Wood-Framed vs. Steel-Framed Barndominiums: Which is Better?

If you’ve been searching for a barndominium kit for your property, chances are you’ve already stumbled across hundreds of pre-engineered barndominium or barndo options online. From barndominiums with farmhouse flair to those with ultra-modern features and finishes, there are seemingly endless house plans for one’s project, making it exciting and challenging to choose just one for your future build.

While it’s natural to focus on appearances first, one of the more imperative factors in the barndominium research process is determining the best building method for your location, needs, and wants. Between steel construction and wood construction, you may be asking yourself: which is the better choice for my project?

Whether you’re just beginning your search or narrowing down your options, we’re here to help you make the most informed decision for your barndominium build. If you’re ready to take the next step in your project journey, continue reading below to learn more about wood-framed and steel-framed barndominiums and the top factors you’ll want to consider with either choice.

What is a Barndominium Kit?

More often than not, a barndominium kit is a prefabricated building package that is customizable to the homebuyer and comes with pre-cut, pre-designed framing elements for easy assembly. Using off-site construction methods, a team will prepare your package before delivery, ensuring all framing members are precisely labeled, fabricated, and ready for installation once they arrive on the job site.

Not to be confused with modular buildings, which are shipped in sections to form a whole structure, a prefabricated building package sees that your framing crews have everything needed to quickly and accurately construct your building envelope (i.e., your floors, walls, and roof components). Once they’ve done so, your contractor will finish the remainder of the build, ensuring total success with your barndominium project.

Key Features of Barndominiums

Barndominiums are multi-use structures that blend the simplicity of barn-style living with modern amenities and finishes. Many of these homes feature spacious garages and workshops on the main level, offering a unique and efficient approach to residential living. Of their distinct characteristics, however, barndominiums are best known for their flexibility and budget-friendly qualities. See why barndominiums continue to capture the interest of millions of homebuyers across the nation:

Open Floor Plans

Barndominiums are known for their exceptional flexibility and openness. With their wide-open floor plans and lack of load-bearing walls, these structures offer the ideal set-up for people looking for a versatile building design for their property. With a barndominium floor plan from DC, you can easily tailor your design to include things like bedrooms, bathrooms, a modern kitchen, porches, and more. Many of our barn houses come standard with open-ended garage areas, which you can adjust to include a workshop or room for items like skis, surfboards, or miscellaneous equipment.

Fast Construction

With a prefabricated barndominium kit, you can look forward to a streamlined installation process that cuts standard construction timelines by 30% to 50% on average. Additionally, prefabrication ensures better, more accurate results for your build while significantly reducing the amount of waste, noise, and pollutants produced on-site, making it an eco-friendly process with tons of benefits for homeowners.


One of the main advantages of choosing a barndominium design for your property is its incredible cost efficiency. Barndominium kits often employ numerous cost-saving construction methods, making them some of the more affordable custom home options on the market.


While dependent on the building method used for your barndominium, most barndominium kits offer an incredibly durable and long-lasting frame. As building designs, these structures provide optimal security and safety for homeowners and their loved ones.

Wood-Framed Barndominiums

Wood-framed barndominiums offer a warm and inviting aesthetic that many homeowners find appealing in a new home or structure. Wood construction brings a naturally insulating property to barndominiums, making these structures highly energy-efficient and cozy in various climates. In many cases, the flexibility of wood construction allows for more complex designs and easy modifications or expansions like extended square footage. With a wood-framed barndominium, homeowners can enjoy the classic charm of exposed wooden beams and the unmatched ambiance of these rustic structures.

Types of Wood-Framed Barndominiums

Barndominium designs encompass all kinds of looks, styles, and configurations—not to mention building methods. While most barndominiums on the market are metal-built structures, below are some of the most popular wood-framed options for those seeking a naturally rustic barndominium for their property:


Many barndominiums, like our Meridian Barndominium Kit, are clear-span structures designed with durable wood posts and trusses that span the width of the building. Vaulted wood trusses create a wide-open interior that doesn’t require additional structural supports like load-bearing walls, allowing you to do as you wish with your living space.

Post & Beam

Post and beam structures feature premium heavy timbers joined together by metal fasteners and connectors. The walls of a post and beam structure are positioned outside the frame, resulting in an interior defined by its exposed wood elements, vaulted ceilings, and exceptional durability.

Timber Frame

Like post and beam structures, timber frame barndos boast beautiful, exposed heavy timbers inside their spaces. However, the main difference between these structures lies in the way their timbers are connected, with timber frame structures instead relying on wooden pegs and grooves for a more seamless, traditional look.

Pole Barn

Pole barns are wood-framed buildings that use pressure-treated lumber embedded in the ground to secure their structural frame. While cheap and easy to build, this method usually makes for a solid outbuilding solution, considering its shorter lifespan and greater propensity to rot, moisture damage, and structural issues than a standard wood-framed structure.

What We Offer

DC Structures offers numerous time-tested building methods for wood-framed barndominiums, including clear-span, post and beam, timber frame, and conventional wood construction. However, for clients seeking a more cost-effective alternative to our signature heavy timber methods, our Meridian Barndominium Kit offers the perfect solution for your one-of-a-kind home. This clear-span barndominium design is a builder- and budget-friendly model with tons of versatility built into its framework. With our variety of options and upgrades, you can turn this barndominium kit into the home you always dreamed of and modify your interior and exterior to include the ideal layout for its intended use.

The Pros and Cons of Choosing a Wood-Framed Barndominium

There’s a good reason why wood is the primary building material for most homes built today. Wood is naturally insulating, renewable, and versatile, making it an excellent choice for homeowners seeking an energy-efficient and durable addition to their property. If you’re considering building a wood-framed barndominium, here are some pros and cons to consider with your investment:

Pros of Building with Wood

Cost Effective

When built with quality materials and methods, wood-framed barndominiums can be incredibly cost-effective in the short- and long-term. With wood construction, buyers can incorporate less costly materials into less frequented areas of their homes, like closets and garages, while ensuring durability is never an issue.

Easy to Build

Wood is known for being an exceptionally builder-friendly material that is easy to construct and lightweight. With prefabrication involved in the building process, you can expect an even faster and smoother installation phase that requires fewer framers and equipment rentals on site.

Aesthetically Pleasing

Wood-framed buildings are naturally beautiful, but they’re especially so when their structural materials are the focal point of one’s interior. By incorporating wood in your barndominium design, you can bring the natural beauty of the outdoors into your personalized living space.


Wood is an incredibly durable and structurally sound building material. At DC Structures, we source our lumber from top mill-direct suppliers in the Pacific Northwest, ensuring all our materials deliver superior strength and longevity for your structure.

Environmentally Friendly

Finally, wood is a renewable material that offers a low-carbon alternative to heavy-duty construction methods like concrete or steel. Its ability to absorb and release heat makes it a natural choice for barndominium owners across the United States and Canada, considering these structures offer built-in energy efficiency that keeps your living space cool in the summertime and warm in the winter months.

Cons of Building with Wood

Can Be Expensive Upfront

Depending on the construction method you utilize for your wood-framed barndominium, you could be looking at an expensive turnkey cost compared to cheaper alternatives. For instance, timber frame structures can be pricey upfront because of the skill, precision, and craftsmanship involved in constructing these buildings. However, to combat this, our team offers hybrid timber framing methods that allow you to pick and choose where you see timber frame elements in your structure. We can also utilize more cost-effective building methods, like post and beam construction and clear-span construction, to ensure you get the best value for your dollar.

Fire Safety Concerns

Building with wood comes with a laundry list of benefits, but one of the notable concerns of designing a structure with wood as the primary building material is fire safety. As summers get hotter and wildfire season grows longer, clients must equip their structures with fire-resistant materials that help protect their investment in the event of a wildfire. At DC Structures, we understand the concerns of our barndominium customers in wildfire-prone states like California, Oregon, and Texas and take our commitment to fire safety seriously. With DC designing and producing your wood-framed barndominium, you can ensure that our team has the best interest of you and your family at heart and that we’re well-equipped to help you design the ideal fire-safe home.

Issues With Pole Barns

Not to be confused with our post and beam, timber frame, or clear-span designs, pole barns are often cheaply built barns that people use as short-term building solutions. These structures usually last about 40 years and are highly susceptible to moisture damage, durability issues, termites, and rot. On top of that, pole barns are typically only designed as single-story buildings rather than multi-story homes due to their limited flexibility. In essence, pole barn barndominiums may seem budget-friendly upfront but can lead to further issues down the road that could cost you more money and less peace of mind.

The Pros and Cons of Choosing a Steel-Framed Barndominium

Steel-framed barndominiums are the most common prefabricated barndominium kit offerings on the market. These structures utilize prefabricated metal components, including posts, rafters, and trusses, that create a large, open interior expanse free of obstructions or additional supports. Liked for their modern appearance, openness, and customizable nature, metal barndominiums can be popular building options for home buyers. However, where there are benefits to these structures, there are also a few disadvantages to keep in mind for prospective customers.

Pros of Building with Steel


Prefabricated steel-framed barndominiums are generally cheaper purchases than traditional wood homes. Their budget-friendly nature is due, in many ways, to the abundance of steel materials on the market and the historically low demand for steel production in new home construction. However, with more people turning to steel for their barndominiums or commercial builds, the market is beginning to see a noticeable uptick in price for steel framing materials.

Easy to Build

Like our wood-framed structures, prefabricated steel-framed buildings can be quick and easy to construct, making them solid choices for those who want a building that can go up much faster than traditionally framed homes. With all framing components fabricated before delivery, you can enjoy a streamlined installation process that is budget- and builder-friendly.


Steel-framed barndominiums are known for their incredible fire-resistant qualities. These buildings can withstand extreme heat without sustaining damage, making them an excellent option for high-rise buildings, production facilities, and outbuildings.


Steel is one of the most resilient building materials on the market. As a material, steel is known to stand up to extreme weather conditions, including high winds, heavy snow, and intense heat. However, metal-framed structures do require additional upgrades and reinforcements to make them livable in various temperatures.

Cons of Building with Steel

Not Environmentally Friendly

Steel production contributes to about 7% of global carbon dioxide emissions, with its production process being one of the most carbon-intensive in the industrial sector. Despite being one of the most valuable materials in the world, steel negatively contributes to our environment, with its production being highly polluting. As we look toward the future, green building materials like wood or carbon-neutral steel will be necessary to reduce the impacts of climate change on our world.

Poor Insulation & Energy Efficiency

Metal-built structures may be fire-resistant, but that doesn’t mean these buildings are necessarily safe in high heat or wildfire conditions. Without proper insulation, steel-framed barndominiums can be incredibly hazardous in high heat, considering their metal components absorb heat instead of releasing it like wood naturally does. The opposite can also be true for these structures—metal buildings can be incredibly cold and unpleasant in frigid temperatures, making it crucial to add robust insulation, heating systems, and additional energy-efficient features to your design.

Can be Ugly

Let’s face it—metal buildings aren’t as pretty as wood structures! We said it, and we stand by it. While metal structures can incorporate wood elements, these buildings typically boast a more modular look that hardly compares to the beauty of wood-framed homes.

Difficulty With Financing

Since steel-framed homes are relatively uncommon developments, you may find it hard to secure financing for these types of buildings. Ultimately, where you live will dictate the type of material you use for your home, meaning if you live in a county or HOA neighborhood with strict restrictions for construction, metal-framed barndominiums may not even be in the running. However, it’s always a good idea to check with your local city office or potential lenders to see what options are available to you.


Choosing between wood and steel for your barndominium can be difficult, but it’s something buyers should weigh heavily before making their final selection. All things considered, we want potential customers to make the best decisions for them, regardless of whether that means you decide to partner with us or with a metal barndominium builder for your project. As you search for your ideal barndominium, we hope you’ll keep this list in mind and the pros and cons associated with various barndominium construction types.

If you do feel ready to speak with one of our representatives about your barndominium project, don’t hesitate to reach out by calling (888) 975-2057 or requesting a free quote here.

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