Pros and Cons of Barn Demolition

dilapidated barn

Updated April 8, 2024

Barns can hold significant value beyond just their functionality. And while some people may be resistant to tearing down the barn on their property, there are certain situations where demolishing a barn can improve your property value.

Before tearing down your old barn, consider the pros and cons.

We'll discuss the benefits and the disadvantages that come with tearing down your barn so you can make the right choice.

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Barn Wood is Valuable

inside of an old barn

All that barn wood isn’t trash; it’s likely highly valuable.

Perfectly seasoned by nature and time—and fitting perfectly into today's push for greener, more sustainable alternatives—old barn wood has maintained its popularity in home design as well as craft projects.

In homes that are focused on going green, barn wood fits in well due to its sustainability, natural aesthetic, and use of materials that would otherwise go to the landfill.

Likewise, marrying the interior and exterior of your home or building fosters that feeling of being connected to nature, which is highly desirable in certain locations, like in the woods or on the beach.

In addition to being used for construction accents (e.g. beams, floors, doors, etc.), barn wood is a desirable material for woodworking and other crafts.

Tables, benches, frames, dressers — all of these are popular uses for beautiful weathered barn wood. 

Salvaging wood from your old barn before demolition, or deconstructing the entire structure for maximum returns, is a great way to make some money or recoup some of the demolition costs.

If you don’t wish to use the wood for a personal project, you can sell it to local lumber retailers or reclaimers, on Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace.

Because of barn wood’s value, there are an increasing number of companies popping up that specialize in barn demolition and deconstruction for the sake of reclaiming as much wood as possible.

You essentially sell them your old barn, and they come to your property to deconstruct and demolish it for you, taking the valuable wood with them.

Your Property Can Become Safer

Let’s face it: Many old barns are just an eyesore.

Not only is a dilapidated barn dangerous, but it can also be a breeding ground for rodents and insects.

Getting rid of an unusable old barn increases your property value and makes way for newer and better things, whatever that may be.

So whether you’re in your forever home or plan on selling your house in the near future, tearing down that barn could be the right choice.

Space Utilization

Getting rid of a barn opens up more space on your property that can be used for other purposes.

In place of the old barn, you now have space to construct something new, like a pool or guest suite to rent out for extra income.

You can also use the new space to grow crops, or simply enjoy more open land on your property. The possibilities are endless.

Cost Savings

Maintaining an old barn can be more expensive than having it demolished in many cases. 

Once you take into account the repairs, maintenance, and insurance costs, the amount of money you'll invest in keeping it operational can certainly add up to a pretty penny over time.

Demolishing a barn is a one-time cost that can save you money in the long run. 

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Curb Appeal

Having a rundown barn on your property can cause a significant hit to your property's curb appeal, negatively impacting your property value.

Structures that are unkept, ugly, and dangerous looking can deter future buyers and bringdown your property value and potentially even the properties surrounding it.

So, getting rid of such a structure can impact your property value in a positive way.


Historical Value

Most old barns have been around for decades and played a role in your property’s history.

And while not all people care about tearing down an old, useless barn, some do.

You could experience some pushback from the community if your barn holds historical significance.

If members of the community want the building to stay, you could be facing a long-winded legal battle to win approval to knock it down.

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Loss of Functionality

If you demolish a barn that is still functional, demolishing it means losing a structure that could be used for storage, housing animals, or other agricultural purposes.

Producing Waste


getting rid of old barn

Anytime you do any type of demolition, you're going to produce waste that will need to either be recycled or taken to a landfill

Ideally, you can salvage the barn wood and recycle other materials, but depending on the type of material the barn is built with and the condition it's in, your demolition may produce a significant amount of waste that you'll have to pay to dispose of responsibly and further contributing to local landfills. 

Sentimental Loss

It's not uncommon for barns to hold an emotional significance to property owners, especially if the property has been in a family for generations.

Maybe you got married in the barn on your property, housed your first farm animal in it, or maybe it was built by your late grandfather.

Regardless of the reasons, demolishing a barn with sentimental value can be emotionally difficult and feel like a loss.

Regulatory Considerations

Depending on where you live and local regulations, you may be required to get permits for barn demolition.

There may also be restrictions in place that dictate when and how such projects can take place, which could become a problem depending on your plan of action.

It's important to do your due diligence before beginning a barn demolition project, especially if you plan on placing another structure in its place, as some places also have restrictions on what can be put in a barn's place after it's been taken down.

Don't make the mistake of paying for a barn demolition with the intention of placing a pool or guest house there, only to find our later that you can't.

How to Find a Barn Demo Pro

Ultimately, the decision the demolish a barn should take all the above factors into account before following through with the project. 

Bring in the opinion of experts, like historians, structural engineers, and local authorities can help answer questions you may have about demolishing your barn before making any permanent decisions.

The most important thing to consider when demolishing a barn is who you will hire to take on the project. The average person shouldn't take on a barn reclamation project themselves.

Most barns have thousands of board-feet of good, salvageable lumber, but it can be difficult and dangerous work to hand-select the pieces worth saving.

Many people with good intentions but little (if any) experience trying to tackle a barn dismantling project end up damaging or destroying a lot of lumber due to inexperience. Worse yet, they end up hurting themselves or others in the process.

Don’t be that person. Instead, hire a company that specializes in barn demolition.

If you’re looking to reclaim as much lumber as possible from the project, hire a pro to deconstruct it.

These companies can do all the heavy lifting and expert picking for you, and you’ll be left with just a pile of usable lumber.

Hometown can help you find local barn demolition contractors that are licensed, insured, ad service your area.

Our single quote request form allows you to fill out a single form and then send your quote request to up to 3 different companies in your area, allowing you to compare and contract the cost, customer service, and availability based of each provider.

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