Cozy Grain Bin Homes as Alternative Small Housing

For anyone who lives in farming country, driving past a grain bin may put visions in your head of an unusual and nearly ready-made home just ripe for the picking. Actually, people have built homes out of grain bins and silos using various techniques and styles. Grain bins come in various widths and heights and are used for storing harvested grain. Many of the older silos are standing empty or are being torn down to be sold for scrap. However, there are some builders and architects who have begun designing homes and barns out of the metal structures.


Grain bins can be reinforced and insulated in various ways with typical wood framing, straw bales or even an additional grain bin inserted into a larger bin. The area between the two bins is then insulated. You can learn more about how to build a grain bin home from this article from Mother Earth News. The Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage in Missouri documented their renovation of a grain bin into a small duplex and even some homes have been built for the people of Haiti from brand new Sukup grain bins from Iowa.

You can also purchase a grain bin home plan from Dream Green Homes. Their design is a one bedroom, two bathroom 692 square foot cabin with the bin inside bin concept. The insulation can be spray foam or straw bale and the structure is self supporting with no studs needed. Their design can even be relocated. The plans cost $415. You can purchase new or used grain bins from individual sellers on Yakaz or eBay or several companies including Used Feed Bins ( $1,500 for 18 foot tall bins to $3,500 for 24 foot tall bins) or Grain Bin Sales.

This is on our list of things to build when Cozy Home Plans gets more site traffic and sales. Thanks to my brother, we have two of these disassembled and sitting in Iowa plus a spiral staircase just waiting for the time and money to be put together.

Photo by Visit Missouri

11 Responses to Cozy Grain Bin Homes as Alternative Small Housing

  • Neat! Have 7 grain tanks not in uses!

  • Glad you liked it! Wow 7, that makes me just a little jealous. I had several ideas 20 years ago for using these things as a small vacation home. Like using a router attached to a string, this would make a perfect curved and groove necessary for making the square window boxes fit like a glove. The longevity of steel and the basic construction of this simple shape is a winning combo in my opinion. The Earthbag community has also embraced the use of these. Since a round house is the easiest one to build, a grain bin roof makes the perfect choice for topping it. Don’t forget the minimum 3’ overhang though. Send us some pictures if you decide to do anything with them please!

  • is there a company or person you reccomend for shipping bins to the property? we found one in Iowa that needs to be delivered to south central missouri…thanks peace

  • I just might know of a guy in southern Iowa who specializes in grain bins who can help. Send me a private email through Cozy and we’ll see if things can work out.

  • Oh my gawd!!! That is so neat. A friend of mine told me about this and I just had to come and see it. Needless to say, I have been on your site for a while now. Great site dude..

  • Thanks for the compliment April! We try and cover several different aspects of not only the Tiny House movement, but alternative building techniques also. This is just one of the future projects that we have planned.

  • I just bought a 18′ silo shed. I have yet to go and take it down, that’s this Sunday’s task. I was hoping to get some idea as to what size trailer should be needed. This unit has a hinged 80″ door. I am wondering if when I set it back up, will it need to somehow be attached to the ground? I am planning on a wood working room and a garage for my 84 700s. I will post a photo of before and after. If I can.

  • Hey Rusty, thanks for the comment. Not being too familiar with them yet, what I would do is try and find a manufacturer that is making a comparable size on today and get an accurate weight. That should tell you how many tons it will weight and what size trailer you will need. Whenever I do something for the first time, I call it “surgical demo”. By taking a slow and methodical approach to taking something apart, one can often learn how to put I back together again. Kind of reverse engineering it, so to speak one can learn quite a bit. Most of the ones I have been in are on a concrete slab, now weather that is to support the weight of the Bin or what it will be holding is a good question… Both I would think. Foundations are the key to any long lasting structure in my opinion. Good luck and pictures would be awesome, just send them to the email in the contact us section so we can do a story on it.

  • I have a grain bin that’s just over 600 square feet that I’m hoping to turn into an art studio where I can work, display and sell my art, and teach classes. Our local high school has a building trades class and every year they pick a project, like a garage, barn, house, etc. Last year they build a studio for a friend of mine, so I talked to the teacher about my grain bin idea. He said it was something they could do, which is great because it’ll keep the cost down, and the kids will get to do a challenging project. To learn more about it and see some pictures of the bin, visit

  • The plan sounds terrific, but I would like to see inside pictures as well.


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