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Tear It All Down

Folks, my limit has been reached. Hold on tight as this is a bit of a long story.

When we bought this property nearly two years ago, we knew that it was going to take some effort and a bit of money to get it up to par with our own standards. The bones were all solid and good, but it had been neglected for almost a decade, hence how we could afford it. And I’ve been fine with that. The pastures are all looking great these days, I love the new fence line arrangements, and the arena is a real arena now. There is something to say for sweat equity and the satisfaction of renovating on your own.

The barn though. Man that barn. Its old, run down and in need of some work. Again though, we have been willing to slowly tackle the projects and plan for a good 5 year remodel project as we slowly renew and renovate. The biggest project that needed to be completed was the roof. It leaked. Big time. Not tiny little dots here and there. Oh no. This roof leaked enough to require half a dozen buckets all around the barn to collect it and was causing rotten boards and bad electrical outlets. In order to move forward with any other project, we needed to get the barn roof replaced and I desperately wanted to get this done before the rains began this fall and winter.

A barn without a roof. This is the “old” section that has 11 stalls, the wash rack, feed room and old tack room that I do not use (empty room on the right)

Way back in February, we hired a contractor who had come to us highly recommended. My husband, bless him as the southern ladies say, is still stuck int he early 1900s where a man’s word and a handshake are all you need and he paid the man in full a lot of money. Guess what happened next? No roof, no contractor, and a lawsuit to try to get our large sum of money back that will likely go nowhere as I am sure the man snorted the money and has nothing to give us.

So now we were out over $10,000 and still had a leaky roof, rotten wood and bad electric outlets.

Time moved on, I forgave Dusty his naivete and we found a new contractor that came highly recommended and this time paid a small amount for supplies only. The supplies arrived last week, so at least we got what we paid for. The crew showed up on Thursday and began demolition of the old roof. I was a bit perturbed that they completed this and didn’t cover the now exposed barn with a tarp but put the thought aside. Until it poured all day Friday and now the interior of my barn was soaked through. At least it watered the dirt aisle and helped with the dust?

Rotten woods beams from long standing water leakage

They came back Saturday morning and this is when things started to go south. First, the crew came and left a dozen times in a span of 4 hours, each time racing up and down my driveway at at least 40 mph. I called the boss and told him that they were going to kill my son or dogs since I had no clue when they were coming and going and refused to be locked inside all day just in case. They could drive at a reasonable speed. Its a driveway, not a race course. And why did they need to keep coming and going like that? By the time Saturday afternoon rolled around, they had gotten exactly no work done, but had been on and off the property a lot.

We had been told the work would be completed by Saturday night. Nope. No where close.

I walked out to the barn to inspect the area Saturday afternoon and was furious at what I found. There was food container litter everywhere, plastic water bottles thrown in all corners, a empty cigarette pack in the middle of the barn aisle, and the worst yet: half a dozen beer bottle tops. Drinking on the job. Classy. I called the boss and complained, demanding everything to be cleaned up the next morning.

I’ve picked up 20 of these stupid sauce wrappers from all over the barn interior. Why??

Sunday came and the crew showed up, still racing down my driveway, but at least they got to work cleaning up their mess. I expected roof litter, some lost nails, etc…but not Chinese wrappers, to go containers and general litter. The crew worked hard all day Sunday, not stopped until dusk. They got half the roof placed. I was excited to go look at it as we had decided to add clear panels every 20′ to increase the natural light in the barn. Its a cave in there with no windows.

I entered the barn and looked up. My jaw dropped. The tin panel I was looking up at had 9 holes in it that I could see the sky through. The crew obviously had placed screws, realized they hadn’t hit the wood, removed them and put new ones in. My heart began to race, but I remained calm thinking it was only this one panel, it could be removed and replaced. Except the next panel had a hole, and the next one after that and the more I looked the more daylight I was seeing through my brand new roof.

This new roof was leakier than the old one.

Holes in the tin panels. Shoddy new wood boards that are somehow doubled up and look like Wyatt put them up.

I blew a gasket. I called the boss and told him he may as well just give me my money back and walk away. It would cost him more in the end to rip all this off, replace it and deal with me calling out every single minor flaw and demanding it to be fixed. I took pictures of everything and he is coming out after work tonight to discuss. He won’t enjoy the conversation.

Currently, as I type this, I have half a roof on my barn that has more holes than a 1920s mob car after a drive by shooting and half a barn with nothing over it. Tomorrow calls for all day rain.

Even if we get this sorted and a solid roof put on, we still need to fix the electricity, redo the siding, fix the stalls, figure out the barn aisle, remodel the tack and feed rooms, get a new to water tank, fix the toilet……etc…..etc……etc….This remodel project is going to cost more than a new barn would. Which led to my conversation with the Hubby this morning. Maybe it is time to bite the bullet and demolish this old barn and build a new, smaller one. I don’t need 16 stalls. I don’t need a barn office. I don’t need a bathroom. All I need is 6 stalls, a wash rack, a feed/tack room, and a place to store my hay. We could massively downsize and best of all…not have a leaking roof.

I did the only thing I could after that. I turned the arena lights on, tacked up my bud and went for a relaxing ride. He was foot perfect and gave me everything I needed. My heart swelled.

It is expensive though and I’m not sure we can swing it. I have a friend who works for a barn builder and sent her over my very rudimentary drawing of the barn I’d like and will see what she comes back with. I’m sure it will be more than we can do right now, but then I’m still left with a big dilemma. I have a non functional barn right now. The horses haven’t been in it since Thursday and are eating out in the pasture. We need to either sink more money into this sinking ship or bail on it and build new.

I’m stressed and at my breaking point with this project. That generally translates to rash and expensive decisions being made to just make the insanity end. We are about to celebrate our 15th anniversary and Dusty is spending it in California at a conference so……

33 thoughts on “Tear It All Down”

  1. Aw, I’m sorry. That whole situation stinks. And the DH being away on your anni seems like a kick in the teeth in an already crappy situation. We put up a 24 x 36 metal structure, and then built the insides in. It was economical, and gave the horses a run-in shelter as we worked on it. Pintrest also has creative barn options….maybe there’s a compromise somewhere?

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    1. We’ve weighed all the options we can think of. We really want a wood barn as that adds property value and we know that someday we will downsize and sell and any permanent structure we build we want to add to the value of the place. I think for now we are going to move everything into the front barn and leave the back unroofed and dead. The only thing I lose is the wash rack but I can still use that without a roof overhead. Not preferable but will suffice until we price in barns so that we don’t rush in and get a barn we don’t like.

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    2. Ugh, omg so maybe 2 lawsuits for bad work? Around here we have the same problem with gardner’s/landscapers doing the same snatch and run, or horrible work, or some good work than MIA. Maybe one of those companies would build a new one for payments? A nearby barn uses shipping containers for the tack rooms and storage, they are cheap.

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  2. I got so stressed I couldn’t finish your blog post…..and I’ve got a glass of wine in my Hand.

    The worst Thing About owning propery is the contractors we’ve needed for help. Did you know I went 6 months without a bathroom? I washed my hair in the kitchen sink and peed in a porta-potty by night with a Flashlight? I HATE contractors. OTOH I love lawyers.

    I also hate Delta Airlines but..TO HELL with Delta. I’d be home now, but no, Delta.

    Poor you, poor us. Poor any of us who Dream of owning horse properties and get them, and then have pure Evil contractors.

    I love Camping but try to imagine going to work at a Software Company after bathing 6 months in a sink.

    Godspeed to you.

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    1. I got stressed out living it. Seriously though contractors are terrible. If we can even find one to come out and give an estimate, good luck them doing the job. Then it’s good luck then doing a good job. It’s ridiculous

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  3. I don’t even understand how this is legal. What the actual hell!?

    There’s got to be some kind of standard you can hold them too surely? If not it would be at their cost to get the roof to said standard given you paid for X job and they performed Y

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    1. I’m sure it isn’t legal. There are building codes and fire codes that technically have to be adhered to but unless we get a Fire Marshall in to inspect it, nobody is going to know or really care

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      1. Wow. I would have thought there’d be some kind of association that governs his trade you could report him too but I would have zero clue if that’s the case here let alone in the US

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  4. Holy crap, that sucks. Methinks we need to set up a wine & trail ride date. Or a wine and Saturday Night Lights date. Or a wine and…you get my point.

    But seriously, I’d be where you’re at also and just tear it down and build what you want. Even though it’s more expensive up front, it’s likely going to save money in the long run since you won’t have to repair/replace areas of the barn you never use (like the other 13 stalls).

    People suck.

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  5. My parents just built a Morton barn (the one on the old property was wood and gorgeous, but also had its own set of issues). I know you said you wanted wood, but they do some really lovely looking barns and might be more affordable. Plus, I think they can still do wood siding or accents. In the long run for durability and upkeep, I’d rather have one of theirs (or something similar) anyways.

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  6. I’m just reading this today, too. I am SO sorry you’ve been going through this – what a flustercluck! Seriously, holes in the tin roof were supposed to be okay? What kind of worker would EVER think holes in a roof were fine and dandy (and that their boss wouldn’t care, either).

    I’m glad you’ve had some good riding experiences lately to take your mind off of this. Please do let us know what’s happening when you feel up to it.

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