With the housing market in Utah and the surrounding Intermountain West at an all-time peak, prospective homeowners are battling high demand and low supply – all while watching house prices soar in the meantime. There are approximately 5,500 homes for sale in Utah with a median list price of $550,000 and an average price per square foot of $212. In Salt Lake City, that price per square foot jumps to $280.
Many prospective home buyers are deciding to build instead. And while there are many pros and cons to building your own home, the two most important opposing values for many is time and cost. On the plus side, the average cost to build a home is $100 – $200 per square foot – noticeably less than the cost of existing homes in a lot of housing markets. On the down side, building a traditional framed home takes 7.7 months on average to build – 12.5 months if the home is built by the homeowners themselves.
There is, however, a third option for people who want to move into an affordable home quickly: a barndominium.
What is a barndominium?
A barndominium is the industry term for a pole barn house. Unlike homes with traditional foundations and stick framing, barndominiums are post frame homes that boast the open concept, flexibility and lower cost of pole buildings.
The Benefits of a Barndominium
Pole barn homes are the epitome of functional design. The simplicity of post frame home construction provides for affordable, well-made homes that can be customized and accessorized to fit their owners’ needs and aesthetics. The following are some of the benefits of building a pole barn home.
As mentioned above, the average price to build a stick framed home is $100 – $200 per square foot. Pole barns, on the other hand, cost $40 – $55 per square foot on average. While this price range only accounts for the building’s warm shell (exterior), concrete floors and a variety of accessories, the most expensive part of building a home is the framing. The savings of post frame construction can be substantial for most home builders.
If desired, barndominium builders can construct just the shell of a pole barn home, leaving the homeowners to finish the interior on their own, or with friends or family. This route can provide a huge cost savings – but only if the homeowners and their helpers have the necessary skills.
Barndominiums take significantly less time to build than traditional homes. Instead of the approximate 7 to 12 months for stick framed homes with traditional foundations, barndominium homes take 3 to 8 months on average. There are a number of factors that can affect the timeline of a barndominium build; however, most post frame constructions are much quicker than other builds.
Open Concept Design
Barndominium floor plans take open concept living to the next level. That’s because barndominium design is founded around the natural openness of pole barn interiors. Originally used as barns and agricultural buildings for farmers during the Great Depression, modern barndominium interiors embrace the minimalist design of their barn forefathers with open concepts, tall ceilings and exposed trusses.
Modern barndominium interiors are customarily open concept, but that doesn’t mean barndominium design stops there. One of the biggest advantages of pole barn homes is how easily these buildings can be customized. A popular customization involves adding a second level.
Many people opt for a two-story barndominium, which separates living space onto two levels for a more traditional feel with living areas on the first floor and sleeping areas on the second. If a full second floor feels too closed off, a barndominium with a loft is a great option for a dedicated sleeping space that provides separation but maintains the open concept feel of barndominium living.
Living in the Intermountain West, the outdoors is a huge part of everything we do; creating livable outdoor space comes as second nature. Pole barn homes make this an easy customization, as lean-tos make wonderful covered patios that can be enjoyed nearly year-round. While more of a Southern tradition, a barndominium with a wrap around porch can provide 360-degree views for sunrises, sunsets and family star gazing.
Despite all of the benefits of a barndominium, there are a few downsides to post frame construction and pole barn homes may not be the best choice in some situations.
Dormer Roof Styles
Compared to stick frame homes, barndominiums’ roofs are not as flexible to allow for multiple dormer roof styles. If you’re looking for a house design that incorporates multiple dormer roof styles, you’re better off with a traditional build.
Barndominiums are designed to be a simpler build; it’s what makes them faster and more affordable than other builds. If you’re desired home design is more complex, a barndominium is not the right choice for you.
When it comes to exterior treatments, barndominiums are not as flexible as conventional builds. Pole barn homes can be finished with metal siding, vinyl siding, or cedar wood and batten, as well as Hardie board. And while stonework can be incorporated in a wainscot, most barndominiums keep the exterior design simple.
Utah’s Barndominium Builders
If you’re looking to build a pole barn home in Utah, south Idaho or southwest Wyoming, or if you’re curious about Beehive Buildings’ custom barndominium floor plans, please feel free to contact us or comment below!