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Have any of you done this before and what were the biggest problems you had? The barn on our property is very old, and one of the support logs has rotted at the base causing the roof to sag. At some point the whole roof was raised up about 3 feet, and they kind of rigged it, without adding taller support beams to hold the roof up. The ouside is all rough oak, some with rot at the bottom were over time the soil has built up, the beams inside are in good shape, and about half of the siding is in good shape. It also has a loft that is half the width of the barn, and a lean-to on the side w/ a loft. The demensions are about 20wx30l &25' tall

The barn is in a bad spot, it does not drain well, and is sited further from the house than it needs to be. Our plan is to reuse as much lumber as we can for a run in shed, a chicken coop and other buildings as the need arises. Then when we are ready, build a more serviceable barn in a better location.

I think we are going to start taking the lean to section apart this weekend, since the chance is small that the whole thing will topple over on us. How would you start to deconstruct the barn? I was thinking with the siding, but won't that make the roof sag even worse? Should we start with taking apart the loft, leaving the ouside walls for last? ( that is where most of the best lumber is)

Don't worry, if it looks to scary in there we will doze it over to prevent any injuries. I just hate to waste the wood, especially since our animal housing budget is small at this time. I might change my mind when I get in there and realize how much hard work is involved. Thanks.
 

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PineRidge said:
Have any of you done this before and what were the biggest problems you had? The barn on our property is very old, and one of the support logs has rotted at the base causing the roof to sag. At some point the whole roof was raised up about 3 feet, and they kind of rigged it, without adding taller support beams to hold the roof up. The ouside is all rough oak, some with rot at the bottom were over time the soil has built up, the beams inside are in good shape, and about half of the siding is in good shape. It also has a loft that is half the width of the barn, and a lean-to on the side w/ a loft. The demensions are about 20wx30l &25' tall

The barn is in a bad spot, it does not drain well, and is sited further from the house than it needs to be. Our plan is to reuse as much lumber as we can for a run in shed, a chicken coop and other buildings as the need arises. Then when we are ready, build a more serviceable barn in a better location.

I think we are going to start taking the lean to section apart this weekend, since the chance is small that the whole thing will topple over on us. How would you start to deconstruct the barn? I was thinking with the siding, but won't that make the roof sag even worse? Should we start with taking apart the loft, leaving the ouside walls for last? ( that is where most of the best lumber is)

Don't worry, if it looks to scary in there we will doze it over to prevent any injuries. I just hate to waste the wood, especially since our animal housing budget is small at this time. I might change my mind when I get in there and realize how much hard work is involved. Thanks.
To be safe, I would doze it over and then salvage any wood I could. Old wood is not worth dying over. It is tricky to demolish a bldg. in good shape, too many unknowns with one full of rotten parts. I worked as a P.Engr. in construction for many years and had many bldgs. demolished. They were small about the size of a barn. A big front end loader can take one down in very short order and still have some wood that can be salvaged.

Be careful,

Bob
 

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Be VERY careful! A local farmer was killed recently when he tried to work on a structure such as what you are talking about. He was 78. He wanted to jack up and move a shed. Family told him not to, so he waited until they were not around. The rotted sillplates broke around his jacks and crushed him.
 

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Ideally, you should dismantle it in the opposite order that it was put together... so the roof went on last, so it should come off first.

If it's so unstable that that's not possible, I'd probably go for a controlled fall. I've tied cable around old barns, taking off some wallboards, running a cable along the inside wall, out the other wall, and tying the cable (that's basically looped inside around one wall) to the tractor, and putting a little pressure on the barn. Then taking off as many 'perpendicular to the pull' wallboards as possible. When as many were off as possible, I'd start taking off the back walls. All of this work is done on the outside of the barn. To go inside, is to risk getting squashed! I always work alone, so safety is paramount. When I start hearing noises, I stop, and evaluate the situation. If there's a hint of trouble, I just crank the tractor, and pull the barn over, extract my cable, and start separating the good wood from the bad.

You'll have nails popping up in the general area forever, if you're not careful. Backhoes are really nice for cleaning up. The last one I did, I used a hoe to dig a hole and bury a couple tons of broken wood... too much danger of fire spreading, and the nails woulda been on the surface of the ground.

I save just about everything usable, from nails, tin, wood, windows, sills, etc. I usually find some kinda 'treasure' from each structure.
 
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Remove the roof, then the roof rafters and associated purlins. The next step after you have achieved a missing roof is to remove the siding. Any framing member that is diagonally braced are last to remove, the ones between the diagonal are the first to remove at that stage.

Next comes the perimeter top plates, now we are in dangerous territory, start in the middle and work to the outside, long sides first, less weight on the remaining support. Once the long sides are gone, attach a cable to the gable ends, collapse it inward from a safe distance with equipment. Collapse the second end, set up the saw horses, pull nails (and you thought you knew how to sweat before...), keep it all dry as it is removed.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
If I had known that you had to start at the roof, I wouldn't consider it. Ladders are my least favorite tool!

We spent a while looking at the barn yesterday and decided to just try to take apart the lean to. It is newer, and the roof is in good shape, and if we remove the first roof panel we can stand inside on the loft and reach the rest without having to climb on it (the loft is only 4' at the highest side).

The main barn will just have to be dozed, the roof is not safe at all to climb on. What a shame! But we will go through the remains and try to salvage what we can, and I might try to take apart the stalls first, they were added more recently and aren't structural. Too bad people let things get run down beyond repair.

Thanks for your advice.
 

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Unless you want to salvage lumber, the easiest and safest way is to offer it to your local volunteer fire department for blaze control practice. A nearby farm had 4 dilapidated barns and out buildings that the owner let the volunteers burn down. They even brought a bulldozer and back hoe to totally burn the structures and deep bury the char remains at no cost to the farm owner.
 

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If it's so unstable that that's not possible, I'd probably go for a controlled fall. I've tied cable around old barns, taking off some wallboards, running a cable along the inside wall, out the other wall, and tying the cable (that's basically looped inside around one wall) to the tractor, and putting a little pressure on the barn. Then taking off as many 'perpendicular to the pull' wallboards as possible. When as many were off as possible, I'd start taking off the back walls. All of this work is done on the outside of the barn. To go inside, is to risk getting squashed! I always work alone, so safety is paramount. When I start hearing noises, I stop, and evaluate the situation. If there's a hint of trouble, I just crank the tractor, and pull the barn over, extract my cable, and start separating the good wood from the bad.
I agree.

We've done demolition in a similar manner in the past. It works.
 
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