When looking for a unique and sustainable home, a person has a whole host of building materials to consider. Traditional stick building is still the dominant construction method, but other methods and materials are gaining popularity. Grain bin houses are a prime example of this revolution in housing ideas.
What is a Grain Bin House?
Grain bin houses are exactly what they sound like, grain bins converted into livable houses. This basic idea is seeing more and more people choose this unconventional housing design. Grain bin houses re-purpose old, disused grain bins and turn them into functional, stylish homes. Grain bins vary in size and there are different construction methods one could use for building a grain bin house of their own.
What are some Grain Bin House Benefits?
Grain bins are made of steel, which makes them a strong, durable structure capable of standing on its own better than traditional stick construction.
Re-purposing an old grain bin is an environmentally conscious choice as it doesn’t require new lumber to build. It is also unique in that it can be recycled on both ends of the building process. You can repurpose an old grain bin into a house and you can re-purpose that grain bin again into something new, ensuring that the bin is recycled and constantly in use instead of being thrown away.
- Energy Efficient
With proper insulation, a grain bin house will save you tremendously on heating costs, which is better for you and the environment.
Grain bin houses are also less costly, especially when starting with a used grain bin. Grain bins can cost as low as $30 per square foot…sometimes even less. It’s hard to find another building material with that starting price.
- Low Maintenance
A grain bin home requires virtually no maintenance once it’s built. Grain bins are built of steel and require very little structural or aesthetic upkeep once set in place.
Things to Remember About Grain Bin Houses
If you’re considering building a grain bin house, you’ll need to know more about them. So here are some tips to better help you start your project.
- Find used bins by putting an ad in farm magazines, check Craigslist, or talk to a local bin dealer or bin erector.
- Companies that sell and install bins can usually move them. Bins up to 36 feet in diameter can be moved in two pieces and reassembled easily on site. Larger bins usually require a more extensive tear down and transport process.
- You can also disassemble a bin to move it, but use new bolts when you reassemble the bin.
- The gauge (thickness) of metal is usually mixed within the same bin with thicker metal toward the bottom.
- Be sure to label the sheets as you take them apart so that you put them together correctly. This will make reassembling your grain bin much easier.
- Calculate the area of your grain bin. For farm use, grain bins will often be noted by their bushel capacity. For construction, you’ll need to know the area of the bin. To calculate area, use the following equation:
- Area = 3.14 x (radius x radius)
The radius is half the diameter. So a bin with a 30 foot diameter would have a 15 foot radius. In that case, the equation would look like this:
Area = 3.14 x (15 x 15)
For this bin, the area would be 706.5 sq. ft.
- You should probably hire professional contractors. If you plan on modifying the bin in any substantial way, you will be better off hiring contractors with grain bin experience. All applicable building codes should be followed for safety and compliance reasons and a contractor will make sure your grain bin house is up to code.
- Make sure it’s waterproof. A grain bin house, like any house, has to deal with water and flooding. Use SANI-TRED to waterproof the interior of your grain bin and keep outside water from damaging your new eco-friendly, unique home. To learn how much SANI-TRED your project will need, use our grain bin cost calculator!
Now that you know the basics, the choice is up to you. If you like what you’ve read and are considering building your own grain bin house, the next step is to do more research to see if this type of house is right for you.
For more information and ideas for grain bin houses: