At first sight, a barndominium might seem like a slightly crazy idea (yes, the love child term of “barn” and “condominium”) but stay with us, and you’ll see why when a barndominium was featured on ‘Fixer Upper’ it quickly became one of their most popular episodes.
In this guide you will also find:
What is a Barndominium?
Simply a barn-like structure that is converted into a living space, office space, or anything suitable for residential or business use.
Barndominiums can be quite sophisticated in their design and may have features that rival even luxury homes. Their open and free internal space is a big crowd-pleaser and makes for some really creative design & architecture.
Metal barndominium kits are made with prefab steel construction and are the most popular method of construction, and thus the focus of this guide.
Prefab construction simply means that the components of the structure are prefabricated before being shipped to the building site.
The components are designed to fit together with relative ease, greatly simplifying the overall construction process, though depending on how you’re going to use the space, you still may have to consider insulation, heating, wiring, plumbing. Imagine a big lego kit for adults.
Barndominiums are versatile cost-efficient structures, but there’s a lot to think about before building one. Let’s take a deep dive into the pros and cons.
As with all prefab metal buildings, barndominiums are incredibly cost-effective. When compared to building from scratch, you save a lot of money in various areas. For example, there are lower architecture costs (if any) because prefab templates are standardized. Yet each span is easy to expand, so you can customize the size of the building and any number of features.
You also save a lot of money in the construction process. Because the materials are prefabricated, it’s just a matter of putting them together on site. This is a significantly less complicated process than building from scratch, but problems can still arise.
Plus, because metal is a light building material when compared to brick or wood, the transportation costs are low by comparison. Shipping the prefab parts to your location is cheaper than delivering trucks of cement and bricks.
Prefab buildings have the stigma of being cookie-cutter designs, but this isn’t true. There are a surprising amount of customization options available.
One of the first and most fun steps in the design process is working with your supplier to customize the prefab design to your specifications. The designer makes sophisticated 3D models of the barndominium, and you have many choices related to various aspects of the design, including dimensions, interiors, colors, walls, windows, doors, skylights, ceilings, and more. Before the design is finalized, you are encouraged to choose the options that best meet your criteria. Let your creative juices flow.
Another advantage of metal construction is that steel is strong and durable. It has an amazing strength to weight ratio which is one of the reasons why it is so cost-effective to ship. Prefab homes stand up to the elements effectively, including rain, wind, snow, seismic activity, and more. Even a mischievous two-year-old child will find it impossible to dismantle one.
Metal also has fewer problems that are typical of other materials, particularly wood. It is not a fire hazard, and it won’t rot. Plus, pests can’t make their home in metal. The result is that you spend less on general upkeep and less time worrying about things that could potentially go wrong.
Another bonus of this durability is that insurance premiums are lower with metal buildings. Because there are generally fewer problems with the structure itself, there is less risk taken on by the insurance company so you pay lower premiums.
Open and Spacious
As we mentioned, metal construction is strong and durable. In fact, it is so strong that the interior may not require any load-bearing walls. This means that the interior can often be as spacious as you want. You have more flexibility about how the space is laid out, and your choice of rooms doesn’t have to be dictated by load-bearing walls.
Variety of Uses
Modern barndominiums are varied in their design. You can make this space entirely your own, fully customizing the interior for residential space, office space, storage space, or anything in between.
Prefab design is easy to expand. The pieces can easily be deconstructed and added to. It’s straight-forward for the designer to use 3D modeling to construct parts that can fit with your current design and expand your living space as your family or business grows. This is much simpler than with traditional construction that may require extensive planning, demolition, and changes to the structure of the building. With prefab design, you can just take out a wall and expand.
A Green Choice
Prefab metal buildings are very easy to insulate. Because of their wide-open design, insulation is easy to install anywhere. Because the pieces are big and fit together so snugly at the seams, there is minimal heat loss. The result is that the structure is heated efficiently, which is great for the environment but also saves you money on your heating bill.
Another green factor of prefab metal construction is that it minimizes waste. Since the houses are built to exact specifications, the prefab components are not produced until after they are approved. The result is that the pieces are ready to assemble, and no time, effort, or materials are wasted in constructing the house. Usually, concrete builders will over order by 5-10% to ensure there are no delays on site but not so with metal.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the downsides to a prefabricated barndominium.
Let’s face it, a prefab metal barndominium isn’t what you’d consider a traditional home. For those with classic tastes, this style may not cut it. This style of barn building doesn’t have a traditi