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How Long Do Barndominiums Last? | 4 Important Factors to Consider

With proper care, a barndominium could last hundreds of years. Barndominiums are durable structures. They are often built with heavy steel frames that can withstand hurricane-strength wind.

While barndominiums are sturdy, they may not last an eternity. The quality of construction, materials, and upkeep can increase or decrease the lifespan of a barndominium.

How Long Do Barndominiums Last

How long do barndominiums last? | The Average Life of a Barndominium

The first barndominiums were created in the late 1980s. A real estate developer in Connecticut built 10 homes from the shells of metal barns as part of a planned equestrian community. The term “barndominium” appeared in a magazine article about the community that was published in 1989.

As barndominiums have only existed for a little over 30 years, it is hard to determine the average life span on how long barndominiums last based on past examples. To ensure that your barndominium lasts a lifetime or longer, you should understand the issues that affect its life span.

The longevity of a barndominium depends on a variety of factors. Some of the details that impact the life of a barndominium include:

  • Construction
  • Materials
  • Environment
  • Upkeep

The average single-family home with a wood frame may last 100 years or longer. You can expect a barndominium to last just as long, if not longer. However, there are a few details that you should explore further, starting with the construction of the barndominium.

Construction

Barndominium Construction

The life span of a building is largely determined during the construction process. If the structure is not properly constructed, it is less likely to stand the test of time.

Before building a barndominium, decide who is going to build it. Some barndominium owners choose to build their homes themselves using DIY kits. A DIY barndominium kit includes material for the frame, siding, roof, and other essential elements.

Using a DIY kit gives you more control over the construction process. Yet, if you do not have construction experience, you risk making costly mistakes that could reduce the stability of your new home.

Hiring a building company or independent building contractor may save you from dealing with structural issues down the road.

Barndominiums are constructed with metal posts using post-frame construction. The posts are based about 8 to 12 feet apart and driven deep into the ground. However, if the posts are not correctly set in the ground, the frame may shift after construction. This could result in cracks in the drywall and other structural issues.

The condition of the foundation also impacts the life span of the building. Slab foundations rest on the ground and may shift or crack if the ground is not carefully prepared. Working with an experienced professional may save you from dealing with these problems.

Materials

The steel frame is the most durable part of a barndominium. If the frame is constructed properly, it should continue to support the rest of the structure for hundreds of years. Other areas of the property may require repair or replacement.

Barndominiums are typically built on slab foundations, which can last 80 to 100 years. Full basement foundations can also last 100 years but are more prone to cracking and shifting. 

Most barndominiums feature metal siding and roofing while traditional homes often have asphalt roofs and wood or vinyl siding. Metal siding and roofing can last 40 to 70 years while asphalt roofs often need repair or replacement after about 20 years. Wood and vinyl siding have life spans of 20 to 40 years.

Traditional homes are built with wood frames. A wood stud frame can last 100 years or longer but is also susceptible to wood rot and water damage. Damage to the roof or gutters may allow water to penetrate the wall cavities and damage the frame, which is less of a threat with a barndominium. 

Steel Frame Barndominium

Environment

The climate where you plan on building your barndominium may impact its life span. Building a barndominium near the ocean or in an area with high humidity levels increases the risk of rust. Rust can limit the structural integrity of the frame and damage the siding and roof.

Some regions also experience more severe weather. While barndominiums can withstand strong winds, a hurricane or tornado can still cause major damage and reduce the life span of your barndominium.

Upkeep

How long barndominiums last also depend on your ability to keep up with necessary repairs. As mentioned, some areas may need repair in your lifetime.

The metal siding and roofing can last for decades but may still require repairs eventually. Rust and other damage may expose other parts of the barndominium. For example, if the siding or roof is damaged, rainwater may reach the insides of the walls.

If water penetrates the wall cavities of a barndominium, the metal frame may suffer from rust. Water may also damage insulation and eventually reach the interior drywall.

How to Increase the Life of Your Barndominium

If you want your barndominium to last many years, choose the right builder and keep up with maintenance over the years. The following steps may also help extend the life span of your barndominium:

  • Use quality insulation
  • Maintain your gutters
  • Deal with rust quickly

Different types of insulation offer differing levels of thermal protection. Spray foam insulation provides the strongest insulating properties, as it expands and covers every inch of the inside of the wall cavities. It is also less likely to experience mold growth when exposed to water.

Maintaining your gutters is also an essential part of protecting your barndominium. Gutters are designed to direct rainwater away from the roof, outer walls, and foundation. If the gutters become clogged, leaks may eventually reach the insides of the walls and other areas of the property.

A small leak is not always immediately noticeable. Most homeowners notice water problems after the issue has become severe enough to cause other damage. For example, a small leak may eventually cause water spots to appear on the interior walls or ceilings.

If you notice water spots or any other signs of water damage, including rust, deal with the issue quickly. Attempt to find the root cause of the problem and address it before fixing the damage.

For example, if a leak is causing rust to form near the bottom of the metal siding, fix the leak before replacing the siding.

Continue to monitor your barndominium for damage and complete repairs as necessary. You should also ensure that the exterior is free of dirt, mud, and other debris that may promote rust and other damage.

Metal siding rust

Summary

How long do barndominiums last? As with traditional homes, barndominiums may last hundreds of years. However, certain parts of the structure may require repair or replacement during the lifetime of your barndominium.

Slab foundations can last 80 to 100 years. The metal siding and roofing can last at least 40 years. For comparison, an asphalt roof may last 20 to 30 years.

You may also need to repair or replace windows, doors, gutters, and other elements. However, these renovations are necessary for any type of property.

In the end, you should not need to worry about outliving your barndominium. If you want your barndominium to last forever, start by working with a qualified builder to ensure that it is constructed properly. After the barndominium is built, keep up with maintenance and repairs to avoid reducing the lifespan of your home.

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