If the reclaimed beams are hand hewn, it's a good bet that the barn was built before sawmills–from the mid-1700s to the mid to late 1800s. That makes the barn from 170 to 270 years old, with the average reclaimed barn about 220 years old.
Why do old barns last so long?
In old times big barns were built of good materials; in modern times big barns go up, but both the materials and the manner of their going up are quite different. The old barns were meant to last for generations; the modern barns are built for the present.
What are old barns built from?
Most barns in the US were built in the 19th century, and most likely included oak, fir and redwood planks. This particular barn was used to store hay, and even had the old hay bale elevator in working order. The structure initially used only wooden dowels and joinery and stood as a completely timber framed structure.
What kind of wood were old barns made from?
Barns are one of the most common sources for reclaimed wood in the United States. Those constructed through the early 19th century were typically built using whatever trees were growing on or near the builder's property. They often contain a mix of oak, chestnut, poplar, hickory and pine timber.
Are old barn beams worth anything?
Salvagers love finding long wood beams that can span larger spaces, but they know people also want smaller beams and barn wood for items like mantels and focal walls. Materials in a small barn (30' x 30' or smaller) can often be worth up to $10,000. Larger barns may contain as much as $50,000 worth of materials.
How do you tell the age of a barn?
There are several ways to determine the age of a barn on your property. You can check local tax records. Dates carved in building materials may help, and you can glean information from a barn's roof style. The nails used during construction often narrow down the construction timeframe.