View Full Version : Trying to save an old barn - cheaper option for siding

Dan Friedrichs
04-24-2017, 9:16 PM
I'm trying to come up with a way to save an old (1920s) barn. It's sided in cedar, and about 20% of the siding has blown off from years of neglect. It really needs a paint job to keep it more water resistant, but the missing siding needs to be addressed, before paint. It need about 900 linear feet of siding to fill in the missing pieces.

The siding is ~4" reveal, ~1/2" thick at the bottom, and beveled. I can buy a comparable product for ~$1.10/linft, but am having hard time justifying spending $1k on a building that is basically decorative.

I see there are some engineered word products that look similar (like this (https://www.menards.com/main/building-materials/siding/engineered-wood-siding/lp-reg-smartside-reg-3-8-x-6-x-16-textured-strand-lap-siding/p-1444438211011-c-5827.htm?tid=1441363445082251065) one), and they're half the price, but they aren't beveled, so I think they won't lay correctly under the existing, beveled, siding.

Any suggestions? This barn doesn't have another 50 years of life left, so I just can't see spending the money on cedar. Is there a press-board-type product that's beveled, or anything else to look into using?

Von Bickley
04-24-2017, 9:43 PM
What is the barn being used for now?

Dan Friedrichs
04-24-2017, 10:07 PM
Housing 3 chickens and 2 ducks. I suspect they are indifferent to the endeavor, and they are certainly not worth the expense of this project :)

It would be nice to save the barn for historical reasons and for future potential uses.

Mel Fulks
04-24-2017, 10:15 PM
What factors/conditions make you think it would not last another 50 years?

Dan Friedrichs
04-24-2017, 11:10 PM
The foundation has cracked fairly severely, resulting in some buckling of a wall, and it's had decades of deterioration due to a lack of siding and paint. The roof is newer (steel) and in excellent condition, so perhaps I'm being pessimistic - maybe siding repair and repaint will give it many more years. But given that it's not being used productively (and isn't likely to be used productively in the near future), I'm having a hard time justifying the expense of cedar siding.

Wayne Lomman
04-25-2017, 12:48 AM
A different place admittedly but if I could get cedar siding for that price I would be falling over to get it. Otherwise, use corrugated sheeting. It's cheap and quick to fix and won't need much maintenance. Cheers

Larry Edgerton
04-25-2017, 6:45 AM
Do not go for the cement board option Dan. They no way in hell live up their claims. I am seeing jobs that are 14 years old failing, siding just crumbling.

Don't know where you are but if you have locally milled cedar available buy it in 4"x1" and resaw it into two pieces of bevel siding yourself would be the cheapest.

Rich Enders
04-27-2017, 10:17 AM
What is the old saying? If something is worth doing, it is worth doing right. Maybe your barn is not worth saving, but if you think it is, start with the foundation, and proceed.

Dan Friedrichs
04-27-2017, 10:23 AM
Interesting idea about resawing my own, Larry - I see I could get 5/4x6 deck boards for about the same price as the siding, so I could resaw those into two pieces and halve the cost. Almost enough money saved to buy a power feeder :)

Keith Outten
04-28-2017, 11:21 AM
I did a rehab project on my 95 year old barn several years ago after contemplating tearing it down because it was in very bad shape.
I'm glad now that I decided to keep the barn, it cost less to repair it than to replace, not to mention the hassles dealing with the local building inspection department if I had built a new building.

In the end I decided to remove all of the old wooden siding a install barn red vinyl siding over plywood.

Larry Edgerton
04-29-2017, 10:20 AM
Interesting idea about resawing my own, Larry - I see I could get 5/4x6 deck boards for about the same price as the siding, so I could resaw those into two pieces and halve the cost. Almost enough money saved to buy a power feeder :)

If you made it out of material that thick you could easily do Dolly Varden siding, a much better variation of bevel siding. Much less splitting when nailing off and as it ages. Its what I have on my house.

Bill Bukovec
04-29-2017, 10:41 AM
Kieth, what's the horsepower on your tractor? I'm lookibg to buy one, maybe in the 20 - 25hp range.

Keith Outten
04-30-2017, 10:33 AM

It's a 40 HP diesel.

Myk Rian
04-30-2017, 10:53 AM
There is a barn near us that the owners restored several years ago. They used T1-11 sheets on the vertical, painted red. It really does look nice.

Rick Malakoff
05-11-2017, 11:16 AM
Dan, don't know where your located, I have used 5/8''x8''x6' ceder fence boards for siding but make sure the are dry before you use them. The cost down here was about 0.70$ LF.


Dan Friedrichs
05-11-2017, 2:56 PM
Thanks for all the ideas. I don't want to go with T1-11 or anything like that, because it's just random boards, here-and-there, that are missing, and it'd be much easier to just replace missing boards than re-side the entire thing.

Good news, though - a local "barn preservation" trust has a program that will subsidize the cost of the siding and paint, to the point that it's very affordable. I think I'll use the proper cedar siding - with that and a thick coat of paint, I think it will be in much better shape.

Larry Edgerton
05-11-2017, 3:18 PM
I always recommend a solid color stain rather than a painted finish. Paint will peel, its the law. Stain just wears away over a period of years and when it is time to recoat nothing more than a quick wash is necessary.

Again, I would not use anything on my own house that I did not think is the best, and my cedar siding has a base coat of Cabots oil stain on both sides followed by a coat of Cabots WB stain. Has been up 7 years now and still shows no sign of any kind of failure. I will probably recoat next year just to clean it up.

Dan Friedrichs
05-12-2017, 11:17 PM
Interesting, Larry. My (perhaps silly) thought was that a thick coat of latex paint would provide some additional waterproofing. The ~100 year old siding is in rough shape - pretty brittle and thin, so I was thinking a thicker coat of paint might "stick" it together and fill in some small cracks, a bit. I'll have to look into the stain option, though, as this isn't a project I want to ever repeat :)

Rick Malakoff
05-16-2017, 7:37 PM
Dan you're going to need "the structural paint":D