What To Do With The Old Barn

The old, wooden barn that’s been on your family’s land for decades is a relic of the past and has emotional value. However, after years of standing up to the brutal forces of Mother Nature and possibly neglect, it’s showing its age and a decision needs to be made. Do you tear it down or spend the money to renovate it for a new purpose?

Kevin Janni is a professor and Extension engineer at the University of Minnesota. He says there are many factors to consider such do you want to build a new barn, or how a remodel would fit into your management plan. The barn’s structural integrity is another.

"If you can see cracks or unevenness in the foundation, that’s probably a pretty good indication that you’ve got some structural problems. Another thing is to look at the sides and see if any parts are bowing out or bowing in, and then again on the roof line," says Janni. "Dips, changes, things along the line where it’s not nice and square, true."

 Look around the interior for rotting wood. If the roof wasn’t taken care of and it leaks like a sieve, this may be the point of no return. 

"If some parts of the structural members that are carrying the loads have gotten wet, they may have dry rot, or they may just be corroded, degraded, or broken down. Usually you’ll see some other damage with that," he says. "If you’ve got a roof that’s caving in, you’re going to spend a lot of money trying to repair things."

 It’s expensive to demolish a barn, but there are people who would pay you good money for old timbers and barn boards in good condition. Have an expert look over the building for a final verdict.