Horizon Structures Presents Series ~ Traditional Timber Frame Horse Barns Revisited

A modern barn with room for stalls and storage.
A modern barn with room for stalls and storage. Artazum

Newsdate: Tuesday, June 2, 2020 – 11:30 am
Location: ATGLEN, Pennsylvania

Equestrians embrace tradition and timber frame horse barns offer a time worn tradition that is hard to beat when it comes to beautiful carpentry that showcases the natural aesthetic appeal of wood.

A large Horizon Structures wood barn.

A large Horizon Structures wood barn

The advantage of this 'revisited' timber frame horse barn is the modular components that form the ground level of the building can be made in the factory and delivered on site.
© 2020 by Horizon Structures

Why have timber frame barns stood the test of time and why are they so much appreciated by the discerning property owner?

The timber frame construction method encompasses mortise and tenon joinery where one beam or piece of wood is pegged on one end and then inserted into a matching hole or notch to conjoin solidly with the adjacent piece of lumber.

The work is painstaking because of the craftsmanship and accuracy needed to complete it. The labor costs are necessarily higher, as the journeyman carpenters required must be extremely talented in working with wood and it takes time to produce a top quality product.

Not only is this type of joinery revered over the standard post and beam for its inherent beauty, as there is no visual interference to the attractiveness of wood by metal plates or bolts and nails, it also provides the sturdiest and strongest type of construction in wooden structures.

As the rafters are cantilevered, the timber frame horse barn also lends itself to having spacious interiors that are free of posts and obstructions. This is one reason that many old timber frame horse barns have been converted to homes.

Timber frame buildings are obviously not the cheapest option when it comes to barn construction. But for the discerning horse owner that wants to step it up a notch (pardon the pun), the advent of a unique combination of a modular horse barn configured with timber frame construction does minimize the sticker shock.

This innovative combination design is less expensive than a straight timber frame build completed on site.

Another factor to consider when it comes to purchasing a new barn, is the time needed for construction and the noise, mess and general stress than can be involved.

The advantage of this ‘revisited’ timber frame horse barn is the modular components that form the ground level of the building can be made in the factory and delivered on site.

This saves time as the construction is not delayed by inclement weather or material shortages/deliveries. It also ensures a quality controlled product that is not hampered by crews that haven’t worked together before or don’t have the experience in the world of horsemanship. Consider the concerns horse owners have about dropped nails on site, and worries of interruption of their peace and quiet for riding/training on the property and annoyance of construction noise as issues that can all be avoided.

While a timber frame/modular combination building is not going to be quite as ‘instant’ a new barn on the farm as a straight modular horse structure, the delivery and set up of the final barn is only extended on average by 4/5 days.

The traditional timber frame is indeed revisited, with modern day improvements that can mitigate both the price and the construction time and fuss. Look for a company that offers a proven positive customer service experience, provides warranties and ‘to the penny’ pricing to ensure the barn purchase is a happy event from start to finish.

Everything old is new again. Sometimes, the traditional methods are the best!

About the Author

Nikki Alvin-Smith

Author picture

As a Brit who has called the America home for the past 34 years, Nikki brings a unique perspective to the equestrian world. Nikki is also an accomplished Grand Prix dressage trainer/competitor, competing at international Grand Prix level to scores over 72% and is a highly sought clinician offering clinics worldwide. She has been a horse breeder/importer of warmblood and Baroque breeds for more than 25 years. Together with her husband Paul who is also a Grand Prix trainer, they run a private dressage breeding operation and training yard in the beautiful Catskill Mountains of New York.

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