Adding a second story to your house not only boosts the value of the home but can also nearly double the amount of floor space. All this can be done without having to double your budget! 

Barndominiums offer these same benefits at a less expensive price point. That’s why so many people are choosing to build barndos instead of traditional houses.



Building a two-story barndominium has many advantages, such as being cost-effective, as we will discuss in more detail later. 

What is a Two Story Barndominium?

Barndominiums were initially intended to be two stories. The bottom story was designed to keep the animals, and the top story was used as living quarters. 

Today, however, they are consistently designed with a garage/shop on one end and living spaces on both floors. The animals get their barns in which to stay. Although, if you wish to house your animals on the first floor and live on the second floor, by all means, go right ahead; after all, this is your house.

They look like a metal building or barn with a garage door. Depending on the owner’s style, they might have my personal favorite: a wrap-around porch. 

While metal shop houses are the most common, you can customize the exterior using wood, brick, or rock to craft your dream home.

Judging by the interior, one cannot tell the difference between a traditional home and a barndo. The interior can be as extravagant or as simple as your budget allows. 

There are several advantages to building a two-story barndo. 

Advantages of Two Story Barndominiums

Maybe we’re biased, but we believe barndominiums have many more advantages than disadvantages. Two-story barndominiums are excellent alternatives to traditional two-story homes. Several of the benefits are- 

  • The ability to build your dream home for less
  • Doubling the amount of square footage for less
  • Being more energy efficient 
  • A shorter build time
  • Owning a multi-purpose building

Let’s break these advantages down further. 

Build Your Dream Home For Less

Building a barndominium costs less than building a traditional home because they are simpler to erect. This means you have more money to spend on the parts of the house you want to splurge.

Double The Square Footage For Less

Adding a second floor to a metal shop house nearly doubles the floor space without doubling the price. This is because you already have some of the most expensive materials (a foundation) bought, and you won’t have to purchase them again to install a second floor. 

Adding a second floor also means you are taking advantage of the space. You don’t have to double the size of the foundation to capitalize on the space available.

Be More Energy Efficient

Metal shop houses are more energy efficient because people don’t skimp on the insulation. Yes, installing better insulation costs more upfront, but you will get that money back and more in utility costs as the years pass.

Shorter Build Time

Putting up the exterior walls goes quickly, decreasing the time needed to build the entire home. A shorter build time also means money saved regarding labor costs. Purchasing a kit will also help reduce the build time.

Multi-Purpose Building

Owners of two-story barndominiums often have a garage, shop, and house all rolled into one structure. This is great if you’re short on space or prefer not to have multiple buildings on your property. 

Now we move on to the few disadvantages.

Disadvantages of a Two-Story Barndominium

Though we don’t believe the disadvantages of a two-story barndominium to be a deal-breaker, they might be in your specific case. 

The cons are the-

  • Lack of curb appeal
  • Need for land
  • Laws against barndos
  • Increased cost
  • Stairs

Now let’s break down the disadvantages of a two-story barndominium.

Lack of Curb Appeal

Despite having the option to add a custom exterior, it’s not always within budget. So the metal exterior is what’s most commonly constructed, and we even admit metal buildings are rarely considered eye-catching. 

Increased Cost

Adding a story to any building is going to cost extra. So there’s no need to believe installation a two-story barndo will cost the same as a single-story barndo. Because you still have to construct the floor and walls that aren’t there in a single-story barndominium.

Need for Land

You need to purchase land to build a traditional house, but even more so with a two-story barndo because barndominiums are typically large structures. However, you can also create a small barndominium.

Laws Against Barndominiums

Yes, it’s difficult to believe, but some cities have ordinances against living in a metal building. However, if you plan to build outside of city limits, you shouldn’t have to worry about this disadvantage.


The worst thing about having an upstairs is the stairs! Unless you love climbing staircases or installing an elevator, you will have to deal with them in a two-story metal shop house.

Now that we have the negatives out of the way, let’s talk about the price of a two-story barndo.

Costs to Build a Two Story Barndominium

As we mentioned earlier, building a two-story barndominium is cheaper than constructing a traditional house. 

The price per square foot of a barndominium ranges from $35 to $175. This price will be determined by the materials you buy, labor costs, and how much you choose to finish out.

There are different banrdomonium plans if you’re looking for custom two-story barndo layouts.

For an introductory workshop, expect to pay $35 to $60 per square foot. For a livable space, be prepared for $125 to $175 per square foot.

If you’d like to know the total average costs, we also have that available for you.

The average house in America roughly costs $290,000, whereas the average barndominium costs $150,000. 

Barndominium prices can vary drastically. This is because you can purchase kits that tend to be less expensive or hire a builder to purchase the materials, which will be more expensive. 

What to Keep in Mind With Two Story Barndominiums

When building any home, there are many hidden costs that most people tend to overlook initially. The following list is a few of them to keep in mind-

  • Having the utilities installed
  • Specific building permits and regulations
  • Finishing out the entirety of the home
  • Insulation between floors

Installing Utilities

Getting the electric, water, and plumbing installed can cost thousands of dollars for each one. The distance you are located from the nearest source utility often determines the prices. The farther away you are, the more expensive it will be to install. 

If you’re outside of city limits, you won’t have the city systems to connect to, so your only options for waste disposal are a septic tank with lateral lines or an aerobic system.

Permits and Regulations

If you hire a quality contractor, they should give you all the information for permits and regulations for your building area. If they can’t, hire a better contractor.

Finishing Out the Shop and Top Floor

Don’t forget the extra cost of finishing out the shop and top floor. Unless you plan to leave the upstairs as an attic and the garage to park your vehicles, you will need to factor them into your budget. 

Insulating Between Floors

Insulating below the second floor is not for saving on utilities. You will want to insulate for sound dampening. It isn’t very pleasant hearing people walking around on the floor above you, especially if you have kids that like to run and jump around!

Examples of Two Story Barndominiums

When building a two-story barndominium, you get to decide the floor plan and the exact appearance of the house. However, it never hurts to get ideas from other sources! 

Thankfully, we have crafted unique barndominium floor plans in which to get ideas. Feel free to share these with your builder!

Even when you purchase a kit, you still have the option to customize it to your preferences. A lot doesn’t limit your designs. It does help the construction process go a little quicker. 

Editorial Contributors
Todd Gillman

Todd Gillman

Todd Gillman is a skilled writer and an expert in the realm of home improvement projects, with a particular focus on pergolas and barndominiums. With years of experience in the industry, Todd's passion for construction and design shines through in his engaging and informative writing. His articles provide invaluable insights and practical advice for homeowners looking to enhance their outdoor spaces with beautiful and functional pergolas or embark on the unique journey of creating barndominiums - a seamless blend of barn and home. Todd's expertise encompasses various aspects of these projects, from selecting the right materials and design styles to offering tips on construction techniques and maximizing space utilization. His attention to detail and commitment to quality craftsmanship ensure that his readers are well-equipped to tackle these projects with confidence. Whether you're a DIY enthusiast or a homeowner seeking inspiration and guidance, Todd's writing will empower you to transform your living spaces into stunning, personalized retreats that enhance both the aesthetics and functionality of your home.

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