Barndominium, Learning

What In The World Is A Barndominium?

grey barndominium with 3 car garage and wraparound porch

If you’ve been looking to buy or build a home, you’ve likely seen the words “barndominium,” “shophouse,” “barndo,”  and “shouse” floating around. You may be wondering what those are and what the differences are between those and regular homes. As the popularity has grown for these types of homes, you should consider these types of floor plans when you look into building.


white barndominium with wraparound porch and 3 car garage

What Is A Barndominium?

A barndominium is a type of house that has exterior similarities to a barn, but the interior is similar to that of traditional homes. It utilizes wide, open spaces and often goes hand-in-hand with shophouses – also known as shouses. Many people may also call barndominiums “barn houses,” though that may be a little misleading.

While barndominiums can be barns turned into living spaces, that often isn’t the case. Barndos are typically built as homes with only the exterior and frame work reflecting that of a barn. Many people appreciate the open concept floor plan barndominiums offer and find that the shape of the home is better suited to their taste.

Barndominiums can also be shophouses. They often have large garages that leave plenty of room for a shop while still maintaining the open floor plan and the style of a barndo. If you’re not familiar with shouses, they are homes that have large shops attached, usually sharing space with the garage. People use these for many different functions, such as car repair services or woodworking businesses.

Barndominium plans are typically open concept and include spacious great rooms, lofts, and wraparound porches. They can look quite similar to a modern farmhouse and many people like how they’re able to get the look of one while enjoying the plan design of the other. If you find that you would prefer having something other than open concept, modifying or doing a custom plan is an easy process to ensure you get something suited to your tate.


great room with fireplace and loft area overhead

How are barndominiums and shophouses built?

When it comes to the building process, barndominiums and shophouses can be built in different ways. They can be built as traditional stick-built homes, as pole barns, or as metal buildings. Each of these has pros and cons that you have to consider when choosing how you want to build. Whichever method you choose to use, they will achieve the same look, so it’s really based on your preference.

Stick-built homes are the most common and the easiest to find builders for. This is the traditional way of building houses and builders are very familiar with this method. Using stick framing is also the cheapest option at the moment because of the prices of steel and lumber. This will change as the market fluctuates, so keep in mind that what is cheapest now may not be the cheapest option in 6 months.

Pole barns – or post frame – are a very popular way of building barndominiums. The reason for this is because it results in a sturdier building that can be built more quickly and is known for the open spaces it creates. While most barndominium floor plans are already designed as open concept, many people still prefer this method of framing.

However, it is important to keep in mind that when purchasing material for this method of building, you’re looking at a more expensive bill due to the quality of material needed. While fewer materials are used, thicker materials need to be used to create a sturdy frame which ultimately increases the cost. You will likely save money when it comes to having the home built since it will take less time, meaning a cheaper crew cost.

barndominium being built

Metal building is becoming increasingly popular in many areas of the country. Many people feel comfortable using this method when they live in areas with high rates of natural disasters, such as Florida. The reason for this is the strength and stability steel buildings offer. Metal building homes are meant to withstand harsh weather conditions that traditional homes typically cannot.

When purchasing material for a metal home, you will find that it is the most expensive option. Due to the cost, you may want to consider whether you are willing to pay for more expensive material to get the benefits that come with steel buildings. For example, not only are they better for harsh weather but the steel used to construct the exterior is immune to termites. Metal buildings require less upkeep and maintenance over the years.

What should I expect for building a barndominium?

The actual process of building a barndo or shophouse is no different than that of a traditional home. You can often find barndominium kits that provide all the materials you will need for your barndominium house plan. Barndominium kits can include materials for exterior and interior framing, metal siding, roof, and some even include windows and exterior doors.

Not all kits are the same and may not offer all of the materials listed above, so it’s important to check with the provider. Always check beforehand on what is included so that you can be prepared for what you will need to get outside of the kit. Many people like getting a barndominium kit because it is more convenient than buying all the separate materials themselves.


Plain Black Barndo with Large Open Space

Barndominiums are a great option for those looking into building a home. The benefits they offer, such as naturally open floor plans, can not be obtained easily with traditional homes. Knowing now what a barndominium is and what building one entails, you may find that building one is the best course of action for you.