Siding Up The Barn

This is going to be the “Summer of Progress” and it starts with the barn.

As you may remember, a few years ago, we had a shoddy barn on our property. You could rip it apart. With your hands. When we dismantled it  Andy saved a bunch of the still decent plywood to build another barn on the back corner of our property. In the fall of 2010, we started building our “new” barn which you can read more about here and here. and got the barn to a place of being done minus siding. Now in spring 2012 the barn is almost a place of being completed. That is, until we buy a sawmill and build the leans off the side of the barn to house the sawmill – and maybe some chickens.

Why the wait? Well, a few things. The siding was still in the form of standing trees and they weren’t schedule to come down for a while. Then we got married in Spring of 2011. Then comes hay season, gardening, and other house projects like the foundation and retaining wall. Then in fall 2011 comes the felling of the trees and bringing them across the now dormant hayfield, and finally in winter 2012 comes the hiring of a sawyer to cut the logs into lumber. Does that sound exhausting? I swear it was actually pretty awesome.

So why didn’t we just buy siding? For starters the barn has been fully functional since fall of 2010 so siding it wasn’t a rush project (clearly), and for seconds – the siding was free. As in zero dollars. As in, the entire barn to build to date has been under $1,000.

As a reminder, here’s a shot of the barn from when we originally looked at the property almost five years ago, and a similar shot from 2010 after we started the barn (minus a roof and other parts that were finished by the end of fall 2010). It’s a pretty huge change, and only the beginning. You can see more photos of our before and in progress property photos here.

So, now that you’ve been caught up – let’s delve in to siding the barn.

The first thing that needed to be done was to put up the tar paper for weather proofing. Even though you could do this completely before you sided the barn, Andy & Tom Cruise did it as they went for the front, simply because of the angles. For the rest of the barn they will tar paper each side fully before siding.

I got out to the barn a little after Andy had started, but the black is tar paper.

The siding we’re using is 1″ pine, which will weather into a nice gray color. I even got into the pneumatic nailing action. Truth be told, that thing hurts your ears. It’s super loud, so I decided to let the pro’s do their thing and play with the dogs and take photos.

Synchronized Fetching!

Once the bottom of the barn was boarded, it was time to put the scaffolding up.

Then Andy pumped his way up to the proper height so he could install the flashing up above the door.

Before all of this, the boys took the metal over to the neighbors who has a machine to bend it. I’m not sure where I was, but I missed this step. Installing flashing correctly is pretty important though. So Andy test fitted it, and nipped and bent it around the edge of the barn to fit snugly and then used aluminum nails to secure the flashing down.

Meanwhile, I lost interest and found this in our screw bucket. I have no idea what this is, but I may confiscate it to use as a later date as a hand towel holder in our bathroom.

I left for a little while, simply because a few steps explains how the entire day went:

  1. Measure
  2. Cut board
  3. Nail board
  4. Pump up scaffolding
  5. Put up tar paper
  6. Measure
  7. Cut board
  8. Nail board
  9. Pump up scaffolding.

In other words, it was the same thing over and over. It was fun coming out though and seeing it continuously getting nicer looking.

Here’s a tip: Do you see how the boards look loose on the bottom? This is because the scaffolding is actually about a foot higher than the boards, and it would be too dangerous to get down and nail them. So, you simply wait until you finish and then nail the bottom on your way down.

While the boys bantered and started made fun of each other as they were measuring, cutting and nailing, the dogs looked at me for some serious play time. Much obliged. So I headed off into the field to throw the “bulb”.

After a bit I meandered back over to watch the boys put in the final pieces of the front of the barn. Last piece tossed up!

With a few nails in the bottom of the boards to secure them in place….

….the front of the barn is done!

As of tonight Andy was out there working on the side with the ladder leaned on it, so I imagine it won’t be too long until this barn is completely sided and done, and we’ll be onto the next project.

I love barngress, even more than regular progress.



5 thoughts on “Siding Up The Barn

  1. Heather- Are you going to strain or paint or weatherproof this siding in any way? We are having a new barn built and now that we see the bright new siding going up- we are becoming less and less decided about how we should treat it. Originally we wanted it to weather to a natural grey- I was wishing that you’d written this post back in 2010 and I could ask you for pictures of your barn today. Searching around online everyone and their mother has opinions about weatherproofing- but no one posts pictures of how the various treatments actually weather over time. Is their a weatherproofing that doesn’t alter the color and that allows for natural greying? (or is natural greying a part of the decay process that the product would inhibit?) ? Have you found any good answers about this for your siding?

    1. My two cents and what I can answer: We aren’t doing anything to the barn but letting it gray. As far as weatherproofing the structure, you want to make sure to use something underneath of the siding and wrap all windows/doors, etc appropriately. We aren’t doing anything else to treat the wood. Let me talk to Andy about the rest and see what he says. He’ll definitely know the answer.


    2. Hi Sarah, here’s your answer from Andy: “You can’t protect (the siding) and let it weather at the same time, unless you put a semi-transparent gray stain on it.” He added,”there is no way to really keep the natural bright look of the pine without lots of maintenance. Something like Thompsons Water seal would work, but you would have to be diligent about applying it quite often to keep the natural look. If left alone (the siding) will grey naturally over time and the siding will last a long time if it doesnt get soaked frequently. You can accellerate the look of weathered gray with Cabots Bleaching oil.”

      Heather (and Andy)

  2. Thank you both Heather and Andy! I’m going to look into the Cabot’s products as I continue to hunt down pictures of buildings- both treated and not- as they age. I really don’t want “re-stain barn” on my checklist every couple of years. … at the same time- I don’t want the wood rotting after 10 either.

    1. You’re welcome, Sarah and I’ll be sure to pass the thanks on to Andy! I’m not sure where you’re from, but here in Maine (where weather beats us and our buildings up) a lot of people have natural wood barns and cedar siding on their houses that don’t have any issues for what it’s worth. I think it’s just about the maintenance level that works for you and yours.


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