It’s always said that there are only two certainties in life – death and taxes. However, there is at least one more certainty – prices continue to rise.
And, as we’ve seen in the last few years, supply chain disruptions along with inflation have particularly impacted the construction industry causing the cost of materials to skyrocket.
This has led more and more people to seek alternative residential spaces such as barndominiums, tiny homes, and container homes to secure more cost-effective living spaces.
Barndominiums continue to rise to the top of the list as the most energy-efficient and durable alternative residence option.
Defining A Hybrid Barndominium
A traditional barndominium, or “barndo,” as they are affectionately known as by enthusiasts, is defined as new construction built in the simple style of a barn that includes residential living space.
The framing of barndos is typically built utilizing poles or steel. For the purposes of this article, we will focus on metal-framed barndominiums rather than pole- or wood-framed ones.
Hybrid barndominiums, meanwhile, are built with additional wood framing between the lateral steel framing.
Traditional barndos built from a kit offer a metal shell. After construction, the insulation and drywall are added to seal the structure and make it a livable space.
Utilizing 2” x 4” or 2” x 6” wood posts between the steel framing in the exterior wall offers extra durability for hybrid barndos.
This creates a secondary wall This construction style combines the best advantages of both barndominiums and traditional wood-framed homes.
4 Advantages Of Building A Hybrid Barndo
Hybrid barndominiums offer more durability and energy efficiency.
Let’s take a closer look at the advantages this style of construction offers.
1. More Durable
While steel-framed barndominiums are known for their strength and durability, adding the additional wood framing to their exterior provides increased strength and even more extreme durability.
Adding the non-weight-bearing framing provides an additional layer of protection from the outside elements.
2. Better Energy Efficiency
Traditional barndominiums offer metal sheeting, insulation and drywall as the barrier from outside weather.
The additional wood framing and Tyvek sheathing in a hybrid barndo add additional materials that create a tighter, more energy-efficient seal to create a home that is extremely weather resistant.
3. Easier Maintenance
One of the most common maintenance tasks in a barndominium is the occasional need to replace the metal sheeting on the exterior of the structure.
In traditional barndo construction, the insulation is typically sprayed directly onto the inside of the exterior metal sheeting, meaning you lose insulation when replacing siding.
This is not the case in hybrid barndo construction, because the insulation is applied to the Tyvek sheathing, meaning you can easily remove and replace metal siding without the need to replace insulation.
4. Provides Better Framing Support for Windows and Doors
In standard barndominium construction, it can be challenging to ensure windows and doors are properly framed, as the framing for these elements requires specific framing depths which must be tied into the metal framing.
However, in a hybrid, framing for windows and doors is simple because they are built into the secondary wood frame, just as they are built in traditional homes.
Here is a video explaning Hybrid Barndo’s from Texas Best Construction:
3 Downsides Of Hybrid Barndos
In all types of construction, there are many choices to be made, with each choice offering plusses and minuses. Choosing a hybrid barndo design offers many advantages; however, there are also some drawbacks to this choice.
Carefully considering all the options while weighing the benefits and costs will help you arrive at an informed decision that works best for you. Read on to learn about the drawbacks that come along with creating a hybrid barndominium.
1. Added Cost
In choosing a hybrid barndo, you add additional costs for the wood used to build the secondary frame, and there are also added costs for the additional sheathing necessary when adding the wooden secondary frame.
Extra walls also mean additional labor costs. Since many people choose a barndominium because of the lower cost of construction, adding additional materials for extra walls may not fit their budget.
2. More Time
Adding additional materials for extra walls also translates into additional time to complete construction on your barndominium.
Barndominiums are an attractive option for many due to the fast construction times. Secondary walls will mean more time for your build and additional permitting inspections to ensure your barndominium construction complies with local building codes.
For those who do not have the luxury of adding additional time to their construction completion timeline, a hybrid may not be the best option.
One of the things that makes standard steel-framed barndominiums so attractive is that their all-metal nature makes them impervious to damage from insects and wood rot so common in traditional wood-framed homes.
By introducing lumber for secondary framing, you are adding materials that are susceptible to insect damage and can develop rot should they get wet.
Hybrid Barndominium Construction Process
The process of building a hybrid barndominium is very similar to constructing a standard barndo with just a couple more steps. Most barndos begin life as a metal kit and people often hire a contractor to complete the build.
Step-by-step details are as follows:
Choose Your Location
When considering land for your barndo site, consider the details of the environment, such as a flat, cleared area. Although barndos can be built on inclines, it increases the costs so a location without much slope is best.
You’ll also want to check local building codes to see if permits to build a barndo are available in that area and if permits are required to build a barndo in that area. If so, at this point, you should also price permit costs.
Prepare the Building Site
You’ll need to have utilities, such as water, electricity, and septic, placed on the site. The site will also need to be excavated prior to beginning slab construction.
If you are using a general contractor (GC), they will ensure the site is properly prepared prior to beginning construction.
Find Your Plans
You can either choose to create your own plans or purchase existing barndominium plans.
Your GC will need blueprints. They are also skilled at making changes to existing plans should you want modifications.
It’s super important to decide every location within the barndo where you will want water, sewage and electricity. or example, you may want an extra sink and electricity on your kitchen island.
When you have your plans in hand, your GC should be able to provide you with a construction timetable that includes information about how long each step will take and an estimated completion date.
“Once you have a floor plan and a timetable, you can bring both to your local regulators and apply for building permits,” states alpinebuilders.com. It adds: “At this stage, you can also bring your floor plan and schedule to your bank to obtain financing.”
Get the Materials
All your building materials will be ordered and delivered to the construction site.
Pour the Slab
Typically, monolithic concrete slabs are utilized in barndo construction. The steel exterior posts are secured to the perimeter of the slab, known as the footing, which is usually thicker than the rest of the foundation.
Once the slab is poured, it will need a few days to “cure” or dry properly before proceeding.
The exterior skeleton is next to be constructed. A crane will be brought in to set the steel girders, which are the roofing beams.
The wooden secondary frame is next to be built in the hybrid barndo design.
Completing the Exterior
The GC will ensure that the roof is completed, the walls are wrapped, then the exterior metal is installed. The roof, walls, and foundation are built to create a stable and durable structure.
This step involves running all the electrical wiring, plumbing, and installing the HVAC system and ductwork.
Your GC will install the insulation of your choice.
This step seems to take the longest as various subcontractors must be scheduled to complete the drywall, painting, flooring, and cabinet installation.
The plumber, electrician, and HVAC subcontractors will each return to complete the finish out on their respective responsibilities.
At this point, your hybrid barndo is complete and it is time to move in and begin enjoying all the benefits.
Cost Of Hybrid Barndo vs. Traditional Approach
Homebuilding costs are typically calculated at a cost per square foot (sq. ft.). There are a number of factors that go into determining that price, such as the type of roof you choose and how many upgrades you will include in both the exterior and interior materials.
Barndominium construction costs range from $25 per sq. ft. to $135 per sq. ft. The average cost is $100 per sq. ft.
When choosing a hybrid barndo design, you’ll need to calculate how much the additional lumber will cost. This is determined by the size of your barndo and lumber costs in your area.
Hybrid Barndo Design Considerations
You’ll need to weigh the pros and cons carefully before deciding whether a hybrid barndominium is the right choice for you.
- More Durable
- Better Energy Efficiency
- Easier Maintenance
- Provides Better Framing Support for Windows and Doors
- Added Cost
- More Time
With the primary drawbacks of a hybrid barndominium being additional cost and time, many who have flexibility in their budget and timeline are choosing this option.
That’s because they like the combination of features found in traditional-framed homes, and combined with the strength and durability factors, these made barndominiums continue to grow in popularity as a leading choice for customized residential homes at a lesser cost.
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