Are Barndominiums Safe in Severe Weather? | Worldwide Steel Buildings (2024)

Posted on May 26, 2023

Are Barndominiums Safe in Severe Weather? | Worldwide Steel Buildings (1)

As barndominiums continue to grow in popularity, many would-be barndominium owners wonder: are barndominiums safe? These metal structures offer the perfect combination of living space with workspace and have various barndominium floor plan options to choose from at a fraction of the cost of a traditional house, all while adhering to stringent building codes. And guess what? They also are incredibly energy-efficient and durable and, in many cases, are safer than a conventional home. If you’ve been dreaming of becoming the homeowner of a barndominium but have held back due to questions around safety, prepare to have all your worries put to rest. These metal buildings stand the test of time and natural disasters in many cases, meaning you and your family can sleep soundly knowing you’re protected in an emergency.

Are Barndominiums Safe in Rain?

Unlike traditional homes that are built from mostly wood materials, metal barndominiums are constructed from steel frames and metal siding that keep them protected from water damage and corrosion. This means these structures are also not susceptible to rot or other wood-related water ailments. When a heavy storm comes through, you can be at ease knowing that mold and mildew are not spreading through your home. The steel sheeting used in these metal structures is also galvanized, making them resistant to rust as well. As an added benefit, by protecting against water damage, the metal materials in this residential building also helps keep critters such as termites, ants, or other unwelcome pests away.

Are Barndominiums Safe in Lightning?

While lightning strikes are rarely a problem for any home, steel barndominiums may have additional safety benefits. It might be surprising to note that steel does not attract lightning. In fact, compared to other materials, metal has a lower electrical resistance. This means that if lightning does strike your home, the steel helps to spread out the heat of the strike and pass through the metal and into the ground. The steel materials used to build your barndo help protect the exterior, which also protects the interior. All your electronic appliances and the people inside are shielded from any harmful effects.

Are Barndominiums Safe in a Tornado?

Barndominiums are highly popular in tornado alley and rural areas, including Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri. This raises the question: are barndominiums safe in a tornado? It only stands to reason that homeowners living in this area of the United States would be highly concerned with the structural integrity of their homes. Barndominiums have an advantage over homes in the durability department. 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.

Tornadoes are rated using the Enhanced Fujita (EF) scale (effective since 2007):

EF0 – 65 to 85 mph winds

EF1 – 86 to 110 mph winds

EF2 – 111 to 135 mph winds

EF3 – 136 to 165 mph winds

EF4 – 166 to 200 mph winds

EF5 – over 200 mph winds

While the metal integrity of your home can endure a tornado, the windows and doors may not. Special windows have to be purchased that have a stronger design pressure rating. All that being said, it is still recommended that homeowners of barndos invest in a storm shelter in case of emergencies.

Read this story of a Worldwide Steel Building customer and how his building stood up to an EF2 tornado: Why Tornado Alley Chooses Worldwide Steel Buildings.

Are Barndominiums Safe in a Hurricane?

One severe weather event that includes various elements is a hurricane. Luckily, the barndominium has already proven to stand up to rain, lightning, and high winds. Hurricanes are categorized using the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. This scale is a 1 to 5 rating based on a hurricane’s sustained wind speed and estimates of potential property damage.

Category 1 – 74 to 95 mph winds

Category 2 – 96 to 110 mph winds

Category 3 – 111 to 129 mph winds

Category 4 – 130 to 156 mph winds

Category 5 – 157 mph and higher

Hurricanes designated Category 3 or higher are considered major hurricanes because of their potential for significant damage and loss of life. A barndominium is more likely to survive a Category 3 hurricane compared to a regular home. Similarly to tornados, while the structural integrity of your barndo is sound, the windows may not be. If you’re considering building a barndominium in an area where hurricanes are a concern, take into account the strength and durability of the windows and doors you select for your new home. Besides the risk of windows shattering due to strong winds, you also need to worry about damage from debris.

Are Barndominiums Safe in Fire?

A fire is a concern for any home, including metal barndominiums. While wood structures and steel structures can both last upwards of 50 to 100 years with proper care, wood building materials don’t compare to steel when it comes to outlasting a fire. No matter the cause, a significant fire can quickly take out the wood frame of a conventional home.

While fire is still a problem for barndominiums (especially if it gets inside), the steel posts, frame, and overall structure of the barndominium home are likely to stay intact. Steel weakens at temperatures of 500 degrees Fahrenheit and starts to melt at temperatures of 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit. House fires typically reach temperatures around 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit. This is enough to weaken the metal frame but can still outlast wood materials. Steel is also fire-resistant, meaning your barndominium has a higher likelihood of being safe during extreme weather that can cause fires.

Build a Barndominium to Ride Out Life’s Storms

There are many advantages to choosing barndominium life as your forever home, including durability and safety in a variety of weather conditions. Metal barndominiums are low maintenance, cost-effective to build, have open floor plan options, have faster construction, and protect your valuables. When you want a durable, flexible design option to build your new home, a steel barndo may be the ideal choice. Get started creating your dream home by contacting Worldwide Steel Buildings. Our team of experts can help guide you through the whole process of building your own barndominium kit, from ideation to completion. Contact us today at (800) 825-0316.

Are Barndominiums Safe in Severe Weather? | Worldwide Steel Buildings (2024)


Are Barndominiums Safe in Severe Weather? | Worldwide Steel Buildings? ›

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.

Can a steel house withstand a tornado? ›

No matter where you live and work, a metal building is a safe and cost-effective choice for your project. Especially in tornado-prone areas, you can count on a strong steel structure to stand up to heavy storms with more protection than other building materials.

How safe is a metal building in a tornado? ›

The strength of steel is a great benefit for your facility, especially if located in an area that commonly gets high-force natural disasters such as tornadoes and hurricanes. Steel buildings can withstand forces up to 170 mph.

What are the negatives of the 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.

Can a metal building withstand a hurricane? ›

Steel buildings are durable outdoor storage structures that are ideal in places where hurricanes are prevalent. Not only are they great for large storage, but they are also incredibly safe — even in the most severe types of weather.

What type of construction is most resistant to tornadoes? ›

Heavy building materials (e.g., reinforced masonry or concrete) that are well tied to all other building components often survive extreme winds. The weight of these materials helps resist uplift and lateral loads, and heavy materials often stop windborne debris that can increase damage to the building.

What is the best tornado proof house? ›

Concrete Homes

These homes feature walls made of reinforced concrete, which can withstand the high winds and flying debris associated with tornadoes. Concrete walls can be poured in place or set as pre-cast panels manufactured off-site.

Do barndominiums hold up in tornadoes? ›

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.

How do barndominiums hold up in tornados? ›

If you visit tornado-prone areas in the country, you'll notice how common barndos are. This is because metal barndos in particular offer better wind resistance than traditional homes. If you're in a hurricane or tornado-prone area, you may also reap additional insurance benefits for using a storm-proof metal roof.

How much wind can a metal building withstand? ›

Most metal buildings have a wind rating of 120 to 170 miles per hour. However, winds exceeding 200 miles per hour can destroy even the strongest buildings. Metal buildings are incredibly strong and can withstand high winds without breaking.

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 life expectancy 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 insure a barndominium? ›

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

What is the best construction to withstand a hurricane? ›

Concrete. One of the strongest building materials available, concrete is incredible at withstanding pressure and stress. Concrete is dimensionally stable, and does not contract or expand during extreme weather events.

Can tornadoes bend steel? ›

Benefits of steel in disaster-resistant construction

Not only is steel a cost-effective building material, but it can withstand large amounts of force while retaining its shape. Because of its tensile strength, frameworks and foundations that use steel can bend without breaking.

Are metal buildings more likely to be struck by lightning? ›

Lightning is more likely to hit trees or tall buildings–and many tall buildings are metal. However, there is no more risk of a steel building being struck than any other structure.

How much wind can a steel building take? ›

In fact, steel buildings are able to handle wind speeds of up to 120 mph. Even in areas with high winds, the building may only sway a few inches at most – which is not enough for it to do any damage or collapse.

What is the safest building for a tornado? ›

The safest place in the home is the interior part of a basem*nt. If there is no basem*nt, go to an inside room, without windows, on the lowest floor. This could be a center hallway, bathroom, or closet. For added protection, get under something sturdy such as a heavy table or workbench.

Can an F5 tornado destroy a brick house? ›

Tornadoes are rated on the Enhanced Fujita (EF) scale, which gives these storms a rating from EF0 to EF5, with EF5 being the most intense and destructive. While no structure is entirely tornado-proof, a well-built brick house can typically hold its ground against tornadoes rated up to EF3 and even EF4 in some cases.

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