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MyHorse Daily Freemium Building Horse Barns

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Horse Barns: Wood or Steel?

It’s always great to get advice from someone who’s “been there, done that”—and nowhere is that truer than when you’re thinking of building your own horse barn.

Toward that end, contributing editor Cindy Foley is sharing her barn building plans with us.

Enjoy,

Amy

a wood barn

One of our first decisions when making our horse barn plans was whether to go with wood or steel. It wasn’t easy, and we went back and forth several times, finally opting for a wood pole barn, aka timber frame barn with wood siding.

If you’re confused as to what a pole barn is vs. a non-pole barn, as I was, here’s the answer: A pole barn’s foundation is made of very tall wooden poles sunk deep into the ground. The other type of barn has actual footers, made of concrete, like a house. Nearly everyone builds a pole barn. But if you’re attracted by the advertisements showing the cost of a pole barn garage, you’re in for a shock. The price of the building itself—the shell—will sound like a deal compared to the cost of the interior. We’ll talk about that later.

There were quite a few reasons for deciding to go with wood instead of steel when making our barn building plans, but cost wasn’t one of them. We asked for pole barn designs and prices for both steel and wood from each of five builders with whom we were interested in working. Amazingly, we found that the difference in price was slight, percentage-wise.

We decided that dings and dents in steel walls might be more of a bother than a broken board in a timber frame barn. A wooden board might crack or splinter, but metal siding can tear from a puncture and leave jagged edges. So, again, it’s preference. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a properly built metal horse barn, and heaven knows we saw some beautiful ones.

It’s just that even old timber frame barns looked so pretty to us. Whether they were that “old barn” gray (think of an unstained wooden deck or porch), or were stained or painted a color, the sight of a new wooden barn was irresistible to us.

Material is truly a matter of preference when you make your barn building plans, and the best way to see what’s right for you is to go into several different wood and metal buildings. The look, feel and inside warmth of a full wooden barn just fit us better. Sure, that wooden building is going to require staining/painting every few years, but for us, it’s going to be a labor of love.

-Cynthia Foley

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