Barndominium sounds like the lovechild of a barn and a condo – and up to an extent, that’s exactly what a barndominium is.
The main point, though, is that barndos are typically new constructions designed in a way that combines the features of a barn with a residential living space.
These hybrid structures come with pros and cons.
The main advantages are the layout versatility, high degree of customization, and affordability to build compared to standard homes. They can be sustainable and even energy-efficient.
On the downside, converted barndos may have insulation and soundproofing issues.
Securing financing for such an unconventional house could be challenging, and these homes typically have a lower resale value.
8 Barndominium Pros
Barndominiums are appealing hybrid structures that feature barn and condo elements.
Here are their main pros.
1. More Affordable to Build
The main advantage of a barndo is the affordability to build one – at least compared to traditional homes.
While costs can vary depending on a variety of factors, building the barndo itself will generally set you back around $30 to $40 per square foot.
By comparison, a traditional house costs up to $200 per square foot to build.
The difference in pricing is explained by the fact that barndos are typically prefabricated. They are a lot easier to erect and fully install, whereas a traditional home requires building from scratch.
However, when calculating the costs, take into account stuff such as the cost of land, utilities, and building permits in your area.
2. High Degree of Customization
Another huge advantage of barndos is the degree of customization – both internal and external.
Floor plans are readily available online and can inspire you as far as the size and layout of the barndo are concerned.
You can opt for a single-story barndo divided into specific living areas, or build a multi-story one if you want a design closer to the traditional.
Interiors can be divided into as many functional spaces as you like. Customization also includes the choice of materials.
For instance, you can make the barndo from wood, or opt for brick or metal. Even in the case of conversions, the interior space is easily customizable.
3. Good Energy Efficiency
New barndos built from scratch are usually energy efficient. Most of the time, they are even more energy efficient than traditional homes.
This is courtesy to the use of high-quality building and insulation materials. The main advantage, obviously, is a lower electricity bill.
If you want to go off-grid and draw electricity from solar panels, an energy-efficient home makes it possible to spend less on the initial investment.
4. Low Maintenance
Most barndominiums today are prefabricated and made of metal. Once the construction is done and the metal is protected by insulation materials, maintenance becomes minimal.
You won’t have to worry about moisture leading to wood rot, nor about pests that could chew through the walls.
5. Versatile Floor Planning
We mentioned customization options, but most people still see barndos as vast interiors void of walls. Privacy, however, doesn’t have to be an issue.
While original barndo designs keep the division of interior spaces minimal, you can usually add as many walls and rooms as you like.
All that it takes to create various spaces is a bit of skill and a few sheets of drywall.
The mostly rectangular layout specific to barndos also makes it easy to plan the floors to match your needs.
6. Faster to Build
As mentioned, barndos are prefabricated. Not only does this make them cheaper to build, but they are also faster to erect.
Generally, a barndominium takes about six months to build. According to census data, it takes an average of nine months to erect a traditional house.
Actual time frames can vary based on the size of either barndo or traditional house, but in all cases, it is faster to build a barndominium.
7. Good Adaptability
No matter where you live, rest assured a barndominium can adapt to terrain and weather conditions in your area.
A traditional barn structure with a pointed, triangular roof, wooden walls, and smaller windows is ideal for northern areas.
These homes are typically better insulated, while the triangular shape of the roof can withstand heavy snowfalls.
Modern, rectangular barndos with flat roofs, metal walls, and large windows are best suited for southern areas.
Mild climates don’t require as much insulation, and the roof won’t have to withstand the heaviness of snow.
8. Environmental Friendliness
Barndos can be made of a variety of materials, including recycled ones. They can be powered by off-grid power sources, and even use off-grid, eco-friendly utilities.
All these factors make barndos more environmentally friendly than standard homes.
5 Barndominium Cons
While barndominiums have plenty of advantages, they also come with some drawbacks.
Here’s what you should be aware of.
1. Limited Aesthetic Appeal
For the most part, barndominiums are modern structures. Unless you actually convert a barn, the modern design could fade with time. This leads to a limited aesthetic appeal.
As modern buildings, barndos also lack the appeal associated with classic architecture and traditional homes.
Since fewer people like the architectural style of barndos, it might be challenging to find buyers for your home should you want to sell it.
2. Insulation and Soundproofing Issues
As highlighted above, barndos typically have good insulation and few issues. However, there could be exceptions.
Most problems arise when converting an existing barn into a barndominium.
An older structure originally built to house livestock, livestock feed, or agricultural equipment might be difficult to soundproof or insulate without reducing the internal space.
Poor-quality pre-manufactured barndos might also run into trouble with insulation and soundproofing.
3. Financing Challenges
While building a barndominium is a lot cheaper than building a traditional house, it doesn’t mean that it’s cheap. Depending on the actual size, the project could cost you up to $200,000 or more.
If you don’t have all that money upfront, you might find that securing finances for it is a nightmare.
Barndos don’t have the same value as a traditional house, meaning that mortgage providers are less inclined to give you the money.
You could apply for personal loans, but that typically means that you’ll have to save a lot for a down payment, as personal loans rarely exceed $100,000.
4. Lower Resale Value
Another significant disadvantage of barndominiums is the lower resale value. This is derived from the lower curb appeal, which usually leads to a low overall interest in acquiring a barndo.
Since fewer buyers want a barndo, you may have to settle for whatever the buyer is offering – which, sometimes, can be lower than what you actually paid to build the barndo in the first place.
5. Building Code Restrictions
Lastly, you should consider zoning and building code restrictions in your area.
Building a barndo in a residential area is often impossible, especially in places where each new house has to fit a certain architectural style.
Typically, these structures are approved in rural areas, but you may be denied a permit in an urban or suburban zone.
What type of building material is best for barndominiums?
Steel is generally the preferred material for barndominiums.
Once insulated, it can be more energy-efficient than wood, and it has lower maintenance.
How much does a barndominium cost?
A barndominium can cost anywhere from $50,000 to $200,000+, depending on size, layout, and level of finishes.
Compared to a standard house of the same size, it is typically cheaper.
Are barndominiums high maintenance?
Steel or other metal barndominiums require very little upkeep.
Wood barndos are more challenging and expensive to maintain.
If you want a home but can’t afford to spend too much, a barndominium could be a perfect choice.
These structures are easy to build, energy-efficient, and can be eco-friendly. They generally require little maintenance and are faster to build than standard homes.
On the downside, it might be harder to sell your barndo. Building restrictions may also make it impossible to build one.
We hope this guide can help you decide whether a barndo is the right choice for you.
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