Who would have thought that those old, dilapidated, weather-beaten barns you see standing in the fields along our highways are actually quite green? Long after their usefulness for storing hay and protecting farm equipment and livestock from mother nature has past, they can begin a new life, or lives, in many ways.
When an old barn is dismantled, or deconstructed, carefully, it can provide a wealth of valuable, recycled building materials for countless individuals looking to be more environmentally friendly.
The top use is at the top of the barn. A high quality slate shingle roof can last 100 years or more. Carefully removing and packing the slate shingles will allow them to be reinstall on another roof to provide years of protection from the weather. I have also seen artists who paint country or farm scenes on recycled slate shingles that are then sold at craft shows.
The next use on the list comes from the long, wide boards that were used for the vertical siding. These planks can be as much as twenty-four inches wide. Quite often these boards are reused for finish flooring in homes. Some other popular uses are kitchen cabinets, bookcases, wall paneling and more types of furniture than I could ever list here.
The third use comes from the large, and sometimes enormous, posts and beams that make up the framework of the barn. Occasionally these frames are disassembled then rebuilt to provide the framework of a brand new building. More often than not, these timbers are used as a decorative, rather than structural part of a home.
There is actually a fourth use for these old structures. Many barns were built on cut sandstone foundations. These huge pieces of rock can be cut or chiseled into almost anything.
So you see, with some creative thinking, careful planning and a good bit of hard work, something old can most definitely be something new again.