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Old 05-18-2009, 01:49 PM   #1
rieferman
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Default west of Philly - barn saving (tours on pages 14, 19, and FINAL tour on 35)

New member here. Good to meet you all. I've been lurking for awhile and just really got hooked on the nice vibe and intelligent posts from the entire group here.

Everyone else I know is so sick of hearing about my project, but I think I'll have a captive audience here. ha ha

The canvas:
- 105 year old carriage house that was added onto to make it resemble a salt box style
- severe neglect. Dimension = 27 x 32 (two stories tall)
- 1 inch thick concrete floor over dirt... heaved badly
- posts, many rotten, some missing, on dry stacked stone foundation

Most heard comment:
"Have you considered just knocking it down and starting again?"

(yes.. of course I have)

Budget:
I haven't seen a lot of budget talk in most posts.. I see these amazing spaces with tons of cool toys... but I don't have that kind of money at this age (32). Anyhow, I'll be completely done for under $10,000 when it's all said and done. Well, $10,000 and aches and pains that will probably never heal.


OK, that's the backdrop, I'll drop in some pics and my progress to date now

Last edited by rieferman; 06-26-2013 at 10:53 AM.
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Old 05-18-2009, 02:23 PM   #2
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Default Re: west of Philly - barn saving

OK, let's see if I know how to post a picture..

Here's side view of the old barn before any renovation



good, that worked..

here's front view



and here's the floor plan I'm moving towards:
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Old 05-18-2009, 02:49 PM   #3
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Default Re: west of Philly - barn saving

Ok, so far, here’s what I’ve done so far:

- Started in January 2009 (grunt work is much nicer when you’re not sweating your butt off).
- After prep work, buying supplies etc., went to work pulling as much lean out of the building as possible. It still leans, but nothing like before. I used 5 two-ton come alongs attached high on the lean side, and low on the other side. Crank each one in turn. Moved the building about 5 inches total in the end.



- When it was as straight as I could get it (i.e. the ½” thick eye bolts started to bend open!) I cross braced everywhere as needed, and used better fasteners where it already existed. I’m happy to say that upon releasing the come alongs, the building stayed exactly put.



- Back wall had no center post, so beam had sagged badly. Removed as much sag as possible, dug footer, installed new post

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Old 05-18-2009, 02:55 PM   #4
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Default Re: west of Philly - barn saving

- Center post in building was badly rotten and leaning severely



- So I jacked up the 1st and 2nd stories, removed the post until I reached good wood, and put in a new post





- The front center post was sitting right on stone foundation in dirt, so front of building had sunk a few inches. Took the building back up with a temporary lifting rig I built, spliced in a good piece (unfortunately, no pic of that right now.. looks just like the center post though)

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Old 05-18-2009, 02:59 PM   #5
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Default Re: west of Philly - barn saving

You're starting with a cool beginning and applying your brain power to it. I like the heck out of it.
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Old 05-18-2009, 03:01 PM   #6
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Default Re: west of Philly - barn saving

rieferman
I've done many renovations, nothing compares to rescuing an old structure. The charactor is invaluable. Anyone can have a new building. But, nobody can reproduce what you have. I'm jealous
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Old 05-18-2009, 03:04 PM   #7
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Default Re: west of Philly - barn saving

- By this point, it was time to re-stage my work zone so I could access some other areas to repair.. Take note of the walk behind mower.. I LOVE that thing.




- Here, you can see that I decided the span on the main beam was too long.. also, in the floor plan, I needed something to latch my sliding doors to my workshop closed. Solution = new post to halve the span.
- In the background… The stairs are ripped out and will be rebuilt.. Originally, to install the stairs, the previous owner cut the 2nd story joists, and just tacked in that death trap. I added the post and header you can see here:
- Also note the aforementioned floor.. 1 inches to 2 inches of weak mix directly over dirt. Nice. Good work there.



- Back wall of building needed to be completely rebuilt.. Sill was sitting right on the dirt. Not even PT wood? Nice again. Good work there too. Anyhow, I floated the sill between posts. Ultimately, put an extra piece of PT on both side of the floated sill so that gravel/concrete could be poured against it like a form. A form that will stay in place permanently.



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Old 05-18-2009, 03:09 PM   #8
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Default Re: west of Philly - barn saving

- At the end of the back wall, I made a wide swing out “mower door” so I wouldn’t always have to move my truck when I wanted to mow the lawn



- Here’s exterior view of the same.. Please forgive the unfinished look.. siding isn’t in the budget for a little while yet





And that brings us up to today! Today, I hired out the first thing for this project (done EVERYTHING else 100% by myself. Literally have not even had anyone else do more than hold the other end of the tape measure)… remove old floor, grade/level, gravel/compact… and new 3500 fiber mesh mix gets poured on Wednesday!!!

After this, all easy stuff.. studding out/finish surfacing the rooms, re-wiring (need to bring out 100 amps first.. will hire that portion out), window installation, rebuild stairs etc. And next year, siding (galvalume I think.. maybe hardi board /batton)

What do you think?
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Old 05-18-2009, 04:37 PM   #9
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Default Re: west of Philly - barn saving

Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclopsblown34 View Post
I like the heck out of it.
Ditto that... Ditto that.

Man thats gonna be a great structure when you're done. I'd love to have a cool old shop like that. Old wooden structures just have such character. Somewhere there are several posts from a guy who has an small wooden barn/shed with a model A, etc.
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Old 05-18-2009, 05:42 PM   #10
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Default Re: west of Philly - barn saving

Nice work and welcome! Beautiful old building. Are you in Chester county? I'm in Harleysville. Love the outhouse too.

Looks like you have a nice old shed/barn to start with and are going about some much needed stabilization.

I'm curious about the dormer on the back side. looks like it was done after original construction. I'm thinking the second floor(s) on this building offer all kinds of possibilities both as a usable office/storage/whatever space... and (when/if the floor is removed) as a high bay for a first floor car lift(?).

Circular stairs? They might save floor space but limit heavy access up and down. Regarding heavy storage on the second floor (after you get it strengthened), an old backhoe or mechanized lift of some sort would ease loading heavier object through one of the outside 2nd floor front doors.

I understand your budget constraints and limits but don't sell the future short, you never know what might happen....Perhaps an addition to the building (on the outhouse side?) should be considered when laying out the current floorplan (hard to say as I can't really see the grade on all four sides or plot plan relative to the residence).

The point is, and please excuse my suggestions as I see the potential in this gem, perhaps a car lift or a few other goodies can be added to an expanded building/shop/garage years from now. I've done renovations all my life (54 now) and the key is to plan, plan, plan...think it through from all angles, sleep on it, hash it out some more...review with the wife and friends and plan some more. Pretty soon you'll have a bulletproof multi staged project which will motivate you for years to come.

It's called the pursuit of happiness and it's what we men do best when we take this pursuit to our own 'special spaces'... like this building.

Best of luck with your work and plans.
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Last edited by uponroof; 05-18-2009 at 06:03 PM.
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Old 05-19-2009, 07:16 AM   #11
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Default Re: west of Philly - barn saving

uponroof wrote:
Quote:
I'm in Harleysville.
cool, I'm right down the road in Collegeville.. right near the intersection of 113/29.

Quote:
I'm curious about the dormer on the back side. looks like it was done after original construction. I'm thinking the second floor(s) on this building offer all kinds of possibilities both as a usable office/storage/whatever space... and (when/if the floor is removed) as a high bay for a first floor car lift(?).
Good eye. The original structure ended where the roof line changes. Then they added on (poorly.. I've fixed it) with the back section. Cool thing is that I was able to save the original barn door, and will be able to re-use it in its original position as a way to go from the exercise room/office to the workshop.



I've saved a nice big pile of barn wood and beams etc. My plan is to start my wood working side career by using the materials for making some rustic furniture, tables etc. Just simple, sturdy items with lots of character.

2nd story... hold on, I don't want to lose my post if this session times out, I think I have some pics of that someplace.. Will re-post in a minute
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Old 05-19-2009, 07:38 AM   #12
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Default Re: west of Philly - barn saving

edit: ok, here's the best I have of 2nd story right now.. Kind of dark, but you can get the idea:



The plan up there is to create a rec room in the main area, and use the addition area (where the ceiling is much lower) for general storage etc. That would give me about 13 x 27 storage, and 18 x 27 rec room. The upstairs, since not in contact with ground moisture, has much more of the character evident. Good mortise/tenon examples, huge long beam running down the middle etc. I already fixed all the floor joists, so it's safe/strong up there. Just need to add plywood subfloor, figure out windows, soffit, and insulation. "just"

---

cyclopsblown34 wrote
Quote:
I like the heck out of it.
THANKS! It's really nice to have some people see the vision like I do. Many people have trouble understanding "it must get worse before it gets better" when it comes to a renovation like this.

kellhammer wrote
Quote:
nothing compares to rescuing an old structure. The charactor is invaluable. Anyone can have a new building. But, nobody can reproduce what you have.
and justinmc wrote:
Quote:
Old wooden structures just have such character.
In my opening I commented how people are always asking "have you considered ripping it down and starting again?". For one, I can do this job for under $10K. To get similar size, 2 story building, and assuming township would give me variance to again build so close to the road, it would cost upwards to $50K. For another, the amount of stuff going to a landfill with my project is VERY minimal. About one pallet's worth of material. But most importantly in my mind is what kellhammer and justinmc wrote above.

oh and uponroof also wrote:
Quote:
the key is to plan, plan, plan...think it through from all angles, sleep on it, hash it out some more...review with the wife and friends and plan some more.
I hear that. I read several books cover to cover on the topic. This one is by far the best (I've even emailed with the author):

http://www.amazon.com/Renovating-Bar.../dp/1580172164

I've also been very liberal about just pulling the car over and talking to barn owners in the area. They're all very open and happy to talk about their own buildings. Then, I had Simeon from White Horse Construction (Lancaster, PA based) consult with me. I keep an ongoing "pen pal" correspondence going with barn owners across the country that are doing their own projects.

ha ha, my wife thinks I'm nuts, but all the planning and discussing really helps you make the right choices :-)
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Old 05-19-2009, 09:39 AM   #13
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Default Re: west of Philly - barn saving

Quote:
Originally Posted by justinmc View Post
Ditto that... Ditto that.

Man thats gonna be a great structure when you're done. I'd love to have a cool old shop like that. Old wooden structures just have such character. Somewhere there are several posts from a guy who has an small wooden barn/shed with a model A, etc.
Check out member Nimrod. His shop is the one I think you're referring to.
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Old 05-19-2009, 11:27 AM   #14
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Default Re: west of Philly - barn saving

That's amazing. It's going to be an amazing building when you're done.
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Old 05-19-2009, 03:45 PM   #15
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Default Re: west of Philly - barn saving

cyclopsblown34 - yeah, Nimrod's place is awesome. I read that thread where everyone was trying to pick the coolest space. I just hope mine turns out that cool when it all comes together (years from now! ha ha)

Thanks cdrewferd :-)


OK, question for you guys.. In the finished exercise room, I will be insulating the walls and installing heat (just simple baseboard electric) and AC (just leaving myself a properly sized outlet next to a side window where it won't be an eye sore). Doing the wall insulation is no big deal, question is about the ceiling. In that room, I'd like to leave the ceiling rafters exposed.

I could install furring strips along each rafter leaving me a place to staple, and attach drywall, but leaving beams exposed.

Or, I was considering just using rigid foam held up somehow and just paint it directly. No drywall on the ceiling at all.

Anyone have an opinion on these ideas? Or other ideas they've seen work in this type of application?

Thanks again everyone, this forum is really cool. So many great ideas, cool spaces, helpful people!

Last edited by rieferman; 05-19-2009 at 03:52 PM.
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Old 05-20-2009, 12:12 PM   #16
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Default Re: west of Philly - barn saving

Nice work. I'm down the road in Chester County. I have a friend close by that has an old barn on his property. I'm sure he's had to do some level of work on it. If you're still looking for ideas and suggestions, I could get you two in touch.
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Old 05-20-2009, 04:55 PM   #17
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Default Re: west of Philly - barn saving

well done on the work, and well done on saving a nice old building with a lot of character.
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Old 05-20-2009, 07:34 PM   #18
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Default Re: west of Philly - barn saving

Thanks Frank!

I'm trying really hard to do this well - today, my excavation contractor, and the carpenter that live down the road both separately gave me "job well done so far" types of comments. Makes me proud because my real line of work has nothing to do with any of this (I'm a product manager).

Curdy, Definitely would love to talk with your friend regarding his project. Too many ideas is a nice problem to have ha ha :-)

---

I tried the attachment feature to show the concrete floor!


OK, to relate this to the floor plan I showed earlier..
- Closest to the camera is parking area.
- Where I'm standing to take the pic is where the overhead door will go
- Near to me, on the left of those posts, that's where wood shop will be and stairs to 2nd story.
- far from me on left side, the lower elevation area, that's the exercise room footprint
- far from me on right side, that's mower (etc.) storage area.. mower door is where the light on that side of the picture is coming from.

make sense?

any ideas on finishing the ceiling?
I wrote:
Quote:
OK, question for you guys.. In the finished exercise room, I will be insulating the walls and installing heat (just simple baseboard electric) and AC (just leaving myself a properly sized outlet next to a side window where it won't be an eye sore). Doing the wall insulation is no big deal, question is about the ceiling. In that room, I'd like to leave the ceiling rafters exposed.

I could install furring strips along each rafter leaving me a place to staple, and attach drywall, but leaving beams exposed.

Or, I was considering just using rigid foam held up somehow and just paint it directly. No drywall on the ceiling at all.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg concrete floor 006.jpg (139.4 KB, 2972 views)

Last edited by rieferman; 05-20-2009 at 07:38 PM.
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Old 05-20-2009, 08:41 PM   #19
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Default Re: west of Philly - barn saving

Quote:
Originally Posted by rieferman View Post
Or, I was considering just using rigid foam held up somehow and just paint it directly. No drywall on the ceiling at all.

Anyone have an opinion on these ideas? Or other ideas they've seen work in this type of application?

Thanks again everyone, this forum is really cool. So many great ideas, cool spaces, helpful people!
***

rieferman,

When finishing the attic of our old farmhouse I used rigid foam insulation between the ceiling/roof rafters. This provided far better insulating than fiberglas as I was working with an 8-10 inch cavity. Installation involved 'half nailing' 16 or 20 pennys on the sides of the rafters at the appropriate depth.

In other words, if the insulation was 2 inches thick, and I was tripling it up, I measured in 6 inches and placed the nails at that mark. I drove the nails in only half way to provide a backstop for the insulation boards.

After the foam boards were cut to width with a hand saw on a quick horse jig, they were friction fit between the rafters and bumped up against the nails. Wire and roof nails driven flush to the face of the rafters were used to hold up the looser fitting boards. Any voids between the boards and rafters were filled with expanding spray foam from Homey.

The cieling was finished with drywall (you could use plywood or whatever).

As a roofing contractor I have foam boards left over from commercial roofing projects. In our barn I have a pile of various thickness isocyanurate insulation. It's about 7 foot high and of course 4 foot by 8 foot.

This pile is made up of mainly 1.5, 2, and 2.5 inch thick boards. This stuff is old and edges are roughed up from being moved and re-piled in the barn over the last several years, but if you're working with 24 OC studs you'll need to cut them down to fit anyway.

Coincidentally today I was pricing out 1.5 inch iso for a quote...The job we were bidding was 50,000 sq ft, so I was quoted a very tight number. When buying quantity 1.5 iso sells for $17.35 per 4x8 sheet.

So, if you do the math, the pile in the barn is equivalent to 46+ 1.5 inch boards...or $798. I was going to use them in my son's attic conversion which has since been abandoned due to the bad economy.

I'll sell them to you for $350 if you're interested. Use them anywhere you want..ceilings or walls..the stuff works well. Being you're only 15-20 minutes away this might just work for you...if not, that's fine too. We might have some more stored down at our shop....

good luck
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Last edited by uponroof; 05-20-2009 at 08:46 PM.
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Old 05-20-2009, 08:46 PM   #20
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Default Re: west of Philly - barn saving

Nice job on saving your barn. looks like there are a few of us "west of philly" I'm in West Brandywine, (Coatesville area)

Keep up the good work.
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