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Old Arch Roof Barns Make Great Quonsets
That barn-dismantling expert we told you about in FARM SHOW two years ago (Vol. 9, No. 4, 1985 issue) has figured out a cost-efficient way to turn unused arch-roof barns into the slickest quonset you've ever seen.
"The conversion is a natural. Makes a better and cheaper building than a conventional steel quonset," says Ken Andre, 34, of Michigan City, Ind. He travels throughout the Midwest dismantling barns "board by board" using special hand tools and a chain saw. In the past six years, he's completed over 150 barn renovation and dismantling projects in 12 different states. Here's how he sizes up three major alternatives he offers farmers wondering what to do with an old and/or unused barn:
Reconstruction: Barns with high-arched roofs, constructed from factory-built wood laminated rafters, are ideal candidates for reconstruction as a multi-purpose quonset for use as a farm shop, storing grain or machinery, as a modern dairy barn with hay storage above, or as a farm home.
Most any large arch-roof barn is a candidate, provided it's been protected by a reasonably good roof through the years. If the roof is already sagging, the rafters may be too far gone to salvage for reuse.
With the shortcuts and techniques I've developed, I can generally dismantle a barn for less cost than local contractors would have to charge. Once dismantled, you can hire me to build the quonset out of the salvaged arches. Or, you can have someone else build it, or build it yourself. If you have no need for a quonset, you can sell the arches to a neighbor who does, or I'll buy them and use them to custom-build quonsets for farmers looking for low cost machinery or grain storage, or an easy-to-insulate workshop or farm home.
If I were to dismantle a 36 by 60 ft. arch roof barn, for example, and rebuild it into a quonset, total cost for the project would be right at $9,500. A quonset this size would accommodate a bi-fold door 14 ft. high and 24 ft. wide, giving you a large opening for moving big machinery in or out. You end up with a better-built quonset than conventional new quonsets I've seen. The salvaged arches are strong and durable, and provide a high, clear span. Their nearly-vertical sides, up to a height of about 8 ft., withstands grain storage without bulkheads, and you can move big machinery up close without losing valuable storage space.
I space the arched rafters on 2-ft. centers and bolt them to treated wood plates. Dimensional lumber salvaged from the barn can be used for end walls on the quonset. The quonset roof can be asphalt shingles, or corrugated steel. New arch rafters are available, by special order, for quonsets up to 50 ft. wide and in any length.
Restoration: This alternative offers owners the opportunity to save something worthwhile. Soon, there will be too few barns left to save. They can be repaired and restored to their original condition. Damage or rotted beams, rafters, floor joists and sheeting can all be repaired or replaced. Portions of the barn can be removed, or added on. Roof style can be changed, and the side walls raised or lowered, if desired.
Dismantling: This is an important part of my business. Many barns are no longer being used and maintenance becomes impractical. Others are in a bad location and are dismantled to make way for a new building. Whatever the reason, most owners hate to destroy the lumber. Having an old or unused barn dismantled board by board leaves the lumber on the ground in sorted piles where it's manageable, useable and saleable. I work at no risk to the owner and work only on barns and corn cribs. Each job is completed before another is started and no job is too large. Dismantling cost runs right at 70 cents per square foot. For example, a 36 by 60 ft. barn would cost right at $1,512 to dismantle.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Andre Enterprises, 503 East Homer, Michigan City, Ind. 46360 (ph 219 879-2199).

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1987 - Volume #11, Issue #1