Is Concrete Better Than Cement for a Barndominium?

Is Concrete Better Than Cement for a Barndominium
Is Concrete Better Than Cement for a Barndominium

If you’ve decided to build your dream barndominium, you’re going to want the best options available. When it comes to the foundation, it’s easy to compare concrete to cement as the building material. So, is concrete better than cement?

Concrete is the best option for a barndominium. Cement is actually an ingredient of concrete, and it is combined with an aggregate such as gravel or sand. Cement is mostly used for smaller projects, while concrete is used on larger projects. This makes it ideal for a barndominium foundation.

Let’s take a look below at what makes concrete so great for your barndominium.

What Is a Barndominium?

A barndominium or “barndo” is a typical steel building that has a living space attached to a shop or work area. Sometimes, owners made room for their horses as well. Their appeal lies in the large open concept they generally have.

The rustic idea of a barndo originated from Texas horsemen, who were tired of going out into all kinds of weather to check on their animals. However, just because you’re living where you work doesn’t mean it has to look bad.

Like other custom homes, a barndo can be made to look however you wish. It doesn’t have to be rustic if that isn’t your style. If you want granite countertops, you can certainly do that. 

Though there are some that can be made of wood, your barndo is going to be made of a steel frame more often than not. This usually leads to the question: is concrete or cement the better material for a barndo?

Concrete vs. Cement

It happens all the time. People confuse concrete and cement as being the same thing. However, this isn’t correct. In fact, cement is merely an ingredient in concrete, though they can be used in similar ways. Here are the ways that concrete is better than cement.

There Is Cement in Concrete

Cement is actually the glue that holds the concrete together. Concrete is made up of cement, water, and aggregates such as gravel or sand. Without the cement, concrete wouldn’t be possible. However, that doesn’t make cement the better option for your barndo.

Cement is made from mined limestone. This limestone is typically mined through explosives or other forms of blasting. This leaves large chunks of the limestone that is then reduced in size and placed in a kiln. Once heated to the desired temperature, the resulting product is known as clinkers.

The clinkers are then ground into dust, which is bagged and sold to you as cement. Once mixed with water, this dust becomes a paste that can be used for mostly small projects, such as a small patio.

Check out this three-minute video below to learn how cement is actually made:

Now, because of the strong adhesive properties of the cement, when used with aggregates such as sand, it becomes concrete and even stronger. This is what makes concrete the superior choice.

Concrete Is More Durable

Over time, it’s easy for the cement to crack and break down. Though cement is made from finely crushed materials that get mixed together to create a paste, concrete has a few extra ingredients that make it more durable.

Concrete is a combination of water, cement, and a variety of aggregates and chemical additives. These aggregates can be coarse, fine, or both. Coarse aggregates such as gravel will only be up to one inch in diameter. 

The aggregates are chosen carefully with the final result in mind. Smaller particles are used in thinner building areas, but aggregates of up to six inches have been used in larger structures, such as dams.

Concrete Is Sustainable and Reusable

The world is evolving with the times, and that includes construction. Using sustainable and eco-friendly solutions in building materials has been a hot topic in recent years. One of the great things about concrete is that it’s sustainable and reusable. 

Concrete can last for a long time, but it can also be put back into the mix when it falls apart. These broken concrete pieces can be crushed into the proper size needed and added into the cement as the aggregate, making concrete both eco-friendly since it won’t be sitting in a landfill for hundreds of years.

Cement Is Used to Fix Cracked Concrete

Cement can be used for small projects such as a patio, or even grouting, but it’s especially used to fix cracked concrete. Because of its strong adhesive nature, it will work as a binding agent to repair crumbling or cracked concrete.

Avoid Existing Concrete Slabs if Possible

You might have an existing concrete slab that you want to use for your barndominium. While this isn’t strictly forbidden, it’s recommended that you avoid using such things for new buildings, unless you know for a fact what the structural integrity is. Though concrete is strong and will last for years and years, it’s not safe to use a concrete slab that you weren’t involved with. 

When concrete slabs are poured, they’re done so with the final product in mind. The concrete is made to the exact specifications for the building going on top of it. Without knowing the specs of the existing concrete slab, you can’t be sure it will hold or sustain your barndominium.

Things to Keep in Mind

Barndominiums are large projects, and there are a lot of things that could go wrong. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Hire a Contractor

For large projects such as a barndominium, you should reach out to a contractor who can give you an idea of the cost it will take to pour your concrete slab. Prices will vary by place, so be sure to shop around for the best cost.

Contact the Local Building Department

Whether you decide to hire someone or plan to do the foundation yourself, you’ll need to contact your local building department before you get started. Many areas require a permit, and before you begin, you’ll want to make sure you have all of the right paperwork in order.

There may also be restrictions on how big your slab can be, or how close to the lot lines you can build. 

Take Necessary Safety Precautions

Wet concrete has the ability to cause mild to severe chemical burns if it touches the skin. It’s important that anyone who handles concrete takes the necessary safety precautions listed below:

  • Wear proper eye protection – This will protect your eyes from concrete dust.
  • Wear long pants and long sleeves – Prolonged contact to wet concrete could permanently disfigure third-degree chemical burns. Keeping your arms and legs covered with help prevent that.
  • Wear rubber boots – Sometimes you’ll have to wade out into the concrete. Wearing tall rubber boots will protect your legs and your feet from being exposed to the chemicals. 
  • Wear gloves – Your hands are the part of your body that is most likely to get exposed to the concrete. Rubber gloves are the preferable choice to protect them.

If your clothes are soaked with concrete, it’s best to change and rinse off any exposed skin immediately. Change into dry, clean clothes before returning to the job. 

Check out the five-minute video below for the best way to prepare your foundation for concrete:

Below, you’ll find a step by step video explanation of pouring a concrete slab:

You’ll also find a beginner’s guide to pouring a concrete slab in the video below. While this is a small project, the steps are almost identical to larger projects:


While building your dream home, you’re going to look for the best of the best. You want to make sure your foundation is sound, and that means picking the material that is going to last. Now you know that concrete is better than cement for a barndominium.