If you are thinking about barns that are traditional looking and on the small side, you could do a lot worse than look at the designs of Donald J. Berg.  I had a great time looking at as many designs as I could find before I settled on one of his called The Candlewood Barn.  I am lucky enough to have a nice little John Deere 4310 compact utility tractor, and I needed a place to keep it, along with a lawn tractor and assorted other lawn and garden implements. According to architect Berg, this is what the barn is supposed to look like.

The Candlewood Barn by Donald J. Berg

The Candlewood Barn by Donald J. Berg

As with most buildings, first you have to dig.

Getting the topsoil off

Getting the topsoil off

I set up batter boards for each corner, and ran strings between them to lay out the outside dimensions.  Being a pole barn design, each 6 x 6 building post needed a concrete footing below it, and these were dug by hand.   Here’s how I set the posts up.  I built the boom out of old pipe and scrap steel.

The first of eight

The first of eight

Repeating that operation seven times and bracing all the posts gave me this.

All eight, up straight

All eight, up straight

Double 2 x 8 girders went on next, one on each side of the six posts of the main part of the structure.  They were nailed on first, then drilled and bolted with 1/2 ” bolts.

A nail gun is nice

A nail gun is nice

The 2 x 6s nailed on the sides are called girts, and there are 2 x 12 pressure treated skirt boards nailed around the perimeter at the bottom.  Sand has been added to raise the grade of the floor, and in the picture below, I’m backfilling against the outside of the skirt boards to keep them solid when the concrete floor is poured.

Putting some of that topsoil back

Putting some of that topsoil back

The one part I didn’t do myself was pouring the floor.  The last two floors I poured were not too great and after living with them for twenty years, I decided to let the pros do this one.  It was fun watching someone else do the work – until it came time to write the check.

These guys were fast!

These guys were fast!

All the framing is done and the floor is poured.  Now we’re getting somewhere.

The rafters are up.

The rafters are up.

The tractor helped again in getting the roof decking up there.  I was wishing the boom was longer, but it got the hardest part done for me – way better than trying to hump those four by eight sheets up a ladder by myself.

Almost done with the roof decking.

Almost done with the roof decking.

The fall weather stayed nice long enough to get the roof shingled.  And then we got snow.

At least the roof is done.

At least the roof is done.

You can see the loft floor framing in this shot.

No snow in here

No snow in here

I wasn’t too sure what I was going to do about siding, so I just sheathed the whole thing in 3/8″ OSB for the winter.

Not pretty, but closed in at least

Not pretty, but closed in at least

Observant readers may notice that I have a cab on my tractor at this point.  Boy is that nice for snowblowing!  I built two temporary barn doors to get through the winter.  A barn, a cab, … I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. DoorsOnThe following summer I added a layer of 3/8″ exterior plywood and nailed furring strips over that to make a board and batten effect.  I made the doors out of 2 x 4 framing with grooved exterior plywood for the skins. Here’s how it looks now.

And now it's done.

And now it’s done.

Although not part of the plans, I added a shed roof on the back of the barn for more storage.    You can see it a bit, through the trees in this picture. fallsuns1I am totally happy with this little barn, but it wasn’t cheap.  I spent $8300 ($1350 for the floor) for a little under 400 square feet of space, not counting the loft.  That does include the 10′ x 15′ shed roof on the back.  The architect, Don Berg was surprised at that total, and said that his clients have generally reported materials costs of quite a bit less.  I did splurge a little bit on plywood for the roof, instead of OSB, and two-piece shingles to match my house.  Materials in your area may very well be less expensive.  I’m sure I could have built a bigger plain-Jane steel sided pole barn for the money, but then I would have had to look at that every day instead of this pretty building.  As my dad used to say, you pays your money and you makes your choice. One of these days I’m going to build a cupola for it.

This is a nice winter photo that I took a couple of days ago.

Winter2012

 

=====================================================

Here’s a detail pic to answer a question by Damon.

I left out the circled 2 x 4 and raised the members to either side of it by 3 1/2 inches to make sure I had plenty of room to clear the ROPS on my tractor.

=====================================================

I’ve added a few more interior pics in response to questions from John in New Zealand.

Plenty of room to walk around the tractor.

124 Responses to “Building My Small Barn”

  1. nell jean Says:

    It’s a beautiful barn, TM. The other thing is, you did it yourself!

  2. thinmac Says:

    Thanks, Nell. Given my general lack of new material here, I’m surprised that you happened to check in and see my new page. Thanks for dropping by!

  3. FlowerLady Says:

    That was a great little story about building your barn. It looks great and I love your field of sunflowers. Your story reminds me of DH and my experiences building our three outbuildings. It’s all on old video though, not digital. Enjoy your barn, your tractor and your sunflowers.

    FlowerLady

  4. thinmac Says:

    Thanks, FlowerLady. I’m surprised and pleased that you spotted it and enjoyed it. Thanks for the happy wishes. I will be enjoying all three, especially in a couple of months or so.

    ThinMan


  5. [...] Building My Small Barn [...]

  6. Olivia Says:

    This is really nice. It’s my dream to have one. How much do you think it would cost someone to have it built, a barn your size.

    Thanks!

    Olivia

  7. thinmac Says:

    Hi Olivia. The architect Don Berg told me that he knows of a builder in Vermont who just bid $10,400 to build one like mine. He says that in his experience, the prices range from $9,000 to $11,000. If you figure 25 to 28 dollars per square foot of floor space, you should be close.

    Good luck on getting yours built.

    ThinMan

  8. Olivia Says:

    Thank you very much. It’s quite a decent price I find. I’m in Nova Scotia and I will check around to see if I can get similar prices.

    I think when I finally get mine I will sleep in it the first night!!!I’m 55 and it has been a dream of mine since I was a young girl. The picture of your barn in the morning light is just precious. Enjoy!

    Thanks again,

    Olivia

  9. thinmac Says:

    You’re very welcome, Olivia. I’m glad I could help, and I’m glad you like the morning light picture. I do too, and, in fact, it’s the background picture on my computer monitor.

    ThinMan

  10. Kevin Says:

    Good show, TM.
    Thank you for sharing this with me.
    Kevin

  11. thinmac Says:

    You’re welcome, Kevin. I’m happy that you enjoyed looking at it.

    ThinMan

  12. Joe Says:

    I have been perusing Don Bergs pole barn choices for some time planing a larger barn and enjoyed your pics and story. I have a Kubota with a Backhoe and expect it to be a big help. You also helped me make up my mind about steel siding. Is the 6 inch gap between the 2 skirtboards flled with cement too?

    Joe,
    Blue Ridge Mts, VA

  13. thinmac Says:

    Hi, Joe, I’m glad you liked it. The plans call for the void between the skirt boards to be filled with a P.T. 2×6. I filled it with the same sand that I was using to bring the floor up to grade, and then nailed in the 2×6. I don’t know why you couldn’t fill it with concrete instead. The guys who did my floor commented that they had never seen a pole barn built with an inside skirt board too. The plans refer to the outside skirt board as a grade girt, and the inside one as a floor girt.

    If I can help with more questions, just let me know.

    ThinMan

  14. Allen Colvin Says:

    I am wanting to build my own home cheeply, but half way green, as I am paying enough already, even in summer when I do not use much energy at all. I live in a 1980 singlewide firetrap. I have the choice of building my own home, or purchasing a brand new doublewide, but for 30 years of mortgage payments. That just seems rediculous to me when I can build this barn myself, with appropriate modifications, and have it bought and payed for as I go. I talked with Dj burg on the phone yesterday. If I understood things correctly, I should be able to use one of those comercial plastic sleeves over my burried posts and not have to use presure treated lumber. Does anyone have any experience using tyhe post protector products? How about having a pluwood floor suspended off the posts over a poured concrete slab? Any thoughts there?
    Thanks.
    Allen

  15. thinmac Says:

    Allen, sorry I can’t help you with your question. I didn’t even know there were such things as plastic sleeves for the posts. I wish I could say that hundreds of people look at this blog every day and you will probably get an answer from one of them, but actually, only about 30 a day usually visit. I hope you can find a better forum to ask your question in.

    Good luck with your project.
    ThinMan

  16. Dr Pugh Says:

    Thanks for the site, thinmac! Don sent the link to me as I will be starting this barn soon. I was thinking of leaving out the loft for now because I dont need the storage now and might can keep some of the material costs down. What do you think? Can a loft be added later down the road? Thanks………..BP

  17. thinmac Says:

    Hi, BP. I can’t see any reason why you couldn’t add the floor joists and plywood floor at a later time, as long as you do put in the double 2 x 8 girders that tie the tops of the posts together. On the other hand, I don’t know if the plywood floor is intended to help tie the tops of the walls together in addition to the girders. That’s really an architectural question that you should probably ask D. berg about.

    Good luck on your project. If I can help answer any more questions, please ask.

    ThinMan

  18. Dr Pugh Says:

    Thanks Buddy. Your barn is a gem and I hope you enjoy it. Did you run electricity to it for lights, temp control?

  19. thinmac Says:

    Yep, I ran electricity to it, for lights and a welder. No temp control, though.

  20. Brian Says:

    very nice barn thinmac. how much topsoil would i need to take off if i’m not doing concrete? I’m thinking a layer of stone and topped with crushed stone. any ideas? Thanks, bkb

  21. thinmac Says:

    Thanks, Brian. I think that standard practice is to take all the topsoil off no matter what kind of floor a building will have. Not being any kind of expert and not knowing what kind of soil structure you might have, I’d suggest giving a local excavator a call to see what they say. They always know that stuff.

  22. Mike Says:

    I am seriously considering the candlewood barn but have not been able to find a good description of the plans themselves. did you find them thorough? Do they include a good bill of materials? etc. Were you happy with the information supplied?
    Thanks,
    M

  23. thinmac Says:

    Mike – I was satisfied with the level of detail in the plans, and was able to build the barn without any trouble. There isn’t a bill of materials. You’ll need to figure those from the plans, or just take the plans to a good lumber yard, and they will probably be happy to do it for you.

    Here’s what you will find:

    1. Notes: General specs, roof materials, concrete, etc.
    2. Floor plan, showing post locations and footing sizes.
    3. Elevations for all four sides.
    4. Framing section, showing posts, floors, rafters, loft floor joists and girders, collar ties, and bracing.
    5. Details of framing, roofing, and door building
    6. An isometric view of the framing members
    7. Cupola notes, though there isn’t any actual plan for building a cupola.
    8. An alternate footing design

    I hope this helps.

    ThinMan

  24. Adam Jensen Says:

    Hey ThinMan!

    You did an amazing job on this barn! I’d love to see a close-up photo of the boom you made, as I would be doing most of the barn building solo and could use an extra ‘hand’. Love the John Deere, I have a 2000 series myself is plenty helpful.

    I notice what appears to be a drain in the middle of the concrete floor. If it is, where did you run it to? Did it go to your septic system, or simply outside?

    Thanks for posting this!!!

    AJ

  25. thinmac Says:

    Thanks a lot, AJ. I’ll try to post a better picture of the boom on the home page of this blog – thinmac.wordpress.com.

    The drain just dead-ends in the sand under the floor. It’s only there for catching drips from the tractor or melted snow, so it doesn’t have to handle much water.

    Good luck with your barn.

    ThinMan

  26. Dave Says:

    ThinMac,
    In hindsight, would you have gone a bit bigger? I’m looking to put a small barn at a home we have in Southern Vermont. We have some very large pines on our property and a young neighbor with a new portable mill. I do appreciate that you put this on the web while showing that anyone can do this. Thanks.

    Dave

  27. thinmac Says:

    Dave, while I really would have liked a farm-sized barn, I am almost totally satisfied with this barn. I’m a small-time market gardener and, with the shed roof I added on the back, I have plenty of room for a compact tractor, a lawn tractor, a lawn mower, two roto-tillers, a shredder, a workbench, a 5-foot snowblower, irrigation tubing, and assorted hand tools and lots of other doo-dads. I do have to leave some tractor implements out in the weather. A 30 by 40 ft barn would have held everything, but the budget didn’t allow for that – at least one that I would want to look at every day.

    It sounds like your trees plus your neighbor’s sawmill could translate to a bigger barn for the same money. Good luck with yours.

    ThinMan

  28. Joe Says:

    I have a set of Don Bergs plans for a Walnut barn. They show the 24’x24′ barn measured from center to center of posts. But Should’nt the batter board and string be set so the 24×24 dimention is to the outside of the posts? and Do you even allow for the girts added inch and a half width to be the outside dimension?

    Joe, Blue Ridge Mts, VA

  29. thinmac Says:

    Joe, I set up the strings just like you’re thinking, so that the dimension is from outside to outside of each post, not from center to center. I guess I ended up with a slightly smaller barn that way, but other than that, I can’t see that it matters much either way.

    As far as allowing for the girt thicknesses, if I were building a 24′ barn like you, I would include those in the 24 foot dimension. That way, if you use sheet siding, like plywood, the number of sheets will come out even. You won’t be left with a 3 inch gap to fill at each corner.

    Good luck with your barn.

  30. Joe Says:

    That was my thinking. How has your exterior ply and finish been holding up. Staining or rot at the bottom?

    Joe

  31. thinmac Says:

    So far so good, Joe. None of either yet.

  32. Justin Hess Says:

    Neat barn.How thick is your slab?Where are you?I ask only cause i wonder if that mono slab would endure northern maine winters.Did the mono slab work well for you?any cracks over winter?I am thinking of building simalar barn.I plan to use ceder posts for poles probley tar ends up.Your work is very clean.Your tractor must be much more happy now.Nice job
    .

  33. dick silc Says:

    Interested in the slab performance like Justin questioned. How did you layer the slab?

  34. thinmac Says:

    Justin and Dick – Sorry I didn’t get a reply out sooner. I kept meaning to get back here and do it, but it didn’t happen. The 4 inch slab has done surprisingly well so far. Two sawed joints were put in to divide the slab into three approx. ten foot squares. There has been some cracking along those joints, as intended, but that’s about it. I’m in northern lower Michigan and we’re in the same USDA zone as mid-Maine. Thanks, Justin, for your kind words. The tractor is definitely happier now, and so am I.

    Dick, all I did was excavate the topsoil, and add sand, compacting as I went, to bring it up to grade. Thanks for your interest.

  35. Brad Says:

    I have been doing a rather exhaustive search prior to building a barn myself. I purchased the plans for this barn but they did not include a materials list. Do you have one you used? Very nice job, your post has been helpful in planning my own construction of this little barn.

  36. thinmac Says:

    Thanks, Brad. I looked in my barn file folder and didn’t see any master list of materials, just lots of lumber yard receipts. I would usually buy enough materials to keep me going for a while and order more when I got low. Sorry I can’t help more.

  37. Kim Says:

    Thinmac,
    You are a very skilled carpenter and you have a beautiful farm. I am quite jelouse!
    I also own a farm and a very large barn to house my 6 horses. Yet mine is not nearly as elegant and prestine as yours, I completely understand the pride in building your own barn.
    When I hung the last board on my 48’w x24’L x 14’H barn, tears came to my eyes to see what I had worked so hard to accomplish.
    Blood, sweat, tears and pride!
    Thank you again for sharing your story, pictures and magnificant farm with all of us.
    Kim

  38. thinmac Says:

    Kim, you have really made the rounds here on my little blog. Good for you for building your barn. Sometimes I wish mine was that big, so I could get ALL my stuff inside.

  39. Matt Says:

    Awesome job, love the barn. I agree, no fun looking at a low slope roof metal building every day, you barn is something you can enjoy every day. Your pictures may help convince the wife to get going on this project. Question, did you build and deck the second floor so you could then have a ladder up there in order to build the roof structure?

  40. thinmac Says:

    Hi Matt. You’re right, I’m still enjoying looking out at that pretty little barn every single day. I built the second floor because I wanted the storage and because it was in the plans. I’m thinking that it may be important structurally, so I don’t think it should be left out. Also, it really did make a great platform for framing the roof rafters.

    Thanks for your interest, and I hope you get the green light to go ahead with yours soon. Winter is coming. :-)

  41. mikec Says:

    Dear Sir,

    You are an inspiration. By this I mean I feel inspired by your story here. I found you very near the top for a google search of ‘build your own small barn’. I am 32, a homeowner of 1 year, and desperately escaping the world of computer programming for a refuge in woodworking. I’ve gotten about a quarter of the way there and am already planning my private recluse hidden on the far property line amongst the trees. Thanks.

  42. thinmac Says:

    Thanks, Mike, and good luck with your transition. Planning is half the fun, and I’m glad I gave you something to think about. Woodworking is a small hobby of mine too. I hope you can make a go of it.

  43. John Morrison Says:

    I have a copy of the plans for this barn, so I was delighted to stumble across your blog. May I ask if you were faced with obtaining a building consent for the barn? I certainly must, and my single biggest obstacle to beginning my build is obtaining an engineer’s certification of the design (wind loads etc). Can you make comment on what (if any) submissions you made in order to get a permit?

  44. thinmac Says:

    John, yes we do need a building permit in my area. An architect’s seal on the plan set is all that we need to satisfy the local building department. No additional engineering generally needs to be done, although I think they can request it if there is a question in their minds. In my case they accepted everything except one or two of the post footings. They asked me to enlarge them.

    Good luck with yours. I would be happy to help you further if I can.

  45. John Morrison Says:

    Good day,
    Thank you for your earlier reply. I have decided to build the Woodbury, which is just slightly longer than yours. Looking through the plans for both the Woodbury and Candlewood I have one question that I suspect you will be able to answer. The loft floor is made of 2×6 joists that run the 21′ length. At the gable end shown in the drawing, the joists hang from a doubled 2×8 which is bolted to the 6×6 posts. What the drawings don’t show is how far the joists continue before being supported by another crossing member. Surely they couldn’t run all the way to the other side of the shed, so I am assuming that there are doubled 2×8’s on each side of each pair of posts? In other words, on the Candlewood model there must be joists running from 0′ to a pair of 2×8’s at the 9’6″ posts, and then from those posts to the 21′ posts (a run of 11’6″)? These are not shown in the drawings, but I’ve never seen a 21′ 2×6, so something is going on here.
    Cheers for any help, I hope this makes sense.

  46. John Morrison Says:

    I may have answered my own question by looking carefully at your photo with the concrete truck, it does appear that there are crossing beams at each pair of posts onto which the joists are hung. What a great looking barn…seriously inspirational.. Being in New Zealand, I have the additional joy of converting everything in the plans into metric! If you ever get a chance to wander out there with your camera, some photos of the inside giving a sense of space would be great, I have the same size tractor as you do, and this barn I’m building will be stored inside. I’m hoping I will be able to use the space for a workshop in addition to this.

  47. thinmac Says:

    John, there is another view of the loft floor framing that you probably have already noticed, in the fifth photo from the end. It shows essentially the same thing, but from a different angle. One possible issue that may come up for you is the size of the framing members. My local building department approved the plan as drawn, but when the man came for the framing inspection, he thought that the 2x6s should have been 2x8s and the 2x8s should have been 2x10s. He accepted that the plan was already approved, and still approved it as built, though he noted on the plan that the loft was to be used for “light storage only.” It feels quite solid to me, but if you were contemplating anything heavy up there, you might consider going a size bigger in framing.

    I’ll be happy to get some other interior photos for you. Look for them in the next day or two.

  48. John Morrison Says:

    It’s funny you should mention that, because in re-drawing the plans in metric, I have increased the loft framing to 2×10’s (38x235mm) for both girders and joists, specifically in reaction to that comment about “light storage” (I want to store my lumber up there for my woodworking). The original design was done to 45 combined psf load for the loft, which is more than adequate for a residential floor (40psf normally…office buildings are 50psf). 2×10’s spaced at 16″OC (400mm) (Douglas Fir) can reach out to 12’9″ (3.9m) and still acheive 100psf Live load and 20psf Dead load (120psf combined….or 170% increase), which would be more than adequate from some lumber and plywood storage. My Woodberry-inspired design has three spans of only 2.70m, so I’m ensured a really-strong floor. The doubled 2×10 girders will be more than adequate to convey the floor loads to the posts, but if you look at the drawings, the only thing supporting the rafters is one vertical 2×8 girt bolted to the outside of the posts, and doubled 2×4 plates. I think I will increase the size of that external girt to 2×10 as well.

  49. thinmac Says:

    You make a good point about the rafters being supported only by the single 2×8 girt. I had forgotten about it until I just read your comment, but the building inspector had me add blocking between both 2×8 girts so that some of the roof load would be passed to the inner ones as well. I have some lumber stored in my loft, but I keep it as close to the outside walls as I can.

  50. thinmac Says:

    I added the photos today, John. Let me know if you would like to see anything else. It’s easy to do.

  51. John Morrison Says:

    Thank you! Great to get some perspective.

  52. John Morrison Says:

    Actually, the more I think about it, 2×10’s for the floor joists seems like overkill. I was looking at your last photo with the close up of the girts. One of the drawbacks of the drawings is that you rely quite a bit on the isometric drawing, and I actually thought that the loft floor beams bolt directly to the posts, rather than being hung from the inside girt (the girt then being hung from the beams). Not sure it makes any difference really.

  53. thinmac Says:

    As I look over the plans again, I recall a couple of inconsistencies in the framing at the posts. In the Framing Section on page 5, at the top of the main posts it shows the ends of a 2 x 6s, one on either side of each post, rather than 2 x 8s. On page 6, the top detail drawing shows one 2 x 8 on the outside of the post, but a 2 x 6 on the inside, which is labeled a floor joist.

    A minor change I made was over the bigger sliding door, I raised the double 2 x 6 header 3 1/2 inches and eliminated the 2 x 4 shown in the plan. I wanted to make sure that my tractor would fit vertically through it. I have a roll-over bar on mine (called ROPS over here) that reaches up almost 8 feet.

  54. re Says:

    How hard/easy, in your option, would it be to make a small cabin out of this plan?

  55. thinmac Says:

    Probably not too hard. One problem would be that it’s not designed to have finished interior walls so you would have to add studs or some kind of structure to conceal wiring and insulation and to hang drywall or whatever. I wouldn’t have any idea what problems you might run into as far as building code requirements for a residence. Good luck if you go for it.

  56. John Morrison Says:

    I woke up int the middle of the night last night thinking about the design (common occurance recently). Why do the loft joists run perpendicular to the rafters? Everything I know about rafters and ridge boards tells me that the rafters tend to push ‘outward’ on the top plates and the outer walls. This is normally resisted in stick-frame buildings by either adding joists parallel to the rafters (to keep the walls from bowing out), or by making the ridge board into a ridge ‘beam’ (supporting it at the ends). Is it the case that the crossing 2×8 girders (frrom post to post across the ceiling) resist the outward force of the rafters adequately? One would think this would work well close to the posts, but what about the rafter that land midway between the posts? If I turn the joists around and run them parallel to the rafters I will have nearly a 4.8m span instead of less than 3m running them perpendicularly. The collar ties are in the wrong 1/3 of the rafter to help, I presume they are there to resist uplift.

  57. thinmac Says:

    I had the same thought when I built mine, thinking that typically, the ceiling/floor joists act as rafter ties in the manner you described. I don’t speak from any position of authority, but maybe midway between posts there is sufficient lateral stiffness, due to the double 2 x 8 girder and the double 2 x 6 plate, to resist any spreading in that area. The 14/12 roof pitch is going to help keep spreading force down a bit too, compared to a lesser pitch. In the end, I put my faith in Don Berg haven’t seen any evidence that it was misplaced.

  58. John Morrison Says:

    I think you are probably right, particularly with the very steep pitch. We are lucky here in N. New Zealand to never have snow (ever), so the roof is unlikely to ever push the walls apart. I am drawing everything up and then running through the drawings with a Chartered Structural Engineer for sign-off. I’ve spent some time modifying the overall dimensions of the building to ensure an efficient use of plywood sheet on the exterior (everything multiples of 2400mm x 1200mm – 4’x8′). I beleive the finished exterior dimensions will be 9600mm long, 4800mm and 7200mm wide (extension) and 2400mm high to the soffits.
    Good fun drawing it all up, you end up building it several times in your head, which will surely help when it finally comes time to break ground.

  59. thinmac Says:

    “No snow ever” sounds pretty good to me, although this has been a very mild and easy winter here in the northern US.

    It’s interesting to see that your plywood sheets are sized to within less than 2 inches of ours, though in different measurement systems. There must be some inherent efficiency in that general size.

    I’m sure that drawing everything up really will help with construction. You probably won’t even have to look at the plans.

  60. John Morrison Says:

    I didn’t fully realize until you mentioned it (and I checked the drawings), that the 2×6 top plates are bolted down into the posts (I might used some form of an L-shaped connector…bolt into end grain can be a pain) (and presumably nailed to the outer girt as well). 2 – 2×6’s laying on their side like this would resist tremendous outward bending force presumably…they act as beams against the rafters (and of course the rafters are sending force down as well as out…as you say…particularly at 14/12…50degrees by my reckoning). The whole thing is tied together, the posts, the girders, the girts…you pretend to be a structural engineer and follow the forces from the shingles down through the system and it all flows to the concrete piers…very sound. All of our lumber and sheet is the same as the US and Canada…presumably to standardize production and export? The sheet goods are identical here to the US I beleive (1.219m x 2.438m (4’x8′) sheets?).

    BTW, did you make your own windows?

  61. thinmac Says:

    I understand, now that I see the exact dimensions, about lumber sizing in NZ.

    I actually did build one of my two windows. I had a spare double-glazed window pane and built a sash and jamb around it. Adding a good dose of caulking and paint gave me a window that seems to be holding up so far.

  62. John Morrison Says:

    Did your set of plans have any detail on how to frame the gable end walls? Mine don’t, making me wonder if I purchased an incomplete set. Nevertheless, I was looking for some details on wind bracing, which doesn’t seem to be referenced anywhere. Did you come up with your wind bracing yourself? What keeps the rafters from falling over like dominos in either direction? The gable end wall is just nailed into the loft floor, there must be something I am missing.

  63. thinmac Says:

    No, but I suppose because it doesn’t bear any load, it isn’t critical how you frame it. I just did a basic 2 x 4 stud wall at each end, with a couple of extra pieces around the door.

    Here is my understanding on wind bracing. I built a garage some years ago and although I was using plywood siding, I was told that I needed to use steel wind bracing. Had I used a product rated for sheathing instead of the plywood siding, or in addition to it, I could have skipped the steel. The stiffness of the sheathing is sufficient to resist the racking of the studs in the wall. Using steel wind bracing in a roof isn’t done around here, at least to my amateur knowledge, so I can’t offer you any advice there. There’s no mention of it in my plans. Apparently, the roof sheathing is enough to do the job.

  64. Damon Says:

    Hi, I also have a 4310 and was worried about clearance of the ROPS and do not understand how you delt with this. Can you explane in more detail please. Its a great looking barn and I plan to build it soon.

  65. thinmac Says:

    Hi Damon. I added a plan detail picture above with a few words of explanation to help show what I did. If this doesn’t do the job for you, let me know.

  66. Damon Says:

    Thanks for the reply. I understand now that I see it. The plans I bought do not show the header, door track or 2×4. Wounding if you have an updated set or something?

  67. John Morrison Says:

    Damon, I have found the plans to be lacking in detail. I have used them only as a guideline for the general structure of the barn, and have drawn up the framing for the ends and gable ends myself. Certainly the door and window framing needs to be “self-designed”.

    The good news is that there is plenty of room to frame in a door with at least 2.0m vertical clearance. This is more than enough for my Iseki TXG23 with ROPS, what is the height of your top bar?

  68. Damon Says:

    Thanks for all the help guys. I am kind of new at this and need all the advice I can get.

    Thin Man if I am looking at it looks like you used a 2X8 Girders on both sides of the eave (long side) of the building. Am I correct? I think the plan says to use 2x8s on the outside only but this didn’t seem strong enough to me so I emailed the designer. He confirms that it is intended to be two on the gable ends and one side on the eave ends. What do you think? Any advice for me?
    Thanks
    Damon

  69. John Morrison Says:

    Damon, I ran into this question as well some time ago. The design has girders on the outside, but on the inside there are no girders on the long sides because the floor beams (for the loft) are meant to run all the way to the inside face of these outer girders, thereby allowing you to bolt them directly to the posts. These beams run perpendicular to the girders and floor joists, connecting the posts to their partner on the other side of the building. If you run an inner girder, you would then be hanging the loft floor beam from the girders, not connecting them directly to the posts (they logically have to stop when they reach the inner girder)…does this make sense? I wish I could sketch this for you. Because the rafters bearing on the outer walls tend to push them outward (though not a lot with a roof pitch this steep), bolting the floor beams directly to the posts is probably best, but as long as you use good conenctions you will be fine either way. Thinmac used an inner girder, but used joist hangars to get a good connection with the crossing beams (and added blocking between the inner and outer girder. When the walls try to push outward, the outer girders transfer a pulling (tension) load to his inner girders through the blocking, then into the beams to the other side of the building. In the design, the posts are simply connected to each other by the crossing beams…perhaps simpler.

    I am about a week away from completing my design which is basically the Woodbury barn in full AutoCAD, though in metric, and slightly different dimensions (main shop 4mx9m and lean-to area 2m x 6m). I am up to 13 pages of drawings, including a detailed framing plan for the walls (with windows and doors) and even a detailed drawing of the loft lift post. The AutoCAD drawings can’t really be ethically-distributed (it is after all someone else’s design) but I could take .pdf excerpts from it for anyone who cares.

    I super-sized the loft joists, because I want to have some heavier shop tools up there. I eliminated the floor girt, and I’ll run concrete all the way to the grade girt. I have three windows on the front face (long) with a single door on that same side. I have a double barn door on the gable end, under the loft lift door. I have double door on both ends of the “lean-to additon” as well, for driving a tractor in one side and out the other if required. Finally, I have designed a 300mm overhang at both gable ends using a “flying rafter”, and increased the overhang all around.

    I am also detailing all of the required strapping and bracing required for resistance to uplift and racking (at least for my little spot of New Zealand), using brand name straps, plates and anchors available at any building centre.

    In any case, the plans are quite confusing at times, the isometric drawing is lacking a lot of detail. I have figured it all out however, and Thinmac has actually built the thing…so this forum should prove a valuable resource.

  70. thinmac Says:

    Damon – I got my plans in 2005 and the detail I showed above was on the page titled 6 Typical Details. It showed four detail drawings: Roof Overhang @ Eaves, Roof Overhang @ Gables, Section @ Sliding Doors, and Door Framing.

    The only advice I can give you about the framing is to follow the plan. I definitely can’t guarantee that I have done everything in the correct way. John Morrison has given this a lot of thought and if I were building this again, I think I’d be smart to read everything he has written.

    Back to the door — the ROPS on my 4310 is 89 inches tall, and as best I can determine, the designed height of the door is about 92 1/2 inches. I’m happy to have an extra 3 1/2 inches of height, but I think you could build it as designed and be fine.

  71. Damon Says:

    Thank for all the help. I now understand about the girders and see how to do this. I was getting pretty confused there for a while. I am going to build this thing just as the designer intended however I am going to use a metal roof. The pitch is way too much for me to attempt so I am going to hire the roofing part out. I am going to raise the header for the door as suggested because my ROPES is 90 inches. I must admit that I am getting excited with the prospect of having a nice little barn on my property.

    Thanks
    Damon

  72. thinmac Says:

    You’re very welcome, Damon. I hope it goes well for you and maybe you can keep us posted on your progress?


  73. Wow, what an awesome and beautiful looking barn! it can even be used as a small cabin, with some slight adjustments!

    great job, very inspiring!

  74. thinmac Says:

    Thanks a lot, Christopher. I really like it too, and enjoy looking out my back window at it every day of the year.

  75. Damon Says:

    Hi Thinmac,

    I have bought all the material for my barn and am waiting for it to dry a little to get started. Can you explain a little more about the siding you used. If you have time can you take a photo please? I was going to use Hardy Plank board and batten but the price ran me off that idea. Thanks
    Damon

  76. thinmac Says:

    I used 3/8 ” rough-sawn exterior plywood, and for batten strips I got bundles of furring strips and nailed them on every 12″ OC. I already had 3/8″ OSB that I had put on to get me through the winter, so I ended up with more thickness in the siding than I probably needed. I’m not sure that just the 3/8 ” plywood would be stiff enough to use by itself, but I think it would.

    I’m away from home right now, so I’ll have to see about a picture in a few days. It’s cool that you have the lumber for yours — a good first step.

  77. John Morrison Says:

    Damon, would you mind posting approx. what the material cost all up? I am trying to get a handle on how much longer I have to save/play with the design (I’ve fooled myself into thinking that plaing on CAD is actually part of the construction process).

  78. Damon Says:

    I spent about 1400 bucks so far. That is for the posts, girts, plates, beams, joists (went up to 2x8s) sills, bracing ridge beam, rafters, purloins, concrete, assorted nuts and bolts, joist hangers and other Strong Tie products and enough 2x4s to frame out the gable walls. This from a North Alabama Home Depot and got a 10% discount. I still need roofing materials, siding and doors and windows. I have to have a load of gravel delivered and if the war department approves funding I’ll by myself a high quality framing gun because I made the mistake of thinking that a crappy one would be a good idea.

    Thanks
    Damon

  79. John Morrison Says:

    Damon, thanks for the run-down. Isn’t the internet amazing that you are in Alabama and I am in New Zealand and we are building the same barn! I actually panicked when my second son was born, thinking I wouldn’t have any time to build this, so I got a quote for a steel barn to be built on my site. It came to about $15K NZD ($11K USD?). I would imagine based on your materials cost that you will struggle to spend $11K. It just comes down to time, I wonder how long it will take based on weekend and the odd evening?

  80. Damon Says:

    John,

    I had to gave the time issue a lot of thought because although I am not an important man I am a busy one. Once you start framing this thing you have to pretty much finish and get a roof on it in a hurry unless you use all treated lumber (thought about doing this). That’s means that you have foot the bill for all the cost at one time and then block off enough time in your life to build it. Not to mention having your buddies that you are counting on to help dedicate their time. Have you thought about paying to have it framed and then doing the rest yourself? I should be able to start posting photos of my build in a couple of weeks. If I run into anything that I think would cause a person problems I’ll get detailed photos.

    Good luck
    Damon

  81. Damon Says:

    John,

    Buy the way John, If you take one look at photos of Thinmac’s barn I’ll bet you will never be satisfied with some commercially built metal barn on your property that’s for sure.

  82. Marc Bruvry Says:

    Nearly three years and counting!!! Thank you for such dedication to us who are attempting to follow in your footsteps.
    I’ve had the Woodbury plans for about a year and am actually starting to make final preparations. I don’t have a tractor, but do have some fine neighbors. I only hope you are still active here as I’m sure I will have questions.
    Thanks again for blog and great pictures.
    -Marc

  83. thinmac Says:

    I’m still hanging around, Marc. I’ll be happy to help if I can — and by that I mean by answering questions, not by showing up at your door with my hammer. :)

    Thank YOU for the very nice comments.

    TM

  84. Marc Bruvry Says:

    Thinman,
    Thanks for the quick reply. I probably should go back and read you blog again, but reading your entire site again might put me over the edge ;-)
    What is your experience level as carpenter? Mine is quite minimal and I’m feeling a bit intimidated by the plans. I really don’t know a rafter from a header (well, that’s a little far fetched, but you get the idea.) With some study, do you think someone of limited knowledge should attempt building this barn, or try and get some professional assistance?
    Thanks again,
    -m

  85. thinmac Says:

    Marc, prior to this I had worked one summer as a carpenter, built two garages, three decks, and in our current house I did the foundation, basement, flooring, and interior doors and trim. I’m far from being a pro, but I have driven a nail or two. The plans are not completely detailed. By that I mean they don’t say “Saw the 2 x 6 to 14′ 2 1/4 “, cut a 51 degree angle on one end, nail it here and here with 16 d sinkers.” There are a lot of things you have to figure out as you go that would be second nature to a builder, but might stump a beginner.

    I’m not sure how to advise you. I think a newbie COULD get the barn built eventually, but it would make sense to me to get a pro in to speed things along and take care of the unforeseen details. Being a little intimidated by the plans is probably a good sign that this may be the way to go.

    Good luck to you. Ask more questions anytime.

    TM

  86. Marc Bruvry Says:

    Thanks for the wise words. I will heed them.
    -m

  87. John Morrison Says:

    Marc,

    What Thinmac says is correct about the plans. What I have done is re-draw the plans entirely to sort out those missing details (and to get everything into metric). I have the advantage of a copy of AutoCAD, but even if you hand-sketch out some of the missing information it would be helpful. Any architect would gladly sort out some of the missing details for you for a reasonable fee (it might be money well spent if you miss something important). It is a very simple building really, but having 1/2 dozen drawings with details like the rafter dimensions/angles, the gable end framing, or window framing would be a huge help. I have created 14 pages of drawings, which are now with a certified engineer for review. Because my design is esstially Don Berg’s design (in greater detail and with some changes), I won’t be posting the drawings online (it is essentially then plagairsm), but I should be able to help out with some details.

    John (New Zealand)

  88. Marc Bruvry Says:

    Thanks John.
    Sounds like you are miles (Kilometers?) beyond me at this point.
    I’ll keep this in mind as I move forward.
    Best,
    -Marc

  89. John Morrison Says:

    Marc, thanks but I’m afraid I am still a dreamer until I take delivery of that first load of timber! I am in the construction industry, so I know there is some benefit of spending a lot of time with a set of drawings and building something over and over in your mind first. Perhaps this will pay off when I eventually get going. I have decided to build the entire structure (save perhaps the rafters) in treated timber and plywood, because I cannot guarantee that there won’t be long delays along the way as I collect funds to continue. I would hate for the lack of a completed roof to ruin my joists for example.
    The sort of thing that scares me is when I start to price everything out. I went into the NZ equivalent of a Home Depot the other day and saw joist hangars on the shelf at $6.00 each (!)…I haven’t checked, but there must be 100 of them required for this build. I can see the build going on for 2 years easily.

  90. Marc Bruvry Says:

    Hi John,
    Yes, be careful of your investment! I was told by the builder of our main house that if things get wet and covered over with out proper drying, mold will creep in and it is almost impossible to get rid of. Keep it dry! Tarps, temporary tar paper covering, what ever.
    I will take your advise and keep building it as you suggest. Over and over.
    $6 hangers! Wow!
    Thanks,
    -Marc

  91. Jerry Lombardi Says:

    Hello;
    I have read all your notes & postings about your barn with great interest. I am curious however on one point of the construction. In the photos, it appears that you have a loft area or storage loft with a opening for a stair case which is probably the attic type folding stairs. That all looks real good to me. But my question is that I do not see any “Ceiling Joists” across the top wall plate from wall to wall, on the width of the building. All I see is your roof rafters done real well I might ad, sitting on the wall’s top plate.

    So I am assuming that your floor joists are running the “long” way or lengthwise in the building, set just above the sliding door opening? This would give you all that stand up attic room. If this is correct, how did you reinforce the walls between the loft floor & the top plate to keep them from possibly bowing out.
    I’m sure you have done something in the construction but I can’t quite make it out. I’m very interested in this because I am about to order this architects plans for his Maple Barn series. I think his buildings are some of the best designs out there for us DIY guys. Maybe you can help me understand the joist positioning a little better. Really nice barn you have there!

    Thanks
    Jerry L

  92. John Morrison Says:

    Jerry, I wondered about this as well some months ago. It’s the doubled joists running across the building parallel to the gable ends (tieing the tops of the posts together) and the posts themselves (set into concrete) that resist the walls bowing outward. In a typical 2×4 or 2×6 framed wall you would have to run the ceiling/loft floor joists perpendicular to the longer walls, but not in this design…the hefty girders connecting the posts do all the work. The external girders/girts running around the perimeter at the top of the posts are robust enough not to deform even at the midpoint between posts. The very steep pitch of the roof also lessens the effect of “outward” or lateral forces. A collar tie as low as you can (depends how tall you are) would further eliminate lateral forces, but honestly this building is over-engineered.

  93. Jerry Lombardi Says:

    John;
    The double joists at the gable ends would certainly hold it together. As I looked at your building, I started thinking that using 4 x 6 postst would be more than enough to support everything, and save some money too. But then when you realize the plan is more or less generic to cover almost all building codes from one area to another, you end up with a building that is well over most, if not all code issues. That may cost the builder more for some of the materials, but in the end you will have a building that wil be around a very long time. Might even become a historical landmark! Who knows what the future will hold. Thanks so much for answering my question about those floor joists. Time to order my plans.

    Thanks
    Jerry Lombardi

  94. thinmac Says:

    Hi, Jerry. I can tell that you have been thinking about this. I know a little bit of physics, but I’m neither a licensed builder, nor an architect, so I can’t guarantee the accuracy of my answers. Having said that, here’s what I think.

    There are two parts to the answer.

    1. Where are the wall ties? If you look in the picture where they are pouring the concrete floor, you can see a girder running from the center post on the near wall to the center post on the far wall. This girder is made of four 2 x 8s, and there is also the same size girder at each end of the building. It is my understanding that these three girders are the structural members that tie the tops of the walls together to resist outward bowing, as well as being floor joist supports for the loft.

    2. Why wouldn’t the wall bow out between the posts? The side walls also have double 2 x 8 girders, plus there is a double 2 x 6 plate nailed to the girder tops. I believe that the combination of the girders and plates must provide enough lateral stiffness to resist wall bowing between the posts.

    If this isn’t all that clear, give me a shout back, and I’ll try to clarify.

  95. thinmac Says:

    Ha! It looks like we were all typing at the same time. :-)

  96. Jerry Lombardi Says:

    There is no question that the architect has over engineered or over designed the building. I’ve taken the time to look up some lumber span tables & compare them to what lumber sizes are being used in this great little barn. The building is definitely over built, but having said that, the architect has no choice in this because he is selling a generic construction plan, that can be adopted to just about anywhere in the country. Maybe with the exception of California & Florida codes.

    While I’m tempted to down grade the materials a little to save some money, I WON’T do that. I’m not an enginer or architect either, and to second guess what they have designed is foolish. The only drawback I see is that if you have no help in the construction, you need to be a little inventive in order to work with such long & heavy lumber. But DYI’ers are a reasourceful bunch!

  97. Zigapor Says:

    hey there! I’ve been trying to find plans to build a small horse barn, but have come up dry. I did however stumble upon this page, and feel the need to tell you that I think your little barn rocks! well done! Love the pics, you’ve given me some good ideas, thanks!

  98. thinmac Says:

    Hey, Zigapor, thanks for stopping by and leaving such a great message. Hope you get your horse barn built soon. Have you checked out barnsbarnsbarns.com?

  99. A-Ron Says:

    Thinmac,

    Thanks a lot for the pictures and all of the discussion. I’ve been mulling over the CandleWood plans for 3 months now and I just ran across your blog 2 days ago. WOW! Just what I needed to get my head around the plans.

    Here’s my question: How much will it cost? Some have already asked the question and others have answered. You paid out about $8300. Damon spent $1400 for well over half the materials ($3000 total +/-). And a builder bid $10400. It seems like that’s a big spread. Has anyone else come up with another estimate?

    Just wondering. I REALLY need the storage but I’m on a REALLY tight budget since my son was born in August.

    Thanks again, Thinmac!

  100. Lee Says:

    This is a great blog. I really appreciate all of the detail you provide in answering each question. I am thinking about building something similar in the spring.
    Lee

  101. thinmac Says:

    A-Ron,

    Sorry about the late reply, but somehow I missed your comment back at the end of November and just spotted it today. I don’t really have a better answer for you about cost than I did when I first wrote about this. If Damon got half his stuff for $1400, then he is doing way better than I did. I live far from any big cities, and maybe materials costs here are a lot higher than elsewhere.

    I know how a new baby can totally change your financial priorities, so good luck getting your barn built.

  102. thinmac Says:

    Lee, thanks a lot for taking the time to say nice things about my little blog. I hope you get something good built for yourself.

  103. Jerry Says:

    Hello!
    I’m finally getting around to building a tractor barn off the same plan as your main building. Got the plans from D. Berg, the architect. I have one question to ask. On the main 6×6 posts, what did you use in terms of length. Were they 16′ or 18’s’ then cut down. The reason for the question is that if I carefully measure the plan to scale, those 6x’s measure out at around 17′ in length, or am I missing something. I would like to use 16’s & set the post a little higher in the footing which would not be a problem here in South Carolina. We don’t really have a frost table here to worry about so there is super low risk of ground heaving or shifiting. Also down here we do need to follow codes & common sense, but we are less restricted than other parts of the country when it comes to outbuildings for farms & storage. I would hate to buy 18′ 6x’s due to the cost & weight overall. Any advice you can give would be appreciated!
    Thanks.

  104. thinmac Says:

    Hi Jerry! Glad you’re getting at your barn now. For the 6×6 posts, I used six 14′ and two 10′ pieces. Measuring the longest posts in the plan, I get 4.7″ for a length, and dividing that by the 3/8″ scale gives a 12.53′ length. I’m not sure why we are not getting the same results, but I’m looking at the lumber yard invoice, and I definitely used the 14 and 10 footers. Maybe he has changed the design.

  105. Jerry Says:

    Hello Thinmac!

    Thanks for your speedy reply. After I read it, I went back and rechecked my plans! You are correct! My bad. As thy say, measure twice-cut once (we hope). In my rush this morning to get to an appointment I did not check myself. Sorry if I caused you or anyone else confusion. The shed plans are some of the best I’ve seen.

    The only change I’m thinking of making is to lower the roof rise. A 12 on 12 is rather steep for me to handle. But then there’s the question of loft head space. My problem is that with roof work I can no longer climb anything over a 7 on 12. Legs just don’t work well at my age. Just not sure if I can do the 12 on 12. We have a lot of goats down here. Maybe I can get one to shingle the roof for me!! Thanks!

  106. thinmac Says:

    Jerry, you’re welcome. You’re right about it being a steep roof, and if you don’t need to stand up in the loft, a 7/12 would make things easier and save a few bucks in materials. I put on the three courses of roof decking from the top down. It was pretty easy to do it that way by standing on the floor of the loft for the first two, and doing the lowest row from a ladder. That kept me off the roof for that part. Then I used planks on roof jacks to stand on for the shingling. That worked for me, but then, I didn’t have goats.

  107. Jerry Says:

    Thinmac

    Yes that 12 on 12 roof can be a problem to get done. I’m really not in need of a high loft space. I won’t be needing the height that a 12 on 12 allows, so I’m probably going to put in a 7 on 12 roof. I will probably just use the loft area to store some odds & ends & scrap pieces from under my work bench. It’s not an area that I will actively use. Thanks!

  108. Rick Says:

    You did a nice job. Looks like you were pretty much organized. I appreciate you sharing this project with us.

  109. thinmac Says:

    Thanks for the kind words, Rick. It’s nice of you to comment.

  110. HorseLoverThe1st Says:

    thinmac were do you live

  111. HorseLoverThe1st Says:

    Because Thinmac If I knew I was ganna ask if I could have you come out and help me build a barn too! The barn you built was SO!!!!!!! SO!!!!!!!!!! SO!!!!!!! creative I wan’t one that I can really rely on like the one you built

  112. thinmac Says:

    I live in beautiful northern Michigan where we are having a real winter this year. I’m glad you like my barn, but you’re giving me too much credit for creativity. Don Berg the architect is the creative one. I just followed his plans and out came a pretty little barn. You wouldn’t want me to work on your barn, I’m way too slow. :-) Thanks a bunch for taking the time to comment.

  113. daveratcliff Says:

    I love it absolutely and need one just like it, but, unfortunately, I haven’t the know how or the equipment to pull it off without hiring it done!
    Thanks for the inspiring project though!

  114. thinmac Says:

    You’re welcome, Dave. Hope you get one.
    Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  115. Becky Says:

    Great post. I will be dealing with a few of these issues as
    well..

  116. thinmac Says:

    Thanks, Becky. I hope yours works out as well as mine. I’m very happy with it.

  117. Kara Ferris Says:

    Hi! I have seen your barn pics its too cool actually I like this type of barn where you can mange and put the things in safety. Thanks for sharing this beautiful post.

  118. thinmac Says:

    My pleasure, Kara. Thanks for your kind comment.

  119. linda dickson Says:

    Im looking to build a small barn for 2 horses. My granddaughter has 2 horses and she is boarding them out right now but we are in the process of putting up fence on our property to keep the horses hear for her. She dont have alot of money to build shelter for them but we do have our own wood lots. And I think a pole barn wood be the answer

  120. Philip Says:

    Marvellous pice of work. Can you bear another couple of questions at this late stage? How are the 8 6″x6″ posts fixed to the concrete footings? How deep are the footings?

  121. thinmac Says:

    Hi Phillip. The plan calls for the posts to be embedded into the concrete footings, which are 42″ deep. That’s code here.

  122. Philip Says:

    Thanks for the reply. The internet is full of conflicting opinions about burying posts or not because of the risk of rot. Of course you have to follow the prescribed codes.

  123. thinmac Says:

    Yep, I’ve read about that too. Actually, only the 42″ depth is part of the code here. Standard practice for pole barn construction here is to just set the posts on top of the footings. In fact, the footings are often precast concrete cylinders. Drop one into the hole, level it and set the post. I couldn’t use precast since larger diameter footings were specified.

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