I am still scheming and conniving to try to figure out how to EVER get a barn built. Every time I save up money, something catastrophic happens and poof, there goes my barn money.
So, I am wondering. Would it be possible to build a run-in shed now that is just four posts (or however many posts would be required) and a roof (no walls yet) and then later put the walls on and then LATER put in the stalls and add the porch roof? I would eventually want to have four 12 x 12 stalls.
If I was to do this, how critical is it that the site is perfectly level?
Is there any way to sort of build up the ground ... I am thinking sort of like a retaining-wall style foundation to level up the low side; fill with gravel, then put mats on top?
Getting anyone out here to grade a site for me for ANYTHING has proven to be such an impossible chore. Also grading seems to be horribly expensive .. $5000+++ and then, there goes the barn $$ again before we can even sink the first post. Our "flat land" is not flat at all; it is so lumpy!
I am in Upstate South Carolina. I think that maybe if the basic structure was done (posts and roof) that my husband could add the walls when we got more $$.
First, let me say that $5,000 doesn't sound so bad. We paid $20,000 to have the grading done for our barn 4-1/2 years ago. (It did include lots of extras such as a 400 foot long trench to bring water from the curb box to the barn, plus trenching outside the barn perimeter for water lines, etc.)
You can rent heavy equipment if you don't have a tractor of your own. It is not cheap, but probably cheaper than hiring someone to grade the land. It does need to be fairly level, one way or the other. I would also recommend that the entire "pad" be raised above the surrounding land so your run-in/future barn doesn't turn into mud-n-muck land.
You will probably need to buy some gravel & some stone dust to build it up, once you have it fairly level. In this area, stone dust & gravel tend to be about $300 or more for a 24 ton load, including delivery. They price it per ton & then charge delivery based on how far you are from the quarry or "yard".
I certainly think you could get a covered/roofed area built, add walls later & finally make stalls within the walls.
I am not sure how badly you need a barn and I will probably get criticized for this suggestion, but have you considered borrowing to build a barn? In this area we have a farm credit place which lends for such things. Sometimes it is hard to save the money & keep it set aside but borrowing kind of forces you to meet those payments every month.
Well, I must have gotten a heck of a deal, cause we found a guy to grade the shedrow and the site for the permanent barn for $1300. Maybe you should call around for some more bids. My shedrow was 3 - 12x12 stalls and the barn is a 6 stall with a center aisle and porch. It was all put on a the side of a hill and the grading took 2 days. Or maybe you just live in a expensive area?
If you do it in stages, then you will be well-advised to do the grading NOW, before you put any posts in the ground. You won't be able to do sufficient dirtwork around them afterward.
Drainage will be something that is critical and you will live with every single day for the life of the structure. So plan out the dimensions now and get the foundation not only level but well-drained. A good grader will know how to do this. Make certain they do and discuss it. You don't want a lake under your shed every time it rains.
Having built several homes and been involved in others, the best way I've found to judge where to spend the money is to ask yourself, "Will I deal with this everyday?"
Go cadillac on the things you have to put up with or use daily (or even weekly).
Well, I must have gotten a heck of a deal, cause we found a guy to grade the shedrow and the site for the permanent barn for $1300. . . .
It sounds like you did get a deal. Our barn is fairly large (16 stalls, wash stall, office, tack room, feed room, 3 storage alcoves, totals 164'x36') so that is part of the reason for the expense, along with the extras such as trenching for 5 outside frost free hydrants, automatic waterers, etc.
Regarding farm credit ... I don't know about the Carolinas but here is the website of the one that serves our area:
You should be able to convert fairly easily, but you WILL need grading done whether done yourself or if you pay someone. The guy who did our barn (its 48x36) about a year and a half ago didn't charge nearly that much, can't quite remember the specifics, I'm in the upstate so PM me if you want contact info.
He also did our driveway and did a fabulous job!!! Hopefully we can can save up some $ to get him to come put in asphalt
Thanks to everyone for their suggestions and advice.
We did consider borrowing to build a barn, but with this economy ... no way. We are just 3 years out from building a house and 4 years out from buying our land. Naturally the house building went over budget. We did plan for that, but oh my. We don't want to take on any more mortgage debt at this time.
I figured that the grading was going to be the big ticket item, but I was *hoping* that I was wrong.
Well, at least I know "officially" that the grading absolutely must be done. Wonder if I could get a pad leveled to park my trailer at the same time?
5000 bucks for grade work for a fairly small barn sounds mighty steep to me unless you have some major landscape issues. Around these parts, bulldozer work is somewhere around $100/hr. My dozer guy could re-arrange half my farm in 8 hrs.
You could try just calling a couple of operators - the little guys, not the big companies- in this economy you should be able to find someone that's "hungry". Have them come out to give you an estimate for moving some dirt around- after finding out their hourly rate. And don't tell them it's for a horse barn...
Why not? You probably want the land to be relatively flat first though because it is much easier to do dirt work without the building in the way. Also, if you want to do that, while you are building your run-in shed, make sure to put in the posts where your stall partition walls will be so you have somwhere to tie your stalls walls to.
If you do your measurements right you don't need to level the site at all (as long as it doesn't slope visibly). You put the posts in, level them off, and nail things to them.
Last spring I helped a friend convert a 12 X 12 toolshed into a 5 stall barn. We stripped the shed down to the foundation, put in support posts in concrete(12 feet apart to help with stall building) and fixed them to the original buliding(it was not secured to the ground) and bumped 3 of the walls out. Then we took down the original roofline front and used that to make a template for the rafters which we changed into freespan. Then we lifed the rafters up on ladders and nailed them to the new frame, I think we put in 4 new ones. After the structure was done we nailed on metal siding and the roof. After that we built stalls inside. The entire project cost about $5,000 and was built by 3 very tired women.
Do you have access to the prebuilt run in sheds from PA?
I put two in here last summer after the torrential rain we had for weeks. They were less than 4k for two sheds, one is 12x10, the other 8x10, and that was delivered and placed. The 10x12 is wonderfully built, with kickboards, board and batten construction, etc. And, then it's easy to finish the front off for a stall if need be.
Site work was simple. Lay a 6" layer of stone followed by 4" to 6" stone dust on top of it. The shed is dropped off the truck right onto it, and then the driver moved it into place. After that, it was a breeze laying mats down on the inside. I don't know how many horses you have, but you can get a shed and ground work for under 2k. (stone and stone dust cost us 500)
There are a ton of places on line that have these. I am very pleased with the construction and quality of them.
Well this may not be the best but we couldn't afford to grade for our barn so my husband and FIL just built the barn with the slope! The back of the barn is a good 3 feet higher than the front! Works just fine for us - it isn't fancy but it is safe and servicable. I really think sometimes you just have to work with what you have!
SCM have you looked into getting a pre-built shedrow or a shedrow kit? A friend of mine had an Amish built 3 stall shedrow delivered to her site and I was impressed with the quality. I bought a run-in from Jamaica Cottage Company in VT and they delivered it and helped me set it on a graded pad. It is like a little post and beam cottage, very sturdy and well made.
Here in western New England, we have pretty slopey terrain and ledge. We bought a prebuilt 24"x10 run-in with a grilled partition and auger anchors. The barn co. did the grading - a beautiful and thorough job with a pad approx30'x30' covered with airport mix which packs really nicely, and the total price was less than $8k. It can be retrofitted with doors easily if we wanted to.
We added rubber mats and use pelleted bedding for the guys, both oldies, and they've done fine. We put in another run-in, same specs, last year in case Boo wanted inside - she doesn't!
I would think the premade route might be fine for you, as you can add on to them easily. I would advise, however, that the pad be level.
Equipment can be rented for the levelling, and be sure you have a base which packs well.
Form follows function, or does function follow form?