How Much Does a Barndominium Cost to Build?

The national average barndominium cost is $265,000, though the final price is heavily influenced by size, site, and materials. Barndominium enthusiasts can expect to pay anywhere from $112,800 to $540,000 for their dream home.

By Rochel Maday | Updated Nov 29, 2023 3:21 PM

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Barndominium Cost

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Highlights

  • A barndominium typical costs between $112,800 and $540,000 to build, with homeowners across the country paying a national average cost of $265,000.
  • The main cost factors affecting a barndominium building project include the building size, construction material, site accessibility, the cost of labor and permits, and the finishing materials chosen.
  • Building a barndominium is relatively affordable compared with building a traditional home. Other benefits include durability, fast construction, better energy efficiency, low maintenance requirements, and numerous options for customization.
  • A homeowner may be able to build a barndominium themselves using a kit, but this project is a huge undertaking that is often best left to a professional contractor.

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Building a new home can be expensive, but there are several alternatives to a traditional stick-built house that tend to cost less. One such example is the barndominium—a barnlike structure designed to act as a full-time home. This type of home is popular with property owners looking for a unique and rustic living space that offers charm and comfort at an affordable price.

But just how much does it cost to build a barndominium? The cost depends on the property site, the size of the home, and the building materials used. According to HomeAdvisor and Angi, the cost to build a barndominium ranges from $112,800 to $540,000, with an average cost of $265,000.

What is a barndominium?

A barndominium is a style of home that combines traditional barn elements with modern living amenities. The barndominium style of home is becoming increasingly popular among homeowners who want large, open floor plans that create a spacious and airy living space. Barndominiums tend to feature open floor plans, high ceilings with lots of natural light, metal roofs, a workshop or garage studio, an open loft, and durable and natural building materials.

Barndominiums are often built on large rural properties and can be used as a primary residence, a vacation home, or even a rental property. When it comes to barndominium cost vs. house-building costs, barndominiums are usually much cheaper and can be customized to fit the owner’s needs.

Barndominium Cost

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Factors in Calculating Barndominium Cost

While the average cost of a barndominium is $265,000, it’s important for property owners to know that construction costs vary greatly by geographic location. The cost of building a barndominium depends on several other factors as well, including site preparation, building size, construction material, labor costs, and permits.

Building Size

The cost to build a barndominium is heavily influenced by the size of the building. Generally speaking, the larger a barndominium, the higher its construction costs will be. Additional materials, labor, and other factors like permits and inspections can all add up faster for a larger barndominium compared to a smaller model.

When homeowners are estimating the cost of a barndominium build, it helps to reference the square footage or dimensions of the home’s shell. Below is a chart featuring the most common kit sizes for barndominiums, along with their average price ranges.

DimensionsSquare FootageAverage Price Range
30 by 40 feet1,200$112,800 to $144,000
40 by 60 feet2,400$225,600 to $288,000
60 by 60 feet3,600$338,400 to $432,000
60 by 70 feet4,200$394,800 to $504,000

Construction Material

Approximately 40 percent of a barndominium’s budget will go toward construction materials. These include framing kits, siding, roofing, doors, plumbing, wiring, and drywall. Customers will want to keep in mind that the cost of construction materials does not include labor.

A barndominium kit costs between $5,000 and $350,000. With such a large price range, this is a price-influencing factor for homeowners to pay attention to. The total cost of construction materials depends on the type and quality of materials used as well as the amount of design the home requires. The good news is that materials most commonly used to construct barndominiums, like wood and steel, are more affordable than other home materials, like brick and stone.

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Accessibility

Not all barndominium property sites are easy to access. If a construction site has limited entry points or difficult terrain, or it’s surrounded by other homes or structures that make it difficult for a crew and their equipment to access the property, the price of the build may go up.

Clearing a lightly wooded lot costs between $1,500 and $3,000 per acre, while heavily wooded areas cost between $3,790 and $6,710 per acre. If an access road needs to be added so construction crews, trucks, and materials can reach the job site, property owners will need to know that the type of road they choose makes a difference. Gravel roads are the more affordable option, costing between $14 and $25 per foot, while asphalt roads cost between $70 and $170 per foot.

Labor

Labor costs make up 35 percent of a barndominium construction cost. The final labor cost depends on the size of the barndominium and the complexity of the build. It also depends on the size of the crew required to get the job done and the length of time they’re on-site. Labor prices are also heavily influenced by location and the type of professional being hired.

ProfessionalCost
Architect$130 to $250 per hour
Carpenter$13 to $39 per hour
Draftsperson$50 to $130 per hour
Electrician$50 to $100 per hour
Flooring professional$60 to $120 per hour
General contractor10 percent to 20 percent of the total barndominium cost
Interior designer$50 to $200 per hour
Landscape designer$70 to $150 per hour
Plumber$45 to $200 per hour

Permits

A building permit is a document issued by a local government agency authorizing the construction of a residential structure, like a barndominium. Not only will building a barndominium require a permit, but the project is also likely to require multiple permits to cover all the different steps in the project, from excavating to pouring a foundation to installing the electrical system.

Some areas charge a flat fee per square foot when determining permit pricing, while others have variable fees depending on the type of work being done. Generally speaking, permits for a barndominium add $1,200 to $2,000 to the budget.

Finishing Materials

Finishing materials complete the look of a barndominium. When added together, their costs make up the final 10 percent of a barndominium construction budget. Finishing materials can include bathroom fixtures, cabinetry and hardware, countertops, furniture, kitchen appliances, light fixtures, paint, shelving, trim and crown molding, and window treatments.

It’s important for customers to keep in mind that higher-quality finishing materials, such as granite countertops and custom cabinets, will be more expensive and may cause a project’s finishing materials to take up more than 10 percent of the overall budget. Homeowners will want to consider quality, style, maintenance requirements, cost, and even the eco-friendliness of a material before making a final decision.

Barndominium Cost

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Additional Costs and Considerations

When it comes to estimating a barndominium construction cost, there are several potential factors that could come into play. Homeowners will want to become familiar with the following possible factors to avoid unforeseen expenses during construction.

Floor Plans

A floor plan shows the layout, including walls, windows, doors, stairs, and other fixtures, of a space. Floor plans make it easier to visualize how a finished barndominium will look and prevent serious issues with plumbing, wiring, or other infrastructure. Unless a complete barndominium kit is being used, a floor plan is often a required additional expense for homeowners to consider.

Predesigned barndominium plans with costs between $1,500 and $2,000 feature tried and true layouts that maximize living space and can be an excellent starting point for a more custom design. Property owners can also hire an architect to design a completely custom floor plan. While this can be more expensive, a custom floor plan offers creative freedom and limitless customization. Working with an architect on a floor plan can cost up to $4,500.

Land Purchasing

The cost of land depends on a variety of factors, including its location, zoning laws, and soil quality. Purchasing land can sometimes be the most expensive step in building a barndominium, but since location is so important, it’s worth doing some research to find where to get the best plot of land at the best price. The cost of land in some states makes the idea of building a barndominium impossible, while in others it offers incredible value, as shown in the following chart.

StateAverage Cost Per Acre
Connecticut$128,824
Idaho$3,435
Iowa$6,590
Montana$2,283
New Jersey$196,410
Wyoming$1,558

Not all land plots are suitable or prepared for a barndominium. A land survey, which helps determine a plot’s suitability for building, costs between $380 and $750. Land clearing costs between $1,359 to $5,572, while leveling a property for a foundation costs between $1,000 and $3,230.

Foundation Installation

A foundation for a barndominium can be made of concrete, concrete block, or masonry. It’s designed to support the weight of the structure and keep moisture away to prevent damage. Barndominiums do require a foundation like any other type of building, even if it’s a prefabricated build.

The price of a foundation depends on its type, size, soil conditions, and the amount of excavation and materials needed. A property owner can expect to pay anywhere from $4,000 to $44,500 for a barndominium foundation, including excavation.

Extra landscaping work to prevent flooding, such as the installation of a French drain system, or the addition of a concrete foundation for a garage can increase the price of the installation.

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Septic Tank Installation

A septic tank is a water-tight chamber made of concrete, fiberglass, or plastic designed to hold sewage. The tank is typically buried underground and connected to a home’s plumbing system and is necessary if a property doesn’t have access to a public sewer system.

Many barndominium build sites are located in rural areas, increasing the chances that the property is not connected to a municipal sewer system. Opting for a septic tank is the more affordable option in most scenarios; installing a new septic tank costs between $3,280 and $10,680, depending on the size of the tank, ground conditions, and permits.

Utility Installation

Some properties do not have utilities connected to them, whether due to zoning or other regulatory issues. But often, especially with land ideal for barndominium construction, the area is remote and simply not connected to the power grid.

In some scenarios, it may not be possible to add natural gas or electricity to a property, so it’s always wise to confirm any potential restrictions or limitations before purchasing a piece of land for a barndominium. Checking how close a property is to nearby existing water lines and utility services is also recommended, as this will impact the connection cost. Property owners can expect to pay anywhere between $1,000 and $30,000 to add utility services to their lot.

Customization

Barndominiums are highly customizable, meaning that each design can be tailored to the individual needs and tastes of its owner. Customizing a floor plan includes adding or tweaking features such as flooring, cabinetry, appliances, paint colors, landscaping, outdoor elements, and designer barn doors.

Generally speaking, the more a barndominium is customized, the more it will cost. Customization takes more time and often involves using high-end materials that cost more than builder-grade options. Some customizations, like outdoor fire pits and custom tilework, can require skilled tradespeople, who generally charge more in labor.

However, customized barndominiums offer increased comfort, improved functionality, and higher resale value, so it’s an additional cost well worth considering.

Barndominium Cost

Photo: depositphotos.com

Barndominium Cost by Type of Construction

There are different approaches to barndominium construction, all with their own pros, cons, and price ranges. Homeowners can explore the different types of barndominiums below and their effect on construction costs.

Custom-Built

A custom-built barndominium offers a homeowner complete control of what their home will look like. Without the limitations of a prefabricated kit, there really is no end to the number of customizations that can go into a custom-built barndominium. However, a custom build requires more steps, all of which influence the final construction cost.

For example, a from-scratch build requires a blueprint or a detailed set of plans and diagrams that show the dimensions of the barndominium and each room, the placement and size of windows and doors, the location of utilities, and other details. A blueprint costs anywhere from $50 to $2,000.

Materials for a custom-built barndominium cost anywhere from $25,400 to $100,700, depending on the size of the home and the quality and type of materials. A custom-built design will also require a contractor to oversee the entire project, adding an additional $29,000 to $58,000 to the budget.

DIY Barndominium Kit

A DIY barndominium kit includes everything a homeowner needs to make their barndominium dreams a reality and at a more affordable price.

Barndominium kits are available for building either a metal or wood structure. A “shell kit” typically includes the exterior walls, roof trusses, trim, and metal siding and roofing. The more thorough kit is called a “dry-in” package and also includes windows and doors. Both kits are DIY friendly, though a property owner will likely still need to hire a contractor to finish the inside of the home.

A DIY barndominium kit costs between $20,000 and $90,000 and sometimes even more, depending on the size and complexity of the design. Pricing can also vary depending on the location of the job site and the delivery distance for materials.

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Barndominium Kit with Professional Installation 

The pairing of a barndominium kit with professional installation is a “Goldilocks approach” that gets the project just right. It allows property owners to save on the costs of a custom blueprint while still being able to customize their homes and get the exact look they’re after.

Furthermore, professional installation services provide the perfect solution for those without the time, tools, or experience to assemble a kit. While installation costs an additional $25,000 to $50,000 in labor, hiring a barndominium contractor is the best way to save time and stress while ensuring a barndominium is built to the highest standards.

Benefits of Building a Barndominium

Barndominiums are becoming increasingly popular among homeowners for multiple reasons. Homeowners can explore the many benefits of barndominiums below, from their fast construction and durability to their seemingly endless list of customization options.

Affordability

Generally, barndominiums cost less to build than traditional homes. Barndominiums make the most of more affordable materials, like metal siding, which is cheaper than more traditional materials like brick and stucco. They usually feature open floor plans with fewer walls, making them faster to construct and with fewer materials. Also, barndominiums are typically built on rural land, which costs much less than land in more populated areas.

Fast Construction

Traditional homes can take months or even years to build, but barndominiums can usually be completed in just a few weeks, thanks to the use of prefabricated building materials. Not only does this save on costs, but it speeds up the construction timeline. This means a property owner can see their move-in date faster with a barndominium than with a traditional home. A faster turnaround can also help save on labor costs and provide a less stressful experience for the property owner.

Durability

Barndominiums are highly durable and can last for over 100 years with proper care and maintenance. They are often made of steel, which is a very durable material. Steel is resistant to fire, rot, pests, and extreme weather, helping barndominiums stand up to whatever Mother Nature throws their way.

Durable homes, including barndominiums, are less likely to require expensive repairs and maintenance, saving homeowners time and money throughout the home’s lifespan. Durable homes can also have higher resale values, as their quality construction attracts potential homebuyers. Barndominiums built to last can also offer a living environment that feels comfortable, safe, and secure.

Energy Efficiency

Barndominiums can be energy efficient. Many modern barndominiums are built with energy-efficient features such as high-performance insulation, energy-saving windows, and energy-efficient appliances. They also have large, open floor plans that help reduce the need for artificial lighting and cooling by allowing more natural light and ventilation. Large overhangs common with barndominium styles also help to reduce the energy used for cooling.

An energy-efficient barndominium offers improved comfort and air quality. It also helps a family reduce their carbon footprint by using less energy. Additionally, an energy-efficient home can be more desirable to potential homebuyers, making a barndominium more likely to fetch a higher price when it comes time to sell.

Customization Options

One of the best benefits of a barndominium is that it can be entirely customized to meet the needs of the homeowner. Whether it’s the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, exterior design, or interior features and fixtures, nearly every inch of a barndominium can be tweaked to suit the creative and functional vision of the homeowner.

Having the ability to completely customize a barndominium, compared to relying on the typical rigid blueprints of traditional homes in cookie-cutter subdivisions, allows for improved aesthetics and comfort. Customized homes aren’t just about cosmetics, though. Some homeowners focus on customizing their homes to make them more energy efficient or self-sustainable. Finally, a customized home can increase its value if the customizations appeal to the market and help it stand out from competing properties.

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Low Maintenance

Living in a barndominium can require less maintenance than a more traditional style of home. Barndominiums are typically constructed out of metal, which is known for its durability and low maintenance. Barndominiums also typically feature an open and straightforward design, so there is less interior upkeep required.

The low maintenance of a barndominium can increase property value, but there are other benefits to enjoy if selling isn’t a short-term goal. A home that doesn’t require hours of upkeep every week offers a homeowner more time to enjoy life and reduced stress. A low-maintenance home like a barndominium may also have a longer lifespan, as it will require fewer repairs and replacements.

Building a Barndominium: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional 

Property owners looking to save on their barndominium cost might consider a DIY approach. However, there are many advantages that come with hiring a professional, including the following:

  • Expertise. Hiring a professional brings expertise and experience to the build, which are needed to ensure the project is completed correctly and efficiently.
  • Quality. Professional builders can provide quality work that stands the test of time.
  • Time. Professional builders can complete a barndominium in a fraction of the time it would take a DIYer.
  • Cost. Professional builders often have access to better materials and resources for less cost.
  • Safety. Professional builders are trained in safety protocols and can help avoid accidents or injuries.
  • Knowledge. Professional builders can provide advice and direction about the best materials and building processes for a barndominium, ensuring the property owner is satisfied with the finished product.

For the hopeful DIYer, there are still some options. A property owner can assemble pre-engineered barndominium kits on-site with the proper skills and tools. Finishing tasks can also be DIY, including laying floors, tiling, installing cabinets and countertops, painting walls, and incorporating simple built-ins. However, it’s important to keep in mind that there are some jobs that always need to be handled by a professional, including electrical, plumbing, and HVAC.

A typical barndominium cost per square foot when the work is done by a general contractor is between $150 to $190. A property owner working on their own build won’t get it done for free, and what they save in costs they may gain in stress. They’ll likely still have to pay for specialized services at a cost of $85 to $95 per square foot. So while a DIY barndominium build does offer some savings potential, it might not be worth the amount of time, energy and stress required for a homeowner to complete the project themselves.

How to Save Money on Barndominium Cost

Building a barndominium instead of a traditional home already offers property owners plenty of ways to save on construction costs, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t an opportunity to save even more. The following are some additional ways to save on a barndominium build.

  • Compare multiple quotes. Receive construction estimates from multiple contractors, comparing price and experience to find the option with the most value.
  • Shop around. Look around at various retailers for the best prices on materials.
  • Reuse and recycle. Use salvaged materials whenever possible to save money while also reducing your carbon footprint.
  • Simplify the design. Consider a design that offers multipurpose rooms to maximize space without paying for more square footage.
  • Stay basic. Choose customizations wisely, opting for those that will boost home value instead of just the construction budget.
  • Look for affordable materials. Explore different material options throughout, including affordable concrete floors.
  • Maximize the floorplan’s usable space. Invest in a designer to ensure the floorplan of the barndominium not only meets code but looks, feels, and functions as intended.
  • DIY. Consider purchasing a prefabricated kit, or complete DIY project when appropriate.
  • Maintain the home. Keep up with maintenance after construction to prevent costly repairs.
  • Look for ways to conserve energy. Consider implementing energy-saving designs and installing energy-efficient appliances to save on utility costs after moving in.

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Questions to Ask About Building a Barndominium

Asking plenty of questions before selecting a contractor for a barndominium build is important because it allows the homeowner to gain a better understanding of the contractor’s experience and skill level. By narrowing down a list of potential contractors, homeowners can also ensure that the professional they choose can complete the job efficiently and economically. The following are some questions for a homeowner to consider when choosing a contractor for a barndominium.

  • How much experience do you have building barndominiums?
  • How much does a barndominium cost if I want to build from scratch?
  • What building materials do you typically work with?
  • Do you install barndominium kits only, or can you offer custom work?
  • Do you have any predesigned barndominium floor plans with costs that fall within my budget?
  • Do you build only the frame, or do you offer additional services, such as flooring and painting?
  • How long do you anticipate the construction to take?
  • When can the project start?
  • How will the weather influence the construction timeline?
  • What is included in the pricing quote?
  • Do you offer any energy efficiency measures in your construction?
  • Do you offer any guarantees on your work or warranties on the materials?
  • How will you make sure my barndominium looks like a home and not just a workshop?
  • What does your payment schedule look like?
  • How do you handle disputes during or after the construction process?

FAQs

A barndominium can be a great way to combine the rustic charm of a barn with the convenience and comfort of a traditional home. While the cost of materials and labor can vary greatly depending on its size and features, it is possible to build a barndominium for a fraction of the cost of a traditional home. To learn more about barndominium costs, homeowners can explore the FAQ section below.

Q. Is it cheaper to build a barndominium or a house?

Building a barndominium can be a cost-effective alternative to constructing a traditional house. Generally, constructing a house can cost anywhere from $50 to $400 per square foot, while constructing a barndominium will typically cost between $100 and $150 per square foot. If the homeowner likes the look of a barndominium but doesn’t want to make it their primary residence, they might also consider a pole barn, which costs between $11 and $20 per square foot to build. The exact cost of the construction project will depend on the size of the home, local labor rates, and the quality of the materials.

Q. How long does it take to build a barndominium?

The timeline for building a barndominium will depend on the size and complexity of the project. Generally speaking, a barndominium can take anywhere from 4 to 6 months or longer to complete. This includes the time required for designing and planning, obtaining permits, waiting for materials to be delivered, and completing the construction itself. As with any construction project, delays are possible, so it’s wise to secure a flexible living arrangement while a barndominium is being completed.

Q. How long do barndominiums last?

Barndominiums are highly resilient and have a longer lifespan than traditional wood structures. Depending on a barndominium’s building materials, maintenance routine, and the environment it’s built in, the structure can last between 50 and 150 years. Proper care and maintenance are important to ensure a barndominium lasts for generations.

Q. How much does it cost to build a 40×60 barndominium?

A 40-foot by 60-foot barndominium offers 2,400 square feet of living space full of opportunities for customization, making it an ideal residential size. When constructing a barndominium of this size, property owners will need to budget between $225,600 and $288,000. The final price will depend on local labor costs and the materials chosen for construction as well as any customizations.

Q. Does where you live impact the cost of building a barndominium?

When considering the cost of constructing a barndominium, homeowners are advised to consider the location. More rural areas tend to have a lower cost of living and, as a result, lower labor costs. At the same time, a homeowner may have to pay more for material deliveries if their property is located in a rural area. However, the same principles apply to traditional home construction as well, and since barndominiums typically cost less per square foot to construct, there are still savings to be had.

Q. What is the average size of a barndominium?

The average size of a barndominium helps to determine its best usage. For example, a 30-foot by 40-foot barndominium is comparable to a two- or three-bedroom ranch-style home. A 40-foot by 75-foot barndominium will typically have plenty of room for a workspace plus two or three bedrooms, at least two bathrooms, and areas for living. A 60-foot by 70-foot barndominium will provide enough space for a main living area for a family, as well as a separate apartment for guests.

Sources: Angi, HomeAdvisor, HomeGuide, Zippia, Carport Central

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