Is A Barndominium Cheaper To Build?

That depends on what your other options are! The average price for constructing your own steel-framed building, which is a basic explanation of what a barndominium is for those unaware, is approximately $220,000 from start to finish/

This is a very generous average that includes appliances and amenities: at this figure, you could afford good quality double glazing, glass doors, air conditioning, and the nicest kitchen countertops the store has to offer.

These days, the sizes and shapes of barndominiums available are far more varied than they were even a decade ago. A tiny 700-square-foot one-bedroom house is sure to cost a lot less than a five-bedroom, three-bathroom affair, right?

The number of rooms in your house is going to alter the total project cost: from receptions and kitchens to bedrooms and bathrooms, you have to decide how much room you can afford and where you’d like to distribute that space.

Another thing to think about is the land. Do you already own it? Will it cost money to get permission from your local council to build on it? Are there any special permits required? All of these questions must be answered to estimate cost.

There are some basics you need to think about in terms of cost. Building a house from scratch is a huge undertaking and sometimes you might forget about what materials are required to finish the job. 

At the very least, as well as a steel frame you’ll need:

  • Flooring – either the same throughout or different for the various rooms
  • Drywall – to create those interiors
  • Framing – wood studs and more
  • Plumbing – think sinks, toilets, showers and baths, a water heater, maybe radiators
  • Cabinets, countertops and work surfaces – kitchen and bathroom
  • Paint and wallpaper for walls and ceilings – cost dependent on personal preferences!
  • Electricals – wiring up all of your appliances and lighting
  • Fixtures – the literal toilet, shower, sink and heater themselves 
  • Windows – at least five is a good place to start
  • Doors – front, back and at least six inside, if not more
  • Insulation – whichever kind you want

From this list, you can make an estimate of how much it’s going to cost you. As you’ve got a steel frame, it’s going to be much less expensive to fill in all of the gaps as you don’t need anywhere near as much wood or any bricks at all.

Do bear in mind that this isn’t an exhaustive list – everyone has their own ideas of what a home needs, and there are going to be hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars of costs for other considerations like furniture, appliances, and more. 

Is A Barndominium Cheaper Than A House?

Yes! In actual fact, you’ll find that a barndominium is often more than half as expensive as building a traditional house using brick, wood and other materials. In today’s market, even a fraction of that saving is worthwhile.

In fact, according to, building metal-framed homes from scratch can cost between $73,400 and $228,000 on average – the fluctuation depends on things like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, for instance.

When this number is compared to a more ambitious brick-based project, which they suggest will cost a minimum of $100,000, that’s a huge saving of at least $27,000, but this number skyrockets when you increase the size of the lot and materials used.

For one thing, you require way less money for construction purposes, given steel is much easier to work with. Where Homeguide pegs the average American home as costing between $100 and $155 a square foot, a barndominium is considerably less.

Including the commissioning of any slabs, as well as adding finishing touches, Allied Steel Buildings – a reputable manufacturer of barndominiums and other steel structures – estimates a steel house is approximately $80 to $90 per square foot. 

Once built, a steel structure is less likely to move or “settle” the way a wooden frame would, which dramatically reduces the chance of air leaks. When properly insulated, a barndominium is more than capable of sheltering you in harsh conditions.

Another place in which steel housing saves you money is the lack of maintenance required. Where wooden frames can often fall victim to mold, termites, or rot, a steel frame does not have this problem – nor does it require an annual repainting!

Taking the above into account, you’ll be able to get a much better deal from many of the insurance providers available, because the risk of fire and other possible hazards is vastly reduced. Steel houses can even stand up to a tornado or an earthquake!

Why Is A Barndominium Cheaper To Build?

For several reasons! Firstly, a steel frame is going to cost you a lot less than a wooden one, in initial costs as well as in required future maintenance. That’s just the thing: there isn’t any need for regular maintaining with a steel frame!

Where a wooden frame is easily ruined by rotting after a horrid damp rainy season, or can be infested by termites (and there’s very little you can do about those once they show up!) steel is pretty much impenetrable by the weather OR evil bugs.

Likewise, because it is usually treated and resistant to rust or corrosion, there’s no need to add a new coat of paint every summer, because the original cover should last for years without requiring any touch-ups.

If you opt for a metal home kit, which is increasingly popular as the American love for tiny houses continues to rise, you’re looking at between $20,000 and $90,000 for everything you need to put your new home together.

Those who aren’t skilled in DIY will need to stump up a further $25,000 to $50,000 in installation costs, but even still, you’re looking at $140,000 maximum for constructing the most basic barndominium there is. 

That’s staggering compared to a “regular” house! There are even more savings to be made if you source the materials yourself rather than relying on a pre-made kit. Using a barndominium kit under 50k or a barndominium kit under 100k can help you finish your project quicker and cheaper.