Looking for ideas on barn renovation

It's an old barn, (I mean _real_ old, older than the US). Pole and beam construction with vertical plank sheathing. There's a gap between the planks and most of them have knotholes. No historical district, register of historical places, or other restrictions except the normal building codes, under which the barn is grandfathered.
The desired result is to more or less maintain the appearance of the barn inside and out but have it weather- and critter-tight. It's going to be used for a garage, workshop, and storage, not living space.
Seems to me that the planks have to come off, sheathing has to go up, and then the planks have to go back, furred out so that rain coming through those gaps and knotholes doesn't get trapped. Anyone have another idea on this?
Also, what to use for sheathing? Zip system? Exterior ply and paint it black? Extira? Pressure treated ply? Remember that it's going to be fairly well protected from sun but it's still going to be getting rain and snow through those gaps and knotholes.
Or should I, when I pull the planks, plug the knotholes from behind leaving just enough edge for show, mill the edges for battens to fill the gaps, and then just put zip system or whatever behind it?
Not gonna start on it until Spring regardless but want to be ready to go when the warm weather returns.
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Being a couple of centuries old would make me question the structural integrity of the poles and the necessity of reinforcing them . If you sheath you'll be adding weight to the frame. Don't paint the sheathing, #30 felt paper it.
Dave in Houston
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On 10/22/2010 7:56 AM, J. Clarke wrote:

Is it worth enough to you to get some professional advice from barn restoration experts?
I'm of the same opinion as Dave ... structural integrity must be the first step. Anything else and you're effectively wasting effort, time and money.
On a barn of this age, it's apparent historical significance (older than the country, that's really saying something!) could give it considerable value in the future providing it's handled properly in the present.
There are plenty of outfits in the NE that specialize in barn restoration. If the answer to the question above is "yes", I would consider paying from some "expert" consultation ... and not from the local builder/remodeler. ;)
There may be an architect, or organization in the area with an active interest in offering advice on properly preserving this kind of heritage.
Just my tuppence ... FWIW
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 4/15/2010
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J. Clarke wrote:

...
Agree w/ other posters first...
How big is it?
Are you aware of the National Barn Project at Smithsonian?
There are certain (fairly small but might as well know about them) tax breaks for some types of restoration.
Rather than what you're proposing, my first thought for actually building a tight facility given the starting point would be to essentially build a building inside the current frame/siding and simply stabilize the existing work. Trying to take an old barn of that age and actually make it into a building such as you describe is, imo, a lost cause unless simply want to start w/ a new structure and then use the exterior material as siding.
There's unlikely to be adequate foundation, the aforementioned issues w/ poles, etc., etc., etc., ...
Pictures would be nice... :)
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J. Clarke wrote:

What about covering the gaps with equal width battens, wide enough to cover the largest gap, attached from either the inside or the outside?
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Jack Novak
Buffalo, NY - USA
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What a wonderful project!
I'd add some points to what others have said.
If you pull off the existing siding, you will wreck a lot of it getting nails etc out. If the wood has truly sat out in the sun, wind and wet for 230 years, it's going to be fragile. And if you break it, what will you put in its place? I suggest you only make the minimum of necessary repairs.
Even on new houses, siding is NOT waterproof. It's a rain screen, driving rain is slowed down, the rain water runs down the face of the siding to the ground. Some gets in through the cracks, and runs down the back of the siding. When the sun comes out, it vaporizes and comes out through all the cracks and joints in the siding. So, trying to tjightly fit battens, make the siding waterproof etc is unnecessary. And since the siding moves a lot from hot/cold and wet/ dry weather cycles, any sealing you do is going to work loose. That's why there is a weather barrier behind all siding.
Without seeing what you have, I like the idea of building a wall inside the existing wall with an open air space in between. You should be able to hang it on the existing structure. I wouldn't worry about the extra weight, stud framed walls don't weigh much compared to roof loads. If you use standard sheathing and put black roofing felt weather proof membrane on the outside face of the wall, and leave the existing wall as it is you should be good to go. You could add insulation on the inside of the inside wall if you need it. What will then happen is that water WILL come in through the old siding, but if you haven't closed it up, it WILL run right out again at the bottom, and as soon as the sun comes out the dampness inside the wall will evaporate out through the cracks. No trapped moisture, and no moisture or wind inside the structure.
You will have to be a bit creative getting doors and windows framed into the new wall so that they don't trap moisture. And getting new doors and windows that complement the old structure will be interesting.
I would definitely have a professional builder evaluate the structural integrity of the building, looking for rot, bad connections etc. Some of those heavy timber framing connections can hide a lot of problems. If you are not adding structural loads to the frame, it will only have to support snow and wind loads, and since it's been load tested for a long time, it should be adequate if the structure hasn't deteriorated.
You will probably find that the foundation is rocks in a trench, maybe not even mortared in place. Again, if it has stood there this long, it will continue. The building has surely settled and twisted over its life, I'd resist the temptation to level it out, unless it is just unusable. A sudden reversal of the shape that the building has settled into over the years can have unexpected effects.
Again I'd find someone in the area who has done something like this and ask lots of questions. If you have to come back several times bring a case of beer or box of donuts with you. They will be gladder to see you.
Good Luck, have fun!
Old Guy

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In article <b969ae14-2bf5-4bd6-b1fe-fde5ebb84fd3

Well, found an approach today that won't do violence to the history of the barn. Noticed that one side doesn't have light coming through much of it. Turns out that that side was double-planked--not sure how long ago though.
I do need to thoroughly inspect the structure at some point--there are clearly a few pieces missing and others that were broken and not repaired properly that will have to be seen to.

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Interior frame it with insulation and a wall to hang things on.
It requires a better weather break and then some Tyvek or other exterior breathing material to keep the insulation dry and yet breathe to ventilate the internal framing from moisture buildup.
BTW: Tyvek is not good for UV. It melts the micro holes and seals the layer and loses it's properties.
Looks like you will be doing two wall$$.
It's an old barn, (I mean _real_ old, older than the US). Pole and beam construction with vertical plank sheathing. There's a gap between the planks and most of them have knotholes. No historical district, register of historical places, or other restrictions except the normal building codes, under which the barn is grandfathered.
The desired result is to more or less maintain the appearance of the barn inside and out but have it weather- and critter-tight. It's going to be used for a garage, workshop, and storage, not living space.
Seems to me that the planks have to come off, sheathing has to go up, and then the planks have to go back, furred out so that rain coming through those gaps and knotholes doesn't get trapped. Anyone have another idea on this?
Also, what to use for sheathing? Zip system? Exterior ply and paint it black? Extira? Pressure treated ply? Remember that it's going to be fairly well protected from sun but it's still going to be getting rain and snow through those gaps and knotholes.
Or should I, when I pull the planks, plug the knotholes from behind leaving just enough edge for show, mill the edges for battens to fill the gaps, and then just put zip system or whatever behind it?
Not gonna start on it until Spring regardless but want to be ready to go when the warm weather returns.
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