The Pros and Cons of Barndominium Living

Written by  //  August 11, 2022  //  Home Design  //  Comments Off on The Pros and Cons of Barndominium Living

The Pros and Cons of Barndominium Living

“Barndominiums” got their start back in the 1980s, when a Connecticut real estate developer named Karl Nilsen got the idea to build a community for horse lovers that would include structures with both stables and living space.

The barndominium (or “barndo”) idea took off when an episode of the television show Fixer Upper featured a transformation of a tired-looking barn outside Waco, TX. Before you decide to build or buy one, consider the pros and cons of Barndominium living.

Pro: Space and Flexibility

Barndos are open-plan buildings with many options for dividing the space into private areas and spaces for entertaining. The open-space concept makes it easy to create modular arrangements that can be altered as a family grows.

The workspace in a barndo also provides room for home-based businesses, from tech work to studio space for artists and photographers.

Pro: Energy Efficiency

When properly insulated and sealed, a steel frame barndo can be very energy efficient. Most contractors that build barndos or convert existing structures use eco-friendly materials as well. Barndos also use passive solar heating, with large, south-facing windows that allow sunlight in, heating the concrete floor and providing radiant warmth.

With proper roof insulation and ventilation, it’s possible to keep a metal barndo cool in summer.

Pro: Durability

Properly constructed and anchored steel buildings can withstand high winds. While few structures can endure extreme weather events, a steel-framed building has a better chance of remaining standing through winds up to 170 mph.

Metal buildings are also pest resistant and low-maintenance. They don’t require painting every year, and metal is fire-resistant, too. This could result in lower insurance rates.

Pro: Cost and Speed of Construction

Building a barndo takes less time than a traditional, wood-framed home. It can cost far less per square foot for the basic structure. Purchasing a Barndo kits may further reduce costs.

Con: Corrosion

While the metal exterior of a barndo might not need painting often, steel is susceptible to corrosion. Rust-resistant paint can help reduce the risk that corrosion will weaken the structure.

Con: Noise

Large open spaces with metal roofs can be noisy. Although it’s possible to include noise insulation, that won’t do much to reduce the rapid drumbeat of a hailstorm.

Con: Cost and Financing

Cost can be on both sides of the pros and cons of barndominium living. If there isn’t a local steel supplier, builders will have to pay more to transport the material. Customization with high-end finishes, supply chain disruptions, and market scarcity all increase the barndo’s cost.

Lenders have been slow to understand barndos. Local banks and credit unions or online lenders might be a better bet. As with any loan application, you’ll need a solid credit history and a good plan. This plan should include a reputable builder and how you’ll link to local utilities or provide them to help a lender understand your project.

With perseverance, a knowledgeable contractor, and a willing lender, barndominium living may turn out exactly as you planned.

Image Credit: Adobe Stock royalty-free image #299545975

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