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What It Cost To Get Dried In, @TheCulleyExperince

Updated: Apr 9, 2023

In the barndo-sphere, you'll often hear talk of "getting dried in".

Barndo Homes and Build
Barndo Homes and Build

This week we'll take you from the very beginning of the build process, through getting dried in and show you all the costs along the way. HUGE THANKS to Matt and Amber @TheCulleyExperince for sharing all of these details, #WhatItCostWednesday is only possible because of generous homeowners like them. If all you want is hard numbers in spreadsheet form, skip to the bottom of this article.

Barndominium Dreams In Rural Pennsylvania

In late 2019, the Culley's decided to take a big leap, sell everything, and move away from the suburbs of Pittsburgh. Though a barndominium wasn't the original plan, Amber found the perfect 6-acre lot and took it as a sign. They penned a letter to the owner and attached it to their offer; In it was the painting of a dream many families now share, a slower life, more time with their children, lots of chickens, and maybe even a dairy cow... It must have struck a chord with the seller because they scored their 6-acre woodland paradise for $25,000.00.

What It Cost To Get Dried In, @TheCulleyExperince
What It Cost To Get Dried In, @TheCulleyExperince

The Culley driveway. March 2020


January 2020- Sold house in town - moved in with family - purchase of house fell through - found 6 acres & sent letter with an offer - purchased tractor - paid deposit on 40x60 steel building - paid for soil testing February 25, 2020- Closed on acerage - began clearing the driveway March 2020- Lockdowns begin April 2020- Shed purchased March 2021- Steel building delivered - excavation for the basement begins July 2021- Footers poured June 2022- Block walls laid ( this took 2 days) - steel building erecting begins - steel building erecting complete July 21, 2022

Barndo Building from the ground up
DIY Barndo Build

The Culley's driveway crosses over a small stream.

The land purchase was contingent on soil testing ($500.00), which pushed their closing date back significantly. The total purchase price of the land was $25,900.00, with additional closing costs of $1,018.95. Prior to the closing they ordered their steel building, a 40'x60' with 16' sidewalls. They purchased through Olyimpia Steel based in Pittsburgh and paid a total of $19,345.00 for the kit in late 2019. Matt and Amber made the decision to buy a tractor before closing as well, knowing that they would rack up a hefty rental bill with all the clearing and dirt work that needed to be done. With the tractor on site and chainsaw in-hand, they moved on to driveway-making, and by the end of the project, $4,400.00 went to hauling in gravel. Since the lot didn't have city sewer access, they needed to have a septic system designed ($1,200.00), and get permits for permission to build it ($500.00). These costs are standard in nearly every county in the USA because improper human waste disposal can be devastating to human health. Although the system hasn't been built yet (as of 10/13/2022), Matt and Amber estimate their septic system will cost $25,000.00 - $30,000.00. In addition to the septic system, they also had to establish a potable well, an expense of $4,510.00.

A Barndominium Extension
A Barndominium Extension

The tool shed quickly became a tiny house. April 2020

Living Tiny To Build Big

Initially, the plan was to live with family while building, however, plans changed as they realized how much time was spent on site. This 10X20 shed was purchased for $3,500.00 in April of 2020 and has served as the family's tiny house. Outfitted with lofts on either end, its tight, but as they say, "love grows best in little houses".

Barndominium Basement Build
Barndominium Basement Build

The Culley girls standing in the freshly excavated basement. March 2021

Construction On The House Begins

March of 2021 was kickoff time for construction. The pre-engineered steel building kit was delivered on-site, and carefully laid to the side to allow excavation for the basement footers. Matt is an ironworker by trade, which gave him an advantage at this stage in the build. Because he would be the person erecting their building, they could take their time on the project and save thousands of dollars in labor. For example: in 2021 I personally paid $30,000.00 to have a 50X100 steel building erected in North Carolina, and that was a low bid. Some bids for that project were as high as $60,000.00. By July 2021 the site was prepped for footers (1' thick and 2' wide), and a professional crew came in to complete the job ($6370.00). The Culley's worked with an engineer-friend to create buildable plans for integrating their steel building with the basement. This was not an item they spent money on.

Barndo starts with footers
Barndo starts with footers

Matt and the girls watching the construction of the block walls. June 2022

Walls Going Up

In June of 2022, a small crew came on-site to lay all of the blocks for the basement foundation. This activity took them 2 days and cost $19,698.64, $10,985 of which was specifically for labor.

Walls going up on a Barndo Build
Walls going up on a Barndo Build

Erecting the steel building kit on a basement foundation. June 2022

As soon as he could, Matt began erecting the bones of their steel home. He worked nights and weekends with the help of Amber, friends, and even their young daughters. By late July the building was nearly dried in. At that time, under the shade of their new roof, they hung floor trusses ($18,117.99), waterproofed the basement walls, trenched for lines, and backfilled around the foundation ($311.22). The work was tedious, but doing it correctly now will save them tons of headaches and heartache in the future.

DIY Barndo Builds
Barndo-Sphere DIY

The opening on the left will be a garage door

Preparing For Winter In The Barndo

In case you weren't aware, it gets cold in really cold.

With that in mind, Matt and Amber made the decision to finish drying in the house, complete with a window wall ($1,526.48), and have it spray foamed. For $25,000.00 they got 6" open cell foam on walls, and 8" open cell on the roof.

You may be asking, "You say they're dried in but where are the other windows?"

Additional windows will be added in the Spring, weather permitting. Matt admits that the job will be more challenging, but feels it'll be worth it for the added benefits of working through the winter and having more time to decide on their final floor plan.

Barndominium Budgets
Barndominium Budgets

If they can stay on track, the Culley's will finish their build next summer, under $280,000.00.

Thank you for reading part 1 of this #WhatItCostWednesday feature, I sincerely hope it helps you gain knowledge and perspective for your own upcoming build.

If you like what you saw today, please let me know by leaving me a comment on Instagram (@Woodys_Barndominium_Build), subscribing to my emails, or sharing this article with a friend. You can find more articles just like this one on my blog page by clicking HERE.

GOOD LUCK! ~Megan Woody


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