Everything You Need to Know About Barndominiums - Trusscore (2024)

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Barndominimums or “barndos” are increasing in popularity as the red-hot real estate market and the cost of building materials like lumber are forcing buyers to find creative ways to own homes. But what are barndominiums and are they practical to live in? We cover the pros, cons, and costs of building or buying a barndo below.

What is a Barndominium?

Barndominium is a play on words combining the words “barn” and “condominium.” Coined by a real estate developer in the late 1980s, the term historically described properties that were an extension of a farm that combined a home for a farm owner to live and a boarding facility for their horses.

Today, a barndominium is any open concept steel building or barn that has been converted into a living space, including new builds and existing barns that have been retrofitted to function as a living space.

What are the Pros and Cons of Barndominiums?

Barndominiums offer a ton of benefits to potential homeowners and it’s easy to see why they’ve become a trendy property to own. Some of the upsides of a barndo include:

  • Building Speed. While traditional homes take around seven months to build from start to finish, barndominiums can be built faster — simple barndominiums can be constructed in a matter of weeks, while more customized options take between three to six months. Shorter construction times mean lower construction and labor costs, so you can keep more money in your pocket.
  • Durability. Barndos have metal or steel shells which make them resistant to mold, rot, termites, and the elements, which means they’ll likely last longer than a typical home made from wood.
  • Open Floor Plan. Bardominiums are structurally sound and don’t need load-bearing walls, which means you’ll have an open floor plan to fully customize however you see fit.
  • Fire Resistance. Steel has a melting point of 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit (or over 1,300 degrees Celsius), which means barndominiums are more fire-resistant than traditional homes.
  • Environmentally Friendly. Many materials used to build barndominiums are environmentally friendly (unlike traditional homes which require lumber and drywall to build) and can help homeowners reduce their carbon footprint.
  • Energy Efficiency. The metal roofing of a barndominium can help reduce energy consumption and lower cooling costs.

However, nothing is ever perfect and barndos are no exception. If you’re considering building or buying a barndominium, consider this list of downsides before you sign your name on a dotted line:

  • Location Limitations. Building codes in your local town or city could prevent you from building a barndominium within its limits. To create the barndo of your dreams, you may have to live in a more rural area away from amenities where the codes aren’t as strict.
  • Financing. Barndominiums aren’t classified as a manufactured home, which can make it difficult to be approved for a traditional mortgage loan.
  • Corrosion. In the same way that traditional homes with wooden frames are prone to rotting, metal-based barndominiums are prone to corrosion over time, especially if you live in a tropical or humid climate.
  • Noise. Since they’re made from metal or steel, barndominiums transfer sound more easily than a traditional home, especially from wind, rain, and hail.
  • UV Exposure. Barndos often have large windows to let lots of light in, but this can contribute to fading your floors (whether it be hardwood or carpet) and your furniture. If you can, consider adding window film to your windows and doors for extra UV protection, but know it will come at an extra cost.
  • Wiring Challenges. Metal walls can present wiring challenges, and any repairs will require hiring a professional welder and an electrician to get the job done.
  • Reselling. Even though the real estate market is red-hot, barndominiums are harder to sell to the average home buyer because they’re often extremely customized and difficult to change.

How Much Does a Barndominium Cost?

If you’ve weighed the pros and cons and have decided owning a barndo is in your future, the last factor you’ll have to consider is price.

Like with building a traditional house, the cost of a barndominium depends on several factors, including its size, the amount of land that comes with it, interior customizations, and finishes. On average, homeowners can expect to pay anywhere between $70 to $140 per square foot, with the price increasing for higher finishes. In comparison, a new build, single family home can cost between $100 to $300 per square foot even if you opt for more affordable finishes.

Interior Wall & Ceiling Material for Barndominiums

If you’re building a custom barndo, you’ll have full control over what it will look like on the inside. When it’s time to choose an interior wall and ceiling solution, consider using .

Our panels come in lengths as long as 20 feet, meaning they can quickly and effectively cover any structure that’s oversized in nature. They’ve been used for years in both barns and homes, and will allow you to bring a similar level of the durability and water resistance that you have on the outside of your barndo into your home.

"Installing Trusscore was the best decision ever. I wouldn’t have wanted drywall on 33-foot ceiling !!!!!" - Hélène Tremblay Chute

Looking for an on-the-wall storage solution? Add Trusscore SlatWall to your order. The 8-foot long, interlocking panels seamlessly integrate with Trusscore Wall&CeilingBoard and can be installed as a track, section, half wall, or a full wall. When it’s time to accessorize, you also have a full range of options — Trusscore offers several SlatWall hardware options (including shelves, baskets, and hooks) that snap into place and is compatible with any standard 3” slatwall accessory from other manufacturers.

Still on the fence about barndominiums? Even if the price tag seems favorable, just remember: Though they’re trendy, barndominiums aren’t for everybody. If they don’t meet your unique needs as a homeowner, there’s nothing wrong with sticking with what you know and building or buying a traditional home.

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Products for Barndominiums


Trusscore Wall&CeilingBoard is an interlocking, interior PVC wall and ceiling panel that is lightweight, low maintenance, and outperforms alternative products like drywall and FRP.

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Trusscore SlatWall is a high-strength, on-the-wall organization system that’s easy to install and seamlessly integrates with Trusscore Wall&CeilingBoard.

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Everything You Need to Know About Barndominiums - Trusscore (2024)


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 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.

What is the most expensive part of a barndominium? ›

What is the most expensive part of building a barndominium? The most expensive part of building a barndominium is often the interior finishes. Customization, high-end materials, and intricate designs can significantly impact the overall cost.

Are barndominiums hard to insure? ›

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.

Are barndominiums prone to mold? ›

By being made out of metal, barndominiums have similar durability to steel structures with resistance to: Mold. Mildew. Rot.

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.

Why are barndominiums hard to finance? ›

Getting a home loan for a barndominium can be tricky since many lenders are unfamiliar with these types of structures. However, it is far from impossible. You just need to be able to fulfill your lender's requirements as well as the stipulations set out by your particular loan program.

What does a barndominium kit include? ›

Our standard steel frame kits include everything you need to build your home. Err … barn. That means all main framing, secondary framing (for all steel), exterior metal siding, metal roofing, trim, closures, fasteners and stamped building plans.

Are barndominiums safe in storms? ›

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 to save money while building a barndominium? ›

5 Ways to Save Money on Your Barndominium Build.
  1. Be strategic about where you put your framed openings: ...
  2. Use concrete floors. ...
  3. DIY finish work (Stairs, Barn Doors, Light Fixture Installation) ...
  4. Ask for “builder grade”/“build program” or scour the remnant yard for countertops.

What is the downside to a barndominium? ›

However, there are a few downsides to barndominiums, including: Challenges in securing financing. Potential for shifting, cracking, and corrosion over time. Restrictions by some cities.

How much does a 30x40 barndominium cost? ›

Barndominium kit prices
DimensionsSquare footageUnfinished kit costs*
30x401,200$36,000 – $60,000
40x401,600$48,000 – $80,000
40x602,400$72,000 – $120,000
40x702,800$84,000 – $140,000
6 more rows
Oct 13, 2023

What is the most cost effective barndominium size? ›

Generally the most cost-effective barndominium size falls between 1,500-2,500 square feet. The Average size Barndominium in the US falls around 2500sqft as well.

Are barndominiums bad investments? ›

As such, it is more difficult to assess the resale value of a Barndominium. Unlike modular homes and trailers, Barndominiums maintain their value and are likely to increase over time. If you are purely looking for a quick resale investment, a Barndominium may not be your best option.

What foundation is needed for a barndominium? ›

Properly executed, an embedded perimeter beam concrete slab foundation formulated from high strength 5,000 PSI concrete mix designs provides ideal structural support for the tremendous clear spans and dynamic live loads generated over generations of family life within your barndo.

What is the first step in building a barndominium? ›

How to Build a Barndominium in 10 Steps: the Ultimate Guide to a Metal Building
  1. Planning and Budgeting. ...
  2. Land Acquisition. ...
  3. Interior Design Elements & Exterior Too. ...
  4. Obtain Permits. ...
  5. Foundation and Framing. ...
  6. Building Installation. ...
  7. Interior Finishing. ...
  8. Install Utilities.
Aug 3, 2023

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