How Much Does a Barn Cost to Build?

Typical Range:

$1,595 - $4,890

Find out how much your project will cost.

Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 572 HomeAdvisor members. Embed this data

How We Get This Data

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  • Homeowners use HomeAdvisor to find pros for home projects.
  • When their projects are done, they fill out a short cost survey.
  • We compile the data and report costs back to you.

Updated August 18, 2022

Written by HomeAdvisor.

The cost to build a barn ranges from $20 to $150 per square foot, including materials and labor. A small, prefabricated 8-by-12-foot barn could cost as little as $1,920 while a massive timber post and beam barn measuring 40-by-80-foot can run as high as $480,000. A modular metal pole barn is likely to cost you closer to $30 per square foot; at 1,500 square feet, that comes out to $45,000.

The wide variation in this barn cost estimate is due to:

  • Variable material costs, with metal as low as $20 per square foot and wood and timber as high as $100 per square foot.

  • Variable labor costs, with prefab barns requiring no professional labor, modular barns closer to $5 to $10 per square foot, and more complicated, custom barns going for up to $50 per square foot in labor alone.

  • Variable barn construction cost for modular versus stick-built, type and style of barn, and the use of the barn.*

*NOTE: Barns are becoming more popular as homes, wedding venues, and other more upscale use cases. Your barn cost will be higher if you factor in indoor plumbing for kitchens and bathrooms, extensive electrical work, and the cost of an interior designer. If you are taking on this project, it’s a good idea to consult our companion cost guides detailing how much it costs to build a house and, more specifically, how much it costs to build a barndominium. Instead, this specific barn cost guide focuses on traditional use cases, like horse barns, cow barns, and hay barns.

2022 Notice: Material Prices Are Surging

Demand for building materials has grown over the past year. And as a result, manufacturers are increasing materials prices. Prices have gone up 10% to 15% this year, and many parts of the country are experiencing long delivery times. If you're planning a building project, we recommend starting as early as possible in the season, preparing for potential price fluctuations, and allowing extra time to order materials.

Average Barn Costs

Average Cost$45,000
High Cost$15,000
Low Cost$105,000

This table reflects the average, high, and low costs to build a metal pole barn (an estimated $30 per square foot). The three prices reflect three sizes: 500 square feet, 1,500 square feet, and 3,500 square feet.

The lowest cost you can expect for a small prefab barn is $1,920, while a complex wood barn covering 3,200 feet might cost as much as $480,000.

Cost to Build a Barn Per Square Foot

The cost to build a barn varies significantly based on the material, construction type, and use case. You might spend as little as $20 per square foot for a small prefab barn or as much as $150 per square foot for a custom timber barn. Thus, we represent the average barn cost per square foot as a range: $20 to $150 per square foot.

Barn Dimensions in Feet (Length x Width) Average Cost Range
8x12 $1,920 – $14,400
12x20 $4,800 – $36,000
20x20 $8,000 – $60,000
30x36 $21,600 – $162,000
24x50 $24,000 – $180,000
40x50 $40,000 – $300,000
40x80 $64,000 – $480,000
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Modular vs. Stick-Built Barn Construction Costs

How your barn is constructed can significantly impact your total barn cost. Because they are built off-site, modular barns are more affordable and may not have any labor costs. Stick-built barns are constructed on-site and can have labor costs as high as $50 per square foot on top of material costs.

Modular Barn Prices

Modular barns generally cost $20 to $60 per square foot, including materials and (when necessary) labor. Most modular barns are metal. Though they allow for a little customization, you’ll typically choose from standard designs. Modular barns are built off-site, either as fully prefabricated structures or large components for on-site assembly. This keeps labor costs low, anywhere from $0 to $10 per square foot.

Stick-Built Barns

A stick-built barn typically costs $20 to $100 per square foot, depending on the material. In some cases, when labor includes multiple contractors and structural engineers for a massive barn, you might spend as much as $150 per square foot. Unlike modular barns, stick-built barns are constructed on-site; they can be completely custom and built atop a concrete foundation.

Cost to Build a Barn by Type

The type of barn is one of the largest factors in determining the overall cost to build a barn, with prefab and pole barns costing as little as $20 per square foot and post and beam barns costing as much as $150 per square foot.

Barn Type Average Cost Range Per Square Foot
Shed row barns $20 – $90
Monitor barns $20 – $105
Pole barns $20 – $90
Post and beam barns $60 – $150
Gambrel barns $25 – $100

Shed Row Barns

Shed row barns cost $20 to $90 per square foot, depending mostly on size. This type usually measures long and narrow, with a series of stalls on one side and a corridor for walking. Shed row bars are common modular formats, but you can also design a custom, stick-built shed row barn.

Monitor Barns 

Monitor barn prices range from $20 to $105 per square foot. This term describes the height of the center aisle. A low-monitor style costs $20 to $40 per square foot, compared to $40 to $65 per square foot for a high-monitor. Complicated, custom-built monitor barns can go as high as $105 per square foot.

This type is rectangular or square, with stalls on both sides and a walking or workspace in the center. If you have several horses or you need extra storage for show equipment, a monitor barn might be the best choice.

Pole Barns

The cost to build a pole barn ranges from $20 to $90 per square foot. Like structures for hay, this design is fairly basic to keep prices down. Modular pole barn costs can be quite low; it’s only in the rare case that you build a custom stick-built pole barn that you might spend up to $90 per square foot.

Post and Beam Barns

Post and beam barns cost from $60 to $150, including materials and labor. Always built on-site, the labor can be quite extensive. Even though the post and beam method uses fewer (but heavier) timbers, keeping material costs down, the extensive labor results in a higher price. 

Gambrel Barns

This style of barn costs between $25 and $100 per square foot. Modular gambrel barns are more affordable, anywhere from $25 to $50. These barns feature a gambrel roof with a raised center section, with lower livestock stalls typically on either side.

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Cost to Build a Barn by Use

While barns as homes, vacation rentals, and wedding venues have become more popular, our barn cost guide focuses on traditional use cases: livestock and farm storage. Barn prices can vary depending on the livestock living within them.

Barn Use Average Cost Range
Horse barn $20 – $50 per square foot
Hay barn $20 – $25 per square foot
Hog barn $25 – $60 per square foot
Cow barn $400 – $500 per cow

Horse Barns 

Horse barns cost $20 to $100 per square foot, depending on size and features. Common types include:

  • Shed row

  • Monitor

  • Horse barn run-in shed.

Almost any style can accommodate horses with added features. For example, if you want to keep animals in a pole barn, you’ll need to install a few extra components. Building an indoor riding area costs an average of $150,000.

Horse Barn Costs Per Stall
Stalls Price
2 $2,000 – $10,000
3 $3,000 – $15,000
4 $4,000 – $20,000

Prefab Horse Barns 

Prefab horse barn prices range from $20 to $50 per square foot. Most products come as a kit, but you may have to hire a pro separately to assemble it. Prefab horse barns are always metal and may vary in individual stall size. At a minimum, horses should have 12-by-12-foot stalls, but some advocates argue for even more space per stall.

Hay Barns 

Hay barns cost $20 to $25 per square foot. Since this style tends to be fairly basic, you’ll pay less per square foot for a larger size.

Pole barns are the most common type for storing hay. You can buy options with a curved roof for quick installation or a more traditional style.

Hog Barns

Hog barn prices range from $25 to $60 per square foot, or $200 to $300 per pig. This includes an average of 7 1/2 square feet per pig and additional structures needed to separate the animals.

Cow Barns

A cow-calf hoop barn generally costs $400 to $500 per housed cow. You typically cannot purchase such barns as a prefab modular build; instead, you’ll need to pay for an on-site build. 

Work with a professional contractor to design the barn; they’ll provide a quote based on the estimated number of cattle you need to house. If you believe your operation will expand, you’ll want to build it larger with additional cattle in mind.

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Barn Pricing by Material

Barn prices for materials alone range from $20 to $100, with metal barns typically being the most affordable.

MaterialCost Per Square Foot
Metal$20 – $50
Wood$20 – $100
Timber Frame$50 – $100

Metal Barns

Metal barns are the most affordable to build, ranging from $20 to $50 for materials. This style comes almost exclusively as a prefab or modular kit, which minimizes the total expense. As a result, you may not have as many options for customization.

Cost to Build a Wood Barn

Building a wood barn costs $20 to $100 per square foot, depending on type and construction. Simple styles like a pole barn run the least, while custom-built options are as much as $100 per square foot.

Timber Frame Barns

Timber frame barns cost $50 to $100 per square foot. They are the most expensive because they may be built to order, with high-end materials like solid wood.

Barn Construction Cost Breakdown

Material and labor are the two major cast factors when building a barn. Still, other factors come into play to influence pricing. 

Labor

Prefab barns shipped to your home have no labor costs at all, but you’ll typically spend $5 to $10 per square foot for basic modular kit construction, if pieces need assembling. More complicated barn builds, like a post and beam barn construction, can cost as much as $50 per square foot.

Labor costs might include multiple contractors, including plumbers, carpenters, electricians, and structural engineers:

  • Plumbers cost $45–$200 per hour.

  • Carpenters cost $13–$39 per hour.

  • Electricians cost $50–$100 per hour.

  • Structural engineers cost $100–$200 per hour.

You may even need additional contractors, like roofers, landscapers, and concrete pourers.

Foundation

Not every type of barn requires that a foundation be laid. If your barn requires a foundation before building can begin, expect to spend between $4 and $20 per square foot in foundation costs.

Roofing

If you are building a custom barn (not a modular unit that comes with a roof), you’ll need to factor in the cost of a metal roof, about $4 to $30 per square foot. Metal roofs are the preferred type of roof for barns, but you can work with a local roofer to understand what other roof types are viable for your project.

Permits

Another common barn construction cost factor is the permit. Most homeowners and landowners will need to obtain a construction permit to build a barn. The cost of a building permit ranges from $425 to $2,300.

Clearing Land

If you want to build a barn in an uncultivated section of your property, you will likely need to budget for the price to clear land, typically $100 to $1,125 for half an acre.

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Barn Construction Cost Factors

Barn construction prices depend most on these factors:

  • Size: Smaller styles cost more per square foot, but less for the total.

  • Finishes: A high-end metal roof or siding adds thousands to the project.

  • Accessories: Custom doors, insulation, skylights, and decorative posts cost extra.

If you’re trying to minimize expenses, consider features like a lean. This adds usable space at a much lower price per square foot.

Cost to Build a Shed or Playhouse

The cost to build a shed or playhouse ranges from $200 to $30,000, or $5 to $150 per square foot. These tend to be smaller than the average barn. Shed prices specifically range between $1,500 and $4,000 for prefab models.

DIY vs. Hire a Pro Barn Builder

Since most barn projects need multiple contractors, it’s best to hire a professional. Completely prefab barns may not require a contractor, but even small modular barn kits with great instructions generally require some professional assistance. When you’re ready to hire barn builders near you, be sure to:

  • Outline your budget and your plans.

  • Read ratings and reviews.

  • Get at least three quotes before you choose a pro.

FAQs

How do you pick someone to build a barn?

When considering professionals to construct your barn, it’s important to ask the right questions. Some things you should ask of any potential barn construction contractors include:

  • Are you licensed and insured?

  • Do you have experience building this type?

  • Can I see a portfolio of past projects?

  • Can you provide three references from past customers that I may contact?

What type of barn do I need?

For most use cases (i.e., raising livestock), you can purchase a modular metal barn, though the type will depend on the actual animals living inside. You may also want to build a custom barn if it’s in your budget. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you deice what type of barn you need:

  • What is your budget?

  • What do you want to do with the building?

  • How many pieces of equipment or animals do you need to keep inside?

  • What are the laws concerning outbuildings in your area?

How much does a barn house cost?

Building a metal home or barndominium costs $73,400 to $228,000 for 2,400 square feet. You’ll pay even more for a larger barn house. This project costs more than the typical barn construction because you’ll need elements like a kitchen, bathroom, and finished living spaces. Building a barn house is comparable to building an actual home.

Can you get a loan to build a barn?

If you need a loan to build your barn, consider asking your bank for a construction loan. This loan allows you to pay the contractor or barn builder without the need to reach into your own bank account. Construction loans for barns work the same as construction loans for new homes. Just be aware that construction loans are usually for a shorter term but higher interest rate than a traditional mortgage loan.

How long does it take to build a barn?

The time it takes to build a barn depends on the type and size. Small, fully prefabricated barns require no labor; once they arrive, building can begin. Other modular barns can take two to five days (small), four to seven days (medium), or even five to 12 days (large). Fully custom barns built on-site can take several weeks to construct.

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