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Your barn needs a face-lift

A weekend wainscoting project repairs a barn and improves its curb appeal.

Mindy Ward, Editor, Missouri Ruralist

April 21, 2023

2 Min View

Rust ate through the barn metal, but worse, the neighbors noticed.

Years of manure from raising sheep pressed against the sidewall caused the metal to decay. But you can remove the damage and bring the barn back to its original beauty. Basically, there are two options:

  • Replace the entire 3-by-10-foot of sheet metal.

  • Add color with wainscoting.

Whole sheet replacement is easy, but my husband and I don’t do simple. Instead, we cut 30 inches off the bottom all the way around the 30-by-60-foot barn and installed wainscoting.

This barn upgrade was definitely a do-it-yourself project. Here are a few of our lessons learned:

Watch YouTube: Our go-to was RR Buildings and How to Build a Garage #6 Metal Siding. Great for professional corners.

Buy precut metal. Don’t waste time with large sheets and cutting on-site. There was no difference in price at our supplier.

Don’t grind. Keeping a hand-held grinder with diamond blades level was hard. Plus, it rubbed against the metal and left marks. Don’t do it. Rather…

Keep it straight. Build a circular saw guide. We used plywood and treated wood. Then measured, attached with screws, leveled and adjusted. The saw rested on it, away from the metal.

Take your time. It was a weekend project, but likely only eight hours total.

Find return on investment. Our cost to date is $950. But my husband can’t put a price on a happy wife.

Check out the video on this page for a look at the new-ish barn. The project is not done. The rust is gone, but there is more trim work ahead. For that, we polled those who will inherit the farm. They voted red trim — to really get our neighbor’s attention.

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About the Author(s)

Mindy Ward

Editor, Missouri Ruralist

Mindy resides on a small farm just outside of Holstein, Mo, about 80 miles southwest of St. Louis.

After graduating from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism, she worked briefly at a public relations firm in Kansas City. Her husband’s career led the couple north to Minnesota.

There, she reported on large-scale production of corn, soybeans, sugar beets, and dairy, as well as, biofuels for The Land. After 10 years, the couple returned to Missouri and she began covering agriculture in the Show-Me State.

“In all my 15 years of writing about agriculture, I have found some of the most progressive thinkers are farmers,” she says. “They are constantly searching for ways to do more with less, improve their land and leave their legacy to the next generation.”

Mindy and her husband, Stacy, together with their daughters, Elisa and Cassidy, operate Showtime Farms in southern Warren County. The family spends a great deal of time caring for and showing Dorset, Oxford and crossbred sheep.

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