Are you dreaming of a unique and customizable home with rustic charm? Barndominiums have been gaining popularity across Canada and for good reason. These energy-efficient, cost-effective, and durable homes offer an appealing alternative to traditional houses.
The average price per square foot of building a barndominium is $100 per square foot up to $150 per square foot.
For instance, a custom-built single-family barndominium in Vancouver costs $430 to $1090 per foot.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore what barndominiums are, factors that contribute to their cost, types of barndominiums, considerations you should keep in mind, and the benefits of choosing a barndominium for your next home.
What Is a Barndominium?
A barndominium is a modern and versatile residential building that features the durability of a metal frame and the comfort of a traditional home. Initially developed in the United States, these structures have become increasingly popular in Canada, particularly among people looking for a unique living space.
Barndominiums are built using a steel frame and cladding, with a wide-open interior that buyers can customize to suit their preferences.
Simply put, their main aim is to use the strength and durability of metal post-frame buildings with the convenience of a standard home. Since the exterior is essentially a steel frame and the interior is wide-open, you can create a workable floor plan that meets your needs, preferences, and lifestyle.
Factors that Add to Barndominium Cost
There are a few factors to consider when estimating the cost of building a barndominium. To calculate the total cost of a barndominium, you must know the cost of the following things:
Land and Location
The cost of land varies according to the location and size. Developed residential areas tend to have higher prices than rural areas. Besides that, proximity to amenities and transportation networks can also impact the overall cost of your barndominium project.
Building Materials and Construction
The building materials form the backbone of your barndominium and can impact the total cost. The choice of construction materials, such as cladding and insulation, will influence the price. Energy-efficient materials are a bit more expensive and will add up to a high upfront cost. However, these materials are more cost-effective as they help reduce utility bills later.
The materials used for exterior walls will influence the overall cost, with metal cladding being a popular and cost-effective option. Besides that, a solid foundation is essential for any construction project, and the cost can vary depending on the size and complexity of the design.
Preparing the construction site, including clearing land, grading, and laying a concrete foundation, can add to the overall cost of your barndominium project. Some barndominium builders offer comprehensive support, including site preparation, construction, and finishing services. The more services needed to build a barndominium, the higher the cost.
Square Footage and Floor Plans
Barndominium construction costs can range from $80 to $250 per square foot, depending on the materials, design, and location. Plus, the complexity and size of your floor plan will impact the overall cost of your barndominium. Open-concept living spaces and fashionable multi-story designs can increase costs.
Another thing that adds to the total cost is creating a custom floor plan, as it may require an architect or designer. Specialized services for creating customized plans can increase the cost.
Labor and Construction Costs
Hiring a general contractor to manage your construction project can be a significant expense, but it may save you time and stress in the long run. The labor cost will depend on the complexity of your construction project, the location, and the availability of skilled workers.
Besides that, additional costs include delivery distance, permits, and inspections which can all add to the total cost of your barndominium build. However, if you have relevant skills, you can save money by performing some tasks yourself.
Customizations and Interior Design
Installing cabinets, custom doors, painting walls, and laying floors can all add to the overall cost of your barndominium. The extent of customization will depend on your budget and personal preferences. Plus, it will also depend on the materials and finishes you choose for customization and interior design.
Types of Barndominium
One may broadly classify barndominiums into two main categories: custom-build (floor plans) and kits. Each has pros and cons, so it’s essential to consider which option best suits your needs.
A custom-built barndominium allows you to design a tailored living space according to your lifestyle and preferences. During this process, you can get involved in the building process with dedicated designers and builders to make sure you get what you want.
However, custom-built barndominiums can be more expensive and time-consuming than barndominium kits. The process may also be more complex, requiring permits, inspections, and coordination with various professionals.
Barndominium kits offer a more affordable and streamlined construction process. These kits are very convenient as they contain all the materials to build the barndominium and detailed instructions to make the assembly easier. DIY barndominium kits can also save you money on labor costs if you have the proper skills and resources.
However, Barndominium kits may offer less customization and flexibility than custom-built options. Additionally, you may still need to hire professionals for certain aspects of the construction, such as electrical and plumbing work.
How Much Does a Barndominium Cost?
To help you better understand the costs associated with building a barndominium, let’s break down the expenses into the following categories: land, floor plans, barndominium kits, and labor.
Purchasing land is more expensive than constructing a barndominium. Thus, it is vital to do thorough research before buying it. Also, not all grounds are available for the construction of barndominiums. Here are the cities where you can purchase a piece of land for building a barndominium:
- Ontario ($11,889 per acre)
- Quebec ($6,897 per acre)
- Alberta ($3,614 per acre)
- Nova Scotia ($2,566 per acre)
- Manitoba ($2,281 per acre)
- Saskatchewan ($1,601 per acre)
The average price of purchasing farmland in Canada is $2000 to $5000 per acre, but it’s more expensive in Ontario, where it can reach $11,889 per acre. Besides location, another essential factor that determines the cost of the land is its size.
Custom-Built/ Floor Plans
The cost of barndominium floor plans will depend on the cost of materials. The materials for a custom-built barndominium cost around $25,400 to $100,700, according to the type and size of the barndominium. Choosing the right floor plan for your barndominium will significantly impact its overall cost.
Larger and more complex floor plans will generally cost more to build. Thus, consider a smaller or simpler design that meets your needs to save money.
Custom floor plans can increase costs due to additional design work and specialized materials. However, they allow you to design a customized living space according to your requirements.
Factor in the cost of obtaining blueprints for your chosen floor plan, either by purchasing a pre-designed plan or hiring an architect to create a custom design.
A DIY Barndominium kit costs between $20,000 and $90,000, but the price can increase according to the project’s complexity. Barndominium kits are preferred by those who want to reduce construction costs and are on a budget. These kits provide the materials and instructions needed to build the shell of your barndominium, with varying levels of customization and support.
To learn more about the costs, compare different kit providers to find the best value for your needs. Besides that, you must also consider the cost of shipping and delivering the kit to your build site, which may vary depending on the provider and distance.
Labor costs are a significant component of barndominium construction expenses. In general, labor costs are around $30,000 to $60,000, which include installation and assembly of the Barndominium.
The labor cost will vary depending on the services you need, the complexity of your project, and the type of skills required.
Total Barndominium Cost
To estimate the land cost for your barndominium, multiply the square footage of your floor plan by the average cost per square foot in the locality. Usually, one determines the prices of purchasing lands per acre in Canada, but you can convert an acre into square feet and then determine the cost. Remember that this estimate may not include finishing costs like flooring, cabinetry, and fixtures.
Thus, you’ll have to add the cost of the barndominium floor plan and labor costs too to determine the total cost of the barndominium. For example, if you are going for a Barndominium kit, the following is an estimate of the total Barndominium cost:
- Land: $2000 to $5000
- Barndominium Kit: $20,000 to $90,000
- Labor: $30,000 to $60,000
- Foundation: $5000 to $13,000
- HVAC: $3000 to $14,000
- Insulation: $1,500 to $3,000
- Electrical: $1000 to $3000
- Plumbing: $500 to $2000
- Roofing: $8000 to $25,000
- Sewer: $1500 to $10,000
- Siding: $10,000 to $25,000
Now add all these costs to estimate the total cost of the Barndominium. You must expect at least $80,000 to $100,00 total Barndominium cost, including all the expenses.
An example of an important thing to remember regarding barndominium construction in Canada is the heating system. Canadian homes require better heating; thus, the construction process should be done accordingly.
So before diving into your barndominium project, it’s essential to consider the following factors:
Obtaining a loan for a barndominium can be more challenging than for a traditional home, as some lenders may be unfamiliar with this type of construction. Consult with various financial institutions and mortgage brokers to explore your options. The best way to finance your barndominium project is to consider the traditional financing channels.
Taxes and Insurance
The Canadian property tax rate depends on the region and the municipality. Each municipality calculates its taxes differently. Besides that, insurance coverage for barndominiums is different from traditional homes, so it’s imperative to consult with an insurance agent to ensure you have the appropriate coverage.
Local building codes and regulations
In Canada, the constitution allows ten provinces to enforce and carry out laws and regulations. Thus, considering the National Building Code of Canada issued by the National Research Council is essential.
Future resale value
Although barndominiums are gaining popularity, their resale value may differ from traditional homes. Keep this in mind when planning a barndominium project to make better decisions.
Benefits of Barndominiums
- Quick construction: Barndominiums can be built faster than traditional homes. That is because the steel frames and metal sheets are easy to mold. So, if you’re looking for a super quick option to construct a house, a barndominium is a good option.
- Energy efficiency: Metal structures and insulation options can make barndominiums more energy-efficient than traditional wood frame homes, potentially lowering utility bills.
- Affordability: In general, Canadian barndominiums cost less than traditional homes. That is because these houses are made of more inexpensive materials, including steel frames and metals that are cheaper than bricks. They also have fewer walls and open floor plans, making constructing them more manageable and more affordable.
- Durability: Steel-framed barndominiums can withstand harsh weather conditions and are less susceptible to damage from pests and rot. Plus, they are very durable as they are made of metal and can endure almost anything.
- Customization: Barndominiums offer a wide-open interior space, allowing you to create a floor plan and design that suits your needs and preferences.
- Lower maintenance: Metal buildings typically require less maintenance than traditional homes, saving you time and money in the long run.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How long does it take to build a barndominium?
It takes around 3 to 6 months to build a barndominium. The time required to build a barndominium depends on the customization you want. Plus, barndominium kits are quicker as they already include all the necessary materials and instructions for construction.
2. How to lower the labor costs?
Here are some tips for lowering labor costs:
DIY construction: If you have the proper skills and experience, consider building your barndominium yourself. Doing this can save on high labor costs but require more time and effort.
General contractor: Hiring a general contractor to manage your construction project can help ensure a streamlined process and high-quality results. Get different quotes from contractors to find the best option for your budget and needs.
Subcontractors: If you choose to manage your construction project yourself, you must hire subcontractors for specialized tasks, such as electrical work, plumbing, and cabinetry installation. Ensure to get quotes from several subcontractors and compare the cost, experience, and reputation to make the best decision.
3. Do barndominiums hold value?
Yes, barndominiums hold their value if you use high-quality materials and standard finishes are applied. These homes don’t decrease in value, but the increase in value is slower than traditional homes. So, barndominiums are good from the living point of view and not the best option for investment.
4. What is the most expensive thing in the cost of a barndominium?
The most expensive component of a barndominium is the metal frame which includes doors, windows, and roofs. Purchasing and building the metal frame can largely impact the overall cost of a barndominium.
Barndominiums offer a unique, customizable, and cost-effective alternative to traditional homes. By considering factors such as location, building materials, square footage, and customizations, you can decide whether a barndominium is the right choice for you.
With numerous benefits such as energy efficiency, durability, and lower maintenance, barndominiums are an excellent option for those seeking a unique and sustainable living space in Canada.