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Anyone ever built their own barn . . . . .

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  • Anyone ever built their own barn . . . . .

    Husband and I are seriously thinking about it as our project for next year. Simple 3x stalls and 1x tack and hay store.

    Would love to hear stories from anyone who has tackled a similar project. What worked well? What might you do differently?


  • #2
    We did and are.

    Get the metal barn kit from a reputable supplier, the bolt together kit.
    Run their plans by your local engineers and they will give you the specs for the concrete work.
    Have a concrete contractor do the concrete work, pylons and any pads for aisle, wash and tack rooms.

    That will leave you with J bolts sticking up that you start bolting the frame to.
    Once the frame is up, get a drill/driver and screw the sheet metal up.

    Then you can make your stalls or get portable stalls to put in there, wherever you want them.

    It is really easy, like putting any other together, especially easy with a small barn, where you don't have to go very high.

    The advantage of a metal barn and portable stalls is that it can be considered an all purpose building and the stalls furniture.
    In many places, the building shell is taxed about half what a single purpose barn itself would be and it's value at re-sell time is greater.

    Now, if you want to build a wood barn, you can also buy those in kits, if you don't want to buy lumber a piece at the time.
    Some hardware stores around here sell those also.


    • #3
      Dh and I and our carpenter friend built our wooden barn. Friend would give us directions for the week and then help on weekends. We would have been up-a-creek without his direction. Five stalls and a feed/tack room is what we have. It's been standing for 17 years, knocking on wood.
      I'm having to replace some windows and trim now by myself. One window takes me hours.
      Measure twice, cut once, or so they say. Somehow I can measure sixteen times and still cut wrong.
      Do you and your Dh get along well, I'm mean really well? Frustrated, aggravated, worn-out spouses with power tools--see what I'm saying?


      • #4
        we did ours. original layout was three stalls with a wash/tack room on the "side"

        we ordered in the trusses, had the layout planned, then we had an old fashioned barn raising. invited all of our friends and plied them with beer and pizza all day LOL

        it took two weekends and was done. we did the stall separators with slide in and out boards and were ever so grateful that we did, as we changed our layout about 100x over the years. we've had two large foaling stalls, three "regular" stalls, four at one time... the only draw back to original plan was that once I put all the tack in the tack area, we couldn't use it as a wash stall, so that would have changed if we could have.

        we might have the original plans, if you are interested, pm me and I'll have hubs dig them out.


        • #5
          we (my DH) did years ago. We tore down an existing leaky shed and had to design the barn layout around the existing (slick) concrete pad. I love my barn but wish we had spent the $$ to have someone come in and REALLY level the area..it's 5 stalls with a tack room. It was built as we had the $$ to buy lumber so took about a year to complete. Best thing we did do was put in heavy duty ceiling fans. They really do make a difference.


          • #6
            We did most of our barn renovations/additions as I am a carpenter/builder. Two issues with what you are considering: you do not say if either one of you has any building expereience and you are not saying where you live so climate is hard to factor in. If neither has much prior experience you will want to get a reliable carpenter to provide input and advice as you build. You would not want to engineer a bulding deign that may fail. Most new barns will need permits with plans/drawings that are engineered stamped, but they also assume that you know basic minimum construction specifications for nailing and screw spacing/number/size, etc.
            Here in the northeast I would prefer wood to steel; the reverse down south. I would have less sides etc down south or more possible aeration. Heavy rain areas you may wish to dampen rain noise on a metal roof with foam insulation.
            Having said that there are several routes you could go: again here in NE we have a horse barn construction company that supplies just the materials with their design which you can then build or have built. Lumber yards could do the same, except they haven't sourced the devil in the details equestrian products you will need. Other outfits have pre-assembled barns which they will deliver to your farm. Obviously their size will be limited to what they can haul over the raod, but they are quick and usually pretty well made.
            Lastly the construction phase of any horse barn can be the best time of your life horse experience and given energy and some patience you will and can persevere and save some serious $$ doind it yourself. The real question is how much time do you have to put towards this project versus when do you need it.


            • #7
              18 years ago we built a 24' by 18' barn- two 10' by 12' stalls and a 4' wide feed/tack room on one side. The aisle was 6' wide and we had doors at both ends. We added to it twice- bumped it out 8' to create a 8' by 24' section across from the stalls for hay, goat stall and secure tack room and later paid someone to add a loafing shed 12' by 18' off of the back.

              We had a neighbor who is a professional help us build and install the rafters (Gambrell roof) and supervise our framing. The barn and all the additions were wood and siding. The work crew was Mr. SLW and I. It was fun to do and we were younger.

              In hindsight the Gambrel roof was a waste because getting hay up there to store was a hassle but our daughters had one hell of fun time playing up there.

              6 years ago we tore down that barn and had a company build us a barn, 40' by 60', that is an all metal exterior. For our area a metal exterior is much better.

              If you go the do-it-yourself route purchase the very best power tools for the job. Residential grade saws & drills wear out quickly doing a big project.


              • #8
                Where to start... just over a year ago I started planning my "dream" barn. I spent about 5 months just planning it, since it was winter. Size, #/size of stalls, layout, positioning of turnout/driveway access/water/electrical... lots to consider. I ended up with a 20x45 barn, 3 10x12 stalls and an 8' aisle in front of them, with a 15x20 storage room for hay/grain/shavings. The aisle is totally open, at least for the time being. The horses each have run-outs off of their stalls, which is a super saver on shavings. The run-outs can be opened onto grass turnouts, and I have another larger pasture to the side. Our property is set up a bit odd so we were pretty limited in terms of what we could do and where we could put the barn. Luckily our property really can't handle more than 2-3 horses, as the only place to build the barn couldn't have anything much larger than what we built.

                The only reason it was do-able is because my boyfriend built it, got the building materials at cost, we have friends who cleared the land and took the lumber for firewood, other friends who loaned us a tractor and Bobcat at various times, friend who was able to order other materials at cost... you get the idea. As it is, it was a huge expense, so I can't imagine what it would cost to pay someone else to build it. We did do some "upgrades": it's entirely Douglas fir, so that significantly increased the cost of the materials; industrial-grade fans, cameras, insulated buckets; no-climb fencing as we breed Golden Retrievers and don't want the puppies to ever have a chance of getting in with the horses. We also had to seriously extend our driveway, and we added a large parking area so that the vet/farrier/hay guy have room to turn around if they want, though most back from the house to the barn.

                My advice is to PLAN... and plan again. Keep imagining trying to work in the planned barn, in all sorts of weather. Run numbers, and run them again. Estimate high. Really high.


                • #9
                  We built our own rough 2 stall barn for about $1000. We were on budget and time constraints with moving into a new place without any shelter. The husband is quite handy and we really didn't have any issues at all with the building process. He actually created the design himself in CAD with input from me and free blueprints online.

                  What I'd do over is choosing the building site-- everyone says to watch your land for a year, but we didn't have that luxury.

                  When it comes time to build our "real" barn, it will involve A LOT more planning.
                  Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO


                  • Original Poster

                    Hi Everyone,

                    Thanks so much for all the replies, tonnes of useful info there.

                    So, a little more detail on what we're thinking of doing. At the moment I'm leaning toward a shedrow style building. My horses are all big (a 17hh TB and two Clydesdales) so I'd like 3 24x24 box stalls and a minimum 24x24 tack and hay storage area. Ideally enough space for minimum 20 110 lbs 3 string bales, 2 saddles and all the halter, bridles and other bits and pieces we need.

                    There's actually an area on our property that was originally setup as an RV hook up so already has electricity and water in place. The area is flat and drains well when it rains. There's an existing concrete area that we'll extend as the foundation/floor. Right now my priorities for the barn are excellent ventilation and plenty of light. It won't be used as our daily barn, the horses have 24x24 corrals with shade and a hot wired turnout area and I'll be keeping them there most of the time. The barn will be there in case of a sick horse, visiting friends, wind that creates a lot of sand/dirt in the air and on the seldom occasion that it's both cold and wet for a couple days.

                    Climate wise we're Southern California, high desert. So, very hot in summer and frequently drops below freezing in winter.

                    In terms of experience, my husband is super handy. He built our arena, round pen (wooden one), turnouts and he's done a tonnoe of other projects over the years. We'd like to do as much of the construction as possible ourselves, husband enjoys that type of thing, but we do have a friend who has retired from the construction industry and will be helping out.

                    Tools wise we have a decent tractor, post hole digger and some industrial grade power tools. Will def need more bits and pieces but have no issue buying them.

                    Thanks again


                    • #11
                      The barn you describe that you want to build should be very doable!!!

                      Good luck!


                      • #12
                        My dad and I built a barn when I was about 12! He got the plans from, I kid you not, Sears! Shed row, hay storage, stall, tack room/feed room in an L shape. He ordered the materials listed in the plans and we went at it. Building was sound, site choice was poor, but it stood up for years and years. I remember it took most of the summer, as Dad built it on weekends, but it was a great dad/daughter project. I can hammer straight, baby! I think you can easily do this project--have good plans, measure carefully and be prepared to laugh when things go wrong.
                        Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


                        • #13
                          I think what you are describing is very doable for two handy people. Pole barn type building would make it pretty easy. So you basically want a 24 by 96 building. I would imagine you'd need to get trusses built and brought in, since 24' trusses would be HEAVY to put up by yourselves. Then you could do the walls how you wanted for ventilation and such.

                          I would agree with what someone else said about buying or renting the proper tools. Heavy duty saw and a nail gun at the minimum. Edited to add--I just reread that you already have most of the tools you need. The right tools make building so much easier!

                          We are in the process of building our own barn. We have an old tobacco barn that is 40x60. We are adding off both ends of that existing barn. I'll be doing a lot of it myself with my husband to help with the heavy lifting on his day off. We'll probably hire someone to come in to do the roof since I don't do well with heights and my husband couldn't do it by himself. One end will be 40x60 open to the tobacco barn to double our run in shed space. The other end will be 40x60 also, but be a center aisle barn with 5 12x14 box stalls on one side with dutch doors to the outside to private runs. The other side will be a 12 x14 tack/feed room a 10x14 wash/grooming stall and the remainder of that side will be standing/feeding stalls. Our horses live out 24/7 so I just need stalls to separate them to eat, for the mares to foal out in, and for sick/injured horses to recuperate. We'll be doing a monitor roof and drop down panels on the exterior walls to really increase ventilation for our hot humid summers, but be able to close them back up for winter. After that, the next barn will be a 16x72 shedrow barn of 6 12x16 stalls, open to paddocks on the back, with an additonal 12 foot overhang over the front.

                          Good luck and have fun. It's nice to be able to build EXACTLY what you want.



                          • #14
                            We (me, my husband and my father) built our barn about 2.5 years ago. I designed the barn myself (both me and my father work in construction) and went from there. I ended up with a 24'x48' barn with 3 12x12 stalls and 1 12x24 tack/feed room. Tack/feed room is concreted, the rest of my barn is sand. I decided to go with sand simply because it cut out the need for stall mats and shavings, drains very well and it's soft for the horses (was PERFECT when a horse foundered as well). I am going to probably put clay down in my isle and move the rest of the sand in to the stalls simply because I've found that the sand gets in shoes like crazy. However, my horses love to lay down in the isle-way so I can't concrete it.

                            I live in Florida so my barn does have a lot of ventilation. We built it so the trusses are 12' high and there is a lot of airflow. The metal doesn't extend all the way up to the rafters on the backs of the stalls (back does not face the wind/rain) so there's plenty of ventilation. It's a shed-row style barn.

                            Stalls are divided by a wall of 2x6's probably 7' high or so. Stall fronts only come up to 5', I have hog panels across the stall front up top so they can't stick their heads over it (I have one who enjoys choking himself out). Auto-waters are also a necessity here. Make sure you run electrical and plumbing as you're building and not after. It's much harder to do once you've built it.

                            It took us probably two months of just working on the weekends. Cost was probably around $6500. No labor costs and no machine rentals since I borrowed from the company I work for. We used telephone poles ($300 for a full semi truckload) and that saved a lot of money in lumber.

                            We're building a wash rack next. I think I've decided on a 12 wide x 14 long. Now I'm just figuring out my drainage and how I want to run it at this point. Hopefully that's next year's project.

                            Something that has turned out to be very useful and so easy to do, where your water pipe comes up out of the ground, put a valve on it and then a three way valve (looks like a T with a handle) directly above it. You can use the valve to turn off water to just the barn and then open the second valve above it to drain all the water out of the pipes. I have the three way valves in the stalls as well and anywhere the water pipes go down. It takes me no time to drain all my water pipes in case of freezing. We ran my pipes up rather than down simply because it was easier in terms of plumbing and in Florida we do not suffer long freezes anyway.
                            Last edited by Jaegersgirl; Dec. 17, 2013, 02:40 PM.