How Much Does It Cost to Build a Barn?

Leah Lopez Cardenas
Updated December 20, 2021
big red barn on a farm
Photo: Glenda Powers / Adobe Stock

Highlights

  • A barn typically runs $10,000–$158,400

  • Barns generally cost $15–$200 per square foot

  • There are several types of barns, all at different price points

  • Size, materials, finishes, and accessories will impact the price

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A barn can be a super useful storage space and provide shelter for livestock and horses. Depending on how you design and construct it, it can even include housing elements. Before you start building a new build, here’s everything to consider as you budget for the cost to build a barn.

National Average CostMinimum CostMaximum Cost
$50,000$10,000$158,400

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Barn?

Here’s how much you’ll likely pay for each part of the barn and its necessary building permits.

Foundation

A foundation for the structure makes up a large portion of your overall cost, including as much as $12,000.

Electrical

If you want electricity in your new space, expect to pay between $600 and $2,200 to install the wiring or electrical panel for the new structure.

Plumbing

Some homeowners construct a “barndominium” or use their barn as a living quarters; other homeowners want a sink or wash station installed in the barn for cleaning. Whatever the case, if you want plumbing in your barn, you’ll have to hire a local plumber. It costs $600 to $1,600 per fixture to install new plumbing pipes or up to $15,000 to have a pro plumb the whole building.

Roofing

A shingled roof will also cost extra, especially if your new structure is a large one. Expect to pay around $5,000 for a new roof that’s around 1,000 square feet—the price goes up from there, depending on if you need to cover a larger area and the material type.

Permits

Depending on the barn’s square footage, you may also need a permit to build a structure on your property. These types of permits often have fees. The typical cost for a building permit ranges from $424 to $2,291, but some areas charge a percentage of your overall project cost if it’s a large barn.

Each city and state has its own costs and requirements for building permits and licenses, so it’s a good idea to check on your area’s requirements and inquire with your homeowners’ association if applicable before starting your project.

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Barn per Square Foot?

A barn costs between $15 to $200 per square foot to build. When planning this project, the first step you'll need to decide is the type of outbuilding you want for your property.

Barn Construction Breakdown

Several factors can increase the cost of your barn build. Typical barn costs are contingent on the size of the barn, the materials and finishes you use, and whether you want to include various add-ons and upgrades.

Size of the Barn

Depending on how much land you have available and what you intend to store inside the barn, you may choose a barn with more square footage. Below are various common barn sizes homeowners choose to build and the cost range for each.

Common barn size costs compared, with 30 feet by 40 feet averaging $18,000 to $240,000

A small, simple pole barn will be on the lower end, while a fully functional barndominium living space will be on the higher end.

Material Prices

Barns are often constructed from metal, wood, or timber frames—some materials are more expensive than others. For example, a metal barn costs $5 to $50 per square foot, compared to $20 to $100 per square foot for wood or $50 to $100 per square foot for timber.

Finishes

Some barn owners choose to have their barn insulated with drywall similar to the interior of any home, while some choose to use simple plywood or steel for the interior walls. Adding decorative lighting, siding, or shingle roofing to the structure will also significantly add to the project’s overall cost.

Accessories and Add-Ons

You might opt for some extra features that will have an additional cost based on what you plan to use the structure for—accessories vary by location and the barn’s intended use. If you’re building a barn for animals and it often gets cold where you live, you may want to consider ways to help keep them warm in harsh winter weather. Same in the summer—large circulation fans will help keep animals cool in the heat.

Even if you’re just using the barn as a space to store and work on outdoor projects, consider how the structure needs to be wired with electricity to allow you to give yourself lighting and some sort of heating and cooling options, so it’s comfortable throughout the seasons.

Barn Cost by Type

white barn on a farm
Photo: Kristina Blokhin / Adobe Stock

Before you decide which type of barn is right for you, consider the cost of each and its intended use.

TypeCost
Pole barn$10 – $25 per square foot
Modular barn$10 – $30 per square foot
Storage barn$20 – $50 per square foot
Livestock or horse barn$20 – $100 per square foot
Barndominium$50 – $200 per square foot

Pole Barn

The cost to build a pole barn totals around $7,000 to $48,000, making the pole barn generally the least expensive type of barn to build. A pole barn will give you a structure within a relatively low budget. This type of barn uses metal or wood posts to anchor the structure in the ground rather than pouring a concrete foundation, making it easier and more affordable to build. A concrete foundation costs $4 to $25 per square foot on average.

Modular Barn

Modular barns are usually made of metal and designed to be easily put together. The modular nature of this type of barn allows for some customization to give you a layout that best suits your needs for the space. They are often pre-built in a kit, so all the homeowner has to do is assemble the structure.

Storage Barn

A storage barn or shed is often less costly than a livestock barn because of its wide-open space to store vehicles like combines, tractors, lawnmowers, trucks, or smaller items like equipment. A storage barn may also feature shelving, wall hooks, and creative storage spaces.

Livestock or Horse Barn

Many barns can be used to house animals, but horse barns in particular cost more than others. This is because horse stalls take up more space than, say, a hog pen, and you'll also need to make room to store hay and other types of feed. To save money, consider purchasing a prefab horse barn (similar to a modular barn), which costs $20 to $50 per square foot and comes as a ready-to-assemble kit that you can put together yourself or with the help of a pro.

Barndominium

According to HomeAdvisor, a barndominium costs approximately $73,400 to $228,000, which entails more than an average barn. A barndominium requires electrical, plumbing, insulation, and heating and cooling the same way a home would since it's used as living quarters. This type often also requires more interior walls and doors, unlike a typical barn or shed with a lot of open space inside.

Cost to Build a Barn Yourself

framework of building a farm
Photo: Heather / Adobe Stock

Once you decide what type of barn you want to be built and measure how large you want it, you can decide if this build is simple enough to complete on your own or need to call a professional barn or shed builder.

The labor cost for barn construction ranges from $10 to $75 per square foot, depending on the type of work needed. So if you build the barn yourself, for the most part, you can save on this labor cost.

However, even if you build the barn yourself, you’ll still have to hire a local licensed electrician (which costs $50 to $100 per hour) to ensure your electrical installation is compliant with building codes and to avoid any fire hazards. If you go with a pro, be sure to look at ratings and reviews for any contractors you are considering.

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