“Barndominiums” are becoming very popular these days. I myself am on the barndominium bandwagon, as it seems to be the most versatile and cost effective way to build a house.
For those of you who haven’t heard of the term “barndominium”, it’s a combination of the words “Barn” and “Condominium.” Basically, the idea is to build a freestanding metal building, and finish the inside into a house. Barndominiums typically are much cheaper per sq.ft. to build than traditional wood framed houses, but can have all the same features (brick walls, bay windows, etc.)
Of course, closed cell spray foam and barndominiums go together like peas and carrots. As with any other structure, closed cell spray foam seals up even the smallest openings, preventing wind/moisture/dust/allergen/pest intrusion. It also adds substantial strength to whatever it’s applied to, creating a sort of “shell” which ties the building together.
We have insulated countless metal buildings, many of them built to be barndominiums. Recently, we had the opportunity to work on a very interesting project. Our customer was in the process of converting an actual barn, estimated to be between 75 – 100 years old, into a two story cabin style apartment.
The basic structure was still in decent shape. The owner had already installed a door and some windows, as well as a compact stairway. They had also replaced the upstairs subfloor. When it was time to consider insulation options, closed cell spray foam was the only logical choice. The shiplap walls were full of large gaps, and there were huge gaps between the tin roof and walls.
Since the upstairs side walls already had chipboard installed over the studs, the foam was installed to the outside of the upstairs walls.
The finished product was a virtually airtight structure, that will be very inexpensive to heat and cool. Closed cell spray foam adds substantial racking strength to any structure its applied to. It also provides a Class II vapor retarder that is always on the correct side of the wall, no matter what the temperature and dewpoint. This is why we consider it the undisputed king of insulation.