Are Barndominiums Cheaper Than Stick Built?

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Barndominiums have become a household name over recent years. But, if you plan to live in a barndominium, you might wonder if it’s cheaper than a traditional home. So, are barndominiums cheaper than stick-built houses?

Barndominiums are cheaper than stick-built homes in most cases. Because barns are often pole-built structures, and barndominiums are made by converting a barn into a home, it can save you a lot of money to make your home from a barndominium instead of a stick-built structure.

This article will examine whether barndominiums are cheaper than stick-built structures, why this is the case, and ways you can save money on barndominiums compared to stick-built construction. Read along and learn when barndominiums can be cheaper than stick-built homes!

Average Cost of a Barndominium vs. Stick-Built House

Barndominiums are often cheaper than stick-built homes. While some factors can influence just how much money you save, it’s usually an economical choice to build a barndominium instead of a stick-built structure.

In 2021, the average cost of a barndominium was between $30-40/sq. ft. This is far cheaper than the average cost of a stick-built house, which tends to be well over $100/sq. ft.

Depending on the size and style of the home you want, you can save a lot of money when you build a barndominium rather than a stick-built home. In Minnesota, for example, experts estimate that you can save as much as $40,000 by creating a “post frame” structure like a barndominium.

One of the reasons that barndominiums have become so popular is it’s a great way to save money, especially if you want a larger home. Other benefits have made them one of the hottest trends in home building, including the fact that they are eco-friendly because they reduce waste by repurposing existing barns rather than demolishing and throwing them in the trash.

What Makes Barndominiums Cheaper Than Stick-Built Homes?

Most barndominiums are cheaper both as a renovation project and as a new build. The frame is often in place if you do a repurposing project, and even when you have to build the barndominium from the ground up, it is usually constructed from a pole barn set, which saves a lot of work.

Pole barns are cheaper than stick-built barns because:

  • Stick-built barns require cutting the wooden support beams on site.
  • More overall labor is required for the project.
  • It takes longer to make a stick-built barn.

But many other factors can decide how much barndominiums are cheaper than stick-built homes. Let’s look at some significant indicators that will determine how much money you will save on a barndominium compared to a stick-built home. These include:

  • Whether you are building a barndominium from scratch or using an existing structure. If you are using a standing barn, the costs will be much cheaper than if you are building a barndominium from the ground up. Most people who invest in barndominiums use previously-built barns, so this is generally a way to save a lot of money with a barndominium.
  • Barndominiums are typically cheaper when they’re in the countryside. Because most barns are in rural or less populated suburban areas, the cost of the real estate is significantly lower. Because there’s more free space in rural settings, investing is usually cheaper.
  • Barndominiums often include a garage and other amenities. Barndominiums are typically enormous structures. The extra space can save you some building, as you often already have the room for a garage or one in place already. Also, ample storage space could cut costs for shipping and storing extra belongings.
  • The number of people living in your home. Another significant factor affecting how much you’ll save when choosing a barndominium over a stick-built home is how many people you will have living there and how large of a house you need. Barndominiums can save considerable money when you need a larger home to accommodate more people since the square footage savings can be significant.

I’ve also written a guide to breaking down the costs of building a 40×60 barndo as an example. Reading it will give you a better idea of how much you’ll need to spend on building a barndominium.

Ways Brandominiums Can Be Cheaper To Maintain than Stick-Built Houses

You may save money on maintenance costs when living in a barndominium instead of a stick-built home. Depending on your lifestyle and needs, some standard maintenance considerations can save you money over time compared to living in a stick-built home.

You can reduce maintenance costs by living in a barndominium rather than a stick-built home in a few ways. Knowing these factors can help you understand another way you can save money by living in a barndominium over time.

Renovations Are Easier To Do and Can Save You Money

Because there is often an open floor plan and a lot of space, renovations can be much easier in a barndominium than in a stick-built home. There is less of a chance you’ll have to knock down any walls for renovations you want to make, and this can save you a lot of time and money when you want to do particular renovations.

Some ideas you may have that could be cheaper to add on to your barndominium include:

  • Having an open kitchen. One trend that has become more popular lately is open kitchens. This can be much cheaper to design and add to a barndominium than a traditional stick-built home because there’s a good chance you already have the open space. You can save the rather expensive estimated cost of removing load-bearing walls when doing this type of project.
  • Adding or expanding an attached garage. Another remodeling project that may be cheaper in a barndominium than a stick-built home is adding an attached garage or making it larger. Because they are big structures, you will likely already have the space needed for the project, which can cut down the cost of building a garage or adding to it.
  • They require less labor for many projects. Again, because of the open floor plan, you can save time and money on work with a barndominium. The open space makes it easier for you or anyone you hire to move around and perform their tasks. This extra space can shave off time during routine repairs and put a little money back in your pocket.

Barndominiums Often Require Much Fewer Repairs Than Stick-Built Homes

Another way you can save a lot of money over time with a barndominium is with maintenance. There just isn’t much you’ll have to repair when you have a barndominium. Fewer repairs are required because most barndominiums are made from steel or another metal, which is far more durable over time than wood structures.

Some of the headaches that you save on by having a barndominium, especially if you construct from metal, include:

  • You won’t need to worry about the frame rotting. If your barndominium is made from metal, you don’t have to fret over the outside rotting from moisture. Metal is more resistant to water than wood, especially steel, so you won’t need to worry if you live in a place with a lot of rain.
  • Termites won’t be an issue. Another advantage of having a barndominium built from steel and other common materials is not having to worry about termites. In some areas, termites can be a problem affecting a huge percentage of homes. You’ll sleep easy knowing your barndominium won’t face the same termite worries if it’s built with steel and other metals.

When Are Barndominiums More Expensive Than Stick Built?

The materials you use to build your barn matter. If you are using steel or metal studs inside to support the barndominium, it will cost more. Using wood for your studs will save you money when reinforcing your barndominium.

Watch this video from Texas Best Construction that explains how to save money on your barndominium while reinforcing the interior of the building:

Because barndominiums are made from preexisting barn structures, there are some cases when they may be more expensive than stick-built homes to maintain. Part of this is because they are much larger than stick-built homes, so you must consider some crucial factors.

Barndominiums Can Be More Expensive To Maintain Than Stick Built

Because you are dealing with much larger square footage, you need to consider some factors when considering whether barndominiums are cheaper than stick built. They are almost always cheaper to turn into a home than constructing a stick-built structure from scratch. However, there are some ways barndominiums may cost you more in the long run.

Ways That Barndominiums Can Be Much More Expensive

While they are typically cheaper to build and maintain, there are times when barndominiums can cost you more than stick-built homes. It’s important to understand why this is, and some examples of when you can spend much more on barndominiums than a stick-built home.

Some Places Require You To Have a Permit for Barndominiums

You can’t decide to build any structure you want anywhere. Many cities have zoning codes and don’t allow certain types of buildings. One of these may be steel structures, which many barndominiums are.

If you live in an area that doesn’t allow specific structures to be used as homes or built at all, you may need a permit to build it or tear it down entirely if you find out later that it’s not allowed. Building in areas with strict rules can cost you a lot of money if you get into legal battles or start to build one in a place they’re not allowed and be forced to take it down.

One example, in the city of Arnold, Missouri, was where the city voted to block the building of barndominiums, at least temporarily. Because they are a relatively new dwelling style and some cities and states aren’t comfortable with them, you could face some unexpected opposition.

Before you build a barndominium from scratch or replace an existing one, you’ll want to ensure it’s allowed where you live. Having to pay hefty fines, tear down the structure, or stay in a hotel while you’re waiting for permits could cost you a lot of unexpected money that you may not run into building a more traditional stick-built home.

Repairs May Set You Back With Barndominiums

Because you are working with a structure that has already been built and has often been standing for an extended period, you may need to spend money on repairs. The repairs could set you back if major issues that you weren’t expecting need to be addressed.

Some repairs that you may not have expected to make that could end up costing you a fair amount of money include:

  • Adding electricity to the barndominium. Just like you need to add electricity when building a stick-built home, you must do the same if you plan to live in a barndominium. The catch is that some barndominiums are made of metal and have other structural issues that can make this more challenging. You need to consult an expert and may spend more money on electricity in your barndominium.
  • Plumbing in the barndominium. When you think about plumbing, you must remember that you are adding it to a structure that most likely didn’t require it before. Adding plumbing to a barndo could potentially lead to unexpected costs depending on the design of your barndominium, what kind of showers, bathtubs, or toilets you plan to install, and in which area of the barndominium you need them.
  • You may face issues with drainage. Because they aren’t intended to be homes, many preexisting barndominiums could have you facing problems you didn’t expect. Flooding can be an issue if the area you choose for the barndominium doesn’t have a proper drainage system.
  • Insulating a metal barndominium is more expensive. Metal is not an ideal insulation material. So, if the exterior of your home is made from metal, you will need extra insulation. The labor and materials could cost a lot more than you think when attempting to add it to your barndominium if the walls are made from metal, especially if you live in an area with cold winters.

Final Thoughts

There’s no surprise why barndominiums are such a popular method of building. They often take existing structures or ready-made pole barn kits and turn them into a large living space. Barndominiums can also save you a lot of money, especially over time.

More and more people may move towards this exciting style of homebuilding because of all the costs you can cut. If you want a large home while saving money, barndominiums may be an excellent choice.