A common question we hear is, “how long does a barndominium last?” A barndominium can last hundreds of years when you take care of it properly. This is because they are durable steel buildings that withstand all kinds of life’s elements. Many elements can increase and decrease how long a barndominium can last. Let’s dive into how long does a barndominium last and what we can do to make it last even longer!
How Long Does a Barndominium Last?
Barndominiums have only been around for about 35 years. The first barndominium was built in the late 1980s in Connecticut. Ten homes were built from metal barns to be part of an equestrian community. Since they have not been around for long periods, it is hard to determine how long they will last based on examples; therefore, to help your barndo last a lifetime or longer, it is important to understand the longevity of your barndominium is based on several factors. These factors include things like:
- Upkeep to the structure
Typically a traditional single-family home built out of wood may last 100 years or longer. You can expect your barndominium to last at least that long if not longer, with proper care and upkeep.
Factors that Determine How long Your Barndominium Will Last
How long a barndominium will last depends on the construction. If it is not built properly, it is less likely to withstand the test of time.
Before you build your barndominium, you will want to decide who you will have to build it. Are you going to choose to build your home on your own with a barndominium kit which includes the material for the frame, siding, roof, and other key materials that are needed? Or are you going to hire a professional to help with the building?
Using a barndominium kit under 100k does allow you to be more involved in the construction process. Still, if you don’t have construction experience, this may be more expensive as mistakes may be made and potentially risk your home’s long-term stability.
To give you an idea about the construction process, barndominiums are built with metal posts using post-frame construction. These posts are 8-12 feet apart and are secured into the ground. If these are not properly secured, it may cause your home’s frame to shift after construction. This can cause cracking in the drywall as well as other structural issues.
This type of problem can shorten the lifespan of your barndominium. Working with professional builders can limit this type of mishap from happening.
The steel frame of your barndominium is the most durable part of your home. If it is constructed correctly, it will last for hundreds of years. You may have to repair or replace other areas, but the steel frame will still stand. The slab foundation of your barndominium will last about 80 to 100 years. Other features like siding and roofs will not last as long but can easily be replaced over time.
As long as you take care of your steel frame, your barndominium will withstand the test of time.
How long a barndominium will last also is determined by how well you take care of your barndominium. Parts of your barndominium will last for several decades but will one day need to be replaced or repaired. Taking care of rust problems immediately will protect against further damage to the barndominium.
The climate in which you live can be a determining factor in how long your barndominium will last. Building neat the ocean or other very humid areas can cause rusting. As the building rusts, it can affect the structure’s integrity, causing damage to the frame, siding, and roof.
One piece of good news. The main reason people are choosing to build barndominiums in the 21st century is specifically that they’re durable in the everyday circumstances of life.
Migratory Americans have been building wooden houses, cabins, shacks, you name it, more or less since they became Americans. They are familiar with the hazards that can beset a wooden home – dry rot, damp, weather, woodworm, and more.
That’s probably why more and more people are choosing to build their barndominiums out of steel. In terms of its durability, steel gives you:
- Resistance to most weather
- Less likelihood of burning down
- A tough meal for most pests. Termites are relentless little critters, but they’re unlikely to stick around on a diet of steel.
- Resistance to rot and damp
- Durability through the concrete floor that is common with steel barndominiums
- Strength through the poles and beams that generally support the whole barndominium structure
Before we get into disaster territory, let’s assess how wood and steel barndominiums fare against the natural elements any home has to withstand.
- Wood is not naturally moisture resistant. That means if you get a lot of rain, a lot of it can find its way into the wooden timbers of your barndominium and weaken them. Yes, you can waterproof your wood, but firstly it costs more, and secondly, the application of lots of sealants makes the wood a relative fire hazard.
- Strong winds and snowstorms should be no match for a solidly built wooden barndominium.
- Pests are a problem. Termites, woodworm, fungus, and mildew all love to take their best shot at compromising the organic integrity of the wood. Again, there are ways of combating these pests – but each battle you fight adds to the living costs of your wooden barndominium
- We mentioned that adding waterproofing can make your wooden structure a fire hazard. You can also make your wood fireproof – but that’s going to cost you.
- Steel is notoriously strong, so a steel structure should withstand most winds and most weather.
- Steel buildings can and will burn in the right conditions. You’re unlikely to encounter the right conditions or a high enough heat to make that happen, though. Probably, in high heat, there will be other concerns to worry about.
- Steel is a naturally colder material than wood, so left untreated, you might conceivably freeze to death in your steel barndominium. With adequate barndominium insulation, you should be safe and warm there till Spring.
- Most steel structures that stand up will resist winds up to at least 120 Mph and can also handle heavy snow – by being moisture-resistant, the steel simply sits there, trying and usually succeeding in resisting the urge to buckle under the snow’s weight.
- Moisture resistance also means that rot, damp, fungus, and mildew are on a highway to nowhere with a steel barndominium.
Natural disasters are very adept at destroying natural resources. For the most part, when disaster strikes, you’re going to want to be in a steel barndominium. Here’s why:
- Earthquakes: Steel barndominiums are engineered to endure seismic tremors up to level 4. Wooden ones are not quite as high.
- Lightning: You might think steel barndominiums would attract more lightning than wooden ones. You would be wrong. Also, when they do get struck by lightning, they’re far less likely to burst into flames and far more likely to absorb and earth the energy.
- Destructive winds like tornadoes: Steel is an interesting metal – among most modern construction materials, the one with the highest strength-to-weight ratio is steel. That means barndominiums are safe in tornados.
- Flooding: As mentioned earlier, steel barndominiums don’t let water in, so in areas of heavy rainfall and flooding, they’re a much safer bet than traditional homes.
- Wildfire: The burning point of wood is quite within the range of wildfires to hit, meaning if wildfires strike, your wooden barndominium has a very good chance of catching fire. Steel buildings will withstand wildfires more than traditionally built homes.
How to Increase the Life of Your Barndominium
If you want to increase the life of your barndominium, there are a few things that you can do to extend its life to make sure it lasts for hundreds of years.
- Choose a quality builder. Be sure to find the right builder that specializes in building condominiums.
- Use quality materials.
- Treat rust quickly.
- Maintain your gutters.
- Use good insulation in your barndominium. There are many different types, be sure you pick the right one to protect your home.
Final Thoughts on How Long a Barndominium Lasts
How long your barndominium lasts will be determined by several factors. It can last hundreds of years with proper building, high-quality materials, and painting your homes over time. The key to a long-lasting barndominium is to take care of issues that arise immediately to protect your home from further damage.
If you want your barndominium to last for a very long time, start with a qualified builder and keep up with all the maintenance and repairs to protect it and your family.
If you are ready to start building the barndo of your dreams, check out our barndominium floor plans to help you create the barndominium of your dreams or use a barndominium design software program to help you plan out your space for your new home. When in the planning stages, be sure you also check out the barndominium financing and insurance options that are available. For more helpful tips, visit our FAQ barndominium section to get answers to all your barndo questions.