are barndominiums safe

Are Barndominiums Safe? 5 Things You Have To Know

Are Barndominiums Safe?

Barndominiums are gaining popularity due to their lower costs and versatile design options compared to traditional residential properties, but are barndominiums safe? We see this question a lot and want to reassure you that barndominiums are safer than a conventional home in a variety of ways.

are barndominiums safe
Photo from Tim Monath

While conventional homes typically feature a wood structure, some of the top barndominiums are made with steel frames. Using a metal frame offers greater structural integrity, longer life, and a wide range of additional benefits.

Are barndominiums safe? If you are concerned about whether barndominiums are safe, here is what you should know.

Barndominiums Feature Steel Frames and Metal Siding

Barndominiums started as storage buildings or barns that were converted into living spaces. As interest in these unique homes grew, a variety of trends and design features were introduced.

Many barndominiums are now built from the ground up, featuring an entirely new steel frame. Metal siding is added to the frame, along with all the details needed to make the space into a livable home.

this barndominium is very safe
Courtesy of Lindsay Fierge. This barndominium is a great example of durability

The steel and metal building components help reduce the overall construction cost of a new barndominium compared to a conventional home. Metal can also be textured or colored any way you choose, allowing for a wide range of styles.

The flexibility of barndominiums is a great reason to consider building one on your property. However, the main advantage is the durability of the design.

With a steel frame and metal exterior, a barndominium is better equipped to protect against fire, pests, intruders, and the elements. It may even help reduce your utility bills to the energy efficiency of steel structures.

Barndominiums Offer Greater Protection Against Fire

The structure of a conventional home is often built with thick wood posts and beams. Wood structures and steel structures can both last for 50 to 100 years with proper care. However, a steel structure can also withstand various disasters, including fires.

this barndominium is safe
C/o Larry Cobbs

When a home is engulfed in flames, the wood structure is likely to receive permanent damage. Depending on the severity of the fire, the entire home may be a loss. While a fire can still cause devastation inside your barndominium, the steel structure is likely to remain intact.

Are Barndominiums Safe in a Tornado?

We get questions about whether barndominiums are safe in a tornado constantly. This is due to the fact that barndominiums are most popular in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri.

If you live in tornado alley, the structural integrity of your home is extremely important. This is another area where barndominiums have an advantage over conventional homes.

A barndominium constructed with metal offers superior protection against the elements. A steel building can withstand winds up to 150 mph without experiencing damage to the foundation or exterior. Thanks to the wind resistance of steel, barndominiums may withstand an F-4 tornado. This is one of the reasons why more shelters in rural areas are now built with steel frames.

barndominium safe in a tornado
Courtesy of Moto Man Mike

That said, it is still the recommendation of many to invest in a storm shelter. Since barndominiums are cheaper than traditional homes, this leaves some extra budget for a storm shelter if you live in an area with tornadoes.

Are Barndominiums Safe In Lightning?

lightning doesnt affect a barndominium

Along with strong winds, you may worry about lightning. Steel does not attract lightning. It even has a lower electrical resistance compared to other materials, allowing the energy from the lightning to pass through the metal and to the ground.

By protecting the exterior from lightning, a steel barndominium also protects the interior.

If lightning does strike a steel building, the lower electrical resistance of steel is known to spread out the heat of the strike. Electronics and people are shielded from the effects of a lightning strike.

What About Barndominiums During an Earthquake?

For living in areas that experience earthquakes and seismic activity, barndominiums are still a safer option. Steel buildings can remain standing after even the strongest shifts in the ground.  

According to the World Steel Organization, steel buildings are considered safer as they tend to dissipate energy from seismic waves. Additionally, because of the laws of physics, lighter buildings tend to experience less force from seismic waves.

earthquakes are no match for the barndominium

Steel is one of the lightest, most sturdy forms of construction. For this reason, barndominiums are a solid choice if you live in a zone that experiences earthquakes.

Barndominiums Experience Less Wear and Tear

Barndominiums tend to require less maintenance compared to traditional homes. With metal exteriors and steel frames, you have less daily wear and tear to deal with. This reduces the cost of upkeep and time spent handling repairs.

Conventional homes frequently require minor and major renovations, especially when experiencing water issues. Over time, water damage can cause the foundation to sink. Water may also cause the wood framework to warp or rot, impacting the structural integrity of the entire home.

barndominiums durability
C/o Michael Lafleur on Facebook

Water damage is not an issue for most barndominiums. The steel frame and metal siding are not susceptible to rot. You should not need to worry about mold or mildew spreading through the home.

By protecting against water damage, the metal structure also helps keep critters away. Termites, ants, and other pests are less likely to infest a steel building.

Last Thoughts on the Safety of Barndominiums

So, are barndominiums safe? Yes, they are incredibly safe structures. In many ways, the typical barndominium is safer than a regular home.

The steel and metal components offer greater protection against severe weather, including tornadoes and lightning strikes. You are also less likely to deal with water damage, pests, and wear and tear. These features allow you to enjoy your barn/condominium for many years without constantly having to deal with repairs.

seven people standing on rooftop

The durability is just one of the many advantages of a barndominium. These unique homes are also often cost-effective to build, with faster construction and more affordable components.

If you want a safe, flexible design option for your new home, a barndominium may be a perfect choice.

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