of holding heat.

However, no home is built without insulation to provide a barrier between the exterior and interior of the structure, which translates into a highly energy-efficient dwelling.

The Future of Barndominiums: Sustainable and Long-Lasting

Materials utilized in the construction of barndominiums, and their energy-efficient design make for a budget- and ecologically-friendly home choice.

As more and more people discover the benefits of barndos, they are expected to continue growing in both popularity and in the number available on the market.

Properly constructed, with a lifespan of 100+ years, barndos are a great choice for a primary residence or as a second vacation home.

Innovations in Barndominium Design

Mixed materials are one of the latest innovations in barndo design.

More people are mixing building materials such as brick, metal, stucco, Hardie board siding, and wood into both the interior and exterior design elements of their barndominiums.

Sustainable Materials and Eco-friendly Practices

Green benefits of the use of metal and steel in construction are that these materials can be reused and recycled. This means these materials offer a low carbon footprint.

Some features that make barndominiums eco-friendly are their extreme energy efficiency when properly insulated. Additionally, metal roofs have high reflective ratings, which also helps to conserve energy.

Predictions on Barndominium Lifespan in the Next Century

With the focus on the environment in the world today, this means that there are more and more innovations in the works for more ecologically friendly building materials that are durable and offer a low-carbon footprint.

Current materials already used in barndo construction are extremely durable and offer the benefit of reuse and recycling.

As new eco-friendly and durable building materials hit the market, these innovations will be incorporated into barndo structures. That’s because the very nature of their design means they are easily adaptable to utilize any number of materials and design choices, both in their exterior and interior finishes.

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