Quick Barn Fixes

You can create a functional, safe barn in an existing structure on your property with some practical,

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You can create a functional, safe barn in an existing structure on your property with some practical, inexpensive, and uncomplicated modifications. You don’t need to strain your budget to alter some features of the building that are important to the safe and healthy housing of your horses. There are several specific areas in your barn to address:

  • Structural problems;
  • Lighting and wiring;
  • Chewable surfaces;
  • Grain storage;
  • Ventilation;
  • Clear aisleways; and
  • Storage of hay and shavings.

Shoring Up Support Posts

Serious structural issues and questions are best addressed by building professionals before you try a quick fix, which might do more damage. Having said that, however, there is one area of concern that can and should be tackled before you undertake the other changes suggested. One of the most common problems found in older barns is deteriorating support posts and/or framing. Wood structural members on or too close to the ground or exposed to weather might have visible rot or termite damage, which seriously weakens the overall integrity of the structure. If the building has actually settled as a result of the damage, it might have to be jacked back into place as part of the repair. Usually, this can be accomplished with inexpensive hydraulic jacks and temporary posts or shoring.

Your building needs to be supported while the damaged material is replaced with concrete or treated lumber where the main supporting timbers meet the ground or floor. The excavated soil and new material must be capable of supporting the load expected of it. Therefore, always dig out more than the depth of the previous material. If the problem is settling caused by poor soil, the solution is more complex. The choice is to excavate until adequate bearing capacity is found or design a different foundation system for the supports that spread the weight over a larger area

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Written by:

David Preston, president of Preston Construction Group, specializes in unique commercial and equine projects. A horse owner and sportsman, he has built and remodeled several barns in Kentucky and Illinois ranging from development of complete Thoroughbred farms to small horse barns.

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