RV Barndominium: A Unique Type Of RV Storage
If you’re in the market for some covered RV storage options, you may have heard of something called an RV barndominium. Although there are lots of websites detailing their floor plans and features, they fail to answer the basic question: What are these things?
As the name suggests, it’s a mixture between a condominium and a barn/garage. These buildings are designed to provide coverage and protection to RVs while doubling as a living space. The center of the design is usually occupied by a large garage, but there is space on the sides and top for extra rooms.
Barndominiums come in many shapes, sizes, and decor styles. Lots of them are meant to resemble barns (hence the name), so they have some rustic charm. The earliest barndominiums were probably actual barns that were tall enough to store an RV during the winter. Nowadays, they are usually custom-built, but the design elements are still there. They are also called RV port homes, so that’s another name you might know them by.
These buildings might not be a practical choice for everyone, but they can be perfect for full-time RVers and people who want to store their campers at home. We’ll explore some common features, examples, and pros and cons of these buildings below.
Converted barns are becoming popular in the house-flipping community. They can be bought for a low price and offer a lot of space to work with. It’s entirely possible to turn a barn into a large home, but they also have potential as RV storage units/garages.
Due to a demand for cost efficiency and high-quality materials, most RV barndominiums are custom-built. That way, builders don’t have to work with old layouts and replace eroded materials. The modern RV barndominium is a garage first and a living space second.
Since there are a variety of manufacturers and companies that make these, the features and designs will vary. However, there are a few common features you can expect to see in these buildings.
First of all, they have high ceilings. This is a necessity, especially in the garage. Most RVs are taller than standard vehicles, so they need a tall roof to accommodate that. The living spaces on the sides will have ceilings of a similar height, although they may be sloped to accommodate the design.
The materials are another fairly common feature. To provide stability, most barndominiums are made from metal frames and panels. They may have faux wood exteriors to add some rustic flavor, but metal is the main material. This makes them fairly strong and low-maintenance.
They’re also quite durable and can be constructed to withstand the natural risks in your area. For instance, some might be designed to be resistant to wind, extreme temperatures, wildfires, and heavy snowfalls. This gives you the same protection as an indoor RV storage unit, but with the benefit of an add-on living space.
A second small garage is another design feature that’s fairly common for an RV barndominium. This can be used to house a car, ATV, motorcycle, or other bulky items. The RV garage is usually occupied by a large camper or motorhome, so it helps to have a smaller backup garage for other vehicles.
Lots of construction companies are capitalizing on the popularity of barndominiums. However, there is a limited market for those who are interested in an RV barndominium. Most people are looking for houses and are less focused on the garage aspect.
However, there are a few manufacturers that specialize in RV-centric designs. For instance, Our Barndominium Life offers a few designs that were specifically made for RV owners. The Windermere lineup has 4 base designs that customers can choose from.
The Windermere I offers a nice blend of comfort, utility, and convenience. This design features an oversized 2-car garage. Covered RV carports are attached to both ends of the building. Because these carports are open-air, they’re good for warm weather setups, but not so good for winter storage.
There is 1,040 square feet of living space in this design. That’s plenty of room for a living room, bedroom, full bath (with a dual sink vanity), and a spacious kitchen. The kitchen offers tons of storage and workspace with its U-shaped counter.
Another great option is the Eleuthera from Reunion Pointe. This one doesn’t really have the barn aesthetic, but it serves the same purpose. This port home has a nice tall RV port on one end of the home. The attached home has 1,411 square feet of living space. There are 3 bedrooms, a kitchen, a living room, and an outside space for patios and gardens.
Most standard-built barndominiums have open carports for the RVs. If you want something with a full garage that opens and shuts, you may need to custom-order it from a construction company.
Pros and cons of an RV barndominium
- RV storage: One of the biggest benefits of an RV barndominium is that it gives you a place to store your RV. Constantly traveling and searching for parking and campgrounds can be exhausting. It’s nice to have a reliable place to return to. Plus, you can store the RV in a protected area during periods of disuse or bad weather.
- Extra space: There are lots of places you can store an RV, but a barndominium is useful because it gives you extra space for storage and living as well. Even the largest RVs are limited when it comes to space, so it’s nice to have a place to stretch out.
- Cheaper than a house: Even though you need to pay to build or buy an RV barndominium, it’s still cheaper than buying a house. There are smaller and made from cheaper materials, so they’re usually more affordable. If you choose to convert an existing barn into a barndominium, you can also buy these buildings for a good price.
- Not practical for everyone: One drawback of an RV barndominium is they’re not practical for everyone. You need to have a large RV that you use frequently to make this worth the cost. If you already have a home, this addition is unnecessary.
- Must be custom-ordered: In most cases, you’ll need to have your barndominium built specially. Most businesses focus on home-centric designs and don’t account for large garages. You’ll need to look for a company that can suit your needs and communicate with them to make a good design.
- Significant investment: Although an RV barndominium is cheaper than a standard house, they’re still going to cost a pretty penny. You’ll also need to pay for an RV lot or a piece of land where you can set it up. Utilities will be a recurring cost and you will still need to keep up with your RV maintenance and expenses as well. You need to be confident that this decision is a good one for you before you commit.
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