What Is a Barndominium? | Progressive (2024)

A barndominium is typically a barn a builder has converted into an all-purpose living and workspace. The name combines barn and condominium; people often shorten it to “barndo.” Some barndominiums are new structures built from a kit and made of metal. Builders construct barndominiums so that the outer walls bear the building’s load, giving barndominium homes a flexible interior space that homeowners can use in several ways.

What are the pros and cons of barndominiums?

A barndo’s primary appeal is the ability to customize the interior space. Because they’re typically large buildings with flexible interiors, homeowners can use barndominium houses creatively to accommodate activities that traditional homes might not. The primary drawback is that, depending on where you live, it might be difficult to get financing or building approval for a barndo. Before you buy or build one, consider the following barndominium pros and cons:

Barndominium pros

  • Open floor plans: Once you’ve built the shell, you can divide the interior space however you want.
  • High ceilings: Even if you add a loft or second floor, barndominium structures are well-suited to high-ceiling designs.
  • Customization: Because the original intent for barndos was to be large, mixed-use spaces, you can put almost anything inside them.
  • Durability and maintenance: The metal construction typical of barndo kits is weather-resistant, low maintenance, long-lasting, and helps keep out bugs.
  • Efficiency and incentives: Barndominium homes often use high-efficiency designs to save on heating and cooling bills and may also qualify for federal energy efficiency incentives.

Barndominium cons

  • Location restrictions: Mixed-use barndominiums may be challenging to zone and obtain a permit in developed areas and may involve a home inspection from your city.
  • Curb appeal: Converted barns retain a lot of their rustic charm, but kit-based barndos may be boring to look at unless you spend money upgrading the exterior.
  • Cost and financing: Not all lenders will finance non-traditional homes.

Other considerations for barndominium homes

Insurance can be complicated for barndominium homes. According to Barndominium.org, not all insurers cover barndos, especially if they’re mixed-use instead of residential only, and those that do might have barndo-specific policies.

Should I build a barndominium home?

That depends on what you want from a home, your budget, and many other factors. However, a barndominium house can be a great fit for people who work from home, anyone who wants complete creative control over their home’s interior, and people with hobbies that need a lot of space — like restoring classic cars or training for competitive sports. A barndo’s customizability can make it possible to live and pursue passions like these on a single property.

What Is a Barndominium? | Progressive (2024)


What Is a Barndominium? | Progressive? ›

A barndominium is typically a barn a builder has converted into an all-purpose living and workspace. The name combines barn and condominium; people often shorten it to “barndo.” Some barndominiums are new structures built from a kit and made of metal.

What defines a barndominium? ›

A barndominium, also known as a barndo, is a metal pole barn, post-frame or barn-like structure with sheet metal siding that has been partially or fully converted into a furnished home or living area.

What is the downside to a barndominium? ›

Pros of barndominiums include a cheaper cost, fully customizable space, and lower maintenance. They're also highly durable with lots of extra room and are a more eco-friendly housing option. Meanwhile, cons include higher upfront costs, difficulties finding financing, and not all cities allow them.

Will a barndominium last as long as a house? ›

Steel is resistant to common issues that can affect traditional homes, such as rot, pests, and termite damage. This structural integrity makes barndominiums less susceptible to deterioration over time, giving them an edge in terms of longevity.

What makes a barndominium unique? ›

Since they are made of steel, barndominiums don't require the same repairs and maintenance as traditional wood-framed homes. If they are properly maintained, their steel structures are also less susceptible to common home issues including standard deterioration, rot, and termites.

Why are barndominiums hard to insure? ›

While a barndominium is very similar to a traditionally built home, insuring them can be much more difficult. There can be several reasons why insurance companies are hesitant to insure these structures. The primary reason is that these homes are non-standard construction, which means they lack historical data.

Why do lenders not like barndominiums? ›

Most financial institutions will not provide mortgage loans for barndominiums, largely due to a lack of comparable sales during the appraisal process.

Why shouldn't you build a barndominium? ›

List of the Cons of a Barndominium
  • Barndominiums are not immune to corrosion. ...
  • There is still a cost element to consider with barndominiums. ...
  • Some cities may not allow you to build a barndominium. ...
  • Most barndominiums are single-story homes. ...
  • You don't receive the same perks as you would with the typical condo community.
Dec 30, 2023

What do I wish I knew before building a barndominium? ›

Here are the most important things to know about building a barndominium.
  • Obtain a permit for your project. Photo by Bridger Steel, Inc. ...
  • Test the paint. Photo by Justin Doyle Homes. ...
  • Prepare for surprise costs. ...
  • Plan for electrical work. ...
  • Choose your windows and doors wisely. ...
  • Add insulation—it's important.
Mar 14, 2022

What is the lifespan of a barndominium? ›

Longevity: Although they may not last as long as traditional homes, a well-maintained barndominium can provide comfortable living for around 50 years. 5. Durability: Barndominiums are built to withstand the elements, ensuring they remain sturdy and reliable over the years.

Is it hard to sell a barndominium? ›

Selling a barndominium can present challenges, particularly regarding market perception and financing, but these challenges are not insurmountable. There is not much difference between selling a barndominium and marketing a custom-built home on today's market, the challenges are extremely similar.

Are barndominiums good in cold weather? ›

Open Layout: Barndominiums are known for their open and spacious layouts. This design can be beneficial in cold weather because it allows for efficient distribution of heat. With proper insulation and heating systems in place, you can maintain a comfortable temperature throughout the entire space.

Are barndominiums worth the money? ›

Barndominiums offer exceptional value on a per square foot basis, and are exceptionally beneficial for large families or when a business requires a large workspace. They also have lower insurance rates and taxes.

What is the most expensive part of a barndominium? ›

Steel framing, popular in barndominium construction for its durability and resistance to pests, can be more expensive than traditional wood framing. Framing costs can range from $20 to $50 per square foot, making it one of the most significant portions of the construction budget.

Are barndominiums safe in a tornado? ›

Constructed with metal, a barndo offers superior protection from severe weather. The steel structure of a steel barndominium has a higher wind resistance than a conventional wood frame home. While the metal integrity of your home can endure a tornado, the windows and doors may not.

Why do people want barndominiums? ›

Many people want barndominiums because they come with special features like open spaces and energy efficiency. Barndominiums look charming and don't need much upkeep, making them even more attractive to buyers. Plus, you can find them in various places, which makes them a good choice for different buyers.

Is it cheaper to build a barndominium or a house? ›

The most common estimate asserts that a new barndominium with basic amenities will cost about $30 to $40 per square foot to build, compared to the cost of building a traditional home is around $100 to $200 per square foot.

What is the difference between a barndominium and a metal building? ›

When you buy the materials for a wooden barndo, you're likely going to pay less than you would pay for a metal building. Wood buildings are also much better at absorbing sounds than metal buildings because of it's material composition and structure.

Is a barndominium considered a stick-built home? ›

Barndominiums, metal structures that combine traditional barn space with living quarters, have become a popular option for homebuyers looking for an alternative to traditional stick-built new homes.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Manual Maggio

Last Updated:

Views: 5869

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (69 voted)

Reviews: 92% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Manual Maggio

Birthday: 1998-01-20

Address: 359 Kelvin Stream, Lake Eldonview, MT 33517-1242

Phone: +577037762465

Job: Product Hospitality Supervisor

Hobby: Gardening, Web surfing, Video gaming, Amateur radio, Flag Football, Reading, Table tennis

Introduction: My name is Manual Maggio, I am a thankful, tender, adventurous, delightful, fantastic, proud, graceful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.