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Building Your Timber Frame Home Out of A Barn

Posted on Jun 22, 2017

Should you convert an old barn or build a new barn-style home?

Barlow timber barn home floor plan

The beauty and legacy that is seen in conventional timber framing began as a natural building choice for barns. Even today, some of the oldest buildings standing, many still in-use, are classic timber frame barn structures. So, what is it about a timber frame barn that has inspired homeowners for generations?

Soaring ceilings, open, flowing space, and rustic charm; the traits of a barn are also those desired by contemporary house hunters. Once forgotten, centuries-old barns are now prized by homeowners for their simplistic ascetic, craftsmanship, and connection to yesteryear.

For those living on working land, traditional timber frame barns are natural parts of their everyday life. Built as a simple storage area or housing for horses and livestock, these structures retain a genuine integrity and functional layout that keeps them important no matter what their current purpose. Below, we’ll explore the difference between building a new barn style home and restoring an existing barn and the benefits that come with both!

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custom timber frame barn

Custom Timber Frame Barn Project from Riverbend

Building A New Barn Style Home

Overall, building a new barn home gives you more control over the process and outcome of your project. If you start your home design from scratch, you can customize your home any way you want. You can control the size, style, and layout. This is a great advantage if you desire a gambrel barn home in a location where bank barns are prominent. Want an elevator or lookout tower in your home? Custom elements are easier to build from scratch than adapt to an existing structure.

Kenton Barn Home

Ohio barn-style home by Riverbend

Although a new residence may not have the history of a Dutch barn, it can still have character and uniqueness.  The craftsmanship and tradition of timber framing brings an authentic and timeless element to new barn homes.

Energy Efficiency of New Barn Homes

New barn homes are also more energy efficient than converted barns that have had an energy retrofit. Air leakage and conductive heat loss are two ways to measure energy loss. Today, new homes seal your interior from the elements and minimize energy loss.

Riverbend Timber Framing’s barn homes incorporate a building system that works together to create a highly energy-efficient structure. Riverbend’s homes begin with Advantage® brand ICFs (insulated concrete forms), which form channels for and insulate the concrete foundation.

Around the timber frame barn structure, Riverbend uses Insulspan® structural insulated panels (SIPs) to form the walls and roof. The panels have a solid core of EPS (expanded polystyrene) insulation sandwiched between two boards of OSB (oriented strand board). SIPs offer structural stability and insulation in one product reducing air leaks and heat transfer at the same time. This helps you heat and cool your barn home with a minimal energy cost.

asheville barn home floor plan

Asheville architectural design concept by Riverbend, a classic example of a barn style home

Homeowners who want more design control during their project opt to build a new barn style home. While new construction is not without challenges and unexpected issues, they can be mitigated with a new home design.

Converting an Existing Barn into a Home

Calgary Barn Residence

A historic pole barn or post and beam stable that has been on your family’s property for decades could be the ideal way to build your charming new farmhouse. How hard could it be to restore a barn and turn it into a house? On television, charismatic contractors transform leaning barns into luxury homes in just 60 minutes. However, turning a barn into a home is more complicated than simply hanging drywall and forming rooms.

Barns face harsh weather and often fall into disrepair. Over the years, this can lead to the deterioration of the structure. A barn that is usable for farm work may need additional structural support to meet building codes. Even if you have the barn’s structure assessed by an engineering professional, there may be unexpected discoveries during construction.

Necessary structural fixes sometimes limit your ability to customize your new home. While almost any room configuration is possible at first, you may have to address structural issues. For example, if you need to add a timber post in the middle of your stairs or great room, it is imperative that you rearrange the home’s layout for functionality.

Lancaster barn style floor plan design concept by Riverbend

Furthermore, barns do not to control the temperature and atmosphere like modern residences. In addition to structural work, installing new windows and insulation is necessary in order for a weather-tight home. Depending on the structure, you may not be able to make it as energy efficient as a new home.

Despite the possibility of major construction challenges and design changes, converting old barns into homes is very appealing to some. The nostalgia of an antique barn or preserving a precious piece of family history is worth the hard work and unknowns.

Get Your Dream Barn Home Started with Riverbend

Today, there are many people attracted to the open layout and warmth of timber flowing through a traditional barn’s interior. And, for those with no need or desire for a barn, the look and feel is easily incorporated into a Barn Style home. Continue your research, access your budget, and interview barn homeowners to get the additional information you need. If you would like more information about designing or building a timber frame barn style house, a Riverbend Client Representative is happy to answer your questions or discuss your project. Contact us today.

Visit our photo gallery and see the classic appeal that inspires clients to build homes, barns, and additional living spaces with this time-honored look. Take a look at our Timber Frame Barn Style and Farmhouse Style Floor Plans and find the one that fits you.

Need More Information?

Whether you’re looking for more information or would simply like to learn more about us and our services, don’t hesitate to contact us. Please follow the link below to access our online form or call us at 888.486.2363 in the US or 888.999.4744 in Canada. We look forward to hearing from you.

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