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metal or wood for barn siding?

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  • metal or wood for barn siding?

    What are your opinions on a barn with wood(shiplap) siding versus the metal clad siding?

    The barn is being built in SC and most barns there seem to be metal clad with wood kick walls.
    I just wondered if there was a specific reason not to use wood in SC?
    save lives...spay/neuter/geld

  • #2
    I absolutely love, love, LOVE the way wood barns look. They do scare me a little bit more because the wood siding is just more kindling for a fire. I guess if a barns ever going to go up in flames though, I don't know how much the wood vs. metal siding makes a difference. That's the biggest argument I've heard. Our deciding factor was COST. For a barebones 24x36 barn the cheapest wood barn I could find was about 20k+ as opposed to the same barn with metal for 10k. Eeek! I would venture to guess that that's why pole barns are more prevalent.


    • #3
      Metal is much less expensive. Others don't like wood because they see it as a fire risk. When looking into insurance on my barn my insurance guy told me that 95% of all barn fires are cause by either hay storage or smoking. I'm a lot more concern about mitigating those activities than I am about having wood.


      • #4
        Steel and wood prices fluctuate, so price may or may not be a factor depending on when you build.

        The other factor most people cite when choosing steel siding over wood is maintainence costs. Over time you will have to re-finish wood, whereas steel should be maintinence free.


        • #5

          When we remodeled our barn last year, we covered it in sheets of Hardi-plank. It looks nice and I think the Hardi-plank has a 20-25 year warranty.


          • Original Poster

            I was told the reason you use metal in the south was for termite protection.
            As I have talked to more people, and also began to question, why the termites just don't go on the other side of the metal, and eat the kick boards, then the answer kind of went slipping away.

            I am also kind of handy and can build, and so with wood, I could add things on to the sides, where with metal I would not.
            Also, there will be an overhang, so the horses can 'hang out' as in a run in.

            However, not being from the south or ever lived there, I thought there might be a very good reason that metal siding is used more than wood.

            So any insight, is appreciated.
            save lives...spay/neuter/geld


            • #7
              In an overhang situation such as you describe wood is preferable unless you are planning on using planks for wall protection. I cringe when I see metal indoors with no kick boards.
              Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

              Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


              • #8
                Originally posted by fivehorses View Post
                I was told the reason you use metal in the south was for termite protection.
                As I have talked to more people, and also began to question, why the termites just don't go on the other side of the metal, and eat the kick boards, then the answer kind of went slipping away.

                I am also kind of handy and can build, and so with wood, I could add things on to the sides, where with metal I would not.
                Also, there will be an overhang, so the horses can 'hang out' as in a run in.

                However, not being from the south or ever lived there, I thought there might be a very good reason that metal siding is used more than wood.

                So any insight, is appreciated.
                Termites live most of their lives underground. They are just more likely to invade a wood structure, where the wood is beneath the surface. They still can get to wood above ground too - but usually only if the ground is already heavily infested. Most of the South is pretty humid as well, so you have mold /mildew and rot to deal with as well.

                This is just information I ran into when we were planning/building our farm in Texas.


                • #9
                  My ideal (and unaffordable) preference would be the old fashioned cement block barn like my grandpap had "Back in the Old Days".

                  My affordable preference is metal, no matter what part of the country I would live in because:

                  1. It won't burn up - it'll melt but that takes longer than wood going up in smoke and there may be more time to save it.

                  2. Won't deteriorate as fast. Sealers are available but that's even more work and must be done periodically. No thanks - I've already got plenty to do

                  3. Metal be quickly cleaned a couple times a year with a high pressure nozzle on the end of the water hose and I don't even have to climb a ladder to do the top.

                  4. As has already been mentioned it is also cheaper


                  • #10
                    Wood from a local sawmill is actually cheaper here than ordering metal. So...I've got cedar T&G siding. I LOVE that I can paint the barn different colors when I get tired of what I've got or change the house. I also like the wood smell and 'warmth'. Its also relatively easy to change out damaged boards. I dont like the fact that one of my horses likes to chew whatever he can get his teeth on. He's done a real number on the doors and a bit of the siding. I'm in the process of doing the annual repairs. So there potentially could be quite a bit more maintenance depending on your set up or horses' habits. Mine will stand beside the barn in the shade and chew on it when he's had his fill of grass


                    • #11
                      Our house and barn is sided with "dressed" white oak from a local saw mill. Board on board pattern, installed with stainless steel nailgun nails. It's been known to last 100 years as roof shakes on cabins in the mountains. It's 29 years old on our house and every few years when I get around to pressure washing it, it still looks like it was just put up. In between pressure washing it weathers to a silver gray. Still hard as a rock. It meets my requirements for low maintenance.


                      • Original Poster

                        ok, anyone ever heard of or experienced carpenter bees?
                        How do you keep those buggers away?
                        save lives...spay/neuter/geld


                        • Original Poster

                          Tom King, do you put anything on your board and batten, stain, polyurethane, etc?
                          save lives...spay/neuter/geld


                          • #14
                            No. Nothing. Bleach and pressure washing maybe every 10 years and it looks new again. It's board on board, not battens. Instead of narrow battens the 1x6's are spaced a couple of inches apart on the first layer and the second layer of 1x6's covers the 2" space. About as low maintenance as you can get with wood.

                            Years ago here I built some houses on the lake with cedar siding. Flying squirrels ended up eating holes in it and living in the attics. I looked for something that flying squirrels and woodpeckers cant' do anything with and came up with white oak. I later built a number of spec houses on the lake with white oak siding, to keep the rustic look which seems to go well on the lake, and they all still look good and no boards have ever been replaced. One was even hit by a small tornado and only lost roof shingles.

                            Carpenter bees don't do anything with the oak. They love soft wood but if it's painted they keep looking. They do live in our barn which is framed with regular framing lumber. I do wish I had spray painted it all on the inside when I built it but it would be too much trouble to go back and do it now.


                            • #15
                              Metal gets really hot in the sun, cold in the winter, makes scary noises just about ALL the time, and is knife-sharp whenever it's damaged.