How to Tear Down a Barn Safely

old barn
What You'll Need
Hard hat
Steel capped boots
Pinch bar

There are many reasons why you might choose to tear down a barn. You may need to use the space for other purposes or the barn may be deteriorating and dangerous. You may even have decided to go into the barn demolition business. While tearing down an entire barn structure may seem daunting, it can be a manageable task if handled safely and methodically.

Here are some steps to safely and effectively demolish a barn.

Step 1 - Salvage

Before you begin the demolition process assess if any part of it can be salvaged. Old barns might have antique iron fittings such as hinges and handles that may be worth a significant amount of money. If the wood is free of rot and damage, it could either be sold as reclaimed wood or used to build a new barn or structure.

Step 2 - Work Backwards

Rather than just knocking your barn down, it is best to approach the job in the reverse order of how the barn was constructed. Start by removing the windows and barn doors. Use your screwdriver to remove all the hinges and other fittings.

Step 3 - Floors

wood flooring

Remove the floorboards with a hammer and crow bar. Do this with care if the floor boards can be rescued.

Step 4 - Roof and Walls

Begin by dismantling the roof. Now start to remove the internal walls. Then you will need to start removing the external walls. Leave the frame of the barn intact.

Step 5 - Separate the Beam Structure

Attach a rope around one of the beams and tie the other end to a tractor or other piece of heavy machinery. As you drive forward the barn will be pulled down. Drive slowly so that you don’t cause a huge amount of damage to the beams, especially if you intend to re-use them in another project. Now remove the joists. These should just slide out. Using your chainsaw, start to cut the beams.

Step 6 - Stock Assessment

tearing down a barn

Now that your barn is demolished you will need to tidy the area. Sort the wood into piles of what can be re-used and what can’t. Also, create a pile of any fixtures that can also be re-used. By sorting your reusable stock this way, you will be able to easily estimate the value of your barn wood and any other fittings that you intend to sell.

Step 7 - Storage

You will need to find somewhere to store your stockpiles, especially any wood that can be salvaged. Once the larger pieces of wood have been stored, return to the demolition site and clear away all smaller pieces of debris as these can be hazardous, especially if they are sharp. You may have chosen to create a business demolishing barns and, if this is the case, clearing the demolition site will be a standard part of the job.