How To Convert An Old Barn Into A Barndominium

If you want to combine the timelessness of a historic structure with the comforts of a modern home you might want to convert an old barn into a barndominium. Converting an old barn frame into a new residence or outbuilding has become more and more common in recent years. This is a great way  to preserve a piece of our architectural heritage for decades to come.

This type of project is not without its own set of challenges, though and should not be taken lightly. Here's how to get started, along with several things to be aware of before you begin.

Study Old Barn Frames

An understanding of the different types of barns and their common layouts is essential in determining how to integrate the new living space into the old framework, and in choosing which barn style fits your project best.

Set a Project Budget

Before you contact any professionals, it is necessary to determine your project budget.

Hire a Professional Timber Framer

This is where a lot of projects can go wrong out of the gate. The internet is full of "great barn deals," and there are many companies in the business of chopping down old barns with chainsaws and shipping the parts. But there are also many reputable timber framers who do this type of work every day and have the necessary skills and experience to give you the most barn for your buck.

Listen To Your Timber Framer

When it comes to choosing which barns to avoid, which barn to purchase, which repairs should be made, and which pieces need to be replaced, listen to your timber framer. Their knowledge and experience will save you time and money in the end and give your project that extra "wow factor."

Try and Leave the Original Unaltered 

There are patterns in the way old barns were built. No matter how skilled your timber framer is, additions and alterations will stick out from an aesthetic perspective. In the most successful conversion projects, the owners think of the barn as a piece of history that they are giving a second life to, not just a bunch of beams to be cut up to fit a floor plan.

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2 thoughts on “How To Convert An Old Barn Into A Barndominium”

  1. Yes, it can be done. Not for the faint of heart or thin of wallet. No mention of powder post beetles, rot, neglect, ill-conceived alterations, the conundrum of enclosure vs. preserving character, insulation (or “out-sulation”), airtightness, structural or code requirements. So the article title of “How To…” doesn’t provide much – except advising to hire a professional. Maybe that’s enough good advice. Just be prepared to spend money, and lots of it.

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