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New barn

yoderjac

5 year old buck +
Well, we will be retiring in the upcoming years and we are starting to prepare. So far, we have acquired a pair of 8 acre lots. We are planning to put up a barn with a small mother-in-law suite first. Our plan is to then sell our house and move in to the small mother-in-law suite in the barn for a year while we build our retirement home. We just spoke with a barn builder this week. My plan is to use the barn as a workshop and for my ag equipment. I eventually hope to buy a tractor with a cab in the 65-70 hp class that can handle a batwing for mowing. Roughly 8 acres is open pasture (where we plan to build) and the other 8 acres is a mature oak wood lot.

Since land is not an issue, after talking to a few barn builders, building out is less expensive than putting living quarters in a loft. The barn at our pine farm is 30x48x10 or 1440 sq. ft. I used that to sort of estimate how much space I want for a shop and ag equipment in the barn along with the tractor. My first ballpark was about 36x60x12. The living quarters we are planning for will be about 550 sq. ft. That leaves abut 1600 sq ft of barn space. I plan to have it as drive through with rollup doors on each end with an entry door on each side. After asking the barn builder some questions, it seems like dimensions that are multiples of 8' are the most cost efficient. I'm now considering 40 x 64 x 12. It will have a 4" concrete slab. It will also have a 12' lean too on one side.

Right now I'm looking for "I wish I had...when I built my barn..." thoughts. What am I forgetting about? What is important? I'd like to think this thru and would appreciate any and all ideas to consider. I'm in zone 7A if that matters.

Thanks,

Jack
 

Tree Spud

5 year old buck +
Will you have plumbing & septic?
Make sure you have the contractor verify cement slab strength versus tractor weight with implements?

First comment ... barns are like tractors, always go to the next size hp wise you'll never regret. Mine is 40'x90' and I wish I had another 20'. Add another 8' to get to 72'.

I put a large exhaust fan at one end on upper wall, does wonders to remove heat and cool in hot weather..
Build a long over hand on one side, great for storing stuff outside.
Elec - 200 amp service, 50 amp welder outlet, and you can never have too many outlets.
Long floor drain in the floor.
I had LED lights installed, small and super bright.
Not sure if you are insulating; however, cover inside walls with 1/2" OSB, helps to deaden sound and easier to hand stuff on.
Overhang on front entry for the grill and beer drinkin chairs.
I upgraded my roll up doors to super insulated, was only about $700 for a 12'x12" and they do an amazing job keeping out heat with no frost build up.
Double tub wash sink area with floor drain and stainless 6' table.
 
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yoderjac

5 year old buck +
Yes. I have the septic field staked such that it can support both the barn living quarters and future house with one tank. The floor is planned at 4" 4000 psi cement with 1/2" rebar through posts to center of slab.

One of the questions on my list for the potential builder is putting a ridge vent in the roof. Would that eliminate the need for the exhaust fan?

The 12' lean too is planed to be the full length of the barn on one side.

Power is another issue I'm struggling with. My options are having the power company run 200 amp service to the barn and then 200 amp service to the house or run 400 amp service to the barn and I would then need to run it to the house and maintain that. I think the 400 amp service is considered commercial and has a higher minimum charge but you pay a flat fee for the 200 amp service for each meter. I need to get the cost details on this and run the numbers. A welder outlet is in the plan and we will use it for a dryer while living in the barn.

I'll add floor drain to my list and the utility sink is a must.

Thanks,

jack
 

Tree Spud

5 year old buck +
One of the questions on my list for the potential builder is putting a ridge vent in the roof. Would that eliminate the need for the exhaust fan?

On our first barn that ~700 sgft of living quarters and 1500 sqft of workshop, It got really hot in summer. We had a brown metal roof to help melt snow & ice in winter. I tried vents in the peaks of the barn with vents at floor level, they did not do much. Was very difficult to cool down living area.

The powered exhaust fan really makes a difference to pull air through & allow exhaust fumes to be removed if working on equipment.
 

yoderjac

5 year old buck +
On our first barn that ~700 sgft of living quarters and 1500 sqft of workshop, It got really hot in summer. We had a brown metal roof to help melt snow & ice in winter. I tried vents in the peaks of the barn with vents at floor level, they did not do much. Was very difficult to cool down living area.

The powered exhaust fan really makes a difference to pull air through & allow exhaust fumes to be removed if working on equipment.

Good points. I don't have a real ice and snow melting problem here in 7a. I put my wife in charge of colors, but I limited her to colors with a TSR over 50%. The living quarters will be heated with a heat pump with propane backup. While we are living in it, my wife has stipulated that the "backup" be overridden and it run full time on propane. Once we move into the house the heat pump should keep the heating cost down. In the summer, the heat pump will reverse and function as an air conditioner. I will ask the builder about venting fans and see what he thinks compared to a simple ridge vent. The reason I was leaning toward a ridge vent is that when we had our current home reroofed the first time, we had a ridge vent installed. We never ran the attic fan after that. The next time we reroofed, we had it removed.

Thanks,

Jack
 

ksgobbler

5 year old buck +
Our lender talked us out of a mother in law suite in a shop before we built. Said most people regret it.
 

Tree Spud

5 year old buck +
Our lender talked us out of a mother in law suite in a shop before we built. Said most people regret it.

Interesting .... Never heard about an issue with adding value to a property. Sounds like your lender was concerned about your debt to equity? Abilty to cash flow?

Bankers are scumbags, they refuse to finance what they can't repossess ... 2nd homes scare them ...

We always buy property and buildngs by paying cash with short term financing ... banks gravel just to get a taste.
 

yoderjac

5 year old buck +
Our lender talked us out of a mother in law suite in a shop before we built. Said most people regret it.

Very interesting. Did they provide any rationale as to why people regretted it? I certainly understand how lenders regret it since one of several reasons we are doing it is to avoid a high interest bridge loan when we build our house. There are several other reasons as well. In our county, they will not issue any infrastructure permits (well, septic, power, etc. until you have a building permit for a dwelling. A building permit is only good for a year. If you don't show progress (inspections) in the year, they won't renew it and you need to reapply with whatever changes have been made to code. So, I can't improve the site and be ready to go with building as soon as we sell our house. That means as bridge loan which is high interest compared to a mortgage. Delays in building cost interest.

By building a low cost dwelling (mother-in-law suite) in the barn, it counts as a dwelling. This allows me to put in a barn and infrastructure out of savings. Then, when we are ready to retire, we can sell our current home and live in the barn during building. This puts us on-site during construction which is a real advantage in making sure we get what we want. It also lets us make the house smaller. We will have at least one guest room in the house, but the barn lets us accommodate more guests. We are a short drive from a major university. We have lots of friends where we live now who are sending and plan to send kids there. Hotels in the college town during football games and graduation and such are outrageously expensive. This lets us support folks doing this.

In the longer run, as our relationships diminish where we currently live and grow in the retirement area, there will be less need to support visiting parents of kids in school. Another possibility is to Airbnb the unit for extra cash during retirement if we like. I say possibility because many places are zoning Airbnb out these days.

We are keeping the suite tiny, about 550 sq. ft. to keep the cost down. It is basically two small bedrooms and a small bathroom plus a tiny area with a utility sink and microwave.

I'd like to hear more why your lender said folks regret it. Maybe it is the words "mother-in-law". :emoji_grin: Mine is no longer alive, but I can see how some might regret letting their mother-in-law move into the barn.

Thanks,

Jack
 

Bill

Administrator
My buddy built one two years ago. One thing he did that I really like is spray foam insulation. It’s good insulation, but the perk I like is the place is bug free. If you’ve never been to the mid west you may not understand. Yes there’s good deer but there is more of everything, including bugs!
 

yoderjac

5 year old buck +
My buddy built one two years ago. One thing he did that I really like is spray foam insulation. It’s good insulation, but the perk I like is the place is bug free. If you’ve never been to the mid west you may not understand. Yes there’s good deer but there is more of everything, including bugs!
I had not considered spray in insulation. I'll try to get a cost for that. It may be something that has to wait until the house is built to see if we have any money left over, It is definitely a nice to have!

Thanks,

Jack
 

ksgobbler

5 year old buck +
Said what you end up with is a 15 to 20k apartment that in his experience is rarely used post build. He said many folks say they are going to build it cheap, then they put in finishes they are used to and thr price skyrockets. Debt to equity isnt an issue. We follow the Dave Ramsey stuff. Property was paid for in cash, and we cashflowed $25k ish of the house build.

I currently know 2 people who still have them. One bitches about the tenant. The other rents to his to friends. His shop is nicer than probably anybody on this board and he lives in a mansion.

We found a cheap place to rent. $300 a month
 

Tree Spud

5 year old buck +
I had not considered spray in insulation. I'll try to get a cost for that. It may be something that has to wait until the house is built to see if we have any money left over, It is definitely a nice to have!

Thanks,

Jack

Our construction is 2" x 8" studs 16" on center. Had spray foam insulation on walls & ceiling and then 6" rag wool.

Bill is correct, bugs, especially bees are a problem. Other big issue is mice. The can crawl through a hole the of a dime and once they get in they can make a real mess and destroy stuff. Make sure you get a good seal at the floor and all doors, and any piping in and out of building. Also had in floor heating installed ... can work in my tee shirt in the workshop even in the coldest months.
 
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cavey

5 year old buck +
Insulation under the slab and in floor heat, at least put the tubing in ... but sub slab insulation for sure.
 

yoderjac

5 year old buck +
Said what you end up with is a 15 to 20k apartment that in his experience is rarely used post build. He said many folks say they are going to build it cheap, then they put in finishes they are used to and thr price skyrockets. Debt to equity isnt an issue. We follow the Dave Ramsey stuff. Property was paid for in cash, and we cashflowed $25k ish of the house build.

I currently know 2 people who still have them. One bitches about the tenant. The other rents to his to friends. His shop is nicer than probably anybody on this board and he lives in a mansion.

We found a cheap place to rent. $300 a month

I guess that makes sense to some degree. We don't have a need to rent it and it will sit empty most of the time, but so would the spare bedrooms that we would otherwise build in the house for guests. In addition to renting a place to stay, one also needs storage for furnishing and stuff which is another rental charge while building. It was not my first choice, but given the permitting limitations it really is our best option.

Thanks,

Jack
 

yoderjac

5 year old buck +
Our construction is 2" x 8" studs 16" on center. Had spray foam insulation on walls & ceiling and then 6" rag wool.

Bill is correct, bugs, especially bees are a problem. Other big issue is mice. The can crawl through a hole the of a dime and once they get in they can make a real mess and destroy stuff. Make sure you get a good seal at the floor and all doors, and any piping in and out of building. Also had in floor heating installed ... can work in my tee shirt in the workshop even in the coldest months.

The barn at our pine farm is very loose. We have not had insect problems but we don't live in it. Mice, on the other hand are prevalent. I finally figured out a great mouse trap. I put a couple inches of WR into a 5 gal bucket and put it on the floor. I set it next to something that mice can climb easily. They jump into the bucket for the WR and are trapped. They die pretty quickly. I guess they eat themselves to death and have no water. They can't get back out of the smooth sided bucket.

I certainly don't want that issue in a barn with living space. Ours will be a simple pole barn type construction with trusses. I wonder if it is possible to simply use spray in insulation on the back side of the metal and have it exposed without covering it?

Thanks,

jack

Thanks,

Jack
 
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yoderjac

5 year old buck +
Insulation under the slab and in floor heat, at least put the tubing in ... but sub slab insulation for sure.

I'm wondering if under-slab insulation is a better option than simply putting in 2x6 floor joists on the slab an insulating between them?

Thanks,

Jack
 

ksgobbler

5 year old buck +
Spray foam is the shit if you can afford it.
 

yoderjac

5 year old buck +
Spray foam is the shit if you can afford it.
Yep, the ball park numbers I see is $1 to $1.5 a square foot for 1" thick.
 

cavey

5 year old buck +
I'm wondering if under-slab insulation is a better option than simply putting in 2x6 floor joists on the slab an insulating between them?

Thanks,

Jack


Im going to guess it would be if you went with in floor heat, you could skip the cost of the joists and flooring, stain the concrete and invest that money into the pex tubing. Just a thought, I would explore that option with your builder. The concrete surface would make a better surface for tiling also over a wood sub floor. I will never build a shed without insulation under the slab and would have to think about not putting in floor heat in the slab as well. The ground will suck the heat/$$$ out of your floor if you do not have some form of insulation in your living areas at least.
 

SWIFFY

5 year old buck +
Yep id also vote for the floor heat. Put the tubing in at least so its there if you or someone down the road wants it.
 
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