Barndominium Exteriors: Choosing the Best Materials

The barndominium trend has exploded over the past couple of years, and it is only expected to grow. This updated take on a rural, industrial structure is a unique insight into the future of the design and construction industry. Traditionally, barns have been made out of wood and steel, but what is the best way to build a modern barndominium from scratch? And what exterior siding materials are the best choice for a durable, stylish, and rustic structure?

From board and batten siding to smooth, stacked logs, barn exteriors ideas have come a long way. Exterior designs are fun to explore, however, it’s the functionality of the exterior building materials that can make the biggest difference between a practical barndominium and one that falls short of providing a safe, reliable space.

What’s a Barndominium?

If there’s one thing that’s true about humankind, it’s that we love to get creative and test new ideas. In the same way that a labradoodle is a mix between a labrador and a poodle, a barndominium is a combination of two distinct structures: a barn and a condominium.

Barns are traditionally used for all sorts of purposes, including livestock, storage for lawn equipment, boats, and other recreational vehicles, as well as providing a sheltered space for workshops and other hobby interests. They act as large, warehouse-like structures and aren’t typically designed for is to accommodate living space for people. 

Barndominiums are a new style of construction that takes the trending modern farmhouse style to the extreme. They often feature adequate storage and workspace areas, large barn-style doors, and modernized living quarters. Barndominiums can be tailored to the specific needs and interests of the homeowners, just like other types of residential properties.

Unique Structural Needs of Barndominiums

Barndominium exteriors must be built to accommodate the unique needs of a hybrid space. Traditional barns don’t usually require thorough insulation and energy efficiency, but barndominium exteriors must be built with these components in mind since people will be spending extended periods of time in the structure. 

Insulation, energy efficiency, and durability become exponentially more important whenever a permanent residence is required for a structure. Families and guests need to stay comfortable indoors without the risk of heat loss, mold growth, or structural damage to the siding that can allow critters easy indoor access.

Best Materials for Barndominium Exteriors

The materials used on a barndominium exterior can make a big impact on how comfortable the indoor space becomes. Barndominium exteriors should be durable, weather-resistant, fire-resistant, structurally sound, and aesthetically pleasing since the structure serves as both a practical shelter and a living space.


Wood is a popular choice for barndominium exteriors because it has that idyllic look of traditional barns. Wood is a traditional building material that’s relatively easy to work with, however, it does require a considerable amount of upkeep, including frequent repainting and repairing. 

Wood also has additional risks, since it’s prone to develop water damage, like rotting, warping, buckling, and mold growth, after prolonged exposure to rain and snow. Wood is also susceptible to insect damage, so it’s recommended to use cedar instead of other raw wood varieties to help keep insect damage under control. Fire is another threat to wood barndominium exteriors, so insurance and impeccable fire safety precautions are highly recommended.


Metal is another popular choice for barndominium exteriors because of its durability. In general, metal barndominium exteriors are more resistant to the fast spread of fires, which is particularly advantageous for a space with a workshop that may see a stray spark here or there. 

Steel is the preferred choice, as it’s rust-resistant and won’t be a breeding ground for mold the way that wood sometimes can be. In addition, steel holds up much stronger against insects, rodents, and severe weather, like strong winds. Homeowners who choose steel for their barndominium exterior can expect to have much less upkeep and maintenance than those who choose wood.

For those homeowners set on having the traditional barn look, there are many steel siding products, like those from TruLog, that imitate the look of real wood. In fact, wood-look steel siding is an excellent choice for barndominium exteriors because it captures the recognizable aesthetic of wood while also offering the enhanced safety and protection of steel. In many cases, wood-look steel is very difficult to distinguish from real wood, so it’s a great way to secure that extra level of durability, energy efficiency, insulation, and protection from the elements that a barndominium exterior should provide.

Popular Barndominium Colors and Styles

The good news is that getting an attractive color is fairly easy for all of these barndominium exterior materials. The exterior aesthetic is important, too, and adds to the uniqueness of having a hybrid structure.

A classic white and black color combo is a popular choice with homeowners looking for a recognizable colonial look for their barndominium exterior. Natural tones, like walnut and dark brown, are also very popular for barndominium colors.

Board and batten is a common look for these hybrid structures, but there are many other barndominium exterior ideas that are gaining popularity, too. For example, log cabin-style stacking is another great style that can be achieved with real wood or wood-look steel. In fact, steel siding products are available in a wide variety of styles, including smooth panels, rough cut wood planks, and shake.

There are many options out there for creating the barndominium of your dreams. Just remember, the barndominium exterior should be stylish and practical, as you’ll likely be spending a lot of time in the hybrid space.

Contact one of our professionals today to get the perfect barndominium look with Trulog steel siding.

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