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Barn Restoration: From Falling to Functional
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baxsie
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 8:10 pm    Post subject: Barn Restoration: From Falling to Functional Reply with quote

When we moved here 15 years ago, I was always going to fix up the old barn. The barn is maybe 1907, 1911 or 1917--we heard different numbers from different people . . . but its pretty darn old in any case. It is a really cool and really old building, and one of the major reasons we bought the place. I did get some earthwork done to guide surface runoff around the barn, rather than through it, but never could get started on the major project of the sinking foundation, new roof and major structural repairs.

With a historical building like this, I think any "owner" is really just a steward, custodian, keeper, or curator. The building is really owned by the region and history it brings with it.

The winters of 2007 and 2008 gave us a LOT of snow (ref: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSYMIh4duzM ) and having the barn come down was starting to be a serious worry for me.

So in 2009, after owning it for 14 years, it became obvious I was not going to get around it, so we hired in the pros at Spokane Structures. Their specialty is farm building new construction (often pole barns) but they had the tools, expertise and interest in helping restore this barn. It turns out the owner lives only about a mile away, which may explain some of his interest Smile

Here is a photo my wife took of the barn before the remodel started:


It looks very picturesque, but there are many problems. Probably the biggest is that the composite shingle over wood shakes roof, which had a lot of leaks. Leaks are the death of a wood structure. Additionally, the shingle roof holds the snow, and we were deathly afraid of a collapse in heavy snow.

The entire barn is rough-cut pine, most likely from timber harvested very nearby. Even the siding appears to be pine, however the siding was planed and grooved, so I assume that it was done in a saw mill somewhere off site.

A shot of an interior door complete with rubber belting strap hinge:


The siding on the South wall was in horrible shape. The South side gets most of the sun and most of the winter weather. The siding on the lower portion of the South wall had been replaced with vertical plywood and batten strips. IN this image, the plywood has been removed:


The barn has three sections. The center section is a simple 2-story 8 pole box structure. At some time in the past a previous owner had shored these poles up on brick pylons, which are amazingly still in good shape. I am sure we owe the survival of the barn to this day to the work that was done to shore up these main supports:


The center bay was dirt floor filled with junk and inaccessible except through a "person size" door in the north wall.

The West lean-to is the milk stall lean-to . It has a hand-poured concrete floor with gutter, there was a settling pond for the shud to the South.

The East lean-to (horse stalls) bay was dirt and wood floor filled with manure that was so tough that it was near impossible to pick through with a hand fork or shovel. Cleaning it out eventually took a bobcat:


There were some structural problems with the main pole-barn structure. One rafter had been cut out , and replaced with a cable. The tension on another rafter had broken the upright where it was attached using a huge tenon joint. I had made a band-aid fix to this by wrapping a cable around it stretched with a come-a-long and clamped under tension:


The "foundations" of the two lean-tos were a big problem. These had wood to earth contact and had sunk into the dirt. When they sunk, they put huge tension loads on the big cross beam rafters (one of which had been cut out), spreading the main center pole barn structure. Once the lean-tos were jacked up, the band-aid cable became slack:


There are different goals on different restoration projects. It could be argued that this barn should have been restored to its "original" function of milking bay, horse stalls and hay storage. My feeling is that for the building to survive, it must be useful to the owner. We have no cows. We have no horses. We have no hay. But we do have vehicles and toys to store. My thinking is that if it is useful, it will be used and maintained. If it is useless, no matter how beautiful, it will fall to ruin.

This is one of my favorite pictures, the old roof has been removed. You can see the internal structure.


Overall, this barn is built incredibly light considering it has weathered snowy winter after snowy winter. The unsupported span of the rough-cut 2x4 rafters is incredible.

In this photo you can see the stub of the rafter that was removed and the cable fix-both operations by previous owners:


Here is a shot of the horse stall (now the shop bay). The stalls have been removed and most of the manure has been excavated with the bobcat.


The contractor decided the best way to fix the lean-tos was to jack them up:


Then build a really short modern style (treated timber and concrete setting) pole barn under the old structure:


The East lean-to (former horse stall, now the shop) is wider than the West (milking) lean-to. The old stalls (already removed in this photo) provided support to the loft joists, and through make-shift angled 4x4 posts supported the rafters at near their mid-point. The contractor added a beam and posts to give those 4x4 posts good support from below:


This shot shows the foundation repair work on the north side:


Pouring concrete floor in the center bay:


Finished:


Pouring concrete floor in the East (shop) bay:


Finished:


Here is the new siding as seen through the old studs in the West bay:


To make sure the new sheet metal roof looked straight (and to make sure the lap joints worked) the contractor put a second layer of ribbing over the existing skip-sheeting. This new layer is shimmed up to a level plane:


Here is a picture of the South side showing most of the siding removed. The bulk of the South siding was in poor shape (plus the non-period plywood on the lower 8'), so we elected to remove all the original siding on the South side. We saved the best pieces for patching the other three sides. This photo also shows the the initial fill in preparation for the concrete. There is something like 2'of large crush rock in that center bay,


I am so glad this is not me:


The roofing is actually light grey painted material. It looks the way a galvanized roof would look in 10 years, but we do not have to go through that awkward shiny phase. Supposedly the painted roofing material is paint over galvanized metal, so in theory it should last longer:


The contractor found a good match for the siding. My son and I pre-primed all the siding with XIM Peel Bond before installation:




We left the original siding on West, North and East sides. Any damaged boards were replaced with re-used boards from the siding removed from the South side. The North siding was in great shape, the East and West were pretty sad. I "hard" pressure washed the East and West then applied a thick coat of the XIM Peel Bond. I know I keep harping on the XIM Peel Bond, but this stuff is amazing for making paint stick to wood.


Here is some of the new siding starting to go up on the South side:


And the South side after the siding, with the sliding doors and flashings installed:


Here is the paint crew prepping the North wall:


A shot of the South and West walls just prior to paint. You can see the XIM Peel Bond clearly on the West wall's old siding.


I have seen many barns in this area painted a "pink" color. I wondered why anyone would paint a building like that. Then my dad and I painted a shed with a "well-known paint store" exterior enamel, tinted to match the red of this barn. A few years later, we had a pink outbuilding. Later, someone told me to get the Van Sickle barn and out-building paint from the local farm store. This paint has some different kind of pigment that does not seem to fade at all. Great cover over the XIM Peel Bond. Awesome stuff:


Even a year later, it looks great. In fact, the small building in the background on the left was painted with the VanSickle Barn Paint ~5 years ago and still no signs of fading to pink:


Here is a shot of the South Side with the doors open:


Here is my neighbor Duane Davey of Davey Bobcat doing some grading:

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Last edited by baxsie on Tue Oct 19, 2010 8:07 pm; edited 1 time in total
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baxsie
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 8:11 pm    Post subject: Barn Restoration: Electric Sliding Doors Reply with quote

Barn Restoration: Electric Sliding Doors

To make the barn useful as a garage, it needs to have automatic doors.

The contractor installed the oversize sliding (on rollers actually) doors. They are quite sturdily built, and very massive with the siding on them. I started with a 3/4 horsepower Craftsman chain-drive door opener. This kit gives most of the complex bits that are needed. It also allows you to set limits of travel, safety reversing force, safety light beam, two remotes and a keyless entry pad. Here is the power head mounted in the loft above the East bay. It is easy to service from the loft:


There are cables connected to the chain drive. These cables cross above the door on the inside of the barn. There they pass through the wall on aluminum ball bearing pulleys (from Harbor Freight, now apparently discontinued):



The cables exit under the flashing:


The cables attach to the door hardware through some spring elements (from [url=http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1vZ1xim/R-100193571/h_d2/ProductDisplay ]Home Depot, for porch swings[/url]). The spring elements cushion the start and stop of the doors to reduce the stress on the opener:


There is then a fixed pulley that closes the loop. Its adjustment sets the center of where the doors close:


The system works like a dream. I do worry that the stresses on the motor may eventually make it fail. It looks pretty beefy, but there is a lot of mass in those doors. So far operating several time daily for a year has been without trouble.
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1962 MF 65 with Du-Al loader
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Last edited by baxsie on Tue Oct 19, 2010 8:12 pm; edited 3 times in total
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baxsie
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 8:12 pm    Post subject: Barn Restoration: Lighting and Current Use Reply with quote

Barn Restoration: Lighting and Current Use

Here are some pictures I took today of the inside of the barn.

The center bay lights are "high-bay" style T8 fluorescent. All the lights are on commercial occupancy sensor switches, so they never need to be turned on, and automatically switch off. In this photo you can see the repair to the upright (on the right) and the replacement cross-beam rafter and brackets. Above the cross beams are permanent tension cables. Weight on the center section of the roof tries to force the uprights apart, pulling on the cross-beam rafters:


If we back the cars out, there is an indoor basketball hoop. We painted a key on the floor:


The basketball mounting was good practice with the MIG:


There was once (long before us) a fire. I am completely amazed that the fire was able to be put out before the whole barn was gone.


There is a HUGE hinged door high in the loft. I have never opened it. I pressure washed all the bare wood inside the barn as high as I could. In this photo you can clearly see the weathered and dirty wood up high, and the lighter wood below that has had the 100 years of dirt washed off it:


The original cast iron hay loft trolley / crane thing is still there, and will roll back and forth:


There are several old pulleys in the loft here and there:


Here is the bench I built in the shop area. We had an 8 foot long by 12" x 12" x 1/2" thick angle iron from another commercial remodel job. There was also a 10x12 glu-lam post that came out of that job. These two surplus items became the basis for the most sturdy work bench I have ever used. Now if I could only be more tidy:


Thanks for reading. Comments or questions welcomed!
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Last edited by baxsie on Tue Oct 19, 2010 8:13 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really enjoyed reading this .it was so interesting as you told about each step. What a nice place you made of an older & it sure looks so nice >I know you are glad you did it& made it so useful. Thanks for sharing.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 10:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the great photos and information of your barn restoration Cool
Congratulations that is a project to be proud of.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 11:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That looks absolutely fantastic.A lot of hard work no doubt.Those old pulleys and such are well worth keeping.Part of the history of the building.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2010 12:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for sharing that with us. Very interesting. Turned out beautiful and very functional. Nice job.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2010 1:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is an amazing project. Just awesome! Very Happy
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2010 12:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

WOW that sure came along way! do you happen to have anymore pics of your shop?
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baxsie
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2010 1:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tmiller wrote:
WOW that sure came along way! do you happen to have anymore pics of your shop?


Thanks. It was a huge job, and I worked a lot on it, but the contractor's crew still probably did 90% of the hours.

There are some incidental shop photos in this thread:

http://antiquetractorsforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=19549

The shop bay is kinda just starting. Trying to get organized with the years of tools that have collected.

I am now starting to toy around with the idea of insulating and making the shop bay heatable. The winters are long and dark, and if there was heat that would be a good time to fiddle with projects.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 31, 2010 12:36 am    Post subject: Old Barns Reply with quote

Great Job!
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2010 1:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Super job 2 Thumbs Up
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great Job!!!!

I once had a barn very similar to yours (looks and condition) and was going to do the exact same thing. But, I moved before I really got started on it. I always thought it would be cheaper to build new than try to restore it. And the new one would be even more functional and exactly what I wanted without having to sacrifice anything based on using parts of the old structure.

Nice job though. Lots of time, money, and thoughts went into it.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 12:57 am    Post subject: JOn deere fans answer Reply with quote

JDF is correct. He could have built new (UGLY) sheet metal pole barn cheaper and probably fit his needs better!

However that is also why new tractors are still sold!

Again congratulations for saving a disappearing American icon.

http://s180.photobucket.com/albums/x301/rjR_WFND/

The link is to an article that I had written and have the rights to; about this same subject.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great job on the restoration! You are absolutely correct in that a building needs to remain useful in a modern context in order to be saved. Don't feel bad about changing the use, be proud that you have maintained the historic character of the building and the traditional look of the farm!
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