An old barn might just seem like a dilapidated building that is an eyesore to many people, but to the discerning eye, there can still be a lot of good timbers that were originally used to build the structure that can be salvaged and reused. The timber can be used to make furniture, floors, and even a new barn. The first step in reusing the wood is salvaging it in such a way that it doesn't get destroyed as you are taking down an old barn. If you have an old barn that was built in the mid-1800s and that has good timber you want to salvage, here is an overview of how you should do it.

Start at the Top

The timbers in the barn are used as the superstructure. The superstructure is the main frame of the barn and everything from the roof, floors, and walls are attached to or held up by it. You need to remove the weight from the superstructure before you can harvest the timbers, because if you remove the timbers first, the rest of the barn will collapse down around you.

Take off the roofing materials and put them in a dedicated dumpster to handle asphalt-based products. You will need to scrape off the shingles and tar paper with a roof shovel. A roof shovel has a flat blade with grooves in it to pull out nails as you scrape.

Remove the Sub-Roof

Old barns typically used slabs of wood as the sub-roof versus the plywood that is commonly used nowadays. Pry each slab up off of the roof with a pry bar and put this wood into a separate dumpster or burn pile if it's all rotten. You should remove the nails from each slab so you don't stick a nail into your foot or hand. The nails can go into a specified container so you can take them to a metal recycling facility.

Remove Wood Siding

You want to remove the slabs of wood that make up the siding the same way as you did the slabs on the roof.

Remove Timbers

Barns built in the mid-1800s typically used pegs to connect the pieces of timbers together. The ends of the timber were cut down so they fit together. A hole was made through both pieces of timber and a peg was inserted into the hole to keep the pieces of timber from moving. You have to remove the pegs to take the superstructure apart.

Again, start at the top and work your way down. Remove one piece of timber at a time. You will need a metal rod with a small sledgehammer to knock the pins out. Once the pins are removed, take the piece of timber and set it into its own pile for reuse later. For more information, contact a business such as Alliance Demolition Services Inc.