The metal building you choose for your barndominium can affect your plans in many ways!
Can you use a bolt together building and do it yourself or is it a better value to have a crew erect it in a week? Finding local contractors who are referred by happy customers can save you a lot of time and a few headaches!
Things to consider:
- Will you construct it or can you find a company who does?
- Water resistance: how sealed is it?
- Column width: Will determine the thickness of your external walls.
- Column Spacing (bay width): how strong would you like your home to be?
- Column placement (will you expose columns or hide them in walls?).
- Truss type: Will it be easy to place your walls inside?
- Height: will you want 8, 9 or 10 foot ceilings along with attic space?
- Wind and snow load: The pitch of the roof and strength of the frame work are important.
- Is a steel or wooden framework best for your area?
- When should you consider galvanized steel for your framework?
- Do you need a pre-engineered building? Check with your county for their code requirements.
- What kind of metal warranty will your R-Panel and C-Panel include? Full/Prorate/Color?
- What color walls and roof will be best to absorb or reflect solar heat?
- Will you want gutters in the future? Is so plan for it to begin with.
- Will you want to have porches?
- What kind of fasteners will you use? Color matched? Zac Screws? Nails? (we hope not)
- Pro tip to have your fasteners in a straight line… Predrill several sheets at the same time!
- Will your side walls be a mix of metal, siding or stone work?
- Horizontal Purlin type and thickness: Will you need to drill through it or attach your walls to it?
Will you construct it or can you find a company who does?
Depending on the type of metal building you choose you may have the option of assembling it yourself. Will the time it takes you be worth it? We have seen crews assemble the buildings in less than a week.
If you are considering doing it yourself think about the equipment you will want to have handy to get up high enough for the truss placement and what will elevate the trusses for you. If you don’t know anyone locally who has constructed one reach out on the internet for people who have so you can ask about their experience.
If you are considering a kit building get a list of customers in your area you can interview and hopefully view the building. You will want to see the width of the columns as well as if the columns bend inward where they attach to the trusses. If they bend inward that will affect your ceiling height or be framed around and thus stick out into your living area.
If you build it yourself save your self time by using Zac Screws the first time instead of nails which eventually come out. (You will end up replacing them with screws eventually.)
Water resistance: how sealed is it?
You want your metal roof as tight as possible. Some round roofs use complete panels over the entire building where as pitch roofs a ridge vent that runs along the top where the two metal sheets meet. It is very important to install this correctly. Remember sometimes it rains sideways.
The fasteners you choose also contribute to the water tightness now and years into the future. Please avoid nails they will eventually start to pull out.
Screwing your nails into the purlin is also very important, if you miss the purlin you will need to seal that hole with something other than the screw or else you will end up with a leak.
You may also consider using roofing felt paper over the top of your ceiling/insulation with the thought being a small amount of water can fall on it and evaporate rather than absorbing into your insulation and wood.
Column width will determine the thickness of your external walls.
Whether you choose a pole barn, 2×6 barn or bolt together pre-engineered building, the external walls thickness will need to be wider than the columns which support the roof. Or you will need to frame around the columns or leave them exposed.
This will also determine how deep your window will be set into the wall. Imagine a 10 inch thick wall with a two inch window, that will give you 4 inches on each side of the window or some combination of 8 inches.
Column Spacing (bay width): how strong would you like your home to be?
How far your column space is affects several things the first of which is the strength of the outer shell (framework) of your home. What is recommended for a barn may not meet your expectations or local code for a home.
The bay widths will also have to be taken into consideration when placing your windows and doors along the outside of you building since they can’t be where a bay support is.
If you live in an area with violent weather, you should consider a tighter bay spacing.
This column spacing also determines where you can’t have windows and doors so your plans should be matched to the bay spacing you choose.
If you are buying a kit building or pre-engineered building check on plans with different bay spacing.
Column placement is important when selecting your plans.
If your metal building for your barndominium includes support columns you will need to take this into account. Will you hide them in interior walls? We have designs where the metal building includes a lean to which means there are center support columns that were hidden in the walls.
If you select a clear span building you will not have any support columns inside your structure.
Truss type: Will it be easy to place your walls inside?
The way your truss attaches to your columns will be important to factor in when selecting your metal building. You will want to make sure you have the clearance necessary for your ceiling supports to clear them.
Height: will you want 8,9 or10 foot ceilings along with attic space?
If so make sure you verify the height of the metal buildings trusses. And realize you may want attic space for storage, or for AC and Heating ducting or other mechanical systems.
Having enough room to work comfortably when building your barndominium may be reason enough to include some extra height. You may run your electrical wires and water pipes above your ceiling.
Will you have enough room to roll or blow insulation?
Will you have a larger Motorhome in the future? You will want your inside clearance to be high enough along with an overhead door to match. (See our slab page for more on planning for a motorhome hookup.)
Wind and snow load: The pitch of the roof and strength of the frame work are important.
This isn’t a hay barn it is your home and shop so make sure you consider the wind and snow loads that may come. Check your local codes to ensure you make the correct choices. **Also realize the doors and overhead doors you choose may be the weak link that enables major damage. Doors rated for high winds are a great investment. Look for wind struts on your doors!
Is a steel or wooden framework best for your area?
Depending on where you live you may have a couple of choices – wood framework or steel frame work. Consider the life of each as well as the warranty if any exists. Treated wood buildings which are kept dry should last as well as they do in conventional homes.
It may be easier to frame your exterior walls when attaching them to wood. When attaching to metal purlins have some drills handy. If you are running wires down exterior walls you will need to drill through metal purlin and then want to add some conduit (maybe PVC) to protect your wires from rubbing against the metal purlin.
When should you consider galvanized steel for your framework?
Depending on where you build your barndominium you might benefit from galvanized framework. This is especially true for porches, lean-tos or roof extensions which are outside your enclosed areas. If this is your beach barndominium, price the framework with galvanized steel.
Do you need a pre-engineered building?
Check with your county for their code requirements to see if a pre-engineered building is required. Also, if building in a HOA they may have requirements related to the building.
Will your side walls be a mix of metal, siding or stone work?
Your exterior walls can be most any material just like a conventional home or metal like a metal building. Do you want your home entrance to be stone or brick while the rest is metal? Maybe you will have a few feet of metal siding coming down from the roof and then regular siding.
For your exterior walls that are NOT metal, you will be attaching a hardy cement board or OSB to the external walls you frame out. Usually there will not be any metal perlins on these walls instead the framer will frame the exterior wall and tie it into the metal frame (as seen below).