Barndominium is a combination of the words barn + condominium. It originated when ranchers started to add living spaces in working barns.

More recently, it has been used to refer to a residence that is built within the structure of or in the style of a barn.

Rustic barndominium home

What makes a home a barndominium?

Metal building homes, pole barn homes, and barn conversions can all be considered barndominiums.

Any residence that looks like a barn on the exterior may also be called a barndominium.

Metal buildings vs pole barns

A metal building is a steel structure that is usually installed on a concrete pad. Metal building kits come with all the framing and exterior siding, but the interior is a blank slate.

Metal building home

They are often used for garages, storage, warehouses, and barns. Prefabricated construction materials means putting up a metal building is quick and efficient.

Once done, metal buildings require very little maintenance which is another reason homeowners find them so appealing.

A pole barn differs from a metal building in that no foundation needs to be poured. Instead, giant poles are buried several feet into concrete footings.

Pole barns offer the benefit of not needing a concrete pad which can get expensive. They also enjoy soaring ceilings and wide open spaces.

Both metal buildings and pole barns are ideal for creating your dream barndominium because they are blank slates for designing a custom floorplan and aesthetic.

Pole barn home

Are barndominiums cheaper to build?

Yes and no. It’s cheap to build a metal building or a pole barn, but finishing it out to be your home is just as expensive as finishing out any other type of home.

You will can money on the structure itself, and maintaining a simple rectangular footprint is much more cost effective.

Because of this, you can also get more square footage for your money. Just remember that unless you’ll use it as garage space, it will still have to be finished.

So you can easily spend just as much money building your barndominium as a traditional stick built home.

Benefits of barndominiums

Barndomeniums offer some appealing benefits.

  1. Quicker and cheaper to build – pole barns and metal buildings were designed to be simple and efficient. This saves time and money on construction costs.
  2. Low maintenance – metal framing and siding are super low maintenance and long lasting.
  3. Unlimited uses – the interior of your barndominium is a clean slate. You can use all of it as living space or use part as a garage, workshop, barn, or even leave some open for breezeways.
  4. Straight lines – A simpler facade and footprint means you can save more of your budget for interior amenities.

Disadvantages of barndominiums

  1. Curb appeal – a metal building is a pretty basic and unlovely structure. Your choice of windows and doors, as well as the addition of porches and landscaping, can improve the look.
  2. Building codes – you could run into issues trying to put a metal building home into a residential area, especially if there are strict codes or covenants.
  3. Heating and cooling – you’ll need to account for heating and cooling a large open space. Thick insulation can improve efficiency.
  4. Financing – although it’s becoming more popular, you may meet some resistance when trying to finance a barndominium build.

Would you build a barndominium?

Share your experience in the comments below.