The Barn Roof, Old and New

Whenever anyone says, “Let’s raise the roof,” I don’t think they have considered having to put the roof back. That was the case with our barn roof last week.

Out With the Old

Last Wednesday, a big storm with strong winds came through our area. Apparently, Williston was mentioned on the news broadcasts as having 70 mph winds. A few people saw it and texted to ask if everything was okay. But we were at church, so we really did not know. When we got home, everything looked okay at first. But then Laura said, “Something does not look right about the barn roof.” So we went outside, and sure enough, most of the barn roof was missing!

The horse barn without its roof

The horse barn without its roof

As you can see in this photo from Thursday morning, the whole roof was gone over the horse stalls, except for a couple of joists. It was a blessing that much of the hay stall roof was still there and still covering the hay. We also keep a tarp over the hay because the old roof would occasionally leak, so the hay was just fine.

Poor Daisy has to stay in the barn a good bit of the time these days because of her feet, so she was in her stall when the roof was being torn off. I am sure that left some emotional scars!

The barn roof in a tree and on the ground

The barn roof in a tree and on the ground

Here is the rest of the barn roof that was no longer attached to the barn. As you can see, a couple of trees stopped it from being blown farther away. And I am actually impressed with how well it all held together as much as it did, given that we had built it ourselves. I am still not sure how we are going to get that one piece at the upper right down out of the tree limb!

More of the roof, a fan, and a tree limb

More of the roof, a fan, and a tree limb

Some of the roof that was not standing up against the tree was on the ground nearby. The fan that hung from the ceiling in Daisy’s stall is also there. And you can see a sizable limb on top of this roof section, too. I think I am glad that we were not home for all of that.

Looking up in Bubba’s stall at where there used to be a roof

Looking up in Bubba’s stall at where there used to be a roof

We had built that first barn roof, along with the rest of the barn. We had done all the work ourselves, but that was over 20 years ago. Would we be able to do it again? We decided that we could, so we started making our plans.

But First…

As I was out surveying the damage in the daylight Thursday morning and taking these photos, I saw that there was a large tree down on the horse fence, too.

Tree on the horse fence

A tree on the horse fence

We decided that took precedence, so getting the fence back in working condition was our first order of business. The fence was up high enough, and the tree was also in the way, so that the horses would most likely not even try to get out, but we decided we should do that first. Partly because it would be an easier job. So we tackled that one on Thursday afternoon.

We had one of the best chainsaw experiences that we have ever had, too. The chainsaw started right up, and it kept running until we turned it off. The chain did not even jump off because I kept checking to make sure it was tight. It still took us a while, but we got the tree cut up. And we were able to just stretch the fence back up, although we added two more fence posts just to add a little strength.

While we were at it, and while the chainsaw was running well, we also cut up several pine limbs that had fallen during the ice storm earlier this winter. We still left them where they were, but now they are in pieces that we can move much more easily when we have the chance.

On With the New

Actually, the “On With the New” phase began with more “Off With the Old”. It was going to be best to start completely fresh, so we needed to get the rest of the existing roof off, leaving only the joists that had stayed. On Friday afternoon, we ended up working harder at that than we might have thought. I could see why that part of the roof had not blown off. We hammered, banged, and pried all that we could, and we finally got all of it off. I had bought supplies that morning for putting on the new roof, and I had thought that we might get started on it Friday evening, but that was not the case. We were worn out by the time we got the old roof off, so we stopped there.

On Saturday, we hit the roof framing process hard. We installed the new 2x6 joists, this time using screws and brackets to hold them down instead of toe nailing them as we did before. We were able to work pretty fast with that, and the screws and brackets seemed to hold them well. Also, we had two drills, so that we did not have to slow down to pass a drill back and forth. And we had my Dad helping us get the joists up to us, too.

We then ran 1x4 boards across the joists for attaching the roof panels. We nailed those down instead of screwing them in, but that went rather quickly, too. The biggest slow-down was having to move our ladders to where they needed to go. But we had two ladders and two hammers, and once again Dad helped get those up there. That whole process of framing took us about eight hours. We knew we would work for a full day, but I had hoped that we would be able to get it done in one day, and we did.

Framing the roof

Framing the roof, from Laura

On Sunday afternoon after church, we started installing the metal panels. Originally, we had nailed those down. Apparently, that worked rather well, as you can see that most of the panels were still attached to the 1x4 boards when the old roof tore off. But the nails can slip up in the wood and metal, causing leaks at the nail holes. Quite a few small leaks had developed over time in our barn roof. So this time around, we decided to use screws instead.

Figuring out where to put the first panel took longer than anything else. Once you get your first panel set, you have pretty much set the whole thing, so we had to make sure the first panel was as straight and as square as it could be. But nothing about our barn is actually square, and we knew that, so we just had to get the first panel as close as we could.

Attaching the roof panels

Attaching the roof panels, from Laura

Once the first panel was placed, we were off and running. Laura and I both had drills to screw in the screws, and we had my parents to pass the panels up to us. We installed about 80% of the panels on Sunday. I was hoping that we would just get the hay stall covered again, which would have been around 35%, but with the screws and the drills, we were able to get much farther than that. We did not quite finish on Sunday, but we were farther along than I had anticipated.

After Laura got home Monday afternoon, we finished up everything in just a few hours. We were even able to move the hay back into the barn from our garage. And with that, we were back to normal.

A big rain came through Tuesday morning, and there were no leaks! So that was even better.

Old barn, new roof

Old barn, new roof

By the grace of God, and with the help of my parents, the actual roof construction only took two and a half days. A total of 16 hours of work, plus another 6 or so to tear off the rest of the old roof. It seems like originally, the first roof took us much longer. But then we were not faced with quite as much urgency that time, too. This time, we were even able to finish before any big rain came through. And the weather was just about perfect, too. Not too cold, not too hot up on the metal panels in the sun. Plus, none of the animals were hurt when the roof came off. And except for some sore muscles and a couple of fingers hit with hammers, no people were hurt in the new roof installation, too.

You can find blessings from God in every situation if you look for them. Even with these difficulties, we were, and continue to be, very blessed.

The barn with its new roof, and Bubba on the side

The barn with its new roof, and Bubba on the side

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. - 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

About the Photos

Some photos were taken with my camera, and some were taken with my phone and Laura’s phone. And unlike just about every photo that I post, there was no processing with these. What you see is straight out of the camera. I did not see that processing would have improved these photos in any way. Plus, these are not exactly “show” photos or works of art. I was just documenting what had happened.

Photo: Each photo is either a jpg straight from my camera or from our phones. No processing required. Read more about photography tips, photo software, camera gear, and more at Steve’s Photography Tips.
Camera: Sony Alpha A7 II & iPhone XR
Lens: Rokinon 35mm f/1.8
Date: March 31-April 5, 2022
Location: Home, WillistonTennessee


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Burnsland is Steve Burns, with generous help from his lovely wife Laura. Steve is a husband, father, photographer, webmaster, writer, podcaster, artist, Christian. Steve enjoys sharing his photography, art, and stories through Burnsland.com, from the Burnsland World Headquarters in Tennessee.