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  #1  
Old 05/05/10, 02:52 PM
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Nebraska
Posts: 375
Old Barn-Fix or tear down?

We have an old,hipped roof barn that I just love. My husband not so much because it is just not as practical as he needs. We have put a new roof on it,new windows and kept it up. Problem is,the foundation is crumbling. I guess it has held up rather well for being 100 years old. One of these days it is going to blow over. Question is,would you tear it down and put up a new pole building that is more what we need BUT is not with the character of our place? I am sentimental about this old barn and it is not something I can take lightly. The cost of moving the barn to fix the foundation is 5500 dollars and the foundation,with the help of my husband ,is 1500. thanks for your input.Dawn

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  #2  
Old 05/05/10, 02:58 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Eastern North Carolina
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IF it's in good shape except for the foundation, it makes sense to fix it.

If it's borderline, I'd tear it down since you'll have to repair it or lose it anyway

And if you're rebuilding, you could build one similar in appearance

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  #3  
Old 05/05/10, 02:58 PM
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: MN
Posts: 6,908

I just had my rock foundation barn replastered this past month. Took about $3200, $2800 of that was labor, 2 fellas who knew concrete & mixed up the stuff & plastered it into the badly loose foundation. Took 22 bags of portland, and most of 2.5 yards of sand. We did a little block work around the doors as well.

I still have a few cattle in it, but no - it doesn't make sense to rebuild an old dairy barn as they are not useful with today's methods & equipment.

But...... I should have this building around for another 30 years now, and don't have ot build something else.

--->Paul

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  #4  
Old 05/05/10, 05:13 PM
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Nebraska
Posts: 375

Was your foundation in really bad shape? Ours has started to crack and lean out in places,so that causes the barn to bow out. They are going to lift the barn and move it aside ,then build a new foundation. Is there any better way to do it? Not alot of experienced people around here in that department. Just not alot of it done. Any info would be great.

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  #5  
Old 05/05/10, 05:47 PM
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Indiana, USA
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Unless, it is very small, I have never heard of moving a barn to repair the foundation. Usually it's just jacked up a bit, where the foundation is repaired a section at a time.

Since it already has new roof and windows, your already half way there.

How is the siding and the internal support beams?

You will likely have to make a foundation for the new barn also.

Get another estimate or two and fix it.

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  #6  
Old 05/05/10, 05:56 PM
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Former State of Franklin
Posts: 3,352

I'd agree....jack it up in place, hold in place with wood cribbing, and build a new foundation under it.....assuming the wood structure is worth saving....then set it back down and bolt to the new foundation.

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  #7  
Old 05/05/10, 06:21 PM
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Location: Willamette Valley, Oregon
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Can you post pictures of it?

There is always the option of putting up a metal barn and then using the reclaimed wood from the old barn to side the side you would see most frequently. That way you would still have a bit of the look you like.

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  #8  
Old 05/05/10, 09:10 PM
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: MD / PA
Posts: 256

Dawn,

We're in a similar boat. The old barn looks really nice, but the front doors need replaced, the metal on the roof is ready to blow off in a stiff breeze, one of the main supports is starting to rot at the base, and the foundation is bowing out in several places. Got an estimate last year to replace the roof and it came in at $12,000. The insurance company told me that we need to bolt down a few sections of the roof or they're might cancel the coverage (this from the same company that told me to post my half-acre pond 'no trespassing' even though it's in the middle of nowhere).

I'm thinking of selling the barn to someone who tears down old barns, and using the proceeds to build a smaller barn that has more accessible space. The barn has lots of big chestnut hand-hewn beams that are worth some money. I'm torn, though, because I like the look of the barn...<sigh>...

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  #9  
Old 05/05/10, 09:58 PM
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Idaho
Posts: 1,281

Here is a link to a pic of her barn....it is the middle picture.
http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e3...nscutefarm.jpg

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  #10  
Old 05/06/10, 08:53 AM
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Nebraska
Posts: 375

Thanks to my best friend Ann Mary for posting the pictures. I greatly appreciate it.
I'd love to see the hand hewn beams. They would be beautiful to eventually use again in a house. It is a very hard decision to know what to do on these old barns because they are not real useable but they are beautiful and so rare anymore. I can't even think of anyone else around our area that has one and maybe there is a reason why....lol
I agree with all of you that said a barn shouldn't have to be moved. For one thing with our Nebraska winds it's liable to blow it down. We called another guy last night and it sounds like he will do the foundation like you all are talking about so he is coming by this weekend to give us a bid. our problem is,around here people just don't do this kind of thing so it is hard to find someone who knows what needs to be done so it lasts. Thanks so much for all the good advice. Dawn

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  #11  
Old 05/06/10, 10:11 AM
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: MN
Posts: 6,908

My barn is bigger than yours. It has 8-9 foot rock/concrete walls. Two of the 4 walls are burried into a hillside. The rock walls are a couple feet wide. This was done perhaps back in the 'teens, about 100 years ago. The concrete back then was not so good, and the sand used was not washed so it is poor concrete, can dig it out with your finger - very soft. Little furry critters have been digging on it for decades....

There was no drainage or gravel on the burried sides. So the frost over 100 years & pressure from the dirt has leaned my barn foundation up to a foot in one section.

The part burried in the ground is mostly holding up well.

The parts free-standing have leaned, bowed, cracked, several small holes have 'blown out' over the past 25 years. We patch them in, but....

So, this plastering of the outside of the exposed surface, for about $3500, should stablize it for a good long time. I plan to go through the inside walls myself this fall & do the same - it's not rocket science. I actually did this myself 15 years ago & stablized a few bad areas. The concrete fellas commented on that, that some spots were done pretty good a time ago. They did a real nice job of making it look good, used a sponge float to finish it off. Me, I had a pretty rough looking finish! But then - that helped, as their plastering job sticks better to a rough & wooly surface.

Anyhow, you take 18 shovels of mason sand, and a bag of 96lbs of portland cement, mix it up, and start troweling in in the cracks and on the surface. The worse & deeper the surface is, the better it will stick.

That's really all there is to it. Just patience & techneque. Try to get rid of the loose patches so the new concrete has something to stick to, but don't dig in too far so it falls over!

Because the side of the barn with the 3 big doors was leaning so bad, we built up peirs of concrete block to give a good vertical place to attach new doors. I'm not sure I like how that turned out, but it's something I guess. We couldn't come up with a better idea for under $10,000.

If your barn is like mine, it is sitting on columns of wood posts inside. Those support the weight of anything (hay upstairs....) in it. The outside walls are just kinda stability. So, you need them to not move, they don't hold as much of the load as one things. Make sure your inside posts are good and not rotten or bad. The foundation needs to be stable, not so terribly strong, but - stable. It's more of an anchor than a load bearing deal....

Again, this plastering stuff isn't rocket science, you just need a mixer & a little bit of practice. And lots of time. I won't ever make the inside walls look as good as they did on the outside, but I'll get it about as strong, and the cattle won't care on looks.

I don't know if it's worth it $$$$ wise, but - like you, it sure made sense to me to try anyhow.

--->Paul

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  #12  
Old 05/06/10, 10:51 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Carthage, Texas
Posts: 12,046

I'd keep the barn. You're already out money on a roof and windows.

If you tear it down, your out your time installing the roof and windows (might be salvageable if your meticulous), plus a heckuva lot of work taking it down.

Is it a cement foundation? Over the entire floor? Or is it just a foundation along the wall that's troubling you? I could see rebuilding a foundation along the exterior walls and bolting the walls to the new foundation, if your worried about it 'blowing off' some day.

Now if you have a ton of money that just has to be spent, I could see taking it down, and having a new one put up.

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  #13  
Old 05/06/10, 11:55 AM
Brenda Groth
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Michigan
Posts: 7,647

could you possibly dig around the foundation and pour some new footings..put treated 4x4's on the new footings similar to a sill plate..and then attach the sill plate of the old barn to the new treated 4x4's to give it a new foundation??? it might take more than that..but at least it would reinforce the foundation and the sill plate

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  #14  
Old 05/06/10, 12:11 PM
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 4,652

Our history is being lost. I can't tell you the number of barns around here that have fallen down within the last 15 years.

If they are not maintained - a good roof to keep the inside dry, it's amazing how fast they come down. Our previous lawn mower mechanic had a barn that needed some roof work done, and they didn't do it. "Too expensive" they said. The roof has now collapsed in on the one end - which just hastens it's demise. So these people now have an old barn - that is totally useless. It's probably not even safe to venture inside anymore.

I will invest the money in our old barn even if "it isn't worth it". If the lawn mower mechanic would have invested money in a new roof, they would now have a building that would be lasting another 30, 40, or 50 + years before needing more work. They now have an unsafe eyesore on their hands.

They don't build buildings like that anymore! Fix it up and it will last you another 100 years.

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  #15  
Old 05/06/10, 12:32 PM
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: MN
Posts: 6,908

Wife & 2 friends spent a whole summer refurbishing a barm on my Siter's place they bought to retire on. It had a near new roof, and good foundation. The upstairs floor wasn't safe to walk on, doors were shot, endwalls & stairs were bad. Lot of woodwork.

I have an old chicken/ hog barn I hope to save this year or next. It is entirely too small to be useful on a modern farm, only 18 feet wide, 36 feet long. But I can 'repair' it without permits, and they don't allow building easily in that location, so if I tear it down it is gone & can't replace it. Can store something in it, has a cracked but servicable concrete floor. Everything else is in bad, bad shape, roof is shot, one wall the 2x4s are rotting out & bending. But - easier to save & rebuild it than to lose it, have a lump of concrete I can't use, and no building.....

I just need to get to it!

--->Paul

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  #16  
Old 05/06/10, 01:08 PM
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Nebraska
Posts: 375

We definately don't have alot of money, we just get by but take care of what we have. We have lived here for 8 years and the barn was a total wreck when we moved here. Holes in the roof, windows out,no paint. So we have done alot to it. My husband just thinks that enough is enough. I on the other hand think 'history' and sentimentally about it. If everyone just tore them down then there would be none left,which is the point it is about to. It is a throwaway society and people just don't really care. I do and that is why this is such a hard decision. We were in talking to the banker about it because we will have to borrow money either way and just talking about it I got tears in my eyes. I know that is crazy but I love this old barn. The only way I would tear it down is to give it to someone who would or could use it again. But I think I will win this fight and we will get it fixed. I'm really trying. I REALLY appreciate all of your input and stories,they mean so much. I know i'm not the only one who feels this way at least.

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  #17  
Old 05/06/10, 02:00 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: WI
Posts: 119
Fix it!

When we moved to our place (7 yrs ago) our barn was "Almost Shot" my husband thought it was a lost cause- a great big hole in the roof, and the wall was bowing out underneath the big gapeing hole.... the windows were all shot out, the hay mow still had hay form over 25 years ago in it....but i looked at the center beams and the roof and they were still square and true- a compareable Pole shed would have been $20-40k. so we decided to get the roof fixed first- $6k... the roofers had to get different nails cause the wood was so solid still!! so that may me feel better. It took us all of one summer to clean out the inside. Ran Electric up to it and We got new gutters on and found a bunch of windows. we then stablized the corner that the roof was missing on ($200). we also got a couple of loads of gravel and shored up the wall that was bowing out ($200) .

Next we are repalcing all the boards on the worst end, Painting the whole thing and puting in water ($2K). It has taken about 8 years, But it is ALOT Cheaper and we have fixed it so it works with your needs. PLUS this is the farm where My Great Grandparents lived, so had a vested intrest in saveing the original barn since that was the only orignal building left of the farm..... I LOVE IT!
Lori- there are some photos of the barn on our link....
www.wildwebranchers.com/olsoncenturyfarm

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  #18  
Old 05/06/10, 04:06 PM
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Nebraska
Posts: 375

I'm so glad you are redoing the barn Lori that your great grandparents had. It would mean so much to them. That is one thing that really bothers me about our barn. we have heard the history of who built it and all about this barn from the 3 remaining sisters who grew up here. They come every summer,them and all their family to see what we have done. It means so much to them to know we care and have put alot into our place. They had 3 brothers who were all killed going to a meeting 1 night. They had put cardboard in the window of their old pickup and a train hit them,killing all 3 The boys had carved horse heads on the barn and to let that go is just not right. I know it would bother me and them. Like I said,a sentimental thing but still. The more I hear from you guys and the more I think about it we are going to do what it takes to keep it. Whenever someone asks for directions I always so 'look for the old red barn' because you can see it from far off.

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  #19  
Old 05/06/10, 06:57 PM
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Colorado
Posts: 1,988

I would fix it,

a number of years I had the same decision to make, fix or replace, Mine was in a lot worst shape, it needed a roof and to be totally remodeled, to be usable it was a 1900 horse barn, with hay mow and dairy shed off to the side and cattle shed on the other side,

my barn is 60 x 65 feet, center is 30 by 48 with three sheds of about 16 inside,

I had about half of the foundation on the south side I jacked up and pored a footer and new stem wall, in about 10 foot sections, and then some on the north side, the front was needed nearly 20 inch's of soil brought in to reach the bottom of the stem wall and footer, (it had not moved yet), the roof was gone on all the sheds, on the back shed the roof boards had rotted out and only the rafters were left in a large section,

I built a new "hay mow" floor, before removing the old hay mow floor, and in the process made some ply wood beams that would support the building after the horse stalls were removed, (to keep the building stable,) any way now I have a building that is 60 by 65 foot, building with a metal shop/mechanical/machine shop in the center, storage in the side sheds, and the hay mow areas, and the back shed houses the meat room, milk room and a small stall,

I have tinned the 3 of the side walls in the last year, yes I would love to have a huge pole barn but I would not want to be with my old barn either.

If I would have built a new building it would have been much smaller and a lot less wall space and storage space. (and the cost would have much higher for me),

I did the work my self.

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  #20  
Old 05/06/10, 08:45 PM
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Indiana, USA
Posts: 9,874
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawn View Post
Thanks to my best friend Ann Mary for posting the pictures. I greatly appreciate it.
I'd love to see the hand hewn beams. They would be beautiful to eventually use again in a house. It is a very hard decision to know what to do on these old barns because they are not real useable but they are beautiful and so rare anymore. I can't even think of anyone else around our area that has one and maybe there is a reason why....lol
I agree with all of you that said a barn shouldn't have to be moved. For one thing with our Nebraska winds it's liable to blow it down. We called another guy last night and it sounds like he will do the foundation like you all are talking about so he is coming by this weekend to give us a bid. our problem is,around here people just don't do this kind of thing so it is hard to find someone who knows what needs to be done so it lasts. Thanks so much for all the good advice. Dawn
It has not blown down in the last 100 years of Nebraska wind.

That barn is twice as nice (twice as large too) as ours, and we are keeping it. Not sure what you mean by "not really usable" space. The barn can be remodeled inside for better use, especially if they are larger.

If you think it costs too much to pay someone to fix the foundation, use some sweat and figure out how to fix it yourself for next to nothing. It's not rocket science. The guys that built it, were just farmers with little or no schooling and they made to last this long.


Good luck.
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  #21  
Old 05/07/10, 09:10 PM
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Nebraska
Posts: 375

How true that statement was about them being farmers with no skill and the foundation lasting this long. I know we can fill in the cracks but a part of the one side is tipping out and causing the wood above it to bow out. How do you get the foundation pushed back in without affecting the wood part? I would be totally happy to do the work and fix it ourselves IF we just knew how. Any ideas on pushing the foundation back in would be great.

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  #22  
Old 05/07/10, 10:26 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: North-Central Idaho
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My barn is over 100 years old, fairly level, with no rot. But again, crumbling foundation on at least one side. Two sides are buried under mud. The eventual plan is to jack it up a few inches and poor a concrete foundation, one side at a time as we can afford it. in the mean time I'm going to put some makeshift support with concrete pads and railroad ties where the foundation has completely crumbled out. I don't have much money to mess with the whole thing at once. Just hoping to save it in the next couple of years.

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  #23  
Old 05/08/10, 07:08 AM
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Northern NY
Posts: 1,180

No way would I tear down the barn in the picture. Thats nuts! Fix the foundation, it'll cost lots less than a new barn.

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  #24  
Old 05/08/10, 07:42 AM
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: North-Central Idaho
Posts: 495

I just looked at a picture of the barn in question. It looks to be in better shape than mine. Mine is in a picture on the banner of my blog. Link below. Maybe we should all post pictures of our old barns.

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  #25  
Old 05/08/10, 08:19 AM
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Family Jersey Dairy
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Illinois
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I didn`t even need the picture of your barn to tell you to keep it. And now after seeing it, still say KEEP it, it won`t blow over, trust me. You could put two of your barns inside mine, and you don`t even want to know what I have spent on mine to fix it up. We had a old guy buy a farm around the corner from us, the barn was well over a hundred years, this barn was in good shape, except the foundation, this guy by himself (well into his seventies) would jack, knock out the old, replace with new block, replace sills, let down barn. He did this all by himself, at his own pace, the whole south side of his barn. Took him a few weeks, but he did it and it is still there, and I doubt many of the other neighbors ever knew he did it. I think the world of him for doing what he did, and he can out work me most days. OH did I say that this was a year after a triple by-pass heart surgery. This guy is driven, farmed as a kid, went into business and has now retired, and wanted to go back to farming. So my vote is still to keep it. > Thanks Marc

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  #26  
Old 05/08/10, 03:02 PM
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Nebraska
Posts: 375

One thing about it,we are definately not afraid of work. My husband custom fences for a living so that givdes you an idea of how hard he can work plus we have cows,bottle calves,broilers ,huge garden,etc. on the side. I guess our whole thing is knowing HOW to do it. So instead of fixing what is there of the ,foundation, we should tear it all out i'm sure. What do we use to jack it up with? maybe you can give me details or I can look it up on the computer to know exactly. I would love to not have to pay someone to do this. Everything else we do on our own and dont' pay to have it done. This is something my husband got in his head(with a little help from friends) that he needed a 'new' building. I love the old one and it makes our place.

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  #27  
Old 05/08/10, 03:29 PM
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Location: Illinois
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Why do you need a new building? you can make new doors, take out walls, even part or all of the haymow floor if you want. Is the foundation that bad? take some pictures, we can tell you more after that. My neighbor would do about 10 ft at a time, took some basement jacks and slowly lift the wall with a beam on top of them, under the haymow floor. He would lift it high enough to take out the old foundation and put in new. not much more than a couple inches, then fix it and put it back in place. Most of it is just sittin down and lookin at it a sittin there thinking about what would work best. Take some pics, and let us all see, I know alot of us on here will be more than glad to help what we can. > Thanks marc

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  #28  
Old 05/08/10, 04:49 PM
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Indiana, USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dawn View Post
How true that statement was about them being farmers with no skill and the foundation lasting this long. I know we can fill in the cracks but a part of the one side is tipping out and causing the wood above it to bow out. How do you get the foundation pushed back in without affecting the wood part? I would be totally happy to do the work and fix it ourselves IF we just knew how. Any ideas on pushing the foundation back in would be great.
Generally, on a timber frame building, you find somewhere to jack it up under a horizontal framing member, which ideally should be directly below a verticle framing member. Since it is hard to get under the lowest horizontal frame member, with out busting out someof the foundation, generally you would use a jack, pushing up a stout verticle post, against horizontal ceiling joists, or other higher internal supports.

Here are some very good examples:

http://www.stuffwedo.com/renovating_...ery_old_ba.htm
http://www.stuffwedo.com/ebf%20jack%...t%20repair.JPG
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  #29  
Old 05/09/10, 06:46 AM
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Eastern ON
Posts: 60

As the owner of an old barn with holes in the roof and signifigant leans, I can sympathize with this debate.

However my issue comes from the comments re: farmers who build them having little skill. It is obvious that a great deal of skill and experience went into building these grand old barns. Teams of experienced builders would travel from farm to farm and put them up. Assisted by the farmer, but around here anyway, no farmer could them up by themselves with no skill. Some of the timbers are 12x12 x 30' long and my ridge beam is 40' in the air, not a solo act.

Mike

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  #30  
Old 05/09/10, 08:55 AM
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 8,560

There is no way in the world that I would destroy that old barn.

It is an asset to you.

You've stated that you aren't afraid of the work, but you don't know how. I, too, agree that this isn't rocket science. There are a number of books on the subject. There are also historic barn groups. Barn Again! is one that comes to mind. Google is your friend.

There are also timber frame groups made up of people, you guessed it, that timber frame either for love of the hobby or money. Maybe you can find a timber frame guy in your area that would look at it, and maybe tell you how to repair it?

Once again, I'd NEVER destroy a barn like that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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