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New spaces for old places

Agriculture.com Staff 07/06/2010 @ 5:23pm

Darrell Newton had a problem: His barn, shown here, was roomy enough to store his combine, if he could just get it through the 8x8-foot barn door, and around all those posts. Sound familiar? A new publication in the Barn-Aid series tells how older barns with low ceilings and interior posts can be renovated to house just about any size of equipment.

Michigan contractor David Ciolek developed his own technique for trussing barns after being hired to tear down dozens of barns for farmers. "I knew I was helping to destory part of my state's heritage with every barn I took down, but those old barns just weren't useful to farmers anymore," says Ciolek. He knew there was potential for the old barns. "Most of the barns I was being hired to tear down were in excellent shape," he says.

After building several covered bridges using discarded barn timbers, Ciolek decided he could apply the same concept to old barns, installing trusses to make the roof self-supporting, then removing the haymow floor and opening up the interior space. This launched a barn-saving career that has taken him from Maine to California.

The structural work involved in opening up an older barn usually costs between $4,000 and $7,500, depending on the size and structural system of the barn. Other costs might include roof, siding and floor repair or replacement.

Darrell Newton, pictured above right, one of Ciolek's customers, likes his renovated barn for several reasons. He saved the historic look, he saved money, and because he didn't change the outside of his barn, his taxes didn't go up.

Darrell Newton had a problem: His barn, shown here, was roomy enough to store his combine, if he could just get it through the 8x8-foot barn door, and around all those posts. Sound familiar? A new publication in the Barn-Aid series tells how older barns with low ceilings and interior posts can be renovated to house just about any size of equipment.

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