Updated June 7, 2023
There are many options available to property owners with old barns on their property—demolishing, dismantling, restoring, reclaiming, and repurposing to name a few—and all are worthwhile considerations. The most popular approaches to old barns typically include demolishing or dismantling and restoring or repurposing it.
In this guide, we'll discuss the options available when considering what to do with the old barn on your property, what's involved with each method, average costs, and more.
How Barn Demolition Works
The exact barn demolition process varies slightly from barn to barn, but the general process involves using a large excavator or backhoe to knock down the barn. Little to no effort goes into salvaging wood, as this method is typically reserved for barns that do not have any wood that can be salvaged, like in the case of an old rotted barn, fire-damaged barn, etc.
Once the barn is knocked down, all debris is loaded into dumpsters and hauled to the nearest disposal facility.
The exact barn removal procedure will depend on your barn type, the materials used to build it, its current condition, and the contractor you hire.
When to Consider Barn Demolition
There are a number of reasons why a property owner might want to have their barn removed from their property entirely, from safety reasons to insurance liability, tax implications, a desire to clear the space, or to build something new.
When you want to have your barn completely removed from your property, barn demolition is typically the simplest and most affordable option.
Demolition is the best solution for barns that do not have salvageable wood.
The average cost of barn demolition is $1,500-$8,000. Barn demolition is relatively inexpensive due to its fast and to-the-point process, but the exact cost of your barn demolition project will depend on the size and condition of the barn, where the barn is located, how accessible it is with heavy machinery, who you hire to do the work, local disposal fees, etc.
Who to Hire
When it comes to demolishing a barn, it's necessary to hire a seasoned barn demolition contractor to ensure the job is completed safely and on schedule.
An experienced, qualified contractor will be able to turn a tear down a barn and haul it away in a day or less.
Hometown makes it easy to find barn demolition companies near you, read customer reviews, and request free quotes from as many companies as you'd like. Requesting multiple demolition quotes will increase the chances of you hiring the best company for the job and decrease the chances of overpaying.
- Don't Hire Just Anyone to Demo Your Barn
- A Breakdown of the Barn Demolition Process
- Planning a Successful Demolition or Renovation Project
Images via Ohio Valley Barn Salvage
How Barn Dismantling Works
Barn dismantling, or deconstruction as it's also commonly known, is essentially demolition by hand, or reverse construction. The barn is taken apart piece-by-piece starting with the roof and working down, removing all siding until just the barn's frame is left, then cutting small notches in upright timbers so the frame can be safely pulled down.
All salvageable wood and other materials are separated and any remaining debris is loaded into a dumpster and hauled to the nearest disposal facility.
The exact barn deconstruction process will depend on your barn type, the materials used to build it, its current condition, how much of the materials are salvageable, and the contractor you hire.
When to Consider Dismantling
Barn dismantling is best for barns in good shape with a lot of salvageable materials. If you'd like to reclaim as much material as possible from your old barn, either to use on your own projects or to sell, barn dismantling is the best option for you.
The average cost to dismantle a barn is $5,000-$12,000. Barn deconstruction and dismantling is more expensive than barn demolition due to the additional work and time involved, but your specific barn dismantlement may cost more or less depending on the size and condition of the barn, where the barn is located, how accessible it is, who you hire to do the work, what barn wood sells for in your area, etc.
Though the upfront costs of deconstructing a barn are higher than demolition, if you have a significant amount of salvageable barn wood, these costs could be mitigated should you choose to sell the wood to the company who salvaged it for you or another barn wood buyer.
The cost of deconstruction is highly dependent on the size of your barn, the materials used to build it, the condition of the materials, the contractor you hire to do the work, and quite a few other factors.
Who to Hire
When it comes to deconstructing a barn, it's necessary to hire a seasoned barn dismantling contractor to ensure the job is completed safely and on schedule.
Some companies pay for salvaged barn wood and offer you a reduced rate to keep the wood they salvage from your barn, while others only offer the dismantling services and leave the sale of that barn wood up to you.
Whichever type of company you're looking for, Hometown makes it easy to find barn deconstruction companies near you, read customer reviews, and request free quotes from as many companies as you'd like. Requesting multiple barn deconstruction quotes will increase the chances of you hiring the best company for the job and decrease the chances of overpaying.
Image via Inhabitat
How Barn Repurposing Works
If your barn is still in good shape or in repairable shape, redeeming it and repurposing it is something worth considering. Many barns have historical significance, character, and charm that is valuable and shouldn't be torn down and lost forever.
What it takes to repurpose a barn depends on its current condition and your vision for the barn. For example, if your barn is in solid condition and just requires aesthetic changes in order to repurpose it, it won't require nearly as much work as a barn that is structurally unsound and in need of a serious upgrade.
Oftentimes, repurposing a barn involves replacing old beams or planks, deep cleaning and painting the barn, installing electrical or plumbing, and similar work.
The beauty of a barn is that it has endless potential. Transform it into your primary home, a guest house, a wedding/photography venue, Airbnb, additional storage, or a beloved family gathering place. It's entirely up to you.
When to Consider Repurposing Your Barn
There are a number of reasons why a property owner might want to repurpose their barn rather than remove it from their property entirely.
If you're looking to add value to your property, make extra income, or provide a fun place for your family to enjoy, then repurposing your barn is a great option.
Repurposing is the best solution for barns when you still have a use for the barn and don't want to lose the character that it brings to your property.
The average cost to repurpose a barn ranges from $1,000-$20,000 or more. Barn repurposing can range from cleaning and painting the space to completely renovating it and upgrading it. Your specific barn upgrade may cost more or less depending on the size and condition of the barn, where the barn is located, how accessible it is, the work you're having done, who you hire to do the work, etc.
Who to Hire
When it comes to renovating or repurposing a barn, it's necessary to hire a seasoned barn remodeling contractor to ensure the job is completed safely and on schedule.
Read customer reviews, request multiple quotes from local companies to compare pricing, and be sure you hire the best company for the job to decrease your chances of overpaying.