Can You Build a Barndominium on A Pier and Beam?

Generally, you can build traditional houses on various types of foundation, depending on the structure type or where its located. But is it also the same for Barndomniums? For example, can you build a Barndominium on  pier and beam foundation?

Yes, You can build a barndominium on a pier and beam. Barndominiums are majorly built on a ground-bearing slab. The foundation provides a stable base for your Barndominium structure and keeps it in place. Although it is uncommon to build a barndominium on a pier and beam, that doesn’t mean it is not possible.

How Is A Pier And Beam Foundation Constructed?

Pier and beam foundation is also known as “post and beam foundation” is constructed by burying a reinforced concrete footing deep beneath the ground level. This footing secures the foundation of the building in the ground to prevent soil movement. Piers usually made from concrete or bricks will then be constructed and connected to the footing. These piers shoot out from the ground and support the beam connected to the floor joists under your flooring.

How Is A Pier And Beam Foundation Constructed

Pier and beam foundation performs better in dry soil areas. Since the footings are buried deep underground, they remain unaffected by soil changes at the surface level. This ensures that your building is very stable.

What Are The Advantages Of A Pier And Beam Foundation For A Building?

Pier and beam foundation certainly has its advantages. You can consider them if you’re thinking of building your barndominium on this type of foundation.

Pier and beam foundation protect your building against flooding and moisture. In a pier and beam foundation, the building is elevated. The piers sit at around 25 inches above ground level. Hence, increasing the overall height of the building. This elevation protects the base of the building against flooding.

It offers a secured route for electrical and mechanical works. The space between the flooring of the building and the ground level is referred to as a crawl space. You can use this space to effectively install and route your plumbing and electrical units. Should there be any need for repair or replacement of any of these pipes in the future, it’ll be easier. You won’t have to break the concrete floor as in the case of a ground bearing slab.

Pier and beam foundation is also energy efficient. The crawl space provides an extra source of insulation from the ground air. This in turn saves your energy cost.

As mentioned earlier, the piers sit about 25 inches above the ground. This can make the building aesthetically appealing. The piers shooting out from the ground level make the building they support bigger and this enhances the physical features of the building.

How Will The Crawl Space Affect Your Barndominium?

Barndominiums rarely have a crawl space. But when they do, you must understand how it works. Crawl space has its pros and cons. It offers many benefits if it is in the right state. Otherwise, if not managed well, it can be unpleasant.

Crawl spaces can quickly affect the quality of your Barndominium. While it keeps your building cool during the summer, which is a great advantage. It will also be a source of constant cold during the winter seasons. The cost of keeping the house warm increases. Moreover, if you can properly mange the crawl space, it won’t have a big temperature effect on your Barndominium.

How Will The Crawl Space Affect Your Barndominium

Furthermore, crawl spaces beneath your barndominium are susceptible to collecting dirt. Keeping the crawl space clean is quite difficult. It can even become a breeding ground for the infestation of insects and pests. This can compromise the well-being of the barndominium occupants as a whole.

Crawl spaces are incredibly difficult to clean out regularly because the spaces are very small. Nevertheless, proper maintenance at intervals will minimize the risk the crawl space can pose to your barndominium.

Pier And Beam Or Slab Foundation For Your Barndominium?

If you are considering which type of foundation to choose for your barndominium, then pay attention.

One of the advantages a pier and beam foundation has over a slab foundation is the utilization of the crawl space. The crawl space is used to easily access to electrical and mechanical works in a pier and beam foundation. For a slab foundation, you will have to break the concrete slab for future repairs and replacement.

Nevertheless, the slab foundation is cheaper to construct than the pier and beam foundation. A pier and beam foundation is mostly associated with issues like low-quality materials, variations in the strength of piers, and inadequate spacing between the piers and the beams. Yet, these issues can be rectified and repaired more easily than any slab foundation problems. Once the slab foundation begins to crack, it might be difficult to fix.

Pier and beam foundations are also very suitable for areas with expansive and contracting soils. Slab foundations would crack or shrink under conditions which would pose danger along the long run. Pier and beams foundation  are also much suitable for uneven floor areas or hilly ground, unlike slab foundation.

No structure is perfect, you have to balance out the pros and cons of both methods when considering your choice of foundation for your barndominium. Rest assured, you can build your barndominium on a pier and beam.


In most situations, builders construct the foundation of Barndominiums using the flat slab type of foundation. But in certain situation, they would need to certain adjustments. This is to counteract the effect of the elements(e.g. flooding). Hence, the need for a Pier and beam foundation. This type of foundation raises the floor of the structure and prevents various disasters caused by flooding. Pier and beam foundations for Barndominiums are quite unpopular but very possible. Best rest assured that whenever you see one, there’s a specific purpose for it, not just for aesthetics.

James HallBarndominiums Advisor

I'm James, your barndominiums advisor. Several years ago, I had no idea what barndominiums were. Although I'd spent over 10 years in the construction industry, the first time I heard about barndominiums was when I saw my neighbor building a new-style home. That was the first barndominium I've ever seen, and I found it so fascinating that I wanted to learn more about them.

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