See the following posts explaining the barn renovations thus far.

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.


Township Cleanup Day (April 19, 2010)

45 responses to “Barn

  1. Erin

    Hallelujah! I would have cried if you had torn it down. I always wished we had one at the farm growing up. I even wrote three different essays in college about growing up on a “modern” farm withOUT a big, red barn. You better hurry with that sports room before the kids are gone!

  2. Oh I was so worried as I read your post…I adore old barns. I would live in one if hubby would even slightly agree to it!

    I am so very glad your salvaged such a magnificent beauty! Kim

  3. Susanne Milhomens

    what an amazing story thanks for sharing it with all of us!!

  4. I must agree with Kim, I am soo glad you decided to save the barn. Growing up in the sticks the way I did the barn was a place to hide from work with a book, tell ghost stories and just enjoy being away from the bustle of life. Its going to be beautiful when your totally finished becouse its lovely now.

  5. Philip Larson


  6. Paula Bonnell Sacco

    Congratulations, you did a wonderful thing….you saved something that couldn’t save itself. That is indeed, a very brave thing to do. Paula Bonnell Sacco

  7. Julei

    Awesome, beautiful structure. Most old barns around where I live are all but ready to fall down. All you need now is a beautiful quilt painted on the side and get on the register. I agree with Erin, finish the barn and host parties and dances…..Enjoy

  8. Jill Tarvin

    Have you thought of asking for donation to finish the barn. Could it be an historical landmark?

    • Jill,
      We have actually looked into grants for restoration with the “Barn Again” program, but concluded it would not qualify. Around our area there are numerous old round-top barns, many of which are also in serious decline. We don’t think our barn would be a candidate for grants because it does not have any of the post-beam construction or any other features it making it unique. We aren’t aware of any other sources of funding. Let me know if there are others you are aware of! Thanks for stopping by.

  9. Thanks to everyone who stopped by the blog via Facebook to look at pictures of our old barn. I’m not sure where it appeared out there in the social media world, but I appreciate the kind comments!

  10. Cheryl Holliday

    Thanks for your love of barns. I20 years ago I restored my barn into a three story home which took over 12 years doing most of the work myself. Another good idea is for concerts and reuions. I also charged for tours of my home for about 8 years.

  11. Patricia

    I live in Australia where we don’t really have such big lovely barns but I thought restoring your beautiful barn was such a great achievement……I read your story out to my husband and we were both moved by what you did!Good luck !

  12. I am curious as to what metal company you purchased your barn roof panels from?

  13. Kim Howard

    We have a barn and are interested in a round metal roof. Any information you have would be great.i.e. name of contractor, state location, were the panels straight when they arrived or did they come with the curve already in them? Love your barn.

    • Hi Kim,
      We live in Minnesota and we went through a local business to have our roof put on and they contracted it out. The product is called Curveline steel, I believe. It was in long flat panels when it arrived and they curved it to the roof line when they installed it. I hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions I might be able to answer and thanks for stopping by!!

    • You can get stell roofing from most any lumber yards, they do have to order it tho. We put a new steel roof on our barn a few yrs back, we have a round roof like this one.

  14. jake elliott

    Hi I saw your barn it looks great jnhave one that is near identical and wondered where you found your metal for the roof any help would be great thanks

    • Hi Jake,
      We worked with a local contractor to do our roof and he used Curveline steel. They have a website if you google them. Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

  15. Beautiful farmstead guys!

  16. Alana S.

    We live in Iowa and just purchased an acreage with a barn very much like yours and it needs some love and repair! Did you just look up ‘barn straightener’ in the yellow pages? We hope to restore our barn someday too!

  17. I can help with your barn.

    • Hi Todd-

      It definitely needs helps! Just not sure we can afford it. What we would like to start with is a new foundation. And that would probably require a second mortgage. 🙂


  18. Tim G

    we have a barn similar to your and im having trouble finding the metal roofing could you point me in the right direction

    • Tim G

      i was actually trying to find out what brand and where you purchased the metal roofing

      • Hi Tim-
        The roofing material is Curveline Steel and we purchased it through a local pole barn company – Latcham Lind Lumber in Milaca, MN. They had a subcontractor that we hired to install the roofing. I hope that helps and thanks for stopping by.

  19. Curve line is the name of the steel you want.
    Give a call if you need any help.
    Todd Holmes

  20. Kevin

    Nice barn, I am moving one just like it about 8 miles to my Acreage in the next few weeks.. Still holding my breath till they get it move and up. So where did you get your roofing?….just kidding.

  21. Lynell, I wrote a post on my blog and borrowed one of your pictures. It called to me because I used to be one of those roofers on your barn.
    The post is here:
    I hope you don’t mind.

  22. Cindy Stewart

    Wow – I read your post about your round roof barn and felt like I was replaying my life! My husband and I purchased a farmstead in MN a number of years ago with the focal point of a round barn. It needed TLC. As the years went on we did minor repairs to the barn ourselves but it desperately needed a new roof. We hired a roofer and spent the money on new steel shingles. They were supposed to last 50 years. Two years later a tornado took the roof off the barn, and not just shingles but rafters! What do we do now? It is depressing and overwhelming to look at everyday. We are now in a predicament – find someone crazy enough to fix it or bulldoze it down. Oh to be in love with the likes of a building….

    • Hello Cindy,
      I can completely understand and sympathize with your dilemma. It is so crazy to be in love with a building, but that is exactly the way it is for us too! It is a bottomless money pit, but we just keep throwing it in there. This summer we are repainting it after 15 years. I hope you at least got some insurance money for the damage and that you can find someone to fix it. There really is nothing quite like these old buildings!
      Best of luck and thanks for stopping by!

  23. Pingback: Why be a residential roofer? - Jobs in Buffalo NY | Sqrft Tradesmen

  24. We have a round roof barn as well and are looking to roof the same as you did. Where did you get the metal curved panels to do the roofing? Thank you.

    • Hi Laurie,
      It is Curveline steel and it was provided by the contractor we hired to do the project. You can google it and read about the product. Hope that helps!

  25. mestapel

    We are in a similar boat. Do you mind if we ask how much, ballpark, this cost? Thanks!

  26. Bill swingle

    What kinda metal roofing did you use I need to replace my roof and I need metal roofing that will bend on site what is it called and who makes it thanks Bill

  27. Ron Lester

    I need a price of a new roof on my round roof barn.

  28. Hampton Barn

    Geezus Christ! If you are at all affiliated with Todd Holmes Barn Roofing and Renovation, honey, you best run your ass as quick as you can to anyplace away from that scoundrel. How in the world he manages to be so much just ahead of the law is beyond me. He is a criminal. Plain and simple!

  29. Devin

    Did they put straight metal on?
    And did they start at bottom working there way up to curve the sheets ?

  30. Darlene Harris

    Love the barn! Who did your restoration?
    My family farm has a similar situation and the barn is in need of repair. Want to save it for another 100 years. Please let me know

  31. Aaron Bjornson

    1940’s barn. Needs metal roof. Can provide pictures.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s