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12 Things To Know Before Custom Building a Barndominium

Updated: May 24

Most people have a dream home in their head, but being able to afford to build that dream home can be the tricky part. Recently, the trend of building barndominiums has been on the uptick. Building a metal home can be more cost effective making the dream more attainable, without sacrificing style, and general contractor Jason Strange is in the business of fulfilling dreams.

Building a barndominium with Ace’s Customs Builds can be an exciting and rewarding endeavor, blending the rustic charm of a barn with the modern comforts of a home. However, like any construction project, there are several considerations that can significantly impact your experience and the final result. In this post, we'll explore some key insights and a few things to know before embarking on the journey of building a barndo in Texas.

1. Do I need a permit to custom build a barndominium in Texas?

Before breaking ground, familiarize yourself with local zoning regulations and building codes. Barndominiums may face unique challenges as they combine residential and agricultural elements. Understanding these regulations early in the planning phase can save you time, money, and potential headaches down the road. Consult with local authorities and hire professionals such as general contractor Jason Strange, who are well-versed in navigating these specific requirements. The quick answer to that question is yes, permits are requred. Ace’s Custom Builds, an experienced construction company in Huntsville, Texas, can help walk you through the specifics.

2. Are Barndominiums cheaper than houses?

While barndominiums are often touted as a cost-effective housing solution, unexpected expenses can quickly escalate the budget. Factor in site preparation, utility connections, and potential design modifications to ensure a more accurate estimate. While metal homes tend to be less expensive to build than a tradition home, a contingency fund is crucial for unforeseen challenges that may arise during construction, preventing financial strain and ensuring a smoother building process. Read our blog post on this topic for a more in-depth look.

3. What is the downside to a barndominium?

The downside of barndominiums lies in their unconventional nature, which may pose challenges in various aspects. Some individuals find the industrial aesthetic and open floor plans less appealing compared to traditional homes, impacting resale value in certain markets. Zoning restrictions and local regulations can limit the feasibility of constructing a barndominium in specific areas. In more rural areas such as Huntsville however, aesthetic challenges aren't as great.

Financing can be a hurdle, as conventional lenders may be hesitant due to the uniqueness of these structures, potentially leading to higher interest rates or stricter eligibility criteria. Overall, the distinct characteristics of barndominiums can make them less mainstream and present obstacles in terms of acceptance and practicality for some potential homeowners.

4. Are barndominiums insulated?

Given their metal exterior, barndominiums are susceptible to temperature extremes. Investing in high-quality insulation is paramount for maintaining a comfortable indoor environment and energy efficiency. Don't skimp on insulation costs; it's a long-term investment that pays off in reduced utility bills and increased comfort. This is something Ace’s Custom Builds is very passionate about. This blog post on spray foam addresses what good insulation can do for a metal home.

5. What foundation is best for a barndominium?

The foundation is the backbone of any structure, and barndominiums are no exception. Depending on your location and soil conditions, you may need a specific type of foundation. Consult a general contractor such as Jason Strange to determine the most suitable foundation for your barndominium. This upfront investment can prevent future structural issues and ensure the longevity of your metal home.

6. What is the most expensive part of building a barndominium?

The most expensive aspect of building a barndominium often lies in the interior finishes and customization. While the initial shell of the structure, utilizing the existing barn framework, can be cost-effective, the expenses can escalate when outfitting the interior to meet residential standards. High-quality flooring, fixtures, appliances, and other amenities can contribute significantly to the overall cost.

Additionally, the customization of open spaces may require specialized design and construction, impacting the budget. Therefore, while the basic structure might offer cost savings, the interior customization and compliance adjustments can be the primary factors contributing to the overall expense of building a barndominium. Here at Ace's Custom Builds, we have an in-house interior designer, Dana Wallace to help you navigate what you want the interior of the metal home to look like.

The thing that makes Ace's unique is the desing process. You tell Jason Strange exactly what you want and he draws it up before your eyes, then the whole team works to implement everything you want, inside and out - the dream - into the home.

7. Do barndominiums have moisture problems?

Barndominiums can be susceptible to moisture problems, primarily due to the use of metal in their construction. Metal structures, if not adequately insulated and ventilated, may be prone to condensation, leading to issues like rust, mold, and mildew. Ace’s Custom Builds believes in proper sealing and insulation, which is crucial to prevent moisture penetration, especially in areas with varying climates. 

Additionally, if the original barn structure has not been adequately weatherproofed or if there are gaps and leaks, moisture problems may arise. Regular maintenance, vigilant inspection, and appropriate ventilation measures can help mitigate these issues, but the potential for moisture-related problems is a consideration that barndominium owners should address to ensure the longevity and structural integrity of their homes.

8. Can you get a bank loan on a barndo?

Securing a bank loan for a barndominium can be more challenging compared to traditional homes, primarily due to the unconventional nature of these structures. Many financial institutions may be unfamiliar with barndominiums and may hesitate to provide loans for what they perceive as non-standard residences. Lenders typically prefer conventional houses with well-established market values. However, it's not impossible to obtain a bank loan for a barndominium. 

Homeowners may need to approach specialized lenders or those familiar with alternative housing options. Providing detailed documentation, such as construction plans, appraisals, and evidence of compliance with local building codes, can strengthen the loan application. Engaging in open communication with lenders and demonstrating the property's long-term value and marketability may increase the likelihood of securing financing for a barndominium.

9. How long does it take to build a barndominium?

Building a barndominium is not a quick process. Delays can occur due to weather, permit approvals, or unexpected construction issues. Be realistic about the timeline and communicate openly with your builder about potential setbacks. A well-structured timeline allows for better planning and helps manage expectations throughout the construction process. Ace's Custom Builds will be with you from beginning to end, “from dirt to doorknob”, on your custom built barndominium journey. Communication is key in any construction project and an experienced builder such as Jason Strange knows how to communicate.

Ace’s has established relationships with suppliers, subcontractors, and other stakeholders in the industry. This network can streamline the building process, ensuring timely delivery of materials and efficient coordination among various trades. Effective communication also extends to the homeowner, as experienced builders are adept at keeping clients informed, managing expectations, and addressing concerns promptly.

10. Is it hard to get insurance on a barndominium?

Obtaining insurance for a barndominium can present certain challenges. The unique nature of these structures, combining residential living spaces with elements of a barn, may be unfamiliar to traditional insurance providers. The industrial and unconventional design may be perceived as higher risk, potentially leading to increased premiums. Additionally, the building materials and construction methods used in barndominiums might differ from standard homes, making it essential to find an insurance policy that adequately covers these specifics. 

Some insurance companies may require a thorough inspection to assess the property's safety features and compliance with local building codes before providing coverage. While securing insurance for a barndominium can be more complex, it is not impossible, and with thorough research and communication with specialized insurers, homeowners can find policies tailored to meet the unique needs of their unconventional homes.

11. Can I DIY build a barndominium?

While taking on some tasks yourself can save money, certain aspects of barndominium construction require professional expertise, such as Ace’s Custom Builds. Assess your skills realistically and allocate responsibilities accordingly. Structural components, electrical work, and plumbing are areas where professional help is strongly recommended to ensure safety and compliance with building codes.

12. What are the pros and cons of a barndominium?

Barndominiums boast several advantages. One key benefit is their cost-effectiveness, as the initial construction expenses are often lower than traditional homes. The open, expansive layouts of barndominiums provide flexibility in interior design and usage, allowing for creative customization. Additionally, these structures often feature large, high ceilings and abundant natural light, creating a spacious and inviting atmosphere. 

Additionally, building a home with a metal frame offers durability, fire resistance, sustainability, and design flexibility. These benefits make metal frame construction an appealing option for homeowners seeking a resilient and environmentally conscious building solution.

On the downside, some may find the industrial aesthetic of a barndominium less appealing than conventional housing options. Zoning restrictions in certain areas may limit the feasibility of building a barndominium, and obtaining financing can sometimes be challenging due to the unique nature of these structures.

Despite these drawbacks, the growing popularity of barndominiums underscores their unique appeal and potential advantages for those seeking an unconventional yet functional living space.

In Summary

Building a custom metal home, a dream home, is a rewarding journey that requires careful planning and consideration. By addressing these key factors before construction begins you can navigate potential challenges more effectively and ensure a successful outcome. From zoning regulations to design choices, each decision plays a crucial role in creating a barndominium that not only meets your needs but also stands the test of time. Reach out to us at Ace’s Custom Builds, we’d love to build your dream home!

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