Grain Bin Homes

What would you think of a home built from a grain bin? They strike me as sort of like a metal yurt. Grain bin homes offer some challenges, but advantages as well, such as:

  • simple to build with unskilled labor
  • pest-resistant
  • fireproof
  • wind resistant
  • maintenance free
  • recycled/recyclable materials
  • moveable/reusable.

Challenges include the different tools and skills you’d need to modify the bin.

Grain bin homes for disaster areas

You could buy a new kit, such as those made by Sukup Manufacturing, and modify it to suit your needs. These kits are produced for use around the world, especially places that have endured natural disasters. Sukup built some in Haiti in 2012, and the company says it has shipped kits to Kenya and the Philippines.

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The company says each bin is 18 feet in diameter, yielding 254 square feet. They’re made of 20-gauge recycled steel, and can be made taller if desired. Assembly by an unskilled crew takes less than two days. One kit fits in the back of a pickup truck, and 14-16 kits will fit in a shipping container. I can see delivering the loaded container to a village, building all the kits, and converting the container into a sanitary toilet building. Another container could contain interior finish materials for each bin kit, such as insulation, finished wall coverings, and so on.

Depending on the climate where the bin is built, it would be nice to have a more substantial foundation, but it would definitely not need to be a full concrete slab. Cost is reasonable, at roughly $6000 per kit for nonprofit groups.

Your dream home

You could also use a new kit as the basis for your dream home. This video shows how grain bins are built, with workers using hydraulic jacks to lift the roof, then attaching the wall panels layer by layer at ground level. No scaffolding needed for assembly.

Reusing a bin

Existing agricultural bins can be recycled, as this guy has done. If you’re handy, resourceful, and creative, you’d could create a low-budget funky home, studio, or shop.

Many more examples here.

Regardless of the size or whether it’s new or reused, a bin can be a cheap green home. You could also create a tiny house village¬†from bins.


The Farmhouse Media is all about living sustainably through

  • green building

  • green cities

  • permaculture

What's on your mind?