Barndominiums have become popular in home and building construction due to their versatility in customized options, durability, and attractive appeal. They are “barn-style” structures made of wood, steel, and metal components, typically with spacious open floor plans that are customizable. Most of the time, you can build these structures much faster than a conventional home or building.
It can take up to a couple of weeks to erect a barndo shell kit and 3 to 6 months to build a customized barndominium without any delays. Conditions that can delay construction include weather, size, and builder delays. Builder delays can consist of materials, workers, and current booked projects.
Customizable barndominiums kits are an appealing option for your next home or building project. This article will explore barndominiums, how long they take to construct, and if they’re worth it.
How Long It Takes To Construct a Barndo
Typically, you can construct a barndominium within a reasonable time frame of three to six months. The exterior is erected within days or weeks, depending on the desired size and design.
Constructing a barndominium consists of the following stages:
- Concrete foundation slab
- The barndo exterior (includes doors and windows)
- Interior build
If you’re ordering a barndominium kit, many parts are built offsite and delivered for quicker assembly by you or your builder. Prefabricated barndo builds can create less effort for the onsite construction and a faster completion time overall.
Contractor companies specializing in post and beam structures can make the process smoother by working closely with you during the blueprint planning, finishing options, and construction updates.
You will need to pour the concrete foundation during the first week of construction. It takes approximately seven to nine days for the concrete to reach a cured strength of 70% needed to support framing. However, poured concrete can take almost a month before curing completely, but your building professional knows how long to wait before constructing the exterior.
The weather during the concrete pouring can also significantly affect the curing process and time.
Once the concrete foundation is ready for the structure build, it typically takes a specialized contractor one to two weeks to erect it because you need fewer materials when using steel poles and beams for support. And some of the materials can come already pre-assembled.
With the exterior erected, framing the layout of the interior can take another few weeks to complete, depending on the complexity of your design. From there, your contractor will add all the details and finishing touches you’ve requested.
The construction time from delivery to completion will vary depending on if you’ve purchased just a barndominium “shell” kit or a fully customized barndominium from a specialized builder.
I also recommend reading my guide on sheathing the interior of a barndo. You’ll learn when sheathing is necessary and whether you can live in a barndo that doesn’t have sheathing.
Barndo Building Duration: Barndo Shell Kit vs. Full Barndo
Barndos are typically quick to build, factoring in the size, complexity, and finishing details of your proposed build. You can go the DIY route and purchase a kit—or opt to have your dream barndo built from scratch by professional builders. Let’s look at these two options more closely.
Barndominium Shells Construction Time
Barndominium shell kits only include the materials for the outside structure of the building. Meaning once constructed, it’s essentially just a building “shell” with only the exterior erected on a concrete slab and an empty interior without a floor plan. Barndo shell kits are standard for shops, garages, or storage.
Shell kits are generally quicker to assemble because you’re only erecting the exterior of the building. You may often build a shell kit within a few days or up to a couple of weeks. The larger the building, the more time it will take to complete.
Shell kits are also a great option if you have the skills to build it yourself and then have your preferred local contractor finish the interior design you’ve customized.
Many barndominium companies offer their expertise and guidance if you do the construction yourself. It’s good to know you aren’t alone and guessing because that’s never a good thing when constructing a structure that needs to be stable.
Full Barndominium Building Time
Each specialized barndo builder differs in what they offer for custom options and the build. So, ensure you know what to expect for each step—planning, building, and timeframe. Confusion can ultimately cause delays in the completion of your barndominium.
Fully customized barndominiums typically take longer for the construction to complete due to the size and details of your build. The exterior structure can be assembled within a couple of weeks, while the details of the interior can cause the total build time to be between three to six months. The build’s size, complexity, and delays will factor into the completion time.
Factors That Influence Barndominium Building Timeline
Of course, there are always possibilities of delay in any construction. The following are possible delays to consider when building a barndominium:
- Weather: Typically the main culprit in causing delays for many construction projects.
- Finances: Unless you have the cash to pay for your barndo build, ensure you can finance the purchase. Have the necessary paperwork ready for your lender as they need it so that the lending process can go smoothly without delays. Lenders usually give you a list of what’s required to obtain the loan.
- Building size and complexity: Smaller buildings will take less time to build than larger ones. So, the larger your construction project, the more time you should expect it will take to complete. Also, custom builds generally take longer because of special orders and design specifications.
- Material availability: Many building materials have become challenging to obtain since the pandemic stopped many companies in their production tracks, causing production to fall behind. Ask your builder if there will be delays in obtaining the materials needed for your construction. They may be able to offer other options if the unavailable materials are part of your custom plans.
- Builder delays: Many companies are still suffering from a shortage of workers. Ask your builder if they are behind on scheduled projects which can cause a delay for the beginning of yours. If your specialized builder comes highly recommended in your area, be prepared to wait a bit longer because builders that provide excellent service and quality work tend to be booked out for weeks to months with projects.
You can usually complete a barndos in half the time of conventional construction, which can take seven months to over a year to complete, depending on the extent of the project and delays.
Barndos Start to Finish: What To Expect
While you may be excited to find out that building a barndominium typically takes half of the time of typical conventional construction, don’t jump in just yet. Searching for the right company to head your project or creating your barndo DIY kit would be best.
The following are steps you should take when pursuing a barndominium:
- Acquire land to construct your barndominium, or purchase a barndo and land package if available in your desired area. Ensure that your location suits your intended build and offers sufficient space.
- Do your research for professional barn builders in your area. Researching will help you weigh your options when choosing a professional barn builder best suited for you and your project. Selecting a professional barndo builder is recommended over a general contractor with experience only in traditional construction because expertise is needed when building metal pole structures.
- Discuss your build and custom options with the barndominium expert to lay out a detailed plan with an estimated build time upon payment. Specialized barndo builders will head the project and hire the subcontractors, if needed, for other details.
- Ensure you have your financial ducks in a row to prevent delays in funding. Many lenders require up to 20% down, but depending on your credit score and payment history, you may be able to negotiate a lower percentage down. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers a USDA construction-to-permanent loan that may be an option for some borrowers.
- Once you’ve created a sound plan and secured the financing, it’s time to move forward with delivering your materials, pouring a concrete slab, and the building process. Kits come with detailed instructions and blueprints if you prefer to take on the build yourself (not recommended by specialized builders for large projects). Or, your barndominium builder can handle everything for you once your materials arrive.
- The exterior will be erected within a couple of weeks, depending on the size and design of the project. The larger the scale and more complex the structure—the longer you should expect for completion.
- You will then construct your custom interior once the exterior is complete. Due to the details and layout, this process can take longer than the time allotted for the exterior build. This process will also include electrical, plumbing, and air installation.
- Typically within six months or sooner, not including delays, you can have your barndominium construction completed. This short construction wait makes barndos an ideal choice for those who don’t want the long wait of traditional construction.
Factors To Consider When Discussing Your Barndo Build
While shopping for your desired barndo style, companies that sell the kits and professional pole and beam contractors generally offer an itemized list of what they include in the total price.
You should know if you’re purchasing a barndominium shell kit or complete build with the interior fully finished for a turnkey experience. If you choose a custom build, you’ll need to clarify with the builder the details of what they will include in the price—and if they account for unforeseen costs while building.
The following are some of the essential factors to ask when discussing the barndo construction with your builder or kit company:
- Engineered foundation
- Energy-efficient windows and doors
- Energy options
- Insulation type
- Custom options list
- Electrical and plumbing
- Delivery and build schedule
- Possible delays
However, the majority of the companies in the barndo industry typically offer the following materials as standard with the delivery of your barndominium kit:
- Concrete foundation
- Exterior doors
- Energy-efficient windows
- Exterior walls
- Spray foam insulation
If you’re working with a contractor company specializing in barndominiums, they can cover the planning details with you and take care of the materials and the build process.
Is a Barndominium Worth It?
If you’re still intrigued with the possibility of owning a barndo after finding out how quickly you can construct a barndo—let’s go through the pros and cons to ensure you are well-informed.
The Pros of Barndominiums
In many ways, barndos can leave the thought of a conventionally built home in the dust. These are the following pros of choosing a barndominium for your next home or building:
- More energy-efficient than traditional building construction.
- Less maintenance and upkeep are involved.
- Repairs are more straightforward than a conventional building.
- Highly durable due to the steel materials used, which can last for hundreds of years when constructed and maintained correctly.
- More contractors are becoming knowledgeable in building barndominiums due to their popularity.
- Barndos offer flexible and custom floor plan designs.
- Spacious interior without load-bearing walls.
- There’s typically a structural warranty included.
- The exterior structure can be framed and finished within a couple of weeks.
- They’re becoming more popular for residential homes, with more market value comparisons available.
- Support and guidance from the company when purchasing a kit to do it yourself.
The Cons of Barndominiums
The following are the few cons to having a barndo constructed:
- For residential, having a metal structure as a home may not appeal to everyone.
- Financing can be challenging, as many banks claim there are not enough barndominiums on the market to compare financing options.
- If not correctly cared for in tropical areas, the steel material can suffer damage from storms, just as with a traditional build.
- Financing may not be available for those choosing a kit to construct themselves.
Barndominiums can be purchased as “shells” or fully customized to your preference. Barndo shell kits can take a few days to a couple of weeks to construct with a builder. While a custom build can take three to six months, it’s still nearly half the time of a conventional building.
Barndominiums are more energy efficient, more durable, and less maintenance than a traditional building or home. Ensure you know what to expect for the delivery and construction. While they may not appeal to everyone, the spacious interior can be more impressive than many traditional home interiors.