What is a Barndominium?

Lately, it seems like you can’t do any reading about homes or houses without coming across an article about the most recent trends. If you have been keeping up on any of the new alternative types of housing that are popping up, you have probably heard about tiny homes, van homes, and shipping container homes. However, the word that you may have stumbled upon and marveled at the most is probably “barndominium.” The name itself is interesting enough, but perhaps you’ve been intrigued by what it could possibly mean. It evokes all kinds of images and thoughts, but getting down to the actual meaning of what a barndominium could do for you is even more interesting. 

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In this article, we have laid out everything you need to know about this exciting and novel concept for building a home. By understanding what a barndominium is and how they are different from some of the other trends in the home market these days, you could possibly figure out whether a barndominium is the right choice for you. Here at Barndominiums.co, we want you to be able to make the right choice with any type of home build. In order to do that, you should know everything there is to know about it. 

Exactly What is a Barndominium?

The word “barndominium” is a combination of “barn” and “condominium.” While this is obvious enough, barndominiums are also called “barndos” and sometimes “barn homes.” No matter what they are called, the basic principle is always the same. A barndominium is a home that is built from a new or previously existing metal barn. This is important because barndominiums don’t require any of the wood framing and complicated structural elements that a traditional home would need. They are built using something called a post frame structure. A post frame structure is much simpler than a traditional house frame and can be a lot easier to build. 

A metal post frame structure uses posts that are driven into the ground instead of built and supported by each other. Most barndominiums use a concrete slab foundation that is laid beforehand and the metal building is built on top. The metal pole barn is then framed up on the interior just like a regular house. Because of this, barndominiums look just like traditional houses on the inside. You wouldn’t ever be able to tell that a barndominium is different on the exterior just by looking at the interior. This is one of the reasons they have become so popular. They are easy to build and you can do just about anything you want with the interior, just like you would be able to with a traditionally built home. The answer to “what is a barndominium” is simple: it’s just like a traditional home but much easier to put together.

History of Barndominiums

The idea of building a home within the constructs of a barn is not new. Many farmers built their dwellings in or attached to their stables so they could keep an eye and an ear on their animals at night. This allowed farmers to stay vigilant and not be separated from their livelihoods just because the work day was over. The first actual use of the word barndominium, though, was in an article in the New York Times from 1989. The article answers the question of “what is a barndominium” and is a feature on an equestrian community in Connecticut that combined homes with horse stables for people who were interested in having their lives revolve around their horses. This was the brainchild of real estate developer Karl Nilsen and the community gained popularity for its interesting concept and unique ideals. 

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After this original New York Times article, barndominiums more or less fell out of popular culture. That is, until an episode of HGTV’s Fixer Upper, where the hosts restored and built out an old barn into a modern, luxury home. This brought the idea of using metal post-frame structures into the spotlight and created the demand for more of these types of homes to be built. Since then, they have been popping up all over the country and have become especially popular in the south. However, there is no limit to the types of places that barndominiums can be built and how they can benefit people who are interested in living in a unique dwelling. As time goes on, there are fewer and fewer people asking “what is a barndominium?”

Who Should Build a Barndominium?

While a barndominium could be a good option for almost anyone, there are certain people who might enjoy this type of home the most. For example, if you are interested in customizing your home to meet your exact specifications, a barndominium could be the option you are looking for. There is almost no limit to the custom things you can do with this type of home and if that is something you are interested in, a barndominium might suit you perfectly. Not to mention, a barndominium is generally less expensive due to the lower cost of labor to get it put up. This opens up all kinds of options to a custom builder when it comes to what he or she can afford with their new home. 

Speaking of price, a barndominium could also be a good option for someone who might not otherwise be able to afford the cost of building a custom home. Barndominiums are generally much cheaper to build than a traditional home, which is something we will discuss further down in this article. Because of this, people who have found themselves at a roadblock when it comes to the budget for a new home may be able to afford the lower cost of a barndominium build. This opens up the possibility of a custom home for first time home buyers and people who have not gotten past the planning stage of a custom home build. 

What is a Barndominium Built?

A barndominium is usually built using a metal post frame building kit. However, they can also be built completely from scratch if that is an undertaking you are willing to start on. Barndominiums are usually built on top of concrete slab foundations, which differ from traditional home foundations and can be a little bit easier to pour and set. The thing that really sets a barndominium away from a traditional house is the fact that there is no structural framing in the same way that a house has. This means that the metal pole structure can be built much quicker than a traditional-style house. This cuts back on costs and makes the whole process quite a bit easier for the builder and the person who is commissioning the building.

Barndominiums can also be purchased in the form of kits from different manufacturers. These kits come with everything you need to get your barndominium up off the ground and can be a great option for people who don’t want to build their home from scratch. Barndominium kits will come with detailed instructions and you will often be able to get support from the manufacturer when the time comes to actually put it together. Sometimes, the manufacturers will even provide a licensed builder to come to your build site and put the kit together. Check out these barndominium kits under 100k.

Who Builds Barndominiums?

If you are interested in building your barndominium from scratch, the good news is that you don’t necessarily have to build the entire thing on your own. While one of the downsides of a barndominium for many years was the fact that there weren’t many people who understood how to put these types of homes together, that is no longer the case. With the popularity of barndominiums booming, there are now a great deal of builders who not only know how to build them, but even specialize in them. Every day there are new builders popping up all over the country that are dedicated to the craft of building metal pole structures. You are much less likely to have a builder ask you “what is a barndominium?” now that they have become more popular.

That being said, there are a few things you should look for in a builder for your barndominium. Make sure that whoever you choose for your project actually has experience in this type of project. The construction business is incredibly varied and not every builder will know what to do when it comes to putting up a metal pole barn. You should also look for a builder that has generally good relationships with the people that they have built homes for in the past. Building a home is an incredibly personal undertaking and you want someone who will be on your side throughout the entire process. 

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Can You Get Financing for a Barndominium?

Just like with the builders, it used to be a lot harder to get a loan for a barndominium. This was usually due to the fact that banks just didn’t understand what these types of homes were and would not be as willing to give financing for something they didn’t fully get. However, that has changed over the years quite a bit. Since they are becoming more and more popular, fewer banks are asking what is a barndominium? This is especially true in states in the south where barndominiums are especially common. 

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One of the things you should look for in a bank when getting financing for a barndominium is an agricultural specialization. This is especially true if you are planning on doing any farming on your piece of property. An agricultural bank will be much more likely to give you financing if they know that the project will be part of the agricultural landscape of the community. This could be a good place to start if you are just beginning the process of building a barndominium. Together with barndominium financing, another important thing to learn more about is knowing the right coverage for your barndominium insurance.

What is a Barndominium Land Plot?

When it comes to asking what is a barndominium, one of the biggest questions is how do you find the right piece of land for it? There are all kinds of places online where you can find land for your barndominium, but the most crucial thing is to find a piece of land that is going to work for it. The piece of land you get should be rural enough so that you have space to build the home, but not so remote that you can’t get utility services there. It can be very expensive to bring utilities out to a lot and it is always best if the piece of land you buy already has access to them. 

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You should also look for a piece of land that is cleared enough for you to build on. No matter what, any piece of land that you find will need to be cleared a bit, but you should not have to do so much that you take up a large amount of your budget with clearing trees and brush. Finding a plot of land that is ready to be built on can save you a lot of time and money in the long run with your barndominium. 

What Kinds of Floor Plans Are Available for a Barndominium?

There is almost no limit to the kind of floor plan you can have for your barndominium. No matter what configuration you want, you should be able to fit it within the confines of a barndo’s concrete slab foundation. Wraparound porches, multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, and so many more exciting things can be put into a barndominium that the limit is only in your imagination. Designing your barndominium could be easier with the help of a barndominium design software.

Barndominium vs. Traditional Home

The main difference between a barndominium and a traditional home is the cost. Barndominiums are quite a bit cheaper to build than a traditional home. This is due to the fact that they are so much easier to get put up. A traditional home can take upwards of a year for the initial construction to be finished. However, a barndominium can usually be built in about 6 months if everything goes as planned. 

One of the other main differences between a barndominium and a traditional home is the amount of maintenance that is required. Traditional homes use a lot of wood in their construction. Because of this, they are susceptible to things like rot, mold, and mildew. A barndominium will not have this problem since they have a mostly metal construction and are going to be very durable against weather elements like wind, rain, and ice. 


By understanding what is a barndominium and how it differs from a traditional home, you can get yours started off on the right foot. There are so many benefits to a barndominium and very few drawbacks when it comes to the actual construction. Now that you understand what it takes to build one and what the whole process consists of, you can decide whether or not one of these beautiful, unique homes will be the right choice for you and your family.