Post and Beam Barns: Colonial Restorations, LLC specializes in the meticulous restoration of the historic, hand hewn, timber framed barns and agricultural buildings which best define our memories of rural New England.
Decades and even centuries of hard service followed by more decades of cruel neglect have introduced sagging, leaning and even catastrophic collapse to these once sturdy post and beam timber frames.
Problems that Make Barns Lean and Sag: Structural timber frames of old barns and other period buildings lean to one side for a variety of reasons. Generally speaking, the quality and type of joinery became simpler and less efficient over time. This is clearly demonstrated in comparing well built 17th century barns to the typical 19th century barns.
Leaning is a definite indication of one or more structural problems and shouldn’t be ignored. Barns often lean more noticeably than houses, due in part to the lack of interior walls and less sheathing on exterior walls to serve as crutches. This problem can and should be corrected or the damage to the joinery will get progressively worse over time. Restoration of the original period timber frames of historic barns and homes will significantly add to the value of a property.
Sags in early barns are also an indication of structural problems. As timber framed building sags, it causes damage to the joinery, specifically to the diagonal bracing. As a beam bends, the wood fibers on the lower half are torn and those on the upper half suffer compression. Patience and caution are needed when jacking or otherwise reshaping any post and beam building. Jacking against the center of a beam may take some of the bend out, but may also stress the tenons on each end. The real expertise in jacking is understanding the possible consequences of the jacking.
Restoration and Repair of Historic Old Barn Timber Frames
Historic Barn Frames: The scale and ingenious engineering found in the large spans of old barn timber frames makes their restoration uniquely challenging and worthwhile. While agriculture is fading in the New England region, owners are finding new uses for these irreplaceable landmarks.
Designers are making the most of these structures for the open plan areas so in style for both commercial and residential applications. We think these barn conversion projects offer an excellent way to preserve as much as possible of this important historic architectural heritage.
Colonial Restorations helps to preserve historic homes and barns throughout the New England states of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Connecticut. To schedule a site visit, please call us at 508-735-9900. We are always glad to talk about your historic timber framed building and will answer all phone calls promptly.