Cappers Farmer Blogs > Old Dog, New Tricks

Taking the Sag Out of the Barn Roof

Mary ConleyDear readers,

I love our little red barn and have been excitedly waiting to tell you about it. “Little” is the key word. If it had been one of those monstrosities that we often see from the highway, we couldn’t have saved it, but ours is small, cozy and even homey! Yes, it is just right for our little farm.

old barn

When we read about our farm in the for-sale ads, it was the photo above of the little red barn that kept calling me, but I have to admit, it was a very deceptive photograph. When we first visited the farm, we realized the truth, but we were actually after land, and this land had everything on our must-have list.

We started using part of the barn even in its dilapidated shape when Erin came and needed a shelter for her horse and sheep for the winter. The end that had a loft worked well as the loft floor caught the rain and snow coming through the roof.

christmas lambs

The barn housed Erin’s animals throughout the whole refurbishing process, even newborn Christmas lambs!

holes in roof

I’ve mentioned in a previous blog that when a roof goes, the rest of the building soon follows. Well, the light came through our barn roof like gazing at the stars in the sky at night! We needed to act before all was lost.

We became serious about it in the summer of 2011. Our grandson, Josh, was visiting, and we all went to the barn and stood in the manure for a conference. Even the sheep. They can be so annoying with all their baa, baaing, so we stopped our talk and got them out of there! Then, we quite easily came to an agreement about the arrangement of the inside.


Larry made sure we kept the old-fashioned stanchions, and Josh had a great suggestion on where to move the entrance stairs to the loft. Also important, Erin would have a tack area and place for feed storage. Then we set out to finish cleaning out a couple sections that were still full of debris, which was mostly broken window glass mixed in with the you know what.

It was time for Todd, Nancy and Erin’s vacation, but one important thing would be done before they left. Taking out the sag! You have probably seen a lot of old barns with sagging roofs as you’ve traveled, and ours had the same problem.

Larry: “Todd figured out how to take out the sag with temporary supports. We used a leverage system of 2x6 boards and strong backs. Two of us applied our muscle and one slipped small pieces of wood under the base of the temporary support posts; one post and one wood piece at a time. Magically, it seemed, the center of the roof went up. The next project would be the permanent support posts.”


That day we all learned that the sag can be taken out of a barn without machinery and very little money as we stood back and watched the roof line change little by little, and eventually called it, “Straight!” Amazing!

This barn story is going to take time so let's visit again, soon!