We've got an old arched-roof dairy barn (built in 1950) which obviously
hasn't been maintained or used in *many* years (we moved here last year).
The frame and three walls are good; the other wall's not so hot, it
needs new windows, and there are several holes in the roof - so it needs
some major surgery before re-shingling :-)
Fixing it up's a medium-term project though, as there aren't too many of
those types of barn left around here (northern MN), and it'd be a shame
for it to collapse (as I see so many have done).
I'm happy doing the wall work, and I'd be happy doing the roof too -
except that it's so darn high, making access tricky. Must be about 40' to
the very top. I'm curious as to what the best method is to work up there -
a series of ladders*, scaffold, climbing ropes etc. (I'm not sure that a
cherry picker would either go that high or be able to reach over the
20' or so needed to get to the center? Plus the rental costs for one are
quite insane up here anyway - and they presumably didn't use one back when
it was first built)
* shame I can't start at the top and work my way down when re-shingling,
or I could physically bolt ladders to the structure as I worked.
If working alone you need a minimum of 6 with 2x8 or 2x10's (you will have
to measure or read the directions). I would highly recommend a fall
prevention system with fall harness, etc. I helped out on such a roof in a
strong wind and fall chill up in Iowa. MN will be much worse I suspect.
On Fri, 04 Sep 2009 10:05:28 -0500, Michael Dobony wrote:
Interesting - thanks! As the roof is curved, I suspect I'm going to have
to get some made up to match the curvature of the roof.
The description on that site implies that the jacks stay where they are
nailed until the whole project's done ("Once the project has been
completed, all you have to do is remove the board and the jacks along with
it.") - yet in the photo it appears as though there's just a nail-hole in
the jack, rather than a slot; I assume the hole must be larger than the
nail-head so that the jack can be removed and the nail left behind (and
I suppose the 'trick' is to space them apart (vertically) at slightly less
than my own height, so maybe every 5' or so. Right now I don't have an
estimate really for the 'length' top-bottom of each side of the roof,
I think I'd recommend that to myself, too ;-) I don't particularly like
heights, but when the need arises... I wouldn't want to wander around up
there without knowing something will stop me falling if I did slip (I
suspect it gets pretty windy up top, too)
It's not something I want to get stuck into this year - just looking for
ideas and options right now. Maybe next Spring after it's warmed up a
little, and if time and money allow (that amount of shingles plus all the
lumber I'll need won't come cheap, I suspect)
Given the overall cost and effort, I'll reiterate don't sell short the
"find a cheap lift for the duration" option. If you have a place of any
size at all the number of uses you'll find for it will amaze you once
you have it. I intended to sell it as soon as got done w/ the barn but
now it's become a staple around the place I'd hate to do without.
This old barn was still in solid shape (it's much drier here than MN so
that helps a lot) but w/ what siding that did need replacement and some
sill plate plus the roof material itself (got a year-end deal on 1/2"
shakes at $95/square as was this time of year after two _horrendous_
hail storms in town that spring left the building supply w/ more on hand
than wanted to store over winter) ended up into the $20K neighborhood.
Is this an open (not solid sheathed) wood shingle roof I presume? If
so, while I used the shakes as noted because they made me a deal and
didn't have sufficient of the sawn shingles in stock I would _not_
recommend them and would not choose them again for the purpose. Or, if
do, instead of the straight installation as was common, you will
definitely need a paper layer to stop the blowing snow infiltrating
between when the wind blows. They're water tight just fine but let a
lot of snow thru when the wind blows (and out here it never blows just a
little--it's 30+ or more; last spring had "the real deal" blizzard again
of 2 days of 50-60 mph and 2-ft snow (altho how they could make any
guess as to the actual snowfall is hard to fathom given the drifting).
Anyway, the upshot was the haymow as pretty full as well--didn't help
that the wind blew so hard and long it managed to work the haymow door
open along its sliding track either, of course. All in all, looks good,
has a definite shortcoming that the flat shingles didn't.
Yeah, that may well be the way to go. I still think a standard cherry
picker won't reach, but something a bit more heavy-duty might. Due to the
curve of the roof, it's the middle section each side that's probably the
harder bit; the bottom I can reach with ladders, the top's reasonably
'flat' if I can find a way up there - but the middle third's at quite
Given that I know I'll have wood that needs replacing up there it's not a
quick job; I can see myself needing something for a week, and rental
for cherry pickers seems to be about $300/day around here. Buying then
selling (or talking myself into keeping ;) is probably a good plan.
Youch. I don't think it'll be that bad for me - I was guesstimating at
$10k for shingles but I've seen a few good deals on lately and it'll
probably be about a third of that for something that'll last (supposedly)
for 20-30 years.
I do have the end-wall which needs completely re-siding (and insulating -
basically strip back to frame and start again) so that'll be a couple of
thousand I expect. The frame needs fixing there, too - they built this
barn with a 3' tall concrete wall around 3-1/2 sides, but one half of one
end wall has the framing extending right to the ground. 60 years later,
it's all rotted out there, so I need to jack the hayloft floor and replace
the framework (I'm looking forward to doing that aspect, because it
doesn't involve falling off a roof :-)
It's an expensive project, and I don't even know what the heck I'll use
the barn for when it's done - just seems a shame to let it all collapse!
Yes (if I understand you) - the curved framing for the roof's made up from
a 3x6" laminate of 1x6" boards, 1x6" boards then nailed across that,
then boring ol' asphalt shingles on top.
There seems to be a tarpaper layer lower down; I don't know if that's
failed at the top of the roof (hence being able to see daylight in places)
or if it simply doesn't run the whole way up. Possibly the latter - the
way the barn's built it's as though they threw money at it when they had
it, and just worked with whatever material they could find when they
Yuck. Ours has one of those huge hayloft doors with the hinges along
the bottom (and a smaller door with vertical hinges set within it).
There's a rail at roofline height with a rope/pulley system that's
supposed to allow the larger door to safely lower, but I doubt it's worked
in years (I know they had cows in there in '68, but I suspect it wasn't
much long after that when the previous owners stopped using and
maintaining it, judging by how bad the roof is)
There's always a way--but the thing is that the amount of time you'll
take rigging up jacks or anything else will make you wish you'd spent
the money for something different! :) Not to mention what the effort
of lugging all the material and so on is as compared to being able to
simply pick up and put it where wanted. The telehandler somebody
mention is another option.
As far as the curvature, don't believe it'll be an issue in the reach --
ours is a gambrel w/ 1:1 lower/1:2 upper pitch and even w/ the straight
boom simply back up a little gives access to the upper above the break.
Your situation is little different just a gradual change in pitch
instead of sudden.
That was my conclusion -- there was no way the amount of effort required
was going to be able to be done within a very few days so that the cash
outlay was easily a choice vs renting. Even w/ a full-time hand,
six-day weeks essentially full-time we were about 3 months from
beginning the cleanup/tear-off of the roof until had last shingle on the
cupola and the ridge cap down. During that time we essentially lived on
the lift. Rental would, as you say, been easily $20k or more even on
long-term lease arrangement as opposed to daily rental rates.
I tried to get thru the roofing part of the job w/ the leaky head gasket
instead of taking time out to fix it but it finally got bad enough we
had to. Had two or three days waiting for the parts where we schlupped
bundles and climbed ladders and after only that length of time I'd have
given twice the $5k in a heartbeat and felt it worth every dime... :)
I just did a quick look at eBay -- just now there are about 6-10 40'+
lifts under or about $5K that look like would be reasonable finds.
There was one that I wouldn't have taken a chance on then but knowing
what I now know I'd probably seriously consider for about $2K that needs
a starter button and the dual-speed throttle controller. For the
initial price after having had one for 10 years and worked on it some
I'd take the gamble w/o too much concern. As a new toy I wouldn't have
and can freely admit you might not want to either... :) Anyway, I'd
just suggest keeping the option in mind as even if you were to decide it
wasn't something you wanted to keep (and heck, you then have a use for
the barn to store the lift :) ) you ought to be able to get most of the
money back out of it.
Oh, that's sheathed but w/ 1x instead of ply. Ours was built in '18 so
is quite a bit older and has 1x sheathing but not continuous. They're
laid out w/ 2-3" between but on spacing for the nailing rows of 16"
wooden shingles w/ 5" setback. Since the aforementioned change from
shingles to shakes they were 18" but used 7" setback. Only had a spot
or two that ended up having to fill in for nailing though, anyway.
How large is yours -- this is 38x66 ground all 2x6 frame construction of
virgin-growth SYP--gorgeous stuff. Has 3-1/4" horizontal siding; part
of the problem in the cost was that I couldn't find any of it any longer
to match so had to have it milled. As well, part of the character of
the barn is the bed mould detail at the roof eaves. The mould is
attached to the fascia board and becomes the support for the overhang on
both the drip line and the ends. A fair amount of it needed replacing
and had to have it milled as well as nobody could _quite_ closely enough
match the old profile.
IIRC, there were about 70 sq shakes @ $95/sq --> $7k and the millwork
altogether was about another $4k or so. I remember the paint/primer was
almost $8k alone. I'd guess another $5k in just all the other "stuff".
We had enough old lumber that other than the treated sill plates we
replace and a 1/2"x6"x12' steel plate we bolted into the rim joist under
the haymow door/over the main driveway door to fix a long-term sag
didn't buy much "ordinary" construction lumber other than the consumables.
As for the design, the large haymow door is of the vertical design
rather than the hinged drop down. It's in a pair of tracks built up of
2x in an L shape and hung on a pair of block and tackles. It's 10-ft
wide and about 12-ft to the peak that follows the roof line to the gable
where the hayrack rail is mounted that extends out the front.
The hay rake is still there and my intent is to exercise it at least
once when finally do finish up the haymow which is still waiting...
I took the liberty of sending a picture of the front as it was about the
time first finished the bulk of the painting side-by-side of one taken
sometime in the early 20s...
I'll try to scan some during the project and post them to one of the
sites for anybody interested...
>> Anyway, the upshot was the haymow as pretty full as well--didn\'t help >> that the wind blew so hard and long it managed to work the haymow door
Funnily enough (and I don't think I mentioned this already - I started
typing the other day then things got busy) I spotted a truck with a
telescopic cherry-picker style boom sitting in the back-yard of a neighbor
to one of my son's friends on Friday evening. It looks like it possibly
isn't in active use any more. I've made a mental note to go round there
sometime and ask if they still use it, or rent it out, or want to sell it
Yeah, someone had called it a gambrel roof before, but I think technically
it's a "barrel-top" (gambrel being two straight slopes of different pitch
on each side).
Yep. Plus I won't know how much work I need to do lumber-wise until I get
up there, so it's not like it's a straight siding job. I know for
sure it'll need a new 6"-wide run all the way along the top on the south
side, and a good 2' on the north, and that's just from what I can
see from inside. After pulling shingles, it'll probably turn out to
be much worse ;-)
Sure. I'm happy doing mechanical stuff so long as it's not something
ultra-rare that I can't easily get parts for.
Ours is *tiny* - I just measured and it's near-as 30' on all four sides,
so even smaller than I'd estimated elsewhere in this thread. I'm yet to
see another barn in that style that's so short (and it sits on a slight
hill, so it's not like they were ever planning to extend it or anything,
at least not without some major landscaping). It's about 11' up to the
base of the roof, and 9' inside up to the hayloft floor.
I'm not sure what ours is, without going back out to measure - I think
it's more than that though, around 4" (and the various other
out-buildings we have are done with the same stuff). It's like that on
three walls, but the fourth wall (end wall opposite end to the hayloft
door) is all just rough-cut planks which has all gradually warped and
shrunk over the years - lots of inch-wide gaps between the ends! Beautiful
aged wood, but it'll all have to come down and be replaced on that side.
I'm torn between keeping it as original as possible and just replacing
with whatever works. Part of the issue is that there's little consistency
in the original anyway - they built with whatever they could lay their
hands on (even the lumber for the hayloft floor isn't all of one single
Another aspect is that I've no intention of using it as a dairy barn any
more (all the land that was part of the farm was parceled up and sold
off), which might impact what I do to it (e.g. better insulation on the
walls, and there's plenty of vertical space for another floor in the
hayloft). It'd make nice workshop / storage / office space.
Ouch. Ours seems to be traditional "give it a whitewash once in a while"
- which was last done who-knows-when. I would like to paint it
"properly" - having just painted the house (which ate about 7 gallons) I
think it could be done in about 12 gallons each of primer / top-coat, so
not too bad (and our neighbor has scaffolding I can borrow to do the end
walls - with a ladder on top it'd reach, it's just not useful for doing
the roof work).
It's very much a mid or long-term project for me. The roof's really the
urgent thing (although to be honest it's not doing anything other than
rotting the boards on the hayloft floor, and those are easy to replace),
then further down the line the end-wall, underlying wall framework and a
fresh coat of paint, then after that I can just peck away at it
(cosmetic things, rewiring, interior changes, windows etc.)
Interesting. I was misrembering ours and thought the smaller vertical
hayloft door was built into the larger horizontal one, but it's actually
lower down. D'oh!
Those are awesome! Really nice to have a 'period' photo, too. I should see
if I could get some similar old photos of ours - some of the family who
grew up on our property are still in the area.
I just braved the pigeons and took some photos of ours - I'll see if I can
upload them somewhere later today.
Certainly if you can find something like that for the asking or
borrowing that's a lot cheaper... :) I looked at a couple of them and
my complaint was the size of the one-man bucket -- it would have
required some modifications to make it more amenable to use as a lift
for shingles, etc. Certainly a doable venture if one's own, perhaps
less so if borrowed. The thing I really like about the JLG is the cage
is large enough for two piles of bundles on each side and still had
enough room for the two of us (of course, neither of us was/is very big
:) ). Then, as I noted, before, bolted the 16-ft "L" walkboard to the
front to "land" on the roof and away we went...
Yes, the gambrel is two-pitched straight sections. Out here yours are
called "arched" but I don't know what the true architectural name is. I
looked in my barn book and it doesn't even show one in the several
hundred examples...never noticed that before.
The only pita w/ JLG is that they're the only source -- stuff is
available but it is somewhat pricey. :( I don't know about the bucket
lifts -- our electric co-op has a repair service that works on stuff for
others; maybe I'll ask them about whether there are brands/models to
look for and/or stay away from for that reason.
That is pretty small but if the driveway is wide enough, the lift'll
just fit... :)
For reference, the decorative corner boards on ours are 14-ft from
ground to aw, crud, can't think of what want; the board around the base
of the soffet. It's a 1x12 so it's about 15-ft to the underside of the
eaves at the corners. It's just over 7-ft from floor to underside of
haymow floor joists, little over 8-ft to the floor. That makes the
lower level difficult to use for woodshop or similar because of low
clearance. The pickup will just clear w/ a little to spare over the
I'd thought I'd like to move the woodshop into the mow and rig up some
sort of industrial-style elevator but the aforementioned problems w/
snow and resulting damp put a little damper on the idea. If I could
figure out how to do an interior enclosed area and take care of the
water I might eventually do that--it's so large and open it would be
impossible to even think of adding any heat to the thing as it stands
which would be an objective if had the shop there...
May be 5+ -- that I could find still. It seems it was milled to
dimensions from old "full-size" 1x4 or 1x6 stock. Part of the
problem/expense w/ the siding was they couldn't get a full-width profile
out of modern 1x4 stock so had to use 1x6 and rip it down. That was a
significant waste unfortunately, but unavoidable because couldn't work
in siding narrower than the existing or would either have a gap or it
would be 1/8" short every row...
That and that it's not all that old would make it easier...this I tried
to put back as it was. In part, of course, it's that this is our
place--it was my grandfather that built it originally (and is the gent
on the wagon in the old photo)...so, I wanted it to be as much like the
original as possible.
If you do, I'll see if I can do some more of the
construction/rework/roofing including a shot of the lift...
Well, what I did when we moved back to the home place was to find and
buy an inexpensive 40-ft boom lift(1) from eBay. Cost <$5K+$600
trucking from Chicago area to far SW KS. Best $5K ever invested w/ the
intent of being short-term--had it 10 years now and use it around the
place a lot from trimming trees to then roof repair/painting house
(2-story old square farm house) to the TV antenna that was taken down by
It reached the nearly 40-ft ridge and the lower eave of the cupola. To
do the cupola roof I set up scaffolding a-straddle the ridge (2-high!)
and used a walkboard across.
The way we roofed was I bolted a 16-ft 2x10 "L" to the front of the
bucket and we "landed" that on the roof. Hired hand and I would work
from opposite ends til we met in the middle and could reach about 3-4
courses each stop. By the time we used up the number of bundles we
could put in the cage and get in ourselves we were ready for a break.
Spent most of the first 18-months in that puppy almost continuously by
time did all the prep work and roofing followed by paint prep and paint...
(1) What I found was JLG 40H ca '88 vintage. It passed OSHA
requirements prior to shipment and my minimum was the only bid. I did
replace a head gasket on the Wisconsin 4-cyl engine but that was minimal
effort and expense. In 10 yrs only other maintenance has been replaced
one control lever electronics for the boom swing other than change oil,
normal lube, etc.
If you're at all interested I'll look up and see which broker it was I
dealt with--he's straight up; I just don't recall the business name
otomh any longer. The broker was in FL, the machine in IL, I in KS... :)
Where you located??? It doesn't road well top speed being less than a
walking pace.... :)
So far I've not done that for the potential liability issue. I do/have
used it for many other purposes at church, County historical museum
where board member, etc., etc., but I've always operated it myself
rather than let it go to somebody else. I've never even asked what Mr
Farm Bureau insurance man would say...
I was just joking, I'm in eastern Tennessee. My son in law bought one
for their electrical business, mostly for changing lamps in parking
lots. Changing lamps isn't paying for it but the extra work it
generates does. I keep telling him to bring it down next visit, it's
only 600+ miles.
He would tell you to make friends with that Gecko.
I watched a contractor do one just down the road. He used standing seam
metal roofing a foot wide and the length of the barn. He also had a reach
forklift. He started at the peak and worked his way down.
I've seen them re-roofed from the inside before, working from scaffolds
in the loft. (Old skip-sheathed barn.) Of course that gets tricky when
you get to the last section of the peak. Maybe that is why they put on
cupolas? Or maybe put a plank out the loft end door and work from a
ladder? (I'm getting dizzy just thinking about it...)
Ask around your local historical society or whatever, to see if there is
an old barn preservation/adaptive reuse group in your area. They can
point you to reference material and local vendors that could do right by
the place. Around here is SW MI, they import Amish carpentry crews from
northern Indiana Amish country, to do rebuilds of old barns.
I wouldn't recommend doing the high work yourself, unless you are still
young and immortal, and have actually done high work before. Stuff that
can kill you is a lousy place to save a buck. I did a little high work
as a kid, and wasn't fully comfortable at it even then. Now, on the
wrong side of 50, anything higher than the peak of my 1-story ranch, I
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