What is a Barndominium? – Your Ultimate Guide

Building a home is something that most people think about, and many even pursue at some point in their life. However, if you have ever looked into the ins and outs of a project like this, you may have been put off by the expense and effort. That’s why many people have started considering alternative housing like barndominiums. If you are asking “what is a barndominium,” you are in luck. 

In this article, we have laid out all the answers to the question “what is a barndominium?” By understanding what it takes for a structure to be considered a barndominium, you can decide if one is right for you. These beautiful homes can be great options for a wide variety of people, and knowing all there is to know is essential. 

What is a Barndominium?

A barndominium is a home that has been built using the structure of a post frame building or metal pole barn. These types of buildings are usually reserved for things like warehouses, stables, or other agricultural buildings. However, with some clever tweaks and design choices, they can also make amazing custom homes. 

Barndominiums use concrete slab foundations instead of traditional home foundations with crawl spaces. They also use special pole frames instead of stick framing with timber. This makes them incredibly durable and also very easy to assemble once everything is in place. 

History of Barndominiums

Barndominiums have been around for many years in some form or another. However, it wasn’t until an equestrian community in Connecticut got some national media coverage in the New York Times that the word barndominium started being used. This prompted many people to ask “what is a barndominium” and the idea started to spread that homes could be built with different techniques. 

Since then, barndominiums have started to become more popular every year. With the help of the HGTV show, “Fixer Upper,” barndominiums have been shown to be both practical and incredibly chic. Now, there are barndominiums in nearly every state and new builders and designers are popping up every year. 

What are Barndominium Kits?

While barndominiums can be built entirely from scratch, they can also come in complete, prefabricated kits. These barndominium kits come in full packages with everything you need to build your barndominium. They will be delivered to your build site with all the materials and parts so you can get started as soon as possible. 

Barndominium kit providers are located all over the United States and offer a wide variety of options. Many of them will even allow you to customize your kit to meet your exact specifications. In some cases, they will even have a network of contractors you can work with for the build that know their kits and have assembled them in the past. There are many barndominium kits under 50k and barndominiums under 100k to help you build your dream barndominium.

How Long Does it Take to Build a Barndominium?

When asking “what is a barndominium,” you are probably also wondering how long a project like this will take. The truth is, it will always depend on a variety of different factors like the available labor and size of your barndo. However, one thing you can depend on is the fact that it will take much less time than a traditional house. 

If everything goes according to plan and there are no delays, you can expect to build a barndominium in about six months to a year. When you contrast this with the fact that most houses take around two years to build, you can see how advantageous a barndo is. If you are new to home building and don’t want the stress of a long wait, a barndominium is a great choice. 

How Much Does a Barndominium Cost 

One of the most common reasons people think about building a barndominium is the cost. Barndominiums are quite a bit cheaper to build than traditional homes, which is incredibly attractive. The truth is, though, that the cost of your barndominium will vary widely depending on where you are building. 

On average, a barndominium will cost between $130,000 and $530,000 to build. Of course, this number depends on the cost of land, the extra furnishings you want to include, and your methods. A kit barndominium kit, for example, only costs between $20,000 and $90,000, which can cut down on the total price. 

What are the Advantages of a Barndominium?

Building a barndominium has many advantages over a traditional house, especially if you are looking to save money. Perhaps the most important advantage is the price of building one of these homes. Since they can be built in about half the time it takes to build a traditional home, you can save a lot on labor and materials. 

When asking “what is a barndominium,” you are probably also wondering about the maintenance. Since maintenance can be a large expense with a home, it’s important to know what you are in for. Barndominiums are incredibly low maintenance with their all-steel construction. 

Since barndominiums are all metal, you don’t have to worry about things like mold, rot, and mildew. These issues can turn into serious problems if you have a traditional wood home. However, the steel frame of a barndominium makes these problems non-existent. 

Barndominiums are also incredibly durable. If you live in an area with a lot of poor weather, this is more important than almost anything else. Since they use steel beams, you don’t have to worry about things like heavy wind, rain, or snow ruining the outer shell or foundation of the home. 

What are the Disadvantages of a Barndominium?

Even though barndominiums have a lot of benefits, there are also some downsides to these types of homes. For one, they are not going to be perfect for every type of region. In many urban areas like cities or large towns, there may not be enough land to make them work. 

One of the other reasons bigger cities may not be ideal for barndominiums is the fact that they may be against zoning laws. Many large urban areas have specific rules about the types of homes that can be built there. In most cases, you will be better off building a barndominium in a rural area that has more lax zoning laws and building codes. 

When asking “what is a barndominium,” one of the first things you are probably wondering is how to get financing. This is another serious downside of these types of homes. Many banks, lenders, and insurance companies will be less than willing to give you help for an alternative-type home. 

You may also have a hard time finding a builder in your area for your barndominium. With this type of project, you must find a builder that is experienced in barndos. Not all construction companies will know how to turn a post-frame building into a modern custom home. 

Are Barndominiums Safe?

One of the other common questions that comes up when asking “what is a barndominium” is whether barndominiums are safe. Because they are built using a different process and are usually less expensive, safety is an issue that comes up. You can rest assured that barndominiums are just as safe as any other type of home you might consider building. 

Barndominiums’ all-steel construction and concrete slab foundations actually make them very durable. They can withstand all kinds of natural weather elements and will last for many years. As long as your barndominium is built by someone who has the experience and abides by building codes, your home will be incredibly safe. 

How to Find Floor Plans for Your Barndominium

Once you have learned the answer to “what is a barndominium” and have decided you want to build one, you need to think about a floor plan. Your barndominium floor plan will be the thing that you and your builder use to figure out the construction and layout of the home. The floor plan also determines how many bedrooms, bathrooms, living areas, and storage areas the home will have. 

To get started on your floor plan, sit down and write out everything you want to get out of your custom home. Then, take this list to a professional draftsman who will then turn it into a workable floor plan. This will be your guide throughout your entire build and it will be used for almost every aspect of the construction. 

How to Find a Builder for Your Barndominium

Finding a builder for your barndominium is one of the most important decisions you will make for your project. Building a home is incredibly personal and you should ensure that you find a builder on your side. This means researching and taking the time to be as informed as possible when making your choice. 

One of the first things you should look for in a builder is experience. If you ask them “what is a barndominium,” they should be able to give you a definitive answer and show you examples. Not all construction companies will have experience with this type of home, so you must find one that does. 

You should also look for a builder who has a good relationship with their clients. Look at online reviews of any builder you are considering and see what previous customers have to say. This will give you a good idea of their customer service and what kind of finished product they deliver. 

How to Get Started Building Your Barndominium

If you have gotten the answer to “what is a barndominium” and are excited about getting yours started, there are a few things you should do. First, you should find out what the laws are in your area for building barndominiums. If they are not allowed, look in the next county to see if they are allowed there, since zoning laws can change drastically in different municipalities. 

After you find a suitable area, start looking for a piece of land. One of the most important things to look for in a piece of land is its readiness. Try to find a plot that doesn’t need a lot of clearing or work for it to be viable for construction. 

Once you have a piece of land, decide whether you want to use a kit or build from scratch. This decision will depend heavily on how much you have to spend and what your goals are. If you want something entirely customized, you may want to start from scratch. 

The last big decision you will have to make on your own is the builder. Once you have an experienced builder on your side, they will help you through the rest of the process. Because you will be relying on them heavily, you have to make sure they have your best interest at heart and that they are good with customers. 

Examples of Barndominiums 

When answering the question “what is a barndominium,” there is no better way than to show some examples. Below are some fantastically beautiful barndominiums that showcase these homes’ possible possibilities. By understanding what has been done in the past, you can create your own beautiful custom home. 

what is a barndominium

This barndominium is a perfect example of the classic look that these homes usually have. With the corrugated metal siding and neutral, muted colors, this is an incredibly understated and tasteful design. It also has the added benefit of using the concrete slab foundation as a poured patio for extra space. 

what is a barndominium

If you are looking for something a little more modern, this barndo is a great example of what can be done. The minimalistic design and striking lines show that these homes don’t have to be subtle at all. You can shape post frame buildings into almost any kind of structure you want to fit with your aesthetic. 

what is a barndominium

This is another great example of a barndominium that is a little bit different but still has a classic look. This home has “farmhouse” written all over it and the large balcony is a great addition. It also uses some amazing contrasting colors that showcase the look these homes can have. 


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.