During your vacations, you fell in love with a barn. The desire to buy it to transform it into a dwelling came to you, an ingenious idea that will, however, imply a lot of work. In this article, we will guide you through the administrative steps to follow and the work to be done to convert a barn into a home.

Know the Regulations Beforehand

Before proceeding with the conversion of a barn, it is essential to be aware of the legal obligations related to it. Indeed, not all agricultural buildings can be transformed into a living space. If modifying the barn’s destination is possible, the town planning department will issue you with a town planning certificate. At the same time, it will inform you of the restrictions and obligations to be respected when carrying out the work.

Often, it is forbidden to change the nature of an isolated barn, that is, one that is located on agricultural land with no surrounding dwellings. In the case of an isolated barn close to a residence, modifying its destination is often authorized. However, the mayor may decide not to grant authorization by municipal decree.

Before starting the work, you must make a declaration to the prefecture. The signature of an architect is required to validate the filing of this document. In addition, a building permit must be requested if the surface area to be converted exceeds 150 m².

As you can see, the change of destination of a barn is not systematically done. This is why it is wise to include suspensive conditions in the sales agreement. Thus, you can still give up the purchase in case of refusal of authorization.

Identify the Work To Be Done

That’s it! You have obtained your building permit. Now it’s time to evaluate the scope of the development. For this, it is necessary to call upon a professional. They will draw up a report of all the tasks to be undertaken.

The Basic Elements

A priori, the professional will check the solidity of the basic structure of the barn.

The Walls

A barn’s charm and attractiveness come from its stone walls. Although the walls are solid by nature, check them for cracks, moisture, or fungus. In these cases, it is necessary to grout the stones.

The Frame

This is an essential element of your acquisition. Proceed to the inspection of your frame. Is it still regular and solid? If not, it needs to be repaired, which also means removing and replacing the roof.

The roof

Check the condition of the barn’s roof. Are there any breaks in certain parts? Is it waterproof? Are there any lichens or molds invading it? Does it need to be completely replaced? Often, it makes more sense to substitute the material for another to facilitate the maintenance of the roof. The slate that covers most barns is a more difficult material to clean. It is better to replace it with tile.

Secondary Elements

After studying the condition of the walls, the frame, and the roof, it is necessary to move on to the actual layout of your future home.

The Openings

Most barns have only one large opening, which is insufficient for a living space. You must therefore create doors and windows adapted to let in natural light. Of course, the work will be more or less complex, which is why the intervention of a carpenter is strongly recommended.

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 The Floor Covering

Instead of the concrete slab that covered the floor, you can now put the covering of your choice: tiles, parquet, lino, PVC, etc.


Whether you use natural, mineral, or synthetic insulation, the goal is to provide you with good thermal comfort in winter and summer. Prevent heat loss by insulating the walls, roofs, floors, doors, and windows.

Finally, the development of the barn will also include its servicing. For example, electrical installation, plumbing, sanitation, heating, and ventilation system, etc.