Barndominium Kits Vs. Custom Builds: Which Is The Better Choice?

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Dec 11, 2023

Deciding on a home can be challenging, especially when weighing the options of barndominium kits versus custom builds. Did you know that barndominiums offer incredible value and can cost less per square foot than traditional homes? This blog post will guide you through everything from costs to customization so you can make an informed decision.

The Difference Between Barndominium Kits and Custom Builds

When deciding between a barndominium kit and a custom build, the choice often boils down to a blend of personalization versus efficiency. Explore each option as we unpack their unique building processes, cost differentials, and how they can either limit or liberate your creative vision for your dream home.

Building process

Prefab barndominium kits make the building process quicker and easier. You get most of what you need delivered in one package. However, the kit does not include essential things like the concrete slab, plumbing, electrical work, HVAC systems, or someone to put it all together. So, you still have to hire people for these jobs.

Customized home builds allow you to design your dream house from scratch. You pick all your materials and decide on every build detail with your construction team. This takes longer than barndominium kits because everything is made just for you. Custom builds can be more costly since they require more hands-on work by professionals.

Cost breakdown

Deciding between a barndominium kit and a custom build means looking closely at the numbers. Barndominium kits start cheap at around $20,000, but they can increase in price depending on how big or fancy you want your home.

If you grab one of these kits, remember that what’s inside the box is straightforward: steel frames for walls and roofs plus some plans to show you where everything goes. You might spend from $5,000 to even $350,000 on a kit.

Custom builds are different; they’re like ordering a meal with all your favorite sides—it costs more because it’s made just for you. Stock plans cost less—between $1,300 and $2,000—but if you want a customized plan, that’ll be about $4,500 to over $6,000 for unique blueprints alone.

And once those blueprints become actual buildings? The price tags range widely—from about $112,800 to an eye-watering $540,000—with most folks paying somewhere near the middle at around $265,000 for their dream metal building.

Factors to Consider Before Choosing Between a Barndominium Kit or Custom Build

Deciding between a barndominium kit or custom build involves weighing multiple considerations that can significantly impact your budget, timeline, and lifestyle. Understanding these factors is crucial to determining the most suitable path for creating your dream home.

Cost and space considerations

Money and space are crucial when choosing between a barndominium kit or making one from scratch. A kit can cost as little as $5,000 or up to $350,000. Custom building usually costs more. For example, a custom 2,000-square-foot home might be around $200,000. But a traditional house of the same size could be about $360,000.

You also need to think about your land. Clearing it for building can add $1,300 to $4,300. How much space you have matters, too! Bigger homes cost more money and need more land. If you don’t have much cash or if your land is small, a barndominium kit could use space better and save you money.

Zoning restrictions

Zoning restrictions are rules about what you can build and where. Before you decide on a barndominium kit or a custom build, check the local zoning laws. Some areas restrict the building of barndominiums or require special permits.

If you want to live in certain states or areas, make sure they allow steel buildings like barndominiums. Each city has different building codes and land use regulations that could affect your plans.

Making the Choice: Is a Barndominium Kit or Custom Build Right for You?

Delve into the nuances of barndominium kits and custom builds, discerning which aligns with your vision for space, design flexibility, and long-term goals to make an informed decision that shapes your future living experience.

Need for a professional builder

A skilled builder turns your dream home into a reality. These experts can create open spaces for you to live and work in. Expert construction matters when making something special, like a barndominium. When you hire an experienced contractor, they offer personalized floor plans and professional craftsmanship.

This way, your barndominium is not just any home; it’s crafted just for you with all the details that matter most.

Design and customization options

Barndominium kits come with set plans and styles. This means you might not get to choose every detail of your home’s look. But these kits often include options like bigger porches or special roof designs.

If you want a home that fits all your ideas, custom barndominium builders are the way to go. They let you pick everything from wall colors to the floor plan. You can even add unique touches like a big balcony or fancy stairs.

Your barndominium should feel just right for you, whether it’s from a kit or made by a builder. Think about what kind of space and design you need before deciding on which path to take for your new home.

Energy efficiency and longevity

Barndominium kits often use strong steel and other long-lasting materials, which can withstand wind, rain, and sun for a long time without breaking down. The tough metal roofs on these homes also help them last longer.

Energy efficiency is another big win for barndos. They are designed with good insulation, meaning you use less energy to keep your home comfy, saving money on bills.

Lower home insurance premiums.

You might save money on home insurance with a barndominium. Since these homes often use sturdy metal frames, they can withstand bad weather like strong winds or heavy snow. Insurance companies may offer lower premiums because there’s less risk of damage.

And if you add energy-efficient systems to your building, insurers might drop prices even more. Picking the right type of house could also mean paying less property tax. Consider these savings as you decide the best path for building your dream home. 


Barndominium kits offer a solid, budget-friendly start for your home. Custom builds give you more freedom to pick what you want. Think about what matters most to you. Is it saving money or making everything just right? Your choice between a kit and a custom build shapes your home’s future.

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