Welcome the last and final part about how I built a 12m x 5m barn for storing logs and implements on our small holding. It could also be used for sheep housing in winter. The project became more of a timber framed building than a pole barn; but you could easily adapt it and just put telegraph pole uprights straight into the ground (or concrete them in) if the land was suitable. The previous parts are here. Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4
I must reiterate my disclaimer; I am not a structural engineer or a builder so the whole project is more ‘belt and braces’ than calculations and you should not rely on my design or construction for your own building!
After finishing the frame in Part 4 I then spread some of the shale around that we had dug up when building the house extension to provide a firm floor. I would have liked concrete but it was just too expensive for this project.
The next thing I did was build a single brick pier around the base of each column. This is to ensure that the columns cannot move laterally in any direction even if hit with a tractor and to provide a support to keep the bottom rail for the cladding off the ground. It also means that I can pour preservative or perhaps waste oil down between the brick and the wood every year or two to stop the base rotting! The columns are also on a piece of damp proof membrane for this reason as well. The photo below shows this.
Horizontal rails were fixed across between the columns and the vertical boarding nailed to these with approximately 20mm air gaps. The photo below shows the cross rails and the boarding nailed on the back. All the timber was supplied treated so no need for any preservative other than on the cut ends and joints.
All that was left to do was cut all the side boards to the correct height and fix them before fixing the end cover strip which is fixed over (and through the roofing sheets) and covers the top of the side timbers to give a nice clean finish.
We’ve always been keen that it would be hidden in the landscape as much as possible so deliberately set in the lowest spot and formed a soil bank in front of it. This will be planted to screen it from view..
So there you have it our barn that we built entirely ourselves. Some people have asked about costings and this is of course a lot more than if we had used telegraph poles and second hand roofing sheets. But I estimate.
Clearing the site/digging footings £100
Timber Frame £700
Roofing Sheets £700
Timer Boarding and support rails £500
Nails/Screws/Sand/Cement etc £150
That’s it; I may put some light field gates on the openings to keep the sheep out (or in if I put them inside) and I may build a sheep handling area next to it.
At the end of part 3 John and Jonathan were leaning smugly against the frame having assembled it. After Jonathan went back home to Spain, I (John) carried on fixing the 75mm x 50mm purlins across the rafters. These are necessary to support and fix the roofing sheets. I decided to use simple corrugated steel sheets for the roof. These are not too expensive or too heavy and are easily fixed. As the shed is partly open condensation should not be too much of a problem in winter. The sheets can be bought as plain galvanised or painted or plastic coated with the price and durability increasing accordingly. I went for the latter (most expensive and most durable) in a slate grey colour.
Each sheet of corrugated steel is 1m wide when lapped with its neighbour and they can be bought in any length to cover the exact span (remembering to leave enough overhang for the gutter). In my case I am overlapping them a tad more to save cutting the last sheet. It is of course essential that the first sheet is positioned correctly or they will all start ‘running out’ of alignment.
The position of the fixings can then be marked. The Tek screw fixing are self cutting but I found it easier to either drill a pilot hole or just bang a small nail through.
If you don’t carefully mark the line of the purlin you risk having a hole in your roof and nothing underneath to screw into!
The screws should be tightened down until they are holding firmly but not crushing the corrugation. They can be capped of with plastic caps (a dab of silicone under the cap before putting them on is not a bad idea to stop them coming loose).
So the roof will soon be finished and then I only have to fix the side cladding boards and do a bit of tidying up etc which I hope to show in the last part.
If you missed Parts 1 and 2 you can find them here Part 1 Part 2
The foundations were finished around July 2012. Each pier has a galvanised anchor strap set in it an the columns will be secured to these.
The foundations were finished in around July 2012
Unfortunately everything then went on hold due to a combination of the wet weather and us starting the building work on the house. I found a local sawmill here in Carmarthenshire and Rocco at Talley sawmills sourced some larch and cut it to my specifications. Rocco is definitely a ‘character’ and not necessarily the fastest but he found, cut and treated all the timber for me for a very reasonable price. So I’d definitely suggest that you ‘sound out’ your local saw mill for a project like this.
In essence I am using 200mm x 200mm upright columns each with a cut in one end to accept 200mm x 100mm cross beams; these will be bolted together. Then rafters will span across the barn and these are 200mm x 100mm above each column with (2) 200mm x 50mm rafters in each bay.The latter will be secured by upside down joist hangers. Each column will rest on the concrete pads with a d.p.m. and be secured to the galvanised straps in the concrete base.
Sounds complicated but should become obvious from the photos.
It was several weeks before the timber was delivered and things gradually ‘slipped’ so it was not until June 2013 when Jonathan, our son, came home again and he was press ganged into helping with some of the heavy lifting that we started the build. When we first erected the columns we decided that the barn was just going to be too tall. It would be fine on a working farm; but would be too visible in the landscape. So with the help of a chainsaw I reduced the columns to a height that gave sufficient access for a tractor but that was not too high so as to be visible from the house and from the other side of the valley.
Getting the first cross pieces into place was a tad tricky as nothing was really secured and it was all a bit wobbly! But after we started to drill and bolt the joints the frame started to become more rigid. We then had to constantly check that columns were plumb and that distances were the same between openings etc. But after around two days work we had the basic frame in place. It still needs horizontal rails to board the external boarding to and needs some purlins/battens across the rafters to fix the roofing sheets to.
We also found that it needed some triangular braces between horizontal beams and columns to increase its stability.So these were duly added and treated with preservative.
But at least it is starting to look like a shed. The next post will show the roof and boarding, just as soon as I’ve sourced these! Whilst I don’t have prices for these yet I’m expecting the whole barn to cost around £1500 – £2000 which I don’t think is too bad for a 12m x 5m barn. It could be built for half of this by careful sourcing of things like second hand roofing sheets etc.
Disclaimer; I am not a structural engineer or a builder so the whole project is more ‘belt and braces’ than calculations and you should not rely on my design for your own building!
The photo above shows the new sun-room from the back; the wood cladding is Accoya, a preserved timber, that is meant to last for 60 years and is very stable in wet weather. The gutters will be replaced with something more sympathetic when we get round to painting the rest of the house! You can just see the new solar hot water panels on the far roof of the house. The windows were supplied by the Danish company Rationel Windows.
In view of the extreme weather in Wales we sourced the aluminium bifold doors from Solarlux in Germany.
The new entrance into the new porch provides a storage area for coats and shoes etc. To the rear is the new utility room housing the boiler for the underfloor heating etc. There is an external log store.
Barry Wade of Wade Furniture, a local cabinet maker, made and fitted the new kitchen for us.
The living area had to have sufficient space for our Quad ELS63 loudspeakers made by Quad hifi in 1963! The office area above is accessed by the new spiral stairs.
The Spiral Stairs were made by Woodside Joinery, Cwmbran. Their workmanship was first class. The underfloor heating manifold has yet to be ‘boxed in’ i.e. when John gets round to it!
The sun room with its views down the valley has proved to be John’s favourite room. It is a lovely light, airy room.
The sunroom also provides plenty of storage for our books.
The new ensuite shower room has John’s niches in the wall for shampoo etc as he hates those wire basket things!
So there you have it 7 months of building work, a lot of expense but we have a lovely warm environmentally friendly house that we love. Now John just needs to get on with the outside!
Happy New Year. Well it’s 2013 and the blog has suffered because we’ve been hunkered down for the cold weather in our temporary accommodation. The building work was meant to be finished by the end of November but has been delayed by the anhydrite screed not drying out fast enough. It was meant to take 60 days but has still been measuring around 12% moisture in places. It needs to be around 0.5% for tiling. However, after spending the Christmas break grinding off the top surface of the screed with a grinder it has started to dry quite quickly and we are hoping that the builders can start tiling the floors on their return after the New Year break.
The photos below are now out of date but show some of the progress since the last posting.
By the beginning of August 2012 the concrete has been poured into the footings, the below ground block work done, the slab poured and block work is starting to rise above ground.
Meanwhile inside the original bathroom floor for some inexplicable reason was finished above the height of the bedroom floor. This means that the bathroom floor needs to be broken up to lay a new slab at the correct height. It turns out to be fortuitous as the subfloor is full of water from a leaking pipe.
The builders Jones and Maher of Carmarthen have continued demolishing the interior of the house and by the first week in July they had inserted the new structural steelwork to support the new mezzanine level and where we are extending our bedroom into the existing bathroom (which is really too large).
John tends to see Phil the site foreman most days and we’re pretty sure that he (Phil) now thinks that he has a client with OCD. We’ve spent the best part of a year planning this work to include the extensions, underfloor heating, increased insulation in the floors and vaulted roof, solar hot water, and a new kitchen (as we are relocating some of the old one into the utility room). So getting is a ‘right’ as possible is one of our main aims.
Much of our time is spent just trying to think ahead; for instance it is necessary to decide on the floor finishes as the finished floor heights for the extensions will need to be calculated taking these into account. As the windows and front doors are being ordered from Rationel, a Danish company (with manufacturing plant in Poland) and come pre finished it is necessary to decide on colours at the outset; so that they can be ordered in advance to arrive at the correct time.
Of course having decided to start work in summer the weather has remained extremely wet, which hasn’t helped with digging the foundations for the new extensions.
The new concrete is then ‘tied’ to the existing footings by inserting and resin bonding steel bar into the original concrete foundations.
After moving here to Wales we had the idea of building a porch to help reduce the draught into the house in Winter. This was quickly followed by the idea of building a ‘sun room’ on the other side of the house. Oh how naive we were!!
Realising that this needed to be done well we set out to find someone to could put our ideas on paper. This lead us to local architects Llewelyn Lewis Sennik (Gareth and Anita) who also concluded that if we were going that far we might as well have a Utility Room as well and also do any other upgrading at the same time.
We did consider installing a ground source heat pump but ultimately decided against this on the grounds of cost. As we already have solar PV providing some free electric and indexed linked payments of around £1500 per annum and our own woodland providing us with free wood for the woodburner we decided that a few hundred pounds of oil a year will be all that is needed to keep us warm in the coldest periods (I think that is what economists call a cost benefit analysis!) with all the extra insulation we are installing. I estimate that we should receive around £600 or £700 a year more in payments for the PV panels and solar HW than we will payout in energy costs.
To cut a long story short, after a 6 month battle with the planners (including having to employ Planning Consultants) we ended up with Planning Permission to build two contemporary timber clad extensions. In addition we would ‘gut’ the house to add underfloor heating throughout, upgrade the already good insulation to ‘super standard’ and refit most of the house. In addition we would be improving the heating and fitting Solar Hot Water Panels to compliment our recently fitted solar PV Panels.
So after 18 months of design, trauma and an ever increasing budget we moved out of the house on the 11th June 2012 (into rented accommodation) and the builders moved in to start gutting what most people would see as a perfectly adequate dwelling. Mad or what?
And after a week or so the builders stripped out the house now the long process of putting it back together starts! It now looks like the photo below.