Are Barndominiums Durable Compared to Traditional Homes? We Answer Your 4 Burning Questions

In Barndominiums by Gail Rose

The concept for barndominiums started on ranches and farms where barns were sometimes converted to include a loft for horse owners to live in. The idea evolved over the years and is now one of the fastest growing home types across the United States. After being featured on Fixer Upper, more and more Americans have caught the “barndo fever!”

A question we get often is “are barndominiums durable?” We get it – before building your forever home for you and your family, you’ll want to make sure that barndominium durability is not a concern. In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know.

are barndominiums durable

Before building a new barndo, you likely want to ensure that it is safe and able to withstand the climate in your region. Take a moment to find out why barndominiums are one of the most durable choices.

How Do You Evaluate Barndominium Durability?

Durability typically refers to the ability to withstand damage and normal wear and tear. The main issues that impact the durability of a property include its structural integrity and resistance to:

  • Moisture
  • Mold and rot
  • Rust
  • Vermin and pests
  • Heat and cold
  • Fire
  • Severe weather

Compared to a standard home, barndominiums tend to provide superior protection against each of these threats. The risk of moisture, mold, or rot damaging your barndominium is minimal.

durable looking barndominium

The durability of a “barndo” is due to its unique design. Most barndos consist of a metal shell frame, often made of steel or other sturdy alloys. Most residential properties are made with timber frames.

The metal shell offers an open layout that accommodates a wide range of floor plans. Homeowners can customize the design to suit their needs with simple interior framing supported by the metal shell.

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Some barndominiums also feature metal sheeting on the exterior walls and metal roofing. With a diverse selection of metal textures and colors, a barndominium does not need to resemble a large metal shed.

Aluminum siding or brick facades can also be added to the exterior, providing the same design flexibility as a traditional home. However, the main advantage of barndominium construction is the durability provided by the frame.

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Do The Metal Frames Make Barndominiums More Durable?

By using a metal frame, barndos are stronger structures compared to traditional wood homes. When moisture penetrates a traditional home, the wood beams may slowly rot and develop mold. This can increase the risk of mold spreading through the home.

Mold and moisture can also attract pests such as termites. An infestation of termites can be costly to get rid of and cause severe damage to the structure of the home.

Constant exposure to moisture and varying temperatures forces wood to expand and contract. Over time, the wood may warp, causing the home to shift and the structure to weaken.

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Metal frames do not suffer from these problems. Moisture cannot penetrate metal frames and sheeting, significantly decreasing the risk of water damage and mold growth. Termites and other insects are also much less likely to pose a problem.

You do not need to worry about your barndominium shifting, warping, or becoming less stable over time. These structures are built to last, which includes protection against mother nature. This will also mean that barndominium insurance is typically less expensive compared with traditional homes.

Barndominiums Shield Against the Elements

Severe winds, seismic activities, and even tornadoes are unlikely to rip the roof from the barndominium or break down the walls. This is especially true when using a steel frame. Steel frames can also withstand powerful tornado-force winds.

A wood home only offers moderate protection against these threats. When strong winds hit the side of a traditional house, you can often hear and feel the timber shifting and creaking.

concrete slab barndominium

60 to 75 mph winds have been known to rip roofs off houses, destroy sheds, move tractor-trailers, and overturn mobile homes. With speeds of 100 mph or higher, a traditional home may be leveled. A severe tornado can produce wind speeds of 160 to 200 mph, which only a metal frame can withstand.

No matter where you live, a barndominium should offer optimal safety against natural disasters. In fact, some rural communities have used barndominium kits to build emergency shelters for residents to use when seeking safety from a tornado or severe flooding.

durable mo barndo

Metal Barndominiums Do Not Catch On Fire Easily

Fire is a major threat to any property. However, wood homes suffer a greater risk as almost every component of the home is flammable. It can take just minutes for an entire home to become engulfed in flames.

After two to three minutes, most of the wood interior features are likely to be destroyed. This includes countertops, cabinets, tables, chairs, and window treatments. Within a few more minutes, the wood frame of the house starts to burn. Eventually, the ceilings and walls fall and the entire structure collapses.

A metal frame is not flammable or combustible. The frame will not burn down during a fire, decreasing the risk of the entire structure collapsing while the occupants attempt to escape. The ceilings and walls supported by the metal beams should remain intact.

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Depending on the spread of the fire, barndominiums are less likely to experience extensive fire damage or water damage. This means that not only are barndominiums durable, but they are quite safe as well. Without any permanent damage to the frame, the repairs are also likely to be much cheaper.

Barndominium Maintenance Requirements

Thanks to the durability of a barndominium, you also have fewer maintenance requirements to deal with. The metal frame and exterior components can last for decades without showing  signs of wear and tear.

You may never need to repaint your home or replace the siding. Metal exteriors offer a much longer lifespan compared to paint and aluminum siding.

The open design of the metal shell and simple interior framing also results in easier renovations and repairs. Tearing down and rebuilding a wall in a barndominium is cheaper and quicker compared to completing the same project in a traditional home.

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The typical recommendation for homeowners is to set aside about 1% of your home’s value for unexpected repairs and maintenance. For a $250,000 home, you should save about $2500. Most of this money goes to issues related to plumbing, flooring, and cosmetic issues. However, water damage is also a common problem.

As mentioned, barndominiums protect against moisture, which is one of the leading causes behind home repairs. When moisture or leaks penetrate a home, you are more likely to experience water damage and mold growth. These issues can quickly become severe and spread to other parts of the home.

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Major water damage can cost thousands of dollars to repair while mold growth may require you to remove and replace walls and ceilings. Instead of dealing with these extensive repairs, you can live in the comfort of a barndominium.

Last Thoughts – Are Barndominiums Durable?

Barndominiums offer greater customization compared to traditional homes. They often have metal shells with open designs and a span roof that prevents the need for load-bearing walls.

So are barndominiums durable? Yes, barndominiums are durable structures, especially when made with a steel frame. Modern barndominiums are designed to withstand the elements, including severe storms. They can even remain standing after a fire.

The increased durability of a barndominium may also result in lower insurance costs. Home insurance premiums depend heavily on the insured value of the property and the potential threat of damage. By protecting against fire, weather, and moisture, insuring your home is less of a risk to insurance companies.

The bottom line is that barndominiums provide a stable structure for you and your family. They also tend to require less maintenance compared to a typical residence.

If you want to enjoy superior safety and fewer home repair projects, a barndominium may be the right choice for your next home.

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