Barndominium vs House: Which Is Better?

Whether you want to change environments or switch up your housing, there are several options for you to consider. With the rising popularity of barndominiums, the battle of barndominium vs house seems to get more intense. 

This article provides a detailed cost comparison guide and a general review of both housing options. We show you which option is better, from aesthetics to land acquisition to durability.

What's Ahead...

Our Pick: Barndominium

We chose the barndominium because it’s much cheaper to buy one. Barndominium kits make the construction process much easier by providing you with all the materials you need for building. Also, it takes six months or less to complete a barndominium, while building a house may take a year. Both buildings may be durable and serve the same purpose. However, the extra benefits of a large living space are worth the money.


What Is a Barndominium?

Barndominium combines two words: barn and condominium, also known as a condo. Typical barndominiums are built as barns and have residential sections for people who inhabit them. The concept of barndominiums can be traced to Karl Nilsen, a Connecticut resident in the 80s. He was into real estate development and brought the idea of living near horses. After a while, the idea went under. However, it resurfaced around 2010, becoming popular in North America, particularly in Texas.

Today, barndominiums are mostly constructed with metals, and building one can take 3 to 6 months. These buildings have living quarters and extra large spaces that can be used as a garage, horse stable, or for some other business. You can describe them as habitable luxury barns because the exterior of these buildings looks like farmhouses.

The reason several people prefer barndominiums to traditional homes differs from person to person. It could be due to personal style, labor costs, or interior design, but there’s no denying that the idea has become a people’s favorite.

Barndominiums have high ceilings, and the price per square foot is relatively low. Bigger families prefer it because the land can accommodate several huge spaces. Also, the aesthetic of barndominiums is very peculiar, especially in terms of height and interior spaces.

The exquisite features of barndominiums are pleasing to the eye, and the building process is fairly fast. Plus, if you decide to build a barndominium instead of a traditional house, you can buy barndominium kits. This way, you avoid a high barndominium cost.

Features of a Barndominium

A barndominium living space includes the following:

  • Contiguous and continuous roof patterns
  • Large exterior and interior space 
  • Spray foam insulation for vapor barrier and climate control
  • Durable steel construction for the exterior shell of the building
  • Vaulted high ceilings
  • Unique exterior and interior aesthetics
  • Metal structures used in its foundation 
  • Foundation is resistant to harsh weather
  • Durable stylistic design components for various lifestyles




What Is a Traditional House?

A traditional house is a conventional building that has foundations made of concrete. When speaking of a conventional home, we are referring to traditional homes. Traditional houses have existed across generations, but you will need a sizable piece of land to build a traditional home. 

Building a traditional house doesn’t need a specific building material. You can build a conventional house’s entire structure using stone, wood, brick, stucco, and others. However, the process of building a traditional home or house is very long and sometimes takes more than six months. 

Before building a traditional house, you must find a plot of land to buy. Usually, a plot of land is sold per square foot, and the cost depends on the landowner. The size and total cost of the square foot you will acquire will depend on the kind of house you want to build. Other factors that can affect the home are design style and the specific location of the house*.

Most builders will construct a prototype of the house they intend to build to give you a picture of how it will look in the end. Also, the type of building materials plays a vital role in determining the final cost of the building.

When building a house, the builders lay the foundation after estimating the house’s cost and getting the materials ready. The foundation is formed by pouring concrete into constructed forms. After that, beams go into the foundation to form the house’s frame. Building the walls is next, and the last stage will be the roof addition.

Features of a Traditional House

  • Concrete foundations
  • You can use different materials for separate house sections
  • Made with readily available materials 
  • Custom roof for varying weather conditions
  • Tough beams to maintain the building’s frame
  • Modern materials that suit modern aesthetics
  • Conservative living spaces suited to individual preferences




Barndominium vs House: Similarities

Barndominiums and traditional homes are both buildings that house people. In that case, they have many features that make them similar. Knowing and understanding the similarities between these buildings will help make your decision-making process easier. Below are some of the similarities between a barndominium vs. house.

Building Purpose

People living in barndominiums and people in traditional houses share a common purpose – residence. Owning livestock and animals in farmhouses is peculiar to residents in some country areas. However, modern barndominium owners build one to live in it. That said, building either a barndominium or a house aims to get a roof over one’s head. Notwithstanding the different costs associated with these projects, the builders will construct the buildings in alignment with the residential laws of the location where they are erected. So, there is a unified purpose for barndominiums and housing projects.

Land Acquisition

Land acquisition for both kinds of buildings typically undergoes the same process. First, the cost of land is measured per square foot by the landowners. Land may be universal, but it differs in cost from place to place. However, the standard of measurement can be uniform. If you want to purchase land for your building, the individual or agency often has a catalog of prices for each sale. These prices are grouped per square foot depending on its location and vastness.

Also, before acquiring land in a specific region or location, you must learn about the applicable regulations. It does not matter if you are building a traditional house or a barndominium; restrictions apply to each jurisdiction. 

Building Materials

Here, we are not referring to a similarity in material type or cost. We are referring to the durability of the materials. The building materials in ready-made barndominium kits may largely differ from a regular house, but both are durable. Barndominiums are generally made of metal which is suitable for harsh weather conditions. Also, it is water and rust-resistant, making it strong enough to survive a tornado. 

Similarly, materials such as brick, stone, stucco, and concrete are used in building regular houses. These materials may not be steel or metal, but they are durable and can also resist certain harsh weather conditions. Materials used in building both structures are also cost-effective and energy efficient.

Design Flexibility

The design preferences of a traditional home and a barndominium largely depend on the individual’s taste. Also, the design preferences of homeowners form the pattern of construction for the exteriors and interiors. One can tweak the design of both a barndominium and a traditional home; they are both flexible. There is always room for creativity and the addition of basic amenities where the owners deem fit. So, despite maintaining a general style, the visioning makes room for creative imagination. 

Despite the similarities that both buildings share, there are many differences that will always set them apart from each other.


Barndominium vs House: Differences

The differences between a barndominium vs. house seem endless. From building cost to building duration to aesthetics, these buildings have features that are distinct from each other. These differences reflect the unique nature of the buildings and 

Building Cost

When comparing the building cost, constructing a barndominium costs less than building a traditional house. One of the factors affecting the cost of a building is the duration of construction. Typically, it takes double the time it would take to complete a barndominium to complete a traditional house. Barndominiums may take between 3 to 6 months, while it may take up to a year to build a house. By implication, the longer a building project, the more building materials and the more money spent on workers.

One major reason for this is the materials used in construction. Usually, wet concrete is used for the foundation and other house parts. Afterward, the concrete is left to dry to form a solid foundation upon which the house can stand and take form. This drying process can last up to 2 days, increasing the building duration.

Furthermore, the design also determines the house or barndominium cost, so if you want to build a home with a very complex structure, you will pay more. On the other hand, barndominiums have large spaces instead of several room sections, which may reduce costs. Plus, with barndominium kits, you get everything you need to build in one package.

Also, you can build a barndominium on an existing structure, but you cannot do the same with houses. You have to raise the house from ground level up. A traditional home will cost more, while a barndominium is a good way to save money, especially during construction. 

Land Acquisition Cost

The cost of land differs depending on the type of building. The estimated land cost for a traditional house is $110 to $145 for one square foot. On the other hand, land for a barndominium typically costs between $70 to $90 per square foot.

If you want to build a traditional house in a mid-sized city with aesthetically pleasing environs, you may pay over $250,000. However, the price will be less than $200,000 if you make your home smaller. 

However, it is more difficult to find land for barndominiums in big cities because of certain restrictions and laws in most jurisdictions. Generally speaking, this is reasonable because barndominiums require a much larger space than regular houses. So, finding enough land in big commercial areas will be difficult. On the other hand, finding house land is easier because it needs less land.

Building Aesthetics and Style

It’s easier to incorporate your design choices in traditional homes, while barndominiums generally have plain and simple aesthetics. Barndominiums may accommodate individual design tastes and styles, but they are still built around the farmhouse type of vibe. The origin of barndominiums and the materials it is made of partly determines the overall style. Also, with barndominiums, selling an existing structure is difficult because of the customized design and aesthetic.

Final Thoughts

Deciding on a house style can be a hassle because of how time-consuming the process is. We recommend analyzing the cost, durability, aesthetics, and living conditions of several housing options before choosing one.

In the battle of barndominium vs. house, we pick the former because it provides an all-around cost-efficient solution. We hope you understand how both systems work, and decide which option suits your preference.

Bardominium Perks vs. Traditional Home

Paul Martinez

Paul Martinez is the founder of He is an expert in the areas of finance, real estate, and eCommerce.  Join him on to learn how to improve your financial life and excel in these areas. Before starting this blog, Paul built from scratch and managed two multi-million dollar companies. One in the real estate sector and one in the eCommerce sector.