Why Repair, Rather than Replace, an Old Outbuilding?

Sometimes repairing a structure may seem like too much of a hassle. It can be tempting to just replace it with a plastic shed from your local big box store. However, if it was solidly built in the first place, effective repair of your old barn, gazebo, or shed will give you years more useful service and tend to cost you less in the long run. In addition, public awareness of the need to conserve the earth’s limited resources is growing. And if you own a property that is historic — or just quaintly elderly — the vintage outbuildings can be part of its charm.

Inspect Your Outbuildings

Regular inspection of outbuildings twice a year, in spring and fall, is recommended. Look at the roof, walls, and flooring; check for moisture, mold or mildew, rotting wood, rust, and dents. At the same time, take this opportunity to clear out the past six months’ accumulation of junk as well — this will make it easier to perform any necessary repairs in a relatively cramped space.

Mold or Rot

Frequently, after a long hard winter, you will find problems stemming from moisture in wooden buildings. A leaky roof or poorly built walls may have allowed rain or snow inside, leading to moldy or rotten wood. Find out what caused the water damage and take care of that first. Decide how much you’re ready to invest in the project and whether you can tackle it yourself. For example, you can perform minor DIY repairs such as cutting out a small water-damaged area and patching it with sound wood. (Be sure to caulk the join well to keep out dampness in the future.) To fix more serious damage, call in carpentry professional.

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