Buildings & Interiors

Barndominiums, How Do They Do That?

Experts at J4 Building Solutions can tell you everything you want to know about barndominiums, from the thickness of the steel struts to insulation values mandates in your area.

But how does it all go into making a barndominium – defined as a (usually) rural, non-traditional structure which can be used as a home or repurposed to combine a home and business?

Large enough to contain a home and a dance floor/band area, barndominiums are cheaper to build, per square foot, than conventional stick-built structures, and have the added advantage of being fireproof and more or less weatherproof. At the very least, they are very low maintenance, even in severe climates, and offer the sort of longevity only afforded by steel framing and sheet metal siding pre-painted in a range of appropriate colors.

Taking you through the step-by-step process, let’s begin with site selection. J4 will want to ensure as much as possible that the site is relatively level, free from soils that might shrink and damage the foundation, and above the water table to prevent flooding during heavy rains or snowfalls.

Next, workmen prepare the foundation for underlayment using ordinary lumber. This includes rebar at strategic distances, and a plastic moisture barrier to prevent your cement foundation from sitting in standing water. When this portion is complete, a plumber will come in and run lines for bathrooms, kitchen sinks and dishwashers, and other locations like laundry rooms where water use is necessary.

After the slab is poured and machine-finished for extreme smoothness, it is allowed to cure for several days, after which the steel building frame is erected. It is this self-supporting steel frame which not only insures building longevity but gives barndominiums their spacious quality.

Next, workmen install metal wall building panels, standard doors, and a roof extension which provides a covered patio area to extend the living space in good weather.

With windows framed and standard exterior doors in place, your barndominium has already begun to look like home! Next up are wall partitions to separate the entry hall and its closet (as well as the master bedroom) from the rest of the structure. At this point, you or your J4 crew will frame a half bath in the corner, for overflow family traffic or customer’s use.

Can lights (recessed lights) in the living area give a touch of class, and the shop area gets it purpose-built work bench. If you’re a carpenter, this probably includes an electric miter saw or a swing-arm table saw. If you’re a bicycle repairman, the work bench will look – and function – quite differently. How nice to have a choice!

Outside, your barndominium is getting a brick or stone facelift to break up the wall surface and make it look less commercial; the age of the metal Quonset hut is gone! Twenty-first century technology (AutoCAD, etc.) promises accurate cuts every time, reducing the amount of time needed from frame-up to finish.

Stone facing on the porch columns adds even more individualism, while the inside installation of doors, windows, bathroom fixtures, kitchen cupboards, appliances and cabinet hardware transforms the space into a cook’s haven.

When your barndominium is complete, your best friends won’t realize it started as a steel shell, but your insurance agent will! In many locations across the nation, barndominiums are finding affordable insurance rates thanks to the fire-resistant, wind-resistant, low-maintenance aspects of barndominiums. In fact, treat yourself for the money you’ve saved on insurance alone, because now you can afford to buy Angus steaks for your housewarming celebration!