concrete barndominium

When most people think of barndominiums, they think of wood or metal structures. But did you know that you can also build a concrete barndominium? These structures have all the things you love about metal framed barndos but with the added benefits of concrete.

But how do you build a concrete or ICF barndo and can you put it on a basement?

Residential Concrete Barndo by BE ARCHITEKTUR GMBH

Photography by Vitto Stallone

What are the Key Benefits of Concrete Barndominiums?

ICF barndos have many benefits compared to their steel frame counterparts. Along with cost savings, these barndos also offer superior strength and durability.

You can rest assured that you’re living or even working in a structure that’s both comfortable and safe.

Other benefits of an ICF barndominium include:

Energy Efficiency

Concrete’s mass helps slow down the transfer of heat through walls. When insulated, concrete barndos will stay cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

Concrete walls also don’t have as many air leaks as wood or steel-framed walls. Air leakage accounts for a large percentage of a home’s energy loss.

In fact, concrete homes like barndos can save 20-25% in energy costs each year.

Disaster Resistance

The high strength and durability of concrete make it a great building material for disaster-prone areas. In fact, concrete homes are believed to be one of the safest and most durable types of homes in an earthquake.

Concrete is highly resistant to high winds from hurricanes and tornadoes. After Hurricane Katrina, one concrete home was the last one standing in one area.

Concrete blocks can withstand winds up to 250 mph.

The material also has natural fire and pest resistance.

Low Maintenance

Concrete, in general, is an extremely low-maintenance material. Some would argue that it never needs to be maintained.

ICF barndos are rarely affected by rot or termites. And if you choose a low-maintenance façade for your walls, you have little to worry about when it comes to maintaining the exterior. Stucco and brick are excellent choices, but if you don’t mind some maintenance, high-quality wood is another great option.

High Durability and Strength

Traditional concrete has a tensile strength of 300-700 psi and flexural strength of 400-700 psi. It can withstand high winds, and has a lifespan of 50-100+ years.

The high strength and durability of the material makes it an ideal building material for a barndo.

When you build a concrete barndo, you get peace of mind that your home will remain safe and habitable for decades to come – and with little maintenance required. You’ll be building a home that you can pass down for generations.

Great Indoor Environment Quality

Concrete barndominiums have generally healthier indoor environments with fewer airborne allergens and contaminants found in most homes.

Overall, concrete is also an environmentally friendly material made from sustainable, natural materials (sand, water and gravel). It does not produce harmful emissions during deconstruction or production.

As you can see, ICF barndos offer many advantages compared to traditional stick-built homes.

How To Build a Barndominium with Concrete

icf barndominium

Building a barndo with concrete isn’t as complicated as it sounds. For example, the ICFs from Fox Blocks combine all five building steps into one: air barrier, structure, insulation, vapor retarder and attachment.

To build barndominium walls, the process looks a little something like this:

  • Interlocking hollow ICFs are dry stacked to the wall’s length.
  • Forms are braced and reinforced.
  • Concrete is poured into the hollow panels.

The process creates a single and integrated wall system that insulates and protects against moisture and air leakage.

Can You Put a Barndominium on a Basement?

A simple barndominium offers a ton of clearspan space, but you can do even better. Basements offer you the space necessary for:

  • Game rooms
  • Home gyms
  • Movie theater
  • Storage
  • Laundry
  • Wine cellar
  • Anything you want

Many homeowners will convert their basements into an apartment or additional living spaces to get more use out of the home.

Your plans for a basement can be anything, and there’s good news: barndominiums can be placed on a basement, although most go on a simple slab.

If you want your barndo to be put on a basement foundation, you’ll need to make the decision early on and discuss your options with the builder. Basements will require you to excavate the land to make room for the basement. Pouring concrete for a potential floor and walls for the basement. You’ll need to have the barndo secured to the basement via brackets, which are put in place to secure the barndo frame.

You can choose from multiple basement types, such as:

  • Full basements
  • Partial basements
  • Walk-out basements

Walk-out basements require the most consideration because they can make it challenging to secure the barndo properly. Partial basements are often the best basement choice because they:

  • Cost less than other basement types
  • Fit into barndominium designs with greater ease

But you’ll also lose some floor space when compared to a full basement.

Basements may or may not be a good option for your barndo. You’ll need to consider the advantages and disadvantages of adding a basement to your barndominium design plans.

Advantage of Adding a Basement to a Barndo

Basements are beneficial, and one of the top regrets people have when building their homes is not having one. “I should have added a basement.”

Why? Because they add an immense amount of storage space to the home.

You can store old furniture, decorations or other items in the basement to keep your room closets free of clutter.

A few of the main reasons for adding a basement to a barndo, include:

  • Add additional living space to the home in the future
  • Perfect space for a laundry room and workshop
  • Option for adding interior space to smaller homes
  • Acts as a place of safety during extreme weather, such as a tornado
  • Provides relief from the heat, which makes them good spaces for working out

Often, a person’s home will lack the space that they want in the future. It’s not uncommon to complain that you don’t have enough space if you have kids or gather a lot of holiday decorations over the years.

It’s also nice to keep rooms functional and not have to turn the guest room into your home office or a place to exercise.

Disadvantage of Adding a Basement to a Barndo

Simple concrete barndominiums are cost-effective and can be erected quickly. If you’re on a strict budget, you’ll find that a traditional slab foundation will cost $5 – $13. Basements can cost $35 – $40 per square foot, making them much costlier.

A compromise between the two is a crawlspace, which offers some form of storage, easy access to plumbing and a price between a basement and slab.

Do you have a strict time frame that you want for your barndominium?

Basements can take several weeks from start to finish. If you don’t want to wait long before placing your barndo, a concrete slab may be the better option.

Areas prone to flooding may not be ideal because your basement may be at risk of flooding. Pumps may need to be installed to remove the water from the basement, which can make adding a living space (if allowed in your city) impossible.

Concrete barndominiums are strong, durable structures that have the strength to withstand extreme weather and they’re a practical solution for building a barndo. Concrete barn homes are exceptionally strong and durable, making them ideal for homes. Learn more about ICF barndos.

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