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1910 Heritage Barn...collapsed:-(
In Restoration/Preservation
campbellduncan02
May 25, 2019
I was saddened to see that your beautiful Monitor barn was collapsed by this week's storms. I have talked with lots of folks who are worried that this may happen to their barns, but I have to say that it is still pretty rare to see one completely collapse like this, because the timber frame--even when old--is a very strong structure. It is more common to lose a roof or part of a roof, or even see siding blown off than to see the entire structure go down. In response to your request for thoughts, suggestions, or ideas, my first inclination would be to clear the rubble and assess the real damage to the timber frame. This probably sounds crazy, but it may actually be possible to re-erect the frame if it is not too badly damaged. New roofs and new siding are relatively easy to apply, but the frame is the critical element. I cannot know its condition before it collapsed, and it may have been either very deteriorated in its timber connections--the pegged mortise and tenon joinery--or the wood sufficiently rotted to have lost its structural integrity. Otherwise, it is unlikely that it would all go down at once. And based on the picture, it seems to have blown down in a heap, but not scattered over the countryside as it may have done if hit by a tornado or sustained wind. This makes me think that frame deterioration may be the reason it blew down, but if enough of the frame is still sound, and the wood mortise and tenon connections are not shattered from the collapse, it may be that a significant amount of the frame could be put back up, and the deteriorated parts repaired or replaced. In other words, if enough of the primary mortise and tenon connections (where vertical posts meet horizontal girts) are not too damaged, it may be possible to re-erect the frame without prohibitive repair costs. So my first effort would be to assess whether or not a significant amount of the frame is sound enough to warrant rehabilitation. This assessment will take some expert eyes, no doubt, but I live by the credo that anything can be repaired, and that more often than not, such repair is worth the effort. It would help to have expert advice, and a firm like Trillium Dell Timberworks comes to mind, because they are notable barn repair experts, but barns are relatively simple wooden structures, and good (and willing) carpenters can often repair them, even if they are not expert timber framers, so all is not necessarily lost if you cannot afford a full technical restoration. Because your goal was to repurpose your barn as a wedding venue, you would have been required to undertake significant upgrades to meet the necessary building codes for assembly structures, and several interventions would have been necessary. Starting over, given these requirements, may not be too prohibitive, but you will still want to reuse as much of the original structure as possible in order to achieve the look and feel that makes such a venue so attractive. Looking at the bright side, I like to think of your barn's rehabilitation as an opportunity to make it structurally safe and sound once again, and ready for a new use. -Duncan
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Turn of Century Barn Needs Structural Help
In Restoration/Preservation
campbellduncan02
Jan 14, 2019
Great. You are in good hands.
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Demo or Reno?
In Restoration/Preservation
campbellduncan02
Jan 11, 2019
Thanks, Amy, for the picture and your comments. Yes, your barn is in rough shape, but from what I can see, it is not beyond repair. The Indiana Barn Foundation does offer site visits, and we only charge for our mileage costs at a rate of $.54 per mile. If you would like such a visit, just send me your address and I will estimate the mileage costs for you and set up a time for one of us to look at your barn. We also have a grant program, information for which you can access on this site. Your hopes for a studio/animal habitat are admirable, but clearly you would have to have a sound structural framework before completing such work. This might entail removal of all the siding, and perhaps the roofing, in order to repair and straighten the timber frame. Based on your photo, you also need foundation work. These kinds of repairs do not necessarily require the expertise of a timber framing expert, as many skilled carpenters would have the know-how to tackle such a job. As you have found out, however, not all of those with the skills have an interest in tackling this kind of work. Many barn owners have expressed their frustration in attracting contractors to help with their barn repairs. We do have a contractor list on this website, but availability is limited. We are working to attract contractors to advertise on our website in order to be more helpful to barn owners like you, but have not as yet been able to meet the need. This is why I emphasize that owners concentrate on locating reputable, skilled carpenters who reside in the local or nearby community. Please feel free to contact me directly at the email address above if you would like to arrange a visit or communicate further.
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Looking for barn restoration contractors in Ripley Co.
In Restoration/Preservation

campbellduncan02

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