Safety is a primary concern when building a structure like a barndominium. You want to have a building that will keep you safe. In the event of calamities like earthquakes, tornadoes, and hailstorms, you want to ensure your barndominium will keep you safe. When it comes to safety, how does a barndominium stack up against other buildings, like traditional homes?
This article will address all your safety concerns about barndominiums. We will assess a barndominium’s capabilities when faced with threatening situations, like severe weather conditions. By the end of this article, we hope to clear any doubts you have about the safety of living in a barndominium.
Table of Contents
- 1 Are Barndominiums Safe to Live In?
- 2 How Safe Are Barndominiums?
- 3 How Can You Keep Your Barndominiums Safe?
- 4 Final Thoughts
Are Barndominiums Safe to Live In?
Yes, barndominiums are safe to live in. Most barndominiums have metal or steel frames that make them strong and durable. The strength and durability that barndominiums promise are just some of the reasons why many homeowners gravitate towards these types of buildings.
How Safe Are Barndominiums?
Let’s find out how safe a barndominium is against common threats that structures face.
If you live in Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, Mississippi, or Kansas, you’re probably used to tornadoes. These five states experience the most tornadoes in the country, so you’ll want to build a structure that can withstand these forces of nature.
Steel structures, like barndominiums, can do well against a tornado. Steel has one of the best strength-to-weight ratios among building materials, making it excellent against destructive winds. Depending on the type of material your frame is made of, a steel building can withstand forces of up to 170 miles per hour.
Fire is one of the most common causes of loss of properties. House fires can start from a wide variety of sources. Cooking is the most common cause of house fires in the United States. House fires can also result from portable heaters or faulty electrical systems.
Steel is a durable, noncombustible, fire-resistant material. When properly designed and constructed, steel framing can preserve its structural integrity in the event of a fire and exposure to prolonged elevated temperatures. Protection against fire can help ensure that the money you spent financing your barndominium doesn’t go to waste.
If you live in California, building a structure that can withstand strong earthquakes is a top priority. According to the United States Geological Survey(USGS), California experiences around 10,000 earthquakes yearly. While most of these earthquakes are so small that they are never felt, about 15 to 20 are greater than magnitude 4.0 and can damage structures. Two to three earthquakes are large enough to cause moderate damage to structures. This highlights the importance of building a structure that can withstand potentially damaging earthquakes.
A metal building, like a barndominium, does well against earthquakes. Steel is a ductile material, making it an excellent choice for a seismic-resistant building. Ductility is the property of a building material that allows it to dissipate seismic energy. What does this mean for barndo owners? A steel building won’t absorb seismic energy during earthquakes, so it will sustain less damage. Instead of breaking, like other building materials, metals can bend up to a certain degree without breaking.
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This unique capability of barndominiums makes them more suitable to survive earthquakes. However, homeowners must still carefully inspect their barndominiums after a major earthquake. Look for signs of damage and have damaged sections repaired or replaced immediately to preserve the structural integrity of the entire building.
Storms or Hurricanes
Barndominiums are safe against storms and hurricanes. This is because of the ductility of the metals that we mentioned earlier. Being ductile means steel barndominiums can withstand strong winds without sustaining considerable damage. Most barndominium should be able to stand wind speeds of up to 150 mph. However, since barndominium builders and suppliers use different building materials, asking them about the maximum wind speed your barndo can handle would be best.
Although rare, lightning strikes can occur during extreme weather conditions. One concern among prospective barndominium owners is the fear of barndominiums attracting lightning. Yes, barndominiums made of metal are good conductors of electricity. Metals are better conductors of electricity than wood or concrete. However, there is no need to fear lightning strikes while living in a structure with a metal frame. Excellent contractors use lightning and electrical grounding systems. These systems allow electrical current to pass through a structure into the ground without causing any damage to the structure.
Lightning strikes can also result in fire, which gives barndominium owners an advantage. A standard home made of wood can catch fire during a lightning strike, which can put your property in danger. On the other hand, steel buildings remain structurally sound against lightning strikes. A steel barndominium won’t easily catch fire unless the lightning strike accidentally hits a wooden part of the structure.
Termite infestation is another concern among homeowners. Termites are voracious eaters of wood and can damage buildings when left unchecked. According to the EPA, termites cause billions of dollars in structural damages yearly. Homeowners spend over two billion dollars yearly to treat their properties against termites. A metal barndominium is not susceptible to termite infestation because termites cannot thrive on metals.
How Can You Keep Your Barndominiums Safe?
While barndominium homes are generally safe, you can still do some things to make a barndominium safer. Allow us to tell you about some steps you can take to ensure that your barndominium remains safe.
Although a barndominium requires minimal upkeep, you need to periodically check your structure for signs of damage to schedule repairs. After natural disasters, like hurricanes and earthquakes, walk around your barndo to check for damages. Check for leaks, holes, and dents on the structure’s interior and exterior. This will help you find minor damages and prevent them from becoming major issues. For example, holes can get bigger and let water into your barndominium. This can result in water damage to your furniture, appliances, or clothes. If you see holes in the metal sheeting of your structure, fix them immediately or hire a contractor to do it for you. If there are trees near your barndominium, check for leaves and other debris on the roof and gutters. This debris can decay and damage your roof and gutter.
It would also be best to get a professional to inspect and assess your barndo for areas you can improve. A professional can provide you with advice on how to improve the safety of your barndominium.
Although a metal barndominium is fire-resistant, you can make your structure even more so by installing a sprinkler system. A sprinkler may be an added expense, but it can help protect your property from the damaging effects of house fires. In addition, some counties have regulations that require the installation of sprinkler systems on barns and barndominiums. This means that builders need to install sprinkler systems as part of their requirements for building permits. Check with the building authority in your area to see if you are required to install a sprinkler system because local building codes vary from one county to another.
Corrosion and rusting are natural enemies of metal structures. The good news is that there are many steps you can take to protect your barndominium. Check if your supplier sells barndominium kits with an anti-corrosive coating that protects them against the damaging effects of corrosion. If you are doing a DIY build, you can use anti-corrosion paint on your structure’s frame and metal siding. This is an additional layer of protection against corrosion. It is also best to fix leaks immediately because moisture causes corrosion and can weaken your structure.
While a majority of barndominiums are made of metals, some barndos are made of wood and prone to termite infestation. If you own a wooden barndominium, you can reduce the likelihood of termite infestation by using anti-termite treatment. Look for a local contractor who can treat your building to protect it and the valuables inside it. What if you have a metal barndominium? Even if you have a barndominium made of metal, it will have some wooden components, plus you have wooden furniture to consider. So, even if the threat of termite infestation is minimal, using anti-termite treatment can greatly benefit you.
Mold and mildew
The growth of mold and mildew can result in wood rot. If left untreated, this can result in the deterioration of any wooden component, which can weaken a structure. While a metal barndominium is mostly safe from mold and mildew, it still has wooden components you can protect using anti-mold paint. Mold and mildew can also pose threats to your health and the other occupants of your barndominium. Mold produces allergens and irritants. Exposure to mold can result in irritation of the throat, eyes, skin, nose, and lungs.
If you see mold growth inside your barndominium, you can clean it by scrubbing it using water and detergent. You also have the option to hire a contractor if the mold growth is extensive. Mold and mildew grow in wet and damp areas. You can prevent their growth by ensuring that your barndominium doesn’t have leaks or humidity issues. You can do this by periodically cleaning your barndominium and its sewage system. Your HVAC system can also encourage mold growth. If you believe your HVAC system is contaminated, do not run it to prevent mold from spreading to other parts of the barndo. Hire an HVAC system specialist to clean your barndo’s vents and pipes.
Safety is one of the reasons why barndominiums are gaining popularity. A steel structure can protect you from hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornadoes. It is fire-resistant and non-combustible. It also performs well against pests like termites. However, aside from the inherent characteristics that make barndominiums safe, homeowners can also make their structures safer by following the tips and suggestions outlined above. These simple steps can help ensure you have a structure that protects you and your investments for a long time. Follow our Facebook page for more safety tips, DIY hacks, sample barndominium floor plans, and design ideas.