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America's Best House Plans

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Barn House Plans, Barndominiums, & Barndos

Barn house plans have been a standard in the American landscape for centuries. Seen as a stable structure for the storage of livestock, crops, and now, most recently, human occupation, the architecture of this barn house style conveys a rustic charm that captivates the American imagination and continues to gain in popularity as a new and exciting type of home style.

As a place to celebrate American tradition, there is something so comforting about a barn home plan because they speak to a simpler time in our country’s history when families labored to provide shelter, food, and care for family members and neighbors. Barn home living with today’s modern features and construction materials provides an opportunity to live comfortably in a home with high ceilings, open living spaces, and luxurious aesthetics.

Key characteristics of barn house plans:

  • Gables
  • Gambrel roofs
  • Wraparound and/or extended porches
  • Wood beams and exterior wall framing
  • Stonework
  • Barn-style windows and doors
  • Lofts
  • Exposed support beams
  • Open floor plans
  • Voluminous ceiling heights

What is a house in a barn called?

Barn house plans, also called barndominiums or barndos, are instantly recognizable due to their iconic shape and the specialized design materials used in constructing these homes. Their facades often feature design elements such as gables, wraparound porches, the use of warm woods, post and beam construction or timber frames, stonework, and exciting options for the windows and doors of these homes.

Some barndominium house plans and floor plans add a silo on the home's side, offering aesthetically pleasing exterior value and rustic appeal. Steeply pitched roofs and gambrel roofs add textural depth and the ability to dispose of heavy snow loads if your home is in a region with heavy snowfall. These architectural elements create a warehouse home style that adds visual interest, practicality, and allowance for maximum headspace to incorporate additional bedrooms, lofts or attic space for storage.

Are barn houses cheaper to build?

In general, barndominium house plans are cheaper to build than a traditional house, mostly because they use less in the way of materials. However, that doesn’t mean that a barndo, as they’re sometimes called for short, needs to be cheaply made. Where you save on the base materials, you can add luxury options, such as granite countertops or a wraparound patio.

What are the pros and cons of a barn house?

When you build a new home, whether a barn house or a traditional one, it’s important to review the pros and cons first. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of barndominium house plans.

Pros of barndominium house plans:

  • Faster construction. There’s less framing needed when building a barn house plan, so the overall construction takes far less time than standard homes.
  • Lower cost for the foundation. Most barndos are built on a concrete foundation slab (unless you choose a barndominium floor plan with a basement), making it much cheaper than other homes.
  • Better energy efficiency. The post-frame construction of barn house plans is much more energy efficient than the spacing of standard homes.
  • Open-concept floor plan. Because post-frame buildings don’t require load-bearing walls, you can have the center of your home as open as you want!
  • Less exterior maintenance. The standard barndo choice of steel as the siding option is much heartier than the typical home’s wood or vinyl siding.

Cons of barndominium house plans:

  • Add-on work can be costly. While the standard pole barn house plans are relatively inexpensive, when you start adding on features, such as lofts, wraparound porches, or interior finishes, that customization can add up quickly on the price tag.
  • Financing and permitting can be difficult. Typical mortgages or loans might not cut it when it comes to financing the build on your barndominium, so you’ll likely need to get creative with your loan officer to find the funds or pay cash.
  • Resale value can be hard to appraise. Because financing for post-frame structures is tricky, appraising the resale value is equally tough. Unless you know how potential future buyers will be using the land your home is built on, setting a firm value on your home could prove difficult.

Are Barndominiums good in cold weather?

Yes, barndominium house plans are good in cold weather. Due to their construction, they’re much more energy efficient and have increased thermal conductivity than standard homes. Additionally, they can withstand great snow loads on the roof than other designs and have less settling in between the seasons due to the steel siding.

Are Barndominiums safe in storms?

Yes, barndominiums are safe in storms. In fact, because of their steel structure, they’re safer than more traditional homes. Many barn house plans with a steel frame can withstand winds of up to 130 mph!

How long will a Barndominium last?

Barndominiums aren’t meant to be temporary structures. With regular maintenance, barndos can last for more than 50 years.

Do Barndominiums hold their value?

Typically, barndominium floor plans have not held their value as well as standard house plans such as Farmhouse or Country homes that evoke a similar feel but are not built using the same materials as a barn. As mentioned above, the value of these homes fluctuates with the trend, and they are also difficult to obtain financing for, which can impact the home's value.

What is the difference between a Barndominium and a pole barn house?

The main difference between a barndominium and a pole barn house is the materials used in the frame construction. In a barndominium house plan, the framing is done using steel columns mounted into the concrete foundation. Because of this, there’s no need for any load-bearing walls throughout the home, giving them the ability to have an incredibly open floor plan. Pole barn homes use standard wood-post frames anchored into the ground. While the wood framing is similar to standard homes, the post framing is more closely spaced – between 8-12 feet apart – than normal homes, giving them a sturdier frame, but you will still need to incorporate load-bearing walls throughout the home.

Want to learn more about designing the barn home of your dreams? America’s Best House Plans features a growing assortment of barndominium house plans that display a wide range of options for square footage. From a minimum of 730 square feet to 4,455 luxurious square feet, this collection of barn house plans and barndominium plans provides a wide range of styles, square footage, and aesthetically pleasing exteriors and interiors. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help!


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