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New log barns: anyone build one for the horses?

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  • New log barns: anyone build one for the horses?

    We've been pricing different options for a 4-stall barn for our stay-at-home horses.

    The prices for 2x4 construction are astronomical around here, so we're now very open to other ideas.

    Many of the original barns in the area (chilly Canadian winters, hot Canadian summers) were built 200 years ago from cedar logs, and are still just about as good today as the day they were built.

    I've just started shopping around to see who could build us a log barn (56 x 24, give or take); there are plenty of log home builders, so that's where I've started.

    First guy I called said that square logs are less expensive than round logs; round logs nowadays have to "match," and milling them is costly -

    So - has anyone here had a log barn built to house their horses, and what were the pitfalls, costs, plus and minus points, etc!


  • #2
    I'll start by saying we live in a log house, 8 years now

    If you're going to have the stalls in contact with the logs, you absolutely no questions asked want that surface to be flat. Period. Even then I would seriously consider lining the stalls anyway with 3/4" plywood, because you can't replace logs a horse may damage via kicking.

    There's the dust factor too - go with the flat interior logs, or you will end up with a huge layer of dust/dirt, lickety split, along the top of the curves.

    Generally speaking, building a log house is about the same, cost-wise, as building with brick.

    A pole barn is a much cheaper alternative to get the structure up - MUCH. You can put log siding on if you just love the look

    As for insulating factors - we sit on a hill, lots of windows, no trees to protect us from sun or wind. Because of the windows and the logs, we typically don't have to turn the AC on until late June, and then it's mostly about humidity rather than temperature. Because of the insulating factor, we typically don't have to turn the heat on until mid-late November, just depending on how cold it starts getting at night. The sun does a fantastic job heating things up during the day

    I looked into a log barn, which we built after the house and I wanted it to match. But the cost was SO much more than a pole barn.
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


    • #3
      Where is 'around here'? What kind of log construction? (What kind of logs?)

      We live in a late 80's hand hewn cedar log home. We looked at a few designs to match the barn to the house, and there was no way it was happening. The rest of the structures on the place are pole barns with T1-11 siding.

      If you go with a kit and 'manufactured' logs you might get the price down to something reasonable, but I'd be very surprised if it's *less* than typical frame construction.
      ... and Patrick


      • #4
        Have you looked at the cost of a metal barn? In kentucky metal is less expensive than wood (no idea why) plus little or no painting and looks great for years. Of course you'd need wood inside for preventing horse from contacting metal sides kicking, pee, etc.)

        I purchased a 40 x 60 ft metal barn (15K) years ago in Florida - found a California company who distributed locally - they had "cast off's" where people had ordered metal structures and failed to pick them up - so you could get them at a good discount if you were OK with current colors/design/etc.

        That also means hiring someone to put it up but it was worth the savings and will last for hyears.
        Now in Kentucky


        • #5
          Why not get a manufactured barn, delivered? Sure, you have to pay transportation, but it sounds like a cheaper option. Something like Horizon barns, or the myriad "Amish" barn builders.


          • #6
            I second the suggestion for a pole building. They are fairly easy to put up and you can do a lot of work yourself. We build a 36 x 48 barn back in the 90's and all we needed help on was setting the tresses and sheathing the roof. We had an old fashioned barn raising and my boss who was a builder and half his crew showed up. We had a pig picking and a bonfire and a wonderful time as well!

            If we ever build again, and there is a good chance we will, I will probably put up a pole barn again.


            • Original Poster

              We have very strict building codes; any farm structure has to have either a poured foundation wall or concrete footings; either way, that's a nasty kicker in the pocket.

              Then the building has to be, I dunno, able to withstand a colossal earth-shattering blow...we have to jump through the same hoops for building a barn as we do for building a home

              So, even to build a pole barn (with metal exterior), we're looking at a LOT of money.

              All the old barns in our part of Ontario (wilds of Canada) were built by the early pioneers from massive cedar logs; later ones used timber-frame as well.

              As I see it, one of the advantages of logs (either squared or round - one guy I spoke to said squared is much cheaper) is their R-value. If the barn is vented properly and oriented to take best advantage of the weather, we should be able to keep it comfortable in both winter and summer.

              Logs also look nice - we want a structure that looks more traditional, with a steeper pitch than most modern (kit) barns.

              Yes, we're picky!

              JB - thanks for the dust reminder! We reckoned we'd stand stalls inside the barn such that the horses wouldn't be able to chew on the logs, perhaps even sitting the stalls in the centre of the barn and having a "walk way" around the perimeter. I've been in an early (pole) barn that had this set-up, and it was really nice - good air circulation, and very bright.


              • #8
                I too have been in a structure that looked like it was an old warehouse of some sort - not HUGE ceilings like Home Depot, but taller than any barn I'd seen. They put up stalls in the center and, like you talked about, had aisleways around the outside of all the stalls. Despite being in Eastern-ish NC, in August, it was REALLY cool in there!
                The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET