Barndominiums and Tornadoes

Written By: Larry Haggerty

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Barndominiums are very resistant to many weather conditions due to the materials used in construction. Each material has different ratings for how safe it is during these different natural disasters, however, barndominiums are generally considered safer than a traditional wood home during a tornado.

A barndominium can withstand winds up to 150 miles per hour. This means that your barndominium should be fine for tornados under an F4 rating. No structure is completely tornado proof but a well-built barndominium can offer a high level of protection during a storm.

In this article, we’ll explore the risks associated with barndominiums and tornadoes, as well as how to build and protect your barndominium during tornado season.

Key Takeaways

  • Barndominiums are generally safe during a tornado and can withstand winds of up to 150 mph.
  • It’s important to reinforce your barndominium and take appropriate measures during tornado season just like you would a traditional home.
  • By following the right precautions, you can enjoy the many benefits of a barndominium without worrying about its safety during severe weather conditions.

Things to Consider

If you live in an area prone to tornadoes, such as Tornado Alley, then it’s important to understand the risks associated with owning a barndo.

These structures are generally considered safe as they can withstand very high winds. However, no structure is completely storm proof and you should understand the risks involved with building or buying a barndominium in these areas.

The biggest risk associated with tornadoes is wind damage. Tornadoes can produce winds up to 300 miles per hour which can easily damage your structure. You may run into chipped paint, bent metal or destroyed roofing depending on how fast the tornado is going.

The other risk to consider is the potential for flying debris. During a tornado, the most common cause of barndo damage is due to flying debris. This debris gets turned into a projectile that can damage your walls and windows. You will want to make sure you reinforce the structure and install protective measures like storm windows.

Barndominiums with a concrete or slab foundation are more resistant to tornadoes than those with a wood frame. Reinforcing the structure with beam reinforcements and a solid steel armor plate can provide added protection.

While barndominiums are generally safe in tornadoes, it’s important to take steps to reinforce the structure and protect yourself and your family during a severe weather event. Regular maintenance, such as sweeping the roof to remove debris and accumulated dirt, can also help ensure the durability and longevity of your barndominium.

Building a Tornado-Resistant Barndominium

If you live in an area prone to tornadoes, building a tornado-resistant barndominium is a smart choice. With proper design, materials, and reinforcement, your barndominium can withstand high winds and extreme weather conditions providing you and your family with a safe and durable shelter.

Designing a Safe and Durable Barndominium

When designing your barndominium, it’s important to consider factors such as wind resistance, structural damage, and protection from the elements. To ensure your barndominium is safe and durable, consider the following:

  • Building codes: Make sure your barndominium meets local building codes and regulations for tornado-resistant construction.
  • Foundation: A solid concrete foundation is essential for withstanding high winds and preventing damage from tornadoes.
  • Steel frame: A steel frame provides excellent resistance to wind and other extreme weather conditions, making it a popular choice for barndominium construction.
  • Roof and siding: Choose materials that are durable and resistant to impact, such as metal siding and roofing. Reinforce your roof with beam reinforcements and solid steel armor plate to provide additional protection against high winds and debris.
  • Interior walls: Thick walls provide additional protection and insulation against harsh weather conditions.
  • Storm shelters: Consider adding a storm shelter to your barndominium for added protection during tornado season.

Choosing the Right Materials

Choosing the right materials is key to building a tornado-resistant barndominium. Consider the following when selecting materials:

  • Steel: Steel is a popular choice for barndominium construction due to its high resistance to wind and other extreme weather conditions.
  • Wood: While wood can be used for framing, it may not be as durable as steel and requires more maintenance to protect against pests and rot.
  • Metal siding: Metal siding is durable and resistant to impact, making it a good choice for protecting against tornadoes.
  • Insulation: Proper insulation helps regulate temperature and provides added protection against harsh weather conditions.

Reinforcing the Structure

Reinforcing your barndominium is essential for withstanding high winds and extreme weather conditions. Consider the following when reinforcing your structure:

  • Poles: Reinforce your structure with additional poles to provide added support against high winds.
  • Shutters: Install shutters to protect windows and doors from debris and high winds.
  • Gutters: Properly installed gutters help prevent water damage and erosion.
  • Customization: Consider customizing your barndominium to suit your needs and provide added protection against tornadoes, such as adding more steel plating.

By following these guidelines, you can build a tornado-resistant barndominium that provides you and your family with a safe and durable shelter. With proper design, materials, and reinforcement, your barndominium can withstand even an F-4 tornado, and have a long life expectancy.

Protecting Your Barndominium During Tornado Season

Barndominiums, with their steel frames and compressive strength, are generally safe during extreme weather conditions like tornados and hurricanes. However, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Here are some options to consider for protecting your barndominium during tornado season.

Installing Storm Shutters and Reinforcing Windows

One of the most effective ways to protect your barndominium during a tornado is by installing storm shutters and reinforcing windows. Storm shutters are designed to withstand high winds and flying debris, which can cause significant structural damage to your property. Reinforcing windows with impact-resistant glass or shutters can also help prevent damage and keep you safe during a tornado.

Clearing Debris and Maintaining the Property

Another important factor in protecting your barndominium during tornado season is maintaining the property. Regularly clearing debris from gutters and the surrounding area can help prevent flying debris from causing damage during a tornado. Additionally, inspecting and maintaining the structural integrity of your barndominium can help prevent damage from high winds and extreme weather conditions.

Building a Storm Shelter

If you live in an area with frequent tornadoes, building a storm shelter can be a wise investment. Storm shelters are designed to withstand extreme weather conditions and provide a safe place to ride out a tornado. You can choose from a variety of storm shelter options, including in-ground shelters, above-ground shelters, and safe rooms.

Protecting your barndominium during tornado season is an important consideration for both safety and comfort. By installing storm shutters and reinforcing windows, clearing debris and maintaining the property, and building a storm shelter, you can ensure that you and your property are prepared for extreme weather conditions.


In conclusion, barndominiums can be a safe option in areas prone to tornadoes. They are usually made of solid steel structures that can withstand strong winds and severe weather conditions. However, it is important to reinforce the structure and take necessary precautions to ensure maximum safety during a tornado.

Some of the steps you can take to strengthen your barndominium include:

  • Installing reinforced garage doors and windows that can withstand high winds and debris.
  • Adding extra support beams and braces to the roof and walls.
  • Building a safe room or storm shelter inside the barndominium.
  • Ensuring that the foundation is strong and properly secured.

It is also important to keep in mind that no structure is entirely tornado-proof. In the event of a severe tornado, it is always best to evacuate to a designated storm shelter or safe location.

Overall, barndominiums can be a great option for those looking for a unique, affordable, and functional living space. By taking the necessary precautions and reinforcing the structure, you can ensure that your barndominium is a safe and secure place to call home.

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