You’ve been thinking about it for months, maybe even years, but lets finally do it. Lets tear down that barn! There could be many reasons you’ve been considering doing it. Maybe you want to put up a new barn with a completely different layout more suitable for modern machinery. Could be that you need the space for a garden, an addition to your home, or some other structure you would like to have on your property. Its possible too that the old barn could be in bad shape and a potential health hazard.
The important thing to know is that tearing down your barn safely is not as complicated as you might expect. The whole process can be broken down into several smaller tasks. You may want to get some professional help if you are feeling overwhelmed but we can help break down the steps for you now so that you know the kind of process you are getting into. For additional help, you can also check out these videos for visual instruction.
Where to Begin?
First thing is to understand whether the focus is demolition or salvaging. Keep in mind that old barn wood is a desirable commodity in the furniture industry and is something you might even find useful for yourself. The most important factor is your own safety, but secondly you’ll want to take care to avoid damaging the wood and other items as much as possible.
Before you begin to tear anything apart, take a walk through the structure to look for any materials that can be easily removed. Look for brass or iron fittings that can be unscrewed or hinges on windows and doors. Depending on how long the barn has been around there could be many hidden treasures in places you didn’t expect. Even if an item is in bad shape, keep in mind that there are many business that specialize in restoration. Some companies may even buy the pieces off you as is in order to restore it themselves.
Iron Hinges Tackle the Small Items First
Instead of just going through and demolishing everything at once, you can make the process easier by disassembling the barn in the reverse way it was constructed. Go through the structure and remove the doors and windows. Anything that can be easily removed without affecting the major structure can be removed now to save you time in the long run.
Removing the Floor
The next step is dismantling the floor boards. Again, remember that we may be trying to salvage and reuse some of these pieces. Not as much delicacy is needed for any areas that have rotted or become damaged in some ways. But with a hammer and pinch bar you can safely get the entire floor up without causing additional damage.
Removing the RoofGetting Rid of the Walls and Roof
Getting up onto the roof can be the tricky part, but if you’re capable of getting up there it will save you some headaches in the long run. Depending on how the roof was constructed there could be a number of methods to dismantling it. If the tin (or other material) has been nailed in you can use the hammer and pinch bar used on the floor to help you. Simply pound the pinch bar under the nail head and pry the material up. Otherwise if the roof was screwed in you’ll want to get your hands on a reversible drill.
When tackling the walls you’ll want to be sure to leave the frame intact. At this point you’re just trying to safely remove the external walls and anything within the structure. If you are working on the inside be cautious of tampering with any load bearing columns.
Tearing it Down
At this point we should be looking at a pretty exposed structure. There should just be the frame of the barn with very little to nothing on the inside. For this step we’ll be tying a rope or chain around one of the beams and attaching the other end to a piece of heavy machinery. The amount of force needed will vary depending on the size of the structure but this is not something we recommend using your Ford pickup for.
Once you’re ready to start pulling the structure down be sure that the tractor pulling the barn down is pulling it at a slower pace. Going quickly could damage some of the material and could present a larger safety hazard if the material is flying around. Keep everyone clear of the area and be prepared for a bit of dust and debris.
Demolished Barn Clean UpWrapping Up the Process
Now that the big work is done, its back to the small details. You’ll want to grab your chainsaw to start going through the beams and salvaging what you can. You can help yourself by keeping organization in mind from the beginning of this step. Create separate piles of different sizes and quality to help with the removal process.
If there are multiple people working with you on this you can have some people carting off the reusable material to an appropriate storage area while you continue to rummage through the structure. If you’ve taken the proper care, you should find a good amount of material that you can use for your next project or to sell.
The important final step is cleaning up the area. You’ll want to be sure to remove any sharp objects or items that could be dangerous in any way. Having a clean area will make it that much easier to begin the next development in this spot.