The alternate home fad is huge around the world, and it’s only becoming bigger and more sophisticated. Twenty years ago, if you said you wanted to live in a metal house or shipping container, people would have thought you were crazy. Now, can you live in a barndominium?
You can easily live in a barndominium. Barndominiums are a modern favorite because they have low build costs and open floor plans. They are completely customizable and can be modified to suit almost any family. However, they do cost money to build and may be hard to find depending on your location.
In the following article, we will define a barndominium and visit some real statistics on the number of people who live in them. Read on to learn what living in a barndominium is really like, and determine if it’s right for you.
What Is a Barndominium?
A barndominium is a type of metal container home. The word barndominium is a joint between “barn” and “condominium.” They can be large or small and are relatively simple homes constructed from steel bars and sheet metal siding that are usually used for barns.
These homes can be repurposed from their original use as a barn or storage facility. The original barndominiums were usually created by adding a loft living space above a barn or factory. Nowadays, however, many people are now building barndominiums from scratch.
Some companies offer prefabricated barndominiums. Think of these as sort of like Ikea for homes. You get all the pieces needed to set up your home shipped to you and simply need to put it together, or higher someone else to do it for you.
Once erected, you can then dress up the inside of your barndominiums like any other home, adding light fixtures, plumbing, painting and flooring, and, of course, decor.
Can You Actually Live in a Barndominium?
You may still be doubting the livability of barndominiums. It does sound like a pretty odd idea the first time you hear of it, but they are absolutely livable. Barndominiums have all of the amenities of a traditional home, including separate rooms, windows, decks, and garages.
In fact, some people find barndominiums even more customizable than traditional homes, because of the amount of finances that are freed up by choosing a barndominium.
Barndominiums are greatly customizable. They can be built to fill large properties, or made to fit smaller ones. They can have multiple floors if needed, or lofts. They are an ideal choice for someone who works from home and needs an office or workspace. You can create an area for all of your work or hobbies like painting, pottery, writing, woodworking, or anything else you can imagine.
Check out the full tour of this massive barndominium to see just how livable they can really be:
Where Are Most Barndominiums Found?
Barndominiums have been on the rise in Texas for a while, and they remain popular there today. There are at least 15 major barndominium builders in Texas. Any industry that can sustain that many large scale companies isn’t going anywhere soon.
The larger than life structures that can be easily achieved with barndominiums is part of the reason why Texans love them so much. For instance, this video tours a 10,000 square foot barndominium in Texas:
One of the top comments notes that “This is so Texas, everything all big and in your face, right down to the Longhorns outside yet you feel like you’ve just been hugged.”
Texas isn’t the only place that you can find barndominiums, however. One company, Worldwide Steel Buildings has provided prefab barndominiums to all 50 states in the USA. They have also shipped to many other countries and can ship almost everywhere internationally.
Though these “barndos” are a new concept, something called a “housebarn” has been built since prehistoric times. Like the Lutze Housebarn in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, people often built their barns connected to their homes. This is because “the heat from the animals [can] help warm the living area of the humans.”
These housebarns can be found in the USA and many places in Europe like Germany and Denmark.
How Barndominium Life Is Different Than Living in a Traditional Home
Almost everything about living in a barndominium is exactly like living in a traditional home. You will have all of the amenities available to you, like the kitchen, bathroom, living spaces, etc. The main difference between living in the two homes is the amount of home upkeep you have to do.
In a traditional home, you can expect to spend $10,000 USD per year on the maintenance of your home. But with a barndominium, there are many areas of maintenance that simply do not exist. For instance, you have to repaint the exterior of a traditional home once every few years. You will never have to repaint a barndominium.
Other areas that allow you to save are:
- No rot. Unlike wooden homes, steel won’t be affected by pests, mold, or rot because of the weather.
- Energy savings. One of the biggest cash drains of a traditional home is the air leaks that are caused by the house settling and moving- even slightly. Steel homes have much less movement, and won’t spring as many surprise leaks. This will make the home much more efficient.
- Cheaper insurance. Because steel homes are impervious to structural fires and can withstand storms and earthquakes really well, the cost of insuring your home can decrease immensely.
Because you will spend less time having to do home repairs and upkeep, living in a barndominium can provide you with more free time, and less stressful life. As barndominiums can last as long as 50 years with little to no maintenance, you’ll have more time to enjoy life.
The Perks of Living in a Barndominium
As we’ve learned, it is entirely possible to live in a barndominium. There are so many solid perks to choosing a barndominium over a traditional home.
- Faster to build. Barndominiums can take as little as half the time, or even less, to build as traditional homes. This will not only mean you can move into your new home sooner, but you will save money on the builder’s labor costs.
- Extremely durable. Barndominiums can last up to 50 years with little to no upkeep or repairs!
- Cheaper to build. The cost of building a barndo is significantly less than that of building a traditional home. Building a traditional home from nothing costs, on average, about $145 USD per square foot. Barndominiums cost about $90 USD per square foot.
- Save you money in the long run. Not only do barndominiums cost less to build than traditional homes, but you save a lot of money in the long run. There are fewer home repairs, and upkeep needed, and you’ll save money on insurance as well.
- Completely customizable. When you’re building a barndominium, you can create the house of your dreams. You can have a workspace and a living space, under one durable roof. Not only can you customize the space, but you also don’t have to have the same concerns as someone building a traditional home, because you don’t have to take into consideration the load-bearing walls and joints. In a barndominium, the sky’s the limit.
The Pitfalls of Living in a Barndominium
Though many of the perks of living in a barndominium are tempting, there are a few downfalls to consider.
- The exterior is not customizable. With a barndominium, whatever the color of the materials is, is what color your house is. Generally, the exterior walls and the roof are the same colour. Some people may not like the aesthetics of the metal walls.
- Lower resale value. Even though barndominiums are getting more and more popular, they are still not for everyone. If you do decide to sell your home, you may have more difficulties finding a buyer than with a traditional home.
- More money up front. If you’re looking to build or buy a barndominium, you may have difficulties getting a traditional mortgage. Since barndominiums are not yet classified as traditional homes, many mortgage brokers will not be able to take you on as a client. Over time, this will eventually change, as appraisers can see that barndominiums do hold their value, and are here to stay.
Living in a barndominium is almost no different than living in a traditional house. Building your barndominium from scratch will allow you to create a custom living space, exactly to your specifications. That means that barndominiums are extremely livable because they can be built to fit your personal needs.
The only real difference between living in a barndominium compared to a traditional house is the lower amount of home renovations and upkeep that you will be required to do. Living in a barndominium can provide you with more time to enjoy your unique home.
- Sunward Steel Buildings: Average Steel Building Cost Per Sq. Ft
- Barndominium Life: Barndominium Cost vs House
- Architecture Lab: What Are Barndominiums
- Allied Buildings: Barndominiums, All You Need to Know
- Barndominium Life: Barndominium Kits Texas
- Worldwide Steel Buildings: Worldwide Coverage
- Internet Archive: The Lutze Housebarn
- MoneySense: The Ultimate Home Maintenance Guide