Barndominium or Shop House – Which Meets Your Needs Better?

What Are Barndominiums and Shop Houses? What’s the Difference?

Let’s start by defining some terms. A barndominium (also popularly abbreviated as just barndo) is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. It’s a residential building which combines the look (and sometimes the functionality) of a barn with the practical home application of a condominium. The metal barndominiums concept originated in New York state, but then really took off as a craze around the Houston, TX area. Barndos have since become popular across many regions of the US, including the South, Southwest, Midwest, and West Coast. You’ve probably seen some metal barns and other barn buildings that have been turned into homes yourself.

A shophouse or shopdominium (sometimes simply abbreviated as shouse) is really just another version of a combination home building. Unlike a barndominium with its agricultural or rural vibes, a shopdominium combines a structure intended for residential living with the added functionality of a garage, shop, or other designated commercial workspace. This really isn’t a new concept though, as skilled tradespeople have been combining living space and workspace in one building all the way back since the Middle Ages.

While barndos and shouses can have different looks and functionalities, the essential common ground between them is that both can be designed and constructed as metal buildings. In fact, at Metal Barn Central, practically any of our metal barn designs can be turned into a personal barndominium, and most all of our metal garage designs can be personalized as your own shopdominium.

Why a Metal Building Home or Combination Residential Building Makes Really Good Sense

Let’s say you’ve secured some property, and are ready to design your own custom homestead. If you weigh which construction design will work best for you, there’s a lot to like about a barndo or shouse metal home approach.

What makes a metal building better? We’re glad you asked! To begin with, light-gauge steel structures are known for being effectively strong, durable, weather-resistant, pest-resistant, and fire-resistant. They also need little in the way of ongoing maintenance and can be customized however you like. And here’s another plus worth noting, too: residential metal structures can be significantly cheaper to build per square foot than a traditional stick-built home.

Can You Really Live Comfortably in a Metal Building Home?

You sure can! Metal Barn Central has designed, delivered, and installed metal building homes for property owners all over, including both barndominiums and shopdominiums. Here are just a few advantages of a steel-built combination home building:


With the pandemic, construction costs and building prices skyrocketed across the board. Folks looking for a good, cost-effective home construction strategy have found light-gauge steel to be a perfect construction material. A steel tubing-framed home structure is around 30% cheaper to build than a comparable wood-framed home on average. And the larger your home/barndo/shouse design, the more you can save by choosing steel for your framing, roofing, and paneling.

Flexible Design

Steel-framed buildings offer spacious open interiors without any need for internal poles or supports. Want to take advantage of including some high ceilings? You can with a metal building. You can also design your floorplan any way you like, and can easily include your own garage space, shop space, or even commercial workspace.

Goes Up Faster

Stick-built homes or combination buildings will require many months to construct, and can even take longer than that. But a metal building installation will go much faster. Once you place your order with Metal Barn Central and get your site ready, your frame structure can be delivered and installed undercover in a matter of just weeks. Or, if you’d prefer to pick up your custom metal building home kit and put it up yourself, you have that option available as well!

Impressive Energy Efficiency Possibilities

This might surprise you to learn, but a well-insulated metal home building can be made to be up to 40% more energy-efficient than a traditional stick build. How? Steel framing is more dense and more compact than wood, so more available cavity space can be filled with spray foam and/or blown insulation. Over time, that equates to cheaper heating & air bills for you. Just one more cost advantage of choosing a steel structure!

The Undeniable Strength of Steel

What’s stronger than steel? When it comes to currently-available construction materials… nothing! Steel has the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any common construction material, and the structures we provide at Metal Barn Central can be certified to meet any local building code, including any required minimum wind load and snow load requirements. Galvanized steel is also more weather-resistant than wood, and it’s more pest-resistant and fire-resistant, too. Thanks to these natural properties of steel construction, a metal building home or combination residential building can often be cheaper to insure.


If you choose to add shop space, commercial space, or agricultural workspace to your primary residence, you’ll also save on commuting costs. No need to have to drive to work, when work can happen right where you are, right on your own property!

Metal Barn Central Has You Covered!

Metal Barn Central is a premier provider of custom steel tube-framed buildings, barns, barndominiums, and shopdominiums across America. We’re happy to deliver and install in 46 US states, and nobody beats our building engineering, customization options, or personalized customer service.

Looking for the best way to pay for it? We’ve got you covered with metal building financing solutions, too. Metal Barn Central offers some great preferred financing options, including a metal building home mortgage solution that rolls in land, frame structure, and finishing costs!

You can reach out to us online, or you can connect even faster by calling us at [Phone Number] today. We invite you to come experience the Metal Barn Central difference for yourself. Let us help you to turn your barndominium or shopdominium dream into reality!