What to Consider Before Moving a Barn

When America was founded, Thomas Jefferson believed it would become a country whose local farmers gave it complete independence and freedom. And, although the family farm is less common than it once was, barns are still a crucial part of many farming operations—and of the American landscape.

Whether your barn has historic value or is just a practical part of your farm, it’s important to be able to relocate it properly so you can use it for years to come.

a toy truck with a barn on it

We’ve put together this essential guide to moving a barn the right way. Read on to find out what you need to consider before a barn relocation.

1. Condition of the Barn

How old the barn is and the condition that it’s in will determine your approach to moving it. However, older barns aren’t necessarily more fragile.

Barns built prior to 1900 often used stronger beams because there were enough individual virgin-growth trees to build with. Old barns, therefore, usually used fewer parts, but stronger ones, which makes them easier to transport today. As old-growth forests disappeared and younger trees were used more for building, barns became more prone to collapse.

No matter the age or construction of the barn, you’ll still want to check what condition it’s in before the move. If there is damage from insects or water, this will affect your approach to moving it.

2. Distance of the Move

For short moves, it can make sense to move the entire barn as one piece. But for longer moves, this may actually not be the best choice. In fact, most of the time, it’s best to take the barn apart for the move. This is the safest option, but it does require specific equipment and construction knowledge.

When moving a historic barn, you’ll also want to consider the significance of its location before you move it. A short move to a permanent location is sometimes necessary to preserve the barn. However, you may want to avoid moving it too far from its original historic location, if at all possible.

For example, certain barn styles are attached to certain places. When people would settle parts of America from other countries, the barn styles in those areas reflected the architecture of their homelands. Keeping a historic barn in its original region means that significance won’t be lost.

3. Storage Options

If you’re going to move a barn by taking it apart, you may need to store it for a time before it can be put up in its new location.

Be sure that you plan ahead so you don’t end up with timbers sitting out in the elements. It’s best to store barn parts with a bit of space in between them for air to flow, covered with a metal roof, and raised off of the ground.

Final Thoughts on Moving a Barn

If you plan your barn move ahead of time, you won’t run into hassles along the way. From material condition to history to distance, take into account these major factors before moving a barn, so it will be functional for years to come.

Of course, you’ll also need to have the right equipment on hand. Hevi-Haul products have been trusted by professionals for structural moves for years. So, you can count on us to have the right products to make your barn move go smoothly—check out our options here.