Do Barndominiums Need To Have Sheathing?

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With sustainability, evolving home trends, and a shift from urban to rural spaces for many people to live and work, barndominiums have become a popular housing option for people in recent years. But because many barndominiums are taking existing structures and converting them into living spaces, there are some critical factors to consider when living in them. One such factor is sheathing, but do barndominiums need to have sheathing?

Barndominiums do not need sheathing if you don’t intend to live in them. However, they do need some protective layer inside and outside to make them liveable. Although not the only option, sheathing is still the best choice for barndominiums intended as a living or working space.

This article will look at if barndominiums need to have sheathing or another protective layer, why sheathing is the best choice, and what the alternatives are.

Can You Live in a Barndominium Without Sheathing?

The main reason that you need sheathing in a barndominium is to make it liveable. While it is potentially possible to live in an unsheathed dwelling, especially with the emergence of alternative materials that use alternatives to provide some of the same benefits of sheathing at a lower cost, sheathing is the best choice.

Saving money isn’t always ideal when trying to make a structure into somewhere you want to live or work. While it is technically possible to live in a barndominium without sheathing, it is not recommended by any stretch. Sheathing provides some very important benefits to a structure like a barndominium.

Why Should I Have Sheathing in My Barndominium?

There are numerous reasons why sheathing should be in your barndominium. Ask about any architect or home builder, and they will raise their eyebrows if you tell them you want to live in a structure that doesn’t have sheathing.

This is because it is one of the essential elements of building a home and provides the support you need to make a building like a barndominium liveable. Most barns were not created with the idea that people would stay in them, but the recent trend of barndominiums has changed this. So now you need to prep your barndominium to be liveable!

Watch this helpful video from The Kelley’s Country Life showing how they added sheathing to a pole barn:

Let’s look at many of the reasons why barndominiums should have sheathing!

Interior Sheathing for Your Barndominium

One of the most common types of sheathing you’ll want to install in your barndominium is for your interior walls. There are numerous reasons why you’ll want to add interior sheathing for your barndominium now that people are living here rather than animals!

These include:

  • You’ll want interior sheathing on your walls for hanging items up. If you plan to hang things around the barndominium, it is crucial to have wall sheathing so you can put pictures and other items between studs and still have some support.
  • Interior sheathing provides insulation for your barndominium. If you dwell in an extreme climate, you know how important insulation is. Adding wall sheathing is one of the best ways to start setting up insulation for your barndominium. You can then choose to add extra insulation between your walls.
  • Sheathing provides another layer from the outdoor elements. Adding interior sheathing to your barndominium is also a great way to add another wall between you and outside. This has numerous benefits, including blocking air and bugs from entering your new home.
  • It can help keep your home quieter. Barns aren’t built with acoustics in mind. So, when you want to convert your barn to a barndominium, you may think about noise. Adding interior sheathing is a significant step towards soundproofing your home as it gives you a thin layer that, by itself or in combination with soundproofing materials, can help keep your barndominium quieter.

I also recommend reading my article on sealing barndominiums. You’ll learn which mistakes to avoid.

Exterior Sheathing for Your Barndominium

Just like you’ll want to refurbish the inside of your barn when converting to a barndominium, you will also want to add exterior sheathing. This is because you want to improve the structure to be inhabited by humans.

Let’s look at some reasons why you want to add exterior sheathing to your barndominium:

  • Exterior sheathing provides more support to the foundation of your barndominium. People often built barns to only house animals or machinery and not humans. So when you convert your barn to a barndominium, you’ll want to improve the durability of the building. An excellent way to do this is by adding exterior sheathing.
  • Keep animals and insects out of your home. Another reason you’ll want to add exterior sheathing to your barndominium is to prevent rodents and other small wildlife from finding their way into your home. Adding exterior sheathing provides a solid barrier that makes it more difficult for outside pests to enter your barndominium.
  • Adding exterior sheathing can help waterproof your barndominium. By adding sheathing to the outside of your barndominium, you have a water-resistant material that you can also add more waterproofing technology. This is essential if you plan to live in your barndominium, especially in certain climates.

Sheathing the Roof of Your Barndominium

One more area of your barndominium that you’ll want to address is your roof. If you plan to live in your barndominium, you will undoubtedly want to add sheathing to the ceiling.

Let’s examine why you’ll want to do this:

  • Roof sheathing will help regulate the temperature in your home. Adding sheathing to your roof can ensure your home doesn’t get too hot or too cold. This is imperative if you live in a state with intimate weather.
  • It can help make your barndominium more fire-resistant. Using sheathing between your roof and the ceiling support beams can help reduce the risk of fire in your barndominium. Make sure you pick suitable materials, and you’ll have less chance of a fire in your new home.
  • It helps prevent leaks. When you install sheathing on the roof of your barndominium, it acts as a barrier that can prevent leaks. This is essential if you plan to live or work in the structure.

Now, we discussed the interior, exterior, and roof of your barndominium. But how about the floor? Many people enjoy wood floors for their durability and appearance. Are wood floors a good choice for barndominiums? Find out the answer in my comprehensive guide.

Final Thoughts

While you don’t need sheathing in a barndominium in rare locations that don’t have inclement weather or bugs, in most cases, you will want to add sheathing to make the structure liveable. You’ll want to add sheathing for the following reasons:

  • It provides safety and stability to your barndominium.
  • You’ll have a quieter home.
  • Sheathing your barndominium will control the temperature and moisture.

If you’re converting your barn to a barndominium, you will want to consider adding sheathing if at all possible.