How To Build A Barndominium

Standard barndominiums fall on the “easier-to-build” end of the difficulty spectrum when it comes to home building. If you’re experienced with carpentry, electrical work, and most house renovations, you’re a great candidate for a DIY barndominium build. If you aren’t very handy, you can still save a ton of money by acting as your own general contractor and subbing out labor to skilled professionals. People who DIY their barndos or act as their own GC are the ones who save the most money. It’s no surprise then that hundreds of thousands of folks want to learn how to build a barndominium. This article provides a brief outline of the barndominium building process. More importantly, however, because you can’t actually learn how to build a barndominium in one blog post, the article provides readers with a list of resources to consult that provide more in-depth information, instructions, tips, and tricks about how to build a barndominium.

Barndominium Building Process

Generally speaking, the barndominium building process can be divided into four phases: 1) planning and design, 2) foundation, 3) exterior frame/shell, and 4) interior build-out.  

Planning and design

As with all other construction projects, it’s critical to research and plan before you begin building. Reading blog posts like this one and the resources listed below is a great start. Also, make sure to fully leverage floor plan designs for your barndominium build. It will help identify potential challenges early and allow you to redesign before moving forward into subsequent building stages. There are dozens of high-level concept barndominium floor plans online that you can get ideas from and tweak to adapt to your specific wants and needs. Once you think you’ve got a floor plan concept you want to move forward with, we recommend you hire an architect to draw up a build-ready and code-compliant set of plans based on your concept. These usually cost about fifty cents per square foot and are well worth the investment.

Foundation

Never underestimate the importance of a solid foundation, so don’t cut corners here on costs or overestimate your abilities. Barndominium foundations are concrete slabs. They should be strong and able to carry weight from vehicles and equipment you might have in your shop or garage, and of course all the general day-to-day living items in your home. You want top-notch materials, and you want to make sure you’re 100% confident you know what you’re doing or you sub the work out to an experienced, well-recommended crew. For a 40x60 slab, expect to pay anywhere between $9,000 to $15,000, which includes the concrete mix, labor, and materials.

Exterior Frame/Shell

The easiest way to build a barndominium is to purchase a barndominium kit with sturdy steel frames. Some kit-based barndominiums can even be built with only two people and cost between $10 to $30 per square foot. You won’t have as much design flexibility regarding your exterior frame/shell when using a barndominium kit as you would if you were building a fully custom barndo, but because of the open space interior, you would still have the ability to customize the interior any way you’d like.

Interior Build-Out

You’ll need interior framing and dry wall skills if you want to build-out the interior yourself, or, you can always sub this out. The interior build-out of your barndominium is also where you can let your creative ideas run wild and make your barndo reflect your own personality. You can get inspiration from images of chic barndominiums or articles on how to design barndominiums interiors. There’s even a virtual interior design company that you can send photos of your rooms to and they’ll create 3D renderings of your rooms and stage them with virtual furniture and décor based on your design preferences.

Build Your Knowledge Before Building Your Barndominium

We believe barndominiums aren’t just a fad – they’ll be a popular home style choice for years to come. Aside from being easy to build, barndos are eco-friendly, cost-effective, energy-efficient, and versatile living spaces.

Whether you decide to DIY completely, use a pre-fab kit, or hire professional builders, make sure to dedicate as much time as you can to learning more about barndos to maximize the benefits this open-style architecture can bring. Build your knowledge by reading books, watching video tutorials, and getting advice from experts. Preparation helps avoid potential problems and lets you have that much more fun building your barndominium.

Resource List: Learn How To Build A Barndominium

Bonus resources…