The Cost of a Barndominium vs. a Traditional House

Cost cutting strategies are essential in today’s homebuilding market. With a growing interest in the barndominium style, many people are asking the questions: Are barndominiums cheaper to build than a new home? Though the answer is anything but simple, there are some significant financial advantages to building a barndominium over a new home.

A lot depends on the circumstances surrounding the barndominium project. Even though pinning down a clear-cut answer can be complicated, there are some easy ways to break down the finances and determine if your barndominium project is cost-effective.

Barndominium or Traditional House – What’s the Difference?

First things first – what’s the difference between a barndominium and a house? Modern barndominiums feature many of the same amenities as new homes, including stylish living spaces, bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, and fireplaces. The difference really comes down to the aesthetic properties of the structure.

Though existing barn structures can be transformed into luxurious barndominiums, many people are choosing to build new barndominiums from the ground up as well. A pitched roof, farmhouse aesthetic, and rustic charm are common qualities of barndominiums. These structures tend to have wood-style siding – either vertical board and batten or rounded log and lap – with farmhouse white, red, brown, and gray as popular color choices.

Is a Barndominium Cheaper Than a House?

Short answer – not necessarily. Think about the level of luxury surrounding the barndominium project. If you’re planning granite countertops, sliding glass doors, fireplaces, and elaborate bathroom layouts on the inside, then the barndominium cost can shoot up to $120 per square foot – quickly surpassing that of a basic 2-bed, 1-bath house.

The same goes for the exterior. If you plan on purchasing expensive materials that require specialized labor, or materials that require frequent repair and maintenance, like cedar and natural wood siding, then the barndominium project isn’t likely to save much money.

However, there are definitely a lot of opportunities to save money by building a barndominium in place of a new house. It is important to identify those key aspects when completing your cost calculation.

How to Determine Barndominium Cost Savings

Most estimates suggest that the average barndominium will cost $30 to $40 per square foot to build. Compare that with the cost of building a traditional home, which is around $100 to $200 per square foot. Multiplied by square foot, this can be a significant difference in cost!

The savings don’t happen automatically, however, and the right building conditions and material choices can make a big difference. Use the questions below to help assess the barndominium cost savings potential of your specific project.

Are you using an existing structure?

Existing pole barns, storage sheds, and traditional barns can be reconverted into barndominiums so long as they are structurally sound and compliant with zoning regulations. Converting a good quality structure is one of the best ways to make your barndominium cost cheaper than a house.

How many utility upgrades will the structure need?

If the existing structure already has electricity or plumbing, even better! Utility hookup is often an expensive part of the construction process, but many existing barn structures may already have these necessities in place.

Are you building with modern materials?

Don’t make the mistake of using vulnerable wood in place of more durable, modern building materials. With detailed designs that imitate natural wood grain patterns, steel alternatives are the way to go. Wood-look steel siding is maintenance-free and built to last so much longer than natural wood, to save you hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars in repair costs down the line. Plus, it delivers the authentic barndominium look!

Are you using a ready-made barndominium kit?

Not only are kits super practical by having the designs and materials already sorted out, they are also cost effective. You can chisel down your barndominium cost to as low as $20 per square foot when using a ready-made kit.

Are you creating multi-purpose living spaces?

The smaller the square footage, the less your structure will cost. The good news is that multi-purpose spaces are a charming quality of barndominiums, which often feature lofted bedrooms and convertible rooms. Multi-purpose living spaces are an essential part of the barndominium style, and they also help with cost savings!

How much hired labor is needed?

If you’re building the structure on your own – whether it’s a barndominium or house – opting for modern materials is a smart idea. For the exterior, always get siding with an intuitive design that’s easy to install, as that can save time and money that would otherwise go to contractors.

Overview: Barndominium Cost vs. House Cost

Though there are many factors that can influence the barndominium cost vs. house cost calculation, it’s safe to say that if you use an existing structure, include space-saving designs, and rely on modern materials, you’re on the right track.

Contact TruLog today to explore modern siding that can provide better durability and long-lasting beauty for your barndominium.

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