Feb 15 2022 / Buyer's Guide ,

Post-Frame Buyer’s Guide: Can a Sioux City Barndominium Have a Basement?

Given their open spaces, flexibility, and an almost endless number of possible configurations, it’s no wonder that custom barndominiums in Sioux City are so popular. However, any form of construction has its limitations, from ranches to A-frames, and a barndo is no exception. For some homeowners, that raises a question: can a barndominium have a basement in Sioux City? For that matter, should it? Your Home, Built Your Way.

Get a free barnominium quote

Common Barndominium Foundations

The short answer to the first question: yes, you can build a barndominium with a basement. The second question takes a bit more consideration, and to start, we have to compare the different kinds of foundations a post-frame building contractor can install.

Concrete Slab

A concrete slab is the most common form of barndominium foundation. Because the cross-laminated timbers handle most of the building load, a basement or crawl space doesn’t have the same importance as it might for a stick-built home. Slabs have their share of issues, though, especially in the Midwest, where winters can be harsh and ground freezes can cause problems with your water and sewer hookups. Furthermore, a concrete slab requires more of your home’s supporting structure—furnace, HVAC, and the like—to be sited indoors, cutting into the useful square footage.

Barndominium Basement

Basements are typically built below the grade, even though some parts of them will be visible from ground level to allow for ventilation. On smaller lots, building down can give you more usable square footage without adding a second or third floor. Strong and easy to condition, they can provide extra living space, additional storage, added protection from the elements, or even act as a refuge in the event of a tornado.

Basements come in three types:

  • The full basement, which spans the entire length and width of the structure
  • The partial basement, which sits below only a portion of the home
  • The walk-out basement, which is common in homes built on hills; one side will be at ground level, while the other part opens onto the downward face of the slope.

Barndominium Crawl Space

If you need a happy medium between a slab and a basement, such a thing does exist–the crawl space. While it runs under the home as a basement does, it’s built above the grade, unlike a basement, which is built partly below the grade. A conventional crawl space may be as little as eighteen inches high inside, meant to offer service access to utilities. On the other hand, there’s no reason that a “crawl space” can’t be walkable, built at the same interior height as a conventional basement, or only slightly shorter.

That, in turn, can give you a way to keep utilities and some appliances (your water heater and furnace, and possibly even your washer and dryer) out of the way, while also giving you supplemental storage space. The only drawback is that crawl spaces aren’t typically conditioned, so like a slab or post foundation, you’ll still need to insulate your utility hookups.

The Pros and Cons of Basements and Crawl Spaces for Barndos

Basements and crawl spaces have both benefits and drawbacks. Among them:

  1. Pro: They provide ventilation, which can help keep the home cooler in the summer.
  2. Con: The same ventilation may make your home harder to heat in the winter.
  3. Pro: Each can make it easier to build on an uneven site.
  4. Con: Site prep is more extensive and more expensive.
  5. Pro: Each is a good defense against flooding.
  6. Con: Each can also attract rodents, and may come with certain drainage concerns.

Barndominium Design and Construction Near Sioux City

Although barndominiums are attractive for their simplicity and cost-effective construction, every build brings with it unique design considerations driven by your needs and desires. For that reason, enlisting a post-frame building contractor in Sioux City like Koskovich & Murphy is key to your project’s success. We turn barndominiums from houses to homes! Get in touch today to initiate a free design consultation.