To renovate or tear down? That is the question.

This old round-top barn on the property was one of the primary features of the old farmstead that we fell in love with.  We had all kinds of fantasies about how we would use the barn:  for horses, a sports area in the hayloft for the kids, a workshop…

After purchasing the property, we had a barn straightener come out to evaluate the structure and give us some advice.  His conclusions were mixed.  The barn was still salvageable, but was in need of paint, a new roof, a new foundation, and straightening.  Because we were short on time (we were moving to Sweden for a two-year expatriate assignment) and money, we decided to have it painted and the windows replaced to preserve it for a later decision.

We returned to the farm from our expatriate assignment in the summer of 2003.  Our friendly old barn stood there waiting for us and for our decision on her fate.  Facing the reality of the money necessary to completely restore the barn was discouraging and seemed like a poor investment.  On the other hand, the barn is what gave our little farm its character.  Being two farm kids, it’s what drew us to this place from the beginning.  We discussed having it burned down at some point by the local fire department, but our soft spot for this structure just kept us putting off any final decision.

In the spring of last year, we experienced a nasty day with high winds gusting in from the south.  As I stood inside looking out the kitchen window, I could see shingles flying over the barn after peeling off the southern-facing roof.  With the yard littered with old asphalt shingles, I knew that a decision would soon be necessary about the fate of the barn.  The barn’s deterioration would now be quickened with the more seriously compromised roof.

After some inquiry to the insurance company, we realized that we would have some coverage for the damage caused by the wind storm to the roof.  We started gathering information and quotes on the costs of repairing the roof.  Although not the most visually appealing alternative, we concluded that the most economical approach would be to have a new steel roof put on the barn.

Prior to having the new roof installed, we hired the barn straightener to shore up the barn structurally.  The process took about two weeks.  He moved it gradually over the two weeks by bracing, pulling, and cranking it back to an upright position.  New lumber was installed inside to strengthen the structure further and hold it in its new “straight” position.

Finally sitting straight and tall, the barn was ready for its new roof.  The first step in installing the new steel roof was to put cribbing across the old roof to level everything out.  The cribbing is an efficient way to quickly cover the many sags in the roof.

The whole roof was eventually covered in the cribbing.

The roofers then began installing one sheet of metal roofing at a time.  Brave, brave men.

Rain or shine, they just kept working their way across the roof putting on the steel…

Until they finished the entire roof.  Our old barn now stands straight and tall with a new roof, waiting for us to find the time and money to take the next steps.  It might take many years to make any more progress, but at least our decision has finally been made.  We will keep the old round top barn that we fell in love with a decade ago.

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1 Comment

Filed under Barn, Outbuildings

One response to “To renovate or tear down? That is the question.

  1. I LOVE your barn! It does have so much character. I’m so glad you decided to keep it… wish I had a barn!

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