How Tall Should Your Barndominium Be? Here are 3 Options

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Barndominiums are a great way to have both a home and storage space on your property. You can use the bottom floor for parking or a workshop or rent it out as storage space for a small business. But how tall should your barndominium be?

A two-story barndominium should be 21’ tall. Barndominiums can be up to three stories or 40’ tall. A single-story barndominium might be enough if you only want storage space. For ample living space, a two-story barndominium will work better.

The height of your barndominium will also affect the cost. This comprehensive guide will review the options for how tall your barndominium can be. I will also touch on the factors that will affect the height of your barndominium.

How Tall Are Barndominiums?

Barndominiums can be built as tall or short as you need them to be—with certain restrictions. What matters most is the function of the building and how much space you need. For example, if you want to build a barndominium that will be used as a garage, you won’t need it to be very tall.

However, if you want to build a barndominium that will be used as a living space, you’ll want it to be tall enough to have comfortable ceilings. Here are a few different options for how tall your barndominium can be, based on its function:

Single Story Barndominiums

A single story has the advantage of being more economical to build. It is also the easiest to heat and cool, as all the living space is on one level. A single story is probably all you need if you plan to use your barndominium as a garage, workshop, or storage space.

However, if you’re planning to use your barndominium as a living space, you might want to consider a taller option. Single-story barndominiums can feel cramped, depending on how many people are living in them.

If you choose a single-story barndominium, ensure the ceilings are high enough. Most barndominiums have at least 10 feet (3m) tall ceilings, but some are as tall as 14 feet (4.3 m).

If your barndominium will be a garage or a workshop, the ceiling can be lower than that.

Two Story Barndominiums

If you want plenty of living space y but don’t necessarily need that much space, a two-story barndominium might be the perfect solution. These homes often have bedrooms and bathrooms on the second floor, with the living room and kitchen on the first floor.

This can leave part of the second floor open for expansion later on if you should need it. Plus, two-story barndominiums just look really cool. They have an elevated, stately appearance that makes them stand out.

The average height of a two-story barndominium is 21 feet (6m) tall. However, keep in mind that the second story will add to the overall building cost. You’re essentially building two homes in one, and the foundation and framing will be more complex.

Two-story barndominiums can be more difficult to heat and cool. The living area is on two levels, so you’ll need to account for that when sizing your HVAC system. But if you’re up for the challenge, a two-story barndominium can make a beautiful home.

Three Story Barndominiums

Three-story barndominiums are becoming increasingly popular. Not only do they provide more space, but they offer the opportunity to have a second living area or even a rental unit. You could also add a loft that can be used as an extra bedroom, office, or playroom.

The average height of a three-story barndominium is 40 feet (12 m). 40 feet might also be the height limit for barndominiums in your area. Some barndominiums reach 44’ feet (13.4 m), but you’ll rarely find anything taller than that.

The exact height will depend on the design of the building and the specific needs of the owner. The good thing about barndominiums is that they can be catered to your vision, and you don’t need a huge estate to have a three-story barndo.

A three-story barndominium can also be designed to be energy efficient. You can save money on your heating and cooling bills by using high-quality insulation and energy-efficient windows.

When building a three-story barndominium, you should keep a few things in mind:

  • Make sure that the foundation is strong enough to support the structure’s weight.
  • The building should be properly ventilated.
  • Ensure that the building meets all of the local building codes—especially the height limit.

How to Choose a Height for Your Barndominium

The height of your barndominium will be affected by several factors:

Purpose of the Barndominium

A barndominium can be used for storage, living, workshops, studios, and anything you can imagine. The height of the barndominium should take that into account.

For example, if you use it as living quarters, the ceiling will need to be high enough for you to move around comfortably. After all, having high ceilings is one of the main selling points of barndominiums. Consider the height of your furniture, appliances, and other items.

Two stories is enough for most families, but if you want your barndo to be able to host a large number of people you might need a third story.

If you use the barndominium for storage or garage, you won’t need as much height.


The climate in your area will also play a role in how tall your barndominium should be. If you live in an area with a lot of snow, you will need a taller roof so the snow can slide off easily. A taller roof will also give you more headroom.

Rough weather conditions usually call for a tall barndominium. If you live in a hot and humid climate, a short barndominium will trap more heat inside. This can make it uncomfortable to spend time indoors. If you live in an area with severe weather like hurricanes or tornadoes, you will need a taller barndominium to withstand the high winds.

Did you know that the weather can also affect how long it takes to build a barndominium? I recommend reading my article on the timeline of building a barndo and the factors that affect it to learn more.

Your Budget

Most people don’t have an unlimited budget when building their dream homes. You need to be realistic about what you can afford. The height of your barndominium is a big factor in the overall cost—the taller your building, the more expensive it will be.

Single-story barndominiums are usually 10-14 feet tall (3-4.3 m). You’ll need to add another 10 feet if you want a second story. That’s a lot of height to add on, and it will increase the cost of materials and labor.

If you’re working with a limited budget, you might want to consider a shorter barndominium. A ground floor with a 16 feet (4.9 m) tall ceiling can give your home a spacious feel and allow you to have an enormous Christmas tree, but it will quickly burn through your funds. Unless money isn’t a problem, stay with 10 feet (3 m) floors.

Final Thoughts

The height of your barndominium is an important decision. You need to consider your budget, your design preferences, and the purpose of the barndominium. Usually, garages and workshops don’t need as much height as living spaces.

10 feet per floor is enough for most people, but your ground floor can be taller than that.