The investment of time and money required for farming is no small matter. Even a hobby farm is more like an investment than a hobby. Regardless of farm type, outbuildings are just as important as main buildings when it comes to sound construction. And it’s no simpler to deal with the fall-out of poor workmanship. It could even be argued that a barn needs to be built with greater attention to detail than a main building since there are fewer materials and higher potential risks for damage (a bucking horse, for example). Here are four tips that can ensure your barn withstands the test of time.
- Location. Location. How the building interacts with the elements is critical to its longevity. Which direction does the wind come from? From one direction, it will breeze around a solid wall. From another direction, it could send the elements right in the front door. If the residence is downwind, will smells be a problem? How will drainage work in the event of heavy rains? Water, wind, snow, and anything else mother nature throws at you can erode your construction.
- Choose the right barn style for the job. Barns perform three basic functions: housing livestock, storing feed and equipment, and providing a place for tinkering and repairs. They can be customized to these needs accordingly. Livestock need more cross ventilation. Storage barns need more protection from the elements. A pole barn with its simple layout is potentially a weekend construction project, while a horse barn filled with stalls will take longer to construct.
- Don’t skimp on the base. While concrete floors aren’t always necessary, you don’t want to leave the floors as just dirt because it will impact drainage, and that’s something you’ll need in any barn regardless of purpose. A packed base layer can help you level your construction base, as well as allow for drainage. If you’re housing livestock, rubber mats work great on top of a packed base.
- Consider metal roofs and siding. Metal building materials are a barn roof staple. They have a great lifespan and require almost no maintenance. They install easily too, especially when using a SCRAIL® RoofLoc® System from the folks at BECK. The key is the fastener that drives in like a nail, but has the holding power of a screw. They also back out like a screw, making adjustments quick and easy, and deliver 520-pounds of holding strength. Each fastener has a leak-proof EPDM-washer that resists temperature contraction due to temperature extremes; and creating no metal residue or “pig tails” allows for superior washer seal and eliminates scratches.