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Do you need a horse barn to go with that log home?

For many of us, living in a log home means living a rural lifestyle. Consequently, horses are often part of our ‘family’ and housing these critters requires building choices.  Few of us can afford to build a barn out of logs, but there are many options available and educating ourselves on these choices is the first step.

A good friend of mine owns a company named Dandi building Structures LLC. They build horse barns, but not your average run-of-the-mill horse barns. He wrote this interesting and informative article that I thought would be of interest to many log home owners.

Horse Barn Design

Deciding on what type of horse barn to build is the first step in the process of providing a home for your horses. There are several barn designs to choose from and several barn kits that utilize each type of design. We will look at a few of the characteristics and advantages and disadvantages of each barn design.

The first design is a simple Gable Barn. This is just a building that has one roof pitch and is usually a rectangular shaped building.  Its biggest advantage is that it is simple and relatively inexpensive. There are many options you can ad to a gable style building.

Adding overhangs, a wainscot, lean-tos, cupolas, and windows and doors can all help to dress a gable building up. Another thing you can do is build a building with a steeper roof. Most post frame builders use a standard 4 in 12 roof pitch but using a higher roof pitch can make your building look and function much better. With some designs the roof is built using trusses that limit the amount of the useful space above the walls and others like Dandi Buildings are built using beams and columns that make it possible to add a loft in a building with a steeper roof.

The second major design is a Gambrel Building. This is the classic barn style that most people think of when they think about old horse barns.  This design typically has a loft included in the design.

The advantage of this style is the extra square footage you get with a full loft. There is a lot of variation in angles used by different builders. Some gambrel barns are built using trusses, which limits the amount of space in the loft. Others are designed using beams for the roof that leave a very nice open loft for hay storage or even an apartment. Older gambrel barns were usually built using a rafters and a ridge beam.

The third major design is a monitor style building. Monitor style buildings incorporate a center isle, which is taller than the side area of the building.  The advantages of this style of building are numerous. The design works very well for a barn with stalls in the lean-tos. The posts along the lean-to make perfect anchor points for the stalls. The raised section also provides very efficient and effective ventilation for your barn as well as a great place for a loft. This style is the most popular in recent years mostly for its look and its excellent design functionality.

These are the main designs you can choose from. Most builders can accomplish all three, but it is a good idea to look at how they are built.  Standard pole barns have wall girts that are nailed to the outside of the posts which produces a wall that is only 1 ½” thick. This kind of wall is not very strong when it comes to kick thru potential with horses. Steel buildings also have a deficiency because of the girt spacing. The result is that the wall liners on the inside don’t have enough support without spending more money on additional material.

Dandi buildings are always built using a wall that is 5 ½” thick with girts that are on two foot centers and fit into notches. Checking out the roof system is also valuable. Most pole barn and post frame buildings can produce all of these designs of buildings but they are not all the same on the inside. Make sure you know what you are getting before you commit to a building type.

Finished interior of a horse barn

Finished interior of a horse barn

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