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Barndominium Exterior Wall Framing | Is $elf Building Worth It? | Ep 9

Welcome back to "Is self-building worth it?" Today, we're going to be covering framing, so that's super exciting. But before we get started, let's talk about our Design Services on If you're looking for just about any sort of barndominium, we've got something for you. We can go the custom design route, we have a lot of different stock plan options, and we're able to do plans for various types of construction: stick frame, steel frame, and post frame. We have a lot of great resources, especially our post frame plans, and we are going to be adding a lot of post frame stock plans over the next few months. We also have a Patreon group for all of you who want to self-build, self-GC, or maybe you want to start building these as a business. It's a great community of like-minded people where you get to share your builds, ask questions, and participate in live sessions with special guests. 

Self-building a barndominium

I remember the exact moment I stood up that very first wall. I remember being excited to get to that point. I had all the rock down on the building pad, kind of leveled off, and to actually start putting up walls was pretty fun.The walls don't look that big on the ground, but when you stand them up, they're huge.

Now, let's talk about the material package. Our package came from Menards, but we faced some issues with their steel delivery and packaging, which led us to use a smaller steel company. It's more efficient and cost-effective. You can take your plans to Menards for lumber and get a material list, but it's trickier for steel lengths. 

Moving on to framing, stick framing and post framing have their pros and cons. It's essential to consider safety and practice with tools like endless loop straps for lifting walls and proper drilling techniques for brackets.

DIY house framing

Reflecting on the build process, having helpful friends and family made a significant difference. Many of our friends played crucial roles in various aspects of the construction, demonstrating the value of teamwork and collaboration. Ultimately, despite the challenges and learning curves, the building process was a rewarding experience, shaping the structure and the relationships involved.

As for the columns we use in our designs, we recommend laminated columns for their straightness and strength within a wall system. You're going to get much better quality out of them, as they won't warp over time. The rule of thumb we follow is that any wall 16 feet or over in sidewall height requires a four-ply 2x6 column. For walls under 16 feet, we use a three-ply column. For example, I used four-ply columns for my house with an 18-foot sidewall and three-ply columns for the garage with a 10-foot sidewall.

If you want to use 6x6 posts, that's fine, but it might be more difficult to find them straight, especially for taller buildings where they can warp. The reason laminated columns work so well is that you have three 2x6s with opposing grains, keeping them straight.

Exterior framing of a barndominium

Regarding roof trusses, while building your own can be done, it's often better to buy engineered trusses. They're not too expensive and come with gang nails, ensuring durability. As for equipment like lifts, it's often more cost-effective to rent than to buy, especially for DIY projects. Safety is paramount, especially when involving family members or friends in the construction process.

Self-building on a budget is challenging, especially when lacking space for tasks like painting trim or doors. Living in a camper adds another layer of difficulty. If we were to do this again, we'd ensure the garage was finished and set up for comfortable living.

MR Post Frame family

I love looking back and remembering our life at this time. We were getting ready to start the new school year because it was late August. This was Hunter's first year in school, so I had decided to homeschool her for kindergarten. I knew that we would be moving to Winterset after that school year. As for Remington, we were now out of the district that Hunter had gone to preschool in, so I decided to do homeschool stuff with him aswell. I’m glad our kids are smart, because man, it was kind of a disaster. Our third child was not quite two but she was very mobile and wanted to be involved in everything. This made it tough to teach anybody because she wanted to climb up on the table and dig through all the stuff. I just don't know how people manage when they have non-school-age kids, you know? Props to homeschool moms out there.

Although there was so much going on, I look back at this and am just so thankful and proud. The phase of building the house structure and trusses was exciting. Self-building at times is just so satisfactory.

Thank you,

MR Post Frame

MR Post Frame Patreon

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Interested in tackling your build on your own? If you want to explore the possibility of being your GC or self-building, our Patreon membership is for you! It's a community of like-minded people offering support, discounts, Q/A, and more.

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