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Barn sellers that say they’ll include spare beams that can replace those that are defective or missing assume that the buyer has no idea what is involved in fashioning these beams to match the original frame. Has the barn been properly washed and treated for insects? Most companies selling barn frames ignore treating the beams for insects and save alot of time and money in doing so. Insect treatment is essential and can only be done properly prior to the frames assembly so that all four sides of the beams are sprayed to include the mortices and tenons and joist pockets. It is a rare barn that has no visible signs of insects, either past or present, and who could ever guarantee that insects will never ever show up later in the completed project? Have the beams turned gray from improper storage or is the color even important to them? Can they restore and adapt the frame to your requirements? Can they match additional materials requested so that everything doesn't look like an awkward afterthought? Will they be able to discuss the barn and alternative building practices with your architect and/or building officials? Can they read and draw blueprints? What is their track record and can you view examples of their work? Will they arrive with the barn and reassemble it according to your building schedule? Can they arrange for shipping to a foreign country or to an island? There are only a handful of people that can answer "Yes" to these questions. We've been around the longest!
It is much easier to choose a barn after you have chosen your plot of land.
Timber framed homes have become a large and rapidly growing trend and most building officials are familiar with this type on construction. We have built barns all over America with very little hassle regarding the decision to utilize an old barn. And, most people love the idea of an antique barn being saved. Barns look as if they belong!
Our charges generally run from $50 - $65 a square foot dependent on the criteria to follow. Our barn frames are priced individually based upon the age, size, whether they are hand hewn or sawn and the complexity of the frame as well as what we had to pay for it initially. Generally the cost is based upon the square footage of the ground floor footprint. This means that if you choose a 30’ x 40’ hay barn the footprint size would be 1,200 square feet. The cost includes careful and sympathetic dismantling, meticulous repair and restoration of the entire frame to include replacing of missing, defective or unsightly timbers with timbers that match in color, character and authentic joinery, washing of every beam as well as the extremely important treatment for insects and it’s reassembly by The Barn People on the new site to include all crane costs on both ends.
Although the cost of reassembly is included in the basic footprint costs, there are two additional charges that you would be expected to pay. First is the shipping charge which includes loading, offloading as well as trucking the barn frame and related materials to your site. A firm quote can be given once the barn is chosen and the destination is known. This shipping charge also includes our crew’s travel expenses. The second charge is based upon the changes and/or additions to the basic original frame which you might choose to adapt to your personalized use. Again. . . a firm quote can be furnished once we receive the specifics.
Costs vary from one area to another as do people’s tastes, etc. Generally we’re found while working in the high end market, costs running $300 to $400 a square foot. Some people spend less and some spend more. It is therefore difficult to predict what a finished custom barn home might cost. The Barn People have been involved in a few nearby “start to finish” barn home conversions and we’ve found that the cost of the restored and adapted barn frame with related materials should just be added on to the cost of what a custom home would cost. Everything but the actual barn has variable costs, based upon your choices. The finished barn home can be as simple or luxurious as you choose. In some of our completed projects more money was spent on windows and doors than the cost of the actual frame! A customized home is a very complex entity with a complicated infrastructure of specific ingredients such as heating, cooling, electrical, plumbing, appliances and fixtures and the list goes on. Choices must be made about finishes, flooring, windows and doors, fireplaces and again, the list goes on. Most of our previous clients have arrived at a budget to work within. It is then their architect’s responsibility to design a home that falls within this stated budget.
Yes, it is advisable. Most custom homes require a great deal of planning and drawings so that everybody knows what their job is, what the materials they will use and what it will all look like. The architect has the “big picture” and it is his task to depict this information for you, the local building department and your builder. And.. it is also their very important task to stay within your stated budget. This is what an architect does.
We have found that most barns yield very small amounts of these materials. This is why we’re searching far and wide to acquire them. It takes too much time to look at deteriorated barns that only offer token materials and much more time to salvage them. We are a small company and prefer to concentrate on what we do best and leave the salvaging business to others. For buyers that plan on using these materials we offer both roof boards and barn siding which we’ve purchased and processed. A firm quote can be given once the project has been defined and thoroughly designed.
We are not in the business of selling vintage beams and boards and only offer them to those who purchase our barns. In fact, The Barn People spend an unbelievable amount of time traveling far and wide to acquire these vintage materials. It has become an enormous industry however, a vast majority of these antique building materials dealers unfortunately cannot meet our very particular and stringent requirements. A great deal of our time is lost in this particular endeavor due to this so we need all the materials we can get.
Again, we are not in the business of selling materials, however, if you wish to have vintage materials fabricated in specific components, yes we’ve done this type of work many times.
We have taken tall barns and shortened the posts and we taken long rafters and shortened them to change a roof height for building code purposes. We’ve also taken long barns and made them shorter, but adjusting the width of a barn is just too time consuming and labor intensive. You would just be better off with a wider or narrower original frame. We do make custom frames all the time. We take great care and employ a sympathetic approach to insure that the finished frame does not look like it was put together with old beams. In fact, it is difficult to discern that it is not an “original.” It’s really all about choosing materials that look alike, have the same color and character and then joining them together with authentic joinery, the same as we do in our adaptation phase.
This really depends on the barn chosen and what the barn will become. Barns chosen for housing needs generally take about a year. The design process seems to take up most of this time but it really depends on how quickly you make decisions. Once the barn has been designed by your architect, The Barn People will give you a fixed reassembly date based upon our current schedule and your builder’s availability. We can tell you that we've never been late or held up a contractor from finishing a project.
Usually we are on the site for a period of roughly a week to ten days but timing really depends on the size and complexity of the specific barn.
Over the years we’ve found that the people that took the barn down should be the same people that put it back up. Each frame has its own idiosyncrasies and sequence of procedures. We must take this responsibility to avoid discontinuity and mistakes. The Barn People love to travel and you can’t take that way from us!
Although there are many wonderful barns just out of our reach, we’ve found that it is too expensive to restore distant barns on site. We strongly prefer our own workshop environment for the repair and adaptation phase. We’re well set up in an efficient weather-tight space and all the spare parts are here as well. We will however, dismantle your distant barn if we are then permitted to return to our Vermont space for the repair and adaptation phase and then return to your site for the reassembly phase. Shipping costs are not prohibitive. It is the sometimes costly crew travel expenses which tend to put the damper on this particular approach. There have been occasions when it was difficult to locate someone with our specific skills but it was usually State or Federally funded.
Again, the cost of travel keeps us primarily in the Northeast. We tend to be partial to Vermont barns although recently we’ve begun working with splendid barns from New York, New Hampshire and Maine as well. But the majority of our inventory still comes from Vermont.
There are a number of reasons people call us to take their barn away. Probably the biggest is upkeep and maintenance. Most foundations are failing and the repair costs can be outrageous! People cannot afford the taxes and insurance. This is a biggy! Many barns are located across the road from the house and block the view of some beautiful hillside or valley. And lately, many people have called us because they'd rather see their barn saved and enjoyed by others rather than to watch it fall into ruin. Almost everybody is hoping we'll pay something for the barn and old barns aren't as cheap as they were when we started out thirty-five years ago.
Yes, there is. But it is usually stipulated that the barn has to be restored in its original location.
Yes! but hopefully not until we retire! Many are on their last legs after too many years of neglect. Many are being “torn” down to saw the large, beautiful timbers into floor boards. And, many just aren’t that wonderful. We have to be excited about the barn from the minute we first walk into it. Barns have a silent language or an aura that speaks to us. If we like what they say, we save them.
The Barn People
2218 US RT 5, Windsor
SELLING VINTAGE VERMONT BARN FRAMES FOR 40 YEARS!