The Barn Debacle

When I last left off in Tear it All Down, my barn had one half without any roof at all and the other half with enough holes to mistake it for a planetarium. Oh and a rain storm in the forecast. We had already expressed our displeasure and set up a meeting for Monday night at 6 pm to have all parties involved. When we hung up we left it with “do not come to the property tomorrow to do work prior to our meeting tomorrow night”.

You can all imagine how pleased I was then to show up at 5:30 pm and see that they were a) already there and b) had been working all day. Sigh. Listening was not their strong suit.

Holes everywhere in the initial roofing job.

The main factor in all our issues, well other than plain old fashion shoddy work, was the fact that the company we hired sub contracted out the work to another outfit which created a lot of middle man communication. They both were present though that Monday night and got an earful from me about all the garbage, food waste, beer bottles, cigarette boxes, holes in my roof and the wood work that my 6 year old could have done better. Of course, they nodded in agreement. What else do you do when a 5’4″ rat terrier is spewing insults and pointing out issues for half an hour? I wasn’t pleased and they knew it.

The sub contractor pointed out the new side that was done that day (without permission I remind you) and asked if I was happy with the quality on work over there. He had fired the original crew of two men and had a new crew of six on the job. I took my time inspecting it. I went into every stall looking at it from all angles. Thankfully there wasn’t a hole in sight and the wood work was of professional quality as far as I could tell.

I told him it passed and that he could repeat it on the right side.

He smiled and said they already had removed all the holey tin and replaced it. I looked at him dumbfounded and went to inspect that side of the roof. It hadn’t crossed my mind that they would have done that since the wood hadn’t been touched and we quite specifically told him that the wood work had to come down and be replaced properly yet there I stood looking at the same crap job.

Look at the new wood. They didn’t cut it correctly so instead they used other pieces to span the ends and nailed that on top. You can see how some pieces are short, they aren’t square and well…I could have done a better job and I am not handy at all.

He asked me if I was happy and I responded with “No. Make this side look like that side in all aspects, wood work included, and I may be.” He grumbled something as I walked away.

That was Monday. That night it poured and they had not finished the roof which meant that the entire inside of my barn got drenched. We had unopened bags of feed in the feed room and apparently they aren’t waterproof because a week later when we opened one to fill the bin, it was moldy. As were the other 4, so we lost 5 bags of expensive horse feed because of them. I’m still a bit bitter over that. There were puddles everywhere and it took weeks to get the barn aired out enough to not be moldy.

Tuesday night I came home to find that they had “finished” the roof. The subcontractor was pleased as punch with himself until I pointed out yet again that the wood work had not been replaced. Instead he had them taken down, cut to span from rafter to rafter, and then put back up in double fashion. I was a bit incredulous. What part of “make this side the same as the other” was hard to comprehend?

Sub contractor was not happy. In order to do the wood work appropriately, he would have to to take all that tin off yet again, replace the wood, and then replace the tin. Not my problem. I didn’t do the original crap work, I wasn’t the one who proceeded to work when I was told not to, and I wasn’t the one who replaced the tin without permission.

This is where I was happy we had paid a small portion for supplies only because at this point, had we paid in full, he would have walked away and left it as is. As it was, we still owed him a significant sum of money and he wanted that money. Wednesday saw him remove all that tin for a second time, replace all the wood properly and then replace the tin for the third time.

Wednesday evening he waited for me to get home and inspect the new roof for what would hopefully be the last time. I walked in, approved the wood, and then saw a new hole in the tin. When I showed it to him, I could see him visibly deflate. He called his main worker who drove to our house straight away, removed that piece, replaced it and then we called it square.

Look at how light it is in there!!! I ADORE it. All of this light is coming from the 8 plastic tiles we added. Before this was a dungeon that even the lights wouldn’t light up enough.


He pointed to the judge’s booth attached to the arena side of the barn. We had not wanted this done because it didn’t leak and wasn’t necessary and we had told the guy we hired not to include it. Apparently that didn’t get communicated to the sub contractor because he had done it.

“I know we weren’t supposed to do that, but I didn’t know it at the time. Can I charge you for it?”


I explained to him that had the project gone smoothly and correctly without all the stress, the rain inside my building, the multiple conversations he didn’t listen to etc…I could probably be convinced to be nice and at least pay for the supplies he used to roof a building he wasn’t supposed to. As it was, no.

He left probably just as glad as I was that he would never be stepping foot on my property again.

In the end, the two day job spanned 10 days and was a royal mess the entire time. We lost bags of feed, had to deal with water inside the barn and they left behind tin that they stuck behind the barn and we didn’t find until a week later. The only thing that makes me happy are the new sun roof tiles we had them put it. They were more expensive but worth every single penny. The barn used to be a dark cave. I’m not sure why the original builder decided he had to make it for a snowy apocalypse, but that thing has no air flow and no light. The new plastic tiles let in so much light that I often think I left a light on in the barn. The farrier came out the week after this was all completed and even he remarked how nice the barn was with all the natural light. If you are ever doing your barn roof, you may want to look into these. I LOVE them.

So much light

You know what I don’t love though?

Dusty and I had joked that we would withhold $1000 of the money we owed until after it rained again. We didn’t because I’m not sure you can legally do that, but we were tempted. It hadn’t rained a single drop in the last 5 week until last night. It wasn’t a hard or long rain, but it was enough to wet the world a little. We have barn project #2 hopefully starting today (though that is already an issue god Lord but this barn is going to kill me) and the contractor was out last night to look things over one last time. Since I was in the barn, I gave a close look to see if anything had leaked. And….Pete’s stall has a leak in the roof. Everything else was dry and stable. Dusty shot a message off to the roofer but the chances of getting a response are basically zero. I am very tempted to sue his ass if he doesn’t respond and come fix the roof. We would win too but the headache of that is not something I need in my life which is already at 1000% stress level at the moment for a lot of things that I am not blogging about but probably should just to vent and get it off my mind.

Anyway…project #2 is about to start and it better go smoothly or I will tear this barn down with my bare hands.

28 thoughts on “The Barn Debacle”

  1. OMG what a pain in the arse! I don’t understand how people are ok with doing shoddy work and expecting to get paid. Ugh.
    But, I agree that it now looks FANTASTIC. l love all the light and it looks so airy!


  2. Subcontractors piss me off. They don’t care too much about their work because it’s not their name on the line. It’s always a toss up trying to find someone to do work though… You can’t even trust word of mouth recommendations sometimes.


  3. Omg, Im so glad you made it thru that alive (and the contractor did too). It looks amazing. We had a corrugated plastic covered porch on our last house, I loved it. All our barns have it where I board, and I honestly didn’t even think it wasn’t the norm until a neighboring barn put on a huge, nice covered arena that’s dark as heck because all solid roof.


    1. I shake my head at our barn all the time. It is rotated 90 degrees the wrong direction, has no windows or vents and had a solid roof. It is insanely hot, dark and stagnant. We have taken care of the dark part and will eventually cut windows or dutch doors into the stalls for better air flow. Slowly we will get there.


  4. Lord. My parents had practically this same issue with the contractors they used to finish the house. No roofing needed to be done but really the foremen were the only ones that actually knew things or gave a shit about the work being done. The other workers damaged doors, stepped on (already fragile because of age) ducting, moved insulation and didn’t replace it in the attic, cut a SQUARE hole for a ROUND dryer pipe…. We were so glad when they were gone. I am so sorry that you had all that shit to deal with for the barn. You are so incredibly awesome tho for sticking to it and making them continuously replace that roof. I would’ve given up just because I was so frustrated by the whole thing.
    On a very positive note, I ADORE that lighting as well! I have always loved natural light, and it makes your barn look so open and inviting!


  5. It’s amazing how much light can improve a space! Hope you’re able to get the leak fixed without to much trouble and also jealous that you got some rain! We saw it pass around us but only got the tiniest of sprinkles that were such a tease… oh well…


  6. I feel like you and my BM could share many roof stories, and not in a good way lol. We have a bunch of the sky light panels too and they’re so nice–I rarely have to turn on the lights when I do chores in the morning and our barn is huge with one side of the aisle closed in from the indoor wall. It does, however, drip even with just heavy morning dew from screw holes that never seem to get fixed correctly no matter how many people come out to work on it. Hopefully your next project goes a little smoother!


    1. I’m thinking we may never have a completely dry barn which makes me sad. At least it is only 1 drip spot and maybe they can fix it? I’m not holding my breath.

      So far the new project is going ok. Will see when I get home in a half an hour or so. Then I can post about that because just the idea of it being done is making me insanely happy


    1. Small claims is up to 7500 in SC. We paid more than that so we have to go to the next court. We do have enough documentation so I know we’d win but ugh. I don’t have the energy right now


  7. Ha! You remind me of me. I’ve had similar conversations with contractors and mechanics. I’m glad you worked it out. I wouldn’t sue his ass, I’d leave it. It’s not worth the aggravation.


    1. I’d like to. My roof leaks. I don’t want a leaking roof. But I can’t fathom the time it would take out of my day and honestly it’s one drip. It’s cheaper to find someone to fix it. And now I’m so happy with project #2 that I’ve moved on


  8. The light is amazing. And too bad for the lazy-assed sub-he could have recouped $$ recycling the old tin he was too lazy to haul away. What a mess! I’m glad that part is over, and your barn looks really beautiful!


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