Is It Cheaper To Build a 1 or 2 Story Barndominium? (2024)

Is It Cheaper to Build a Single-Story Barndominium or a Two-Story?

When it comes to constructing a barndominium, potential homeowners are often faced with the decision of whether to build a single-story or a two-story structure. Obviously, a single Story home is Going to Cost Less to build, it has a smaller overall footprint and uses fewer materials. This choice significantly impacts the overall design, functionality, and, most crucially, the cost of the project. While both options have their advantages, understanding the cost implications of each can help in making an informed decision. Additionally, the rising popularity of steel frame barndominium kits over traditional stick framing introduces another layer of consideration in the construction process.

Single-Story Barndominium

Single-story barndominiums are generally perceived as less expensive due to several factors:

– **Foundation Costs**: The foundation of a single-story barndominium typically costs less than that of a two-story structure since it bears less weight. This can lead to savings in both materials and labor.
– **Roofing Costs**: A single-story barndominium usually has a simpler roofing structure compared to a two-story building. The complexity and additional materials required for roofing a two-story construction can increase the costs significantly.
– **Accessibility and Safety**: Single-story homes do not require staircases, which can be costly to construct, especially if you’re opting for custom designs. Furthermore, the absence of a second floor eliminates the need for additional safety features, potentially reducing overall construction expenses.

However, it’s important to note that single-story barndominiums often have a larger footprint, which can increase the costs associated with the foundation and roofing materials per square foot of living space. Additionally, the land preparation and excavation costs might be higher due to the larger area covered.

Two-Story Barndominium

Two-story barndominiums, on the other hand, offer a more compact footprint, which can lead to certain cost-saving advantages:

– **Land and Foundation Savings**: By building upwards, the foundation and land preparation costs can be reduced since the building covers a smaller area. This can be particularly beneficial on smaller or more challenging plots where maximizing usable space is crucial.
– **Efficiency in Plumbing and HVAC**: With a smaller footprint, the distance between plumbing and HVAC systems is reduced. This can lower the cost of materials and installation for these systems, as they need to cover a shorter distance between floors.
– **Potential for Lower Roofing Costs**: Despite potentially higher complexity, the overall roof area of a two-story barndominium may be smaller than that of a single-story structure with the same square footage, possibly leading to savings in roofing materials.

However, two-story constructions come with their own set of increased costs, including the need for staircases, enhanced structural support to bear the weight of the upper floor, and potentially more complex roofing designs. Additionally, second-story windows and possibly more elaborate exterior finishes can add to the expense.

The Role of Steel Frame Barndominium Kits

Steel frame barndominium kits have become increasingly popular, offering advantages in terms of cost, durability, and construction speed over traditional stick framing. Steel’s strength allows for greater design flexibility, including the ability to easily accommodate open floor plans and large, unobstructed spaces without the need for load-bearing walls. This can be particularly appealing for single-story designs where expansive living areas are desired.

For two-story barndominiums, steel framing provides the necessary structural support with less material than wood framing, potentially reducing the cost and complexity of constructing a multi-level building. The prefabricated nature of steel frame kits also simplifies the construction process, leading to faster build times and reduced labor costs for both single and two-story constructions.


Deciding between a single-story and a two-story barndominium involves a complex interplay of factors, including cost, land use, and personal preferences. While single-story barndominiums may initially seem less expensive due to simpler design elements, the larger footprint can offset these savings. Two-story barndominiums, with their compact footprint and efficient use of vertical space, can offer cost savings in the foundation, land preparation, and systems installation, but may incur higher costs in structural support and complexity.

The advent of steel frame barndominium kits adds an appealing dimension to this decision-making process. With their cost-effectiveness, durability, and flexibility, steel frames are a compelling choice for both single and two-story constructions, potentially offering the best of both worlds in terms of affordability and design possibilities. Ultimately, the choice will depend on individual needs, budget considerations, and the specific advantages each option presents in the context of the planned barndominium project.

Is It Cheaper To Build a 1 or 2 Story Barndominium? (2024)


Is It Cheaper To Build a 1 or 2 Story Barndominium? ›

Single-story barndominiums are generally perceived as less expensive due to several factors: – **Foundation Costs**: The foundation of a single-story barndominium typically costs less than that of a two-story structure since it bears less weight. This can lead to savings in both materials and labor.

Are 2 story barndominiums cheaper to build? ›

As we mentioned earlier, building a two-story barndominium is cheaper than constructing a traditional house. The price per square foot of a barndominium ranges from $35 to $175. This price will be determined by the materials you buy, labor costs, and how much you choose to finish out.

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.

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.

How much does it cost to build a 2000 square foot barndominium? ›

The cost to build a barndominium is $65 to $160 per square foot or $130,000 to $320,000 on average for a 2,000 SF home. Barndominium prices depend on the size, materials, and interior finishes chosen. Barndominium kit prices are $20 to $35 per square foot for materials only.

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.

Is it cheaper to build a 2 story or 1 story house? ›

Our customers often ask us this question, so we decided to do an quick analysis on floor plan cost to build based on the number of floors. We analyzed our library of one-story and two-story plans to compare costs and found that two story plans are 14% more affordable to build per square foot on average).

Do barndominiums hold their value? ›

Barndominiums normally retain their resale value and may even increase in value gradually, although more slowly than a standard home. However, these homes are still rare in some parts of the country, and it may be challenging to get an accurate appraisal in an area where there are few.

How big is a 40x60 barndominium? ›

Our 40×60 barndominium steel buildings provide 2,400 square feet of interior space that can be customized to your specifications. Plus, our steel frame 40*60 barndominium kits are also available in a variety of customization options to ensure that your building meets your specific needs.

How big of a barndominium can I build for 200K? ›

How big of a barndominium can I build for $200K? On the high end, barndominiums have an average cost of $150 per square foot. At that price, you can estimate a building of around 1,333 square feet for $200,000.

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 are barndominiums so expensive? ›

The biggest cost of building a barndominium comes from purchasing and building the metal shell, including the roof, doors, and windows.

Are barndominiums worth it? ›

Barndominiums have the strength and durability that comes with being made from metal, making them just as safe or even more secure than a traditional home. The structural integrity of a barndominium also makes them last longer with less maintenance.

Is it cheaper to build a house or barndominium? ›

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.

How tall does a barndominium need to be for 2 stories? ›

In order to maintain eight foot finished ceiling heights, two stories requires a 21 foot eave and single story 10 foot. Engineered plans and delivery were included.

Can you build a two story barndominium? ›

This 2-story barndominium plan boasts a spacious 2,992 square foot home design with 4 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, an open floor plan, a loft, and a mudroom. This popular house plan has marveled our customers since its arrival on our website with its spacious outdoor spaces and exceptional exterior details.

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