Tackling a barn restoration in Ontario involves bringing a valuable piece of our province's history back to its original, or as close to its original, beauty and splendor as possible. In this post, we take a look at what causes barns to age and get damaged, techniques for maintaining and restoring them, and the bylaws in Ontario which govern such modifications. An older barn restoration takes special skill and experience to complete correctly. Royal Masonry has the experience. If you are looking to restore the stone or brickwork on your barn, call the experts at Royal Masonry.
Why Barns Become Aged And Damaged
Most older barns in Ontario have a stone foundation and a wooden upper structure. Over time, wood will begin to rot and show signs of weather damage, especially considering the extreme winter conditions in Ontario. If not properly treated, the wood can deteriorate quite quickly. In addition, the older stone foundations can, as the years go by, begin to crumble. Not the stones themselves, but the mortar used to hold them together will begin to deteriorate and fall out, making the structure less stable. When this happens, your stonework will need repointing. Learn more about repointing here.
Maintenance to Help Your Barn Last Longer
If you want your barn to last longer, it is important to keep both the wood and the foundation properly maintained.
Wood is a beautiful material to build with, however, the downside is that it does need more maintenance than some more modern materials such as steel. Although you now can purchase wood that has been specially treated to withstand the elements, the wood used in older barns has not been treated. According to conestogabuildings.com, you need to periodically stain or paint your wood in order to keep it looking beautiful and free from rot.
Wood can also be susceptible to animal or insect damage, so it is also a good idea to get it examined from time to time and, if you notice an infestation, deal with it before it becomes a serious problem. To learn more about wood damaging insects in Ontario and how to deal with them, click here.
Many older barns in Ontario have stone or brick foundations which need the specialized techniques and know-how of an expert stone mason to do the restoration properly. Old bricks are usually softer than newer ones and they therefore need special attention. If you attempt to repoint (replace the deteriorated mortar) older bricks with new mortar they may crack. You need to use old style mortar to properly do the restoration. Don't trust your restoration project to just anyone. Make sure that you hire experts who understand the delicate and special challenges of restoring and older structure.
Barn Restoration Video
The following is a video made up of a series of photos of the stages of an old barn restoration.
Barn Bylaws In Ontario
It is a good idea to be aware of any bylaws that may be in effect if you are thinking of repairing, maintaining, modifying or tearing down a barn in Ontario.
For example, Ontario's Endangered Species Act protects endangered or threatened species like the barn swallow. You therefore need to follow certain rules and guidelines before you attempt any changes to your structure if it is a habitat for barn swallows. The following links will take you to the complete set of rules relating to this legislation:
The Government of Ontario's Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs has a very helpful website which outlines the rules and regulations surrounding the construction and renovation of a barn. It deals with topics related to getting the proper permits and approvals, municipal requirements, zoning and conservation. Be prepared before you begin so that you won't be hindered by any unexpected surprises. Click here to go to their site.
If your barn is really old, you probably should also make sure that it is not considered a Heritage building before your start a restoration or a rebuilding of the structure. Learn more about heritage restorations and the rules that govern them here.
Trust An Expert With Your Barn Restoration Ontario
It takes a specialist to successfully complete a specialty project like restoring the stone foundation of an older barn. Don't take any chances with your special piece of history. At Royal Masonry, we have the knowledge and the experience to restore your barn to its original magnificence. Over the years we have built up a strong reputation for the highest-quality workmanship. Our expert stone masons are second to none. Contact us for a free estimate and begin bringing your barn back to life.