Building a barn can be quite a daunting undertaking if you aren’t prepared with the proper information, as there is quite a considerable amount of planning involved.

Barn Door

The decisions you make during the planning process will ensure that you build a structure that can withstand extreme weather while also providing a great home for your horses or storage for your crops and equipment.

Here are some tips to consider as you dive into designing your ideal barn or wish to upgrade your existing barn.

1. Pick a Suitable Location for the Barn

Pick a site on your property that is within sight of your house. This will provide visibility for additional security, as well as easy access when utilizing your barn.

The site should also be close to other areas on your property that will require easy access to and from the barn. For example, placing a barn for your horses next to an open pasture or your riding hall will make it easier to transport the horses to and from their stables. If you are using your barn for storage, building it near a driveway or road will make it easier to move items to and from your facility.

Another item to take into consideration is local zoning requirements. There could be rules and regulations in place that restrict a certain feature that you plan to include in your barn, or a portion of land that you cannot build on.

You’ll also want to carefully consider the direction your barn should face. You want to be prepared to counteract the seasons, keeping your barn warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. The best way to achieve this is to face your structure in the east/west direction. This will allow the sun to travel evenly over the top of the structure so one side of the barn doesn’t get more sun/warmth than the other.

One final consideration when determining a location for your barn is wind. Putting your barn on top of a hill without any trees or surrounding buildings leaves your structure more susceptible to wind damage. Building your barn on lower ground or near surrounding trees/structures will add additional protection for your new building.  

2. Focus on Functionality and Practicality

When designing your barn, think of the functions you want your barn to perform and design accordingly. Your barn design will differ drastically based on what you’re planning to use it for.

Environmental Effects

Regardless of what you store inside your barn – be it equipment, an additional vehicle, or animals – you need to design elements that will counteract the effects of nature. For example, you need to ensure proper drainage in your barn design to eliminate the buildup of mold or destruction of your belongings from heavy rain.

You also want to control the way sun is hitting your structure to ensure it is kept dry without overheating the inside. As mentioned above, the best way to ensure sun evenly distributes over your barn is to face it in the east/west direction. If you are interested in utilizing solar energy, placing solar panels on the roof of a barn that faces east/west allows for maximum exposure to the sun’s rays throughout the day.

Interior Layout

How many animals do you intend to keep? How many tools? Maybe a boat or a camper?

The number and size of the items you are planning to store will determine the interior layout of your barn. If you are building for a storage facility, maybe interior walls are not necessary, but you need to build a work bench into one of the walls. If you are building a barn for horses or livestock, the number and size of the animals will determine the number of stalls you need. In that case, you’ll also need to design certain areas within the barn for equipment storage, food storage, and an area for bathing/grooming.

If designing your barn for horses or other animals, be sure to build stalls that are large enough to safely house them. For example, horse stalls need to be large enough to allow the horse to fully turn without hitting the walls. Horse gates will also need to be higher than some other animal stalls. And don’t forget the locks and latches – horses are notorious escape artists!

Room for Future Expansion

Does the design for your barn allow for easy expansion? Are you able to include extra space in your original barn design to take care of any additional needs that pop up?

It always helps to think of the future needs you might use your barn for. For example, if you store more items in summer than winter, you want to make sure you build your barn large enough for your busiest times. If you’re building on a part of land that has little room for growth, consider building your barn taller from the beginning. This will give you the ability to transform your upper space into additional mezzanine storage should you need to expand the barn’s capacity.

Electricity & Water

Does your barn need electricity? What about water? If you are building this barn for horses or another sort of animal, you’ll need to consult with an electrician during the barn design phase for lighting and space heaters. If you need to have sinks or a bathroom set up, include a plumber in your design process. Thinking of how electricity, water and waste management will function in your barn during the planning process will make for a smoother build, keeping your project closer to being on time and on budget.  

3. Ensure Longevity by Using Durable Materials

You want your barn to last. Therefore, you want to ensure you select durable materials to build with. Making sure you have the right doors for your barn design will play a large factor in what door hardware you will need. Do your research and work with reputable barn door hardware manufacturers that put a strong emphasis on product durability, longevity, and functionality.

4.Consult Technical Experts

As discussed earlier, bringing in technical experts during the design process helps ensure your project stays on time and on budget. Although your function will dictate much of the design elements, you will likely still need to consult with various outside professionals such as architects, hardware manufacturers, roofers, painters, electricians, plumbers, and more.

Contacting an expert will ensure that the information you get is accurate and is best suited to the design you have in mind. An expert will also be able to come up with realistic estimates and sound maintenance advice to ensure that what you choose for your barn will serve you well for many years to come.

Quality barn door hardware is another way to protect your new structure from weather destruction. Be it harsh winds, heavy rain, or even snow, you want your hardware to hold strong so your structure maintains its integrity and keeps your possessions safe.

At RW Hardware, we offer safe and simple solutions rooted in 140 years of experience in the hardware manufacturing business and backed by our unique 10-year-warranty. We also offer hardware for barn and stable doors from 500 lbs. to 2000 lbs.

5. Consider the Aesthetic of the Barn

Now for the fun part. What sort of style do you want for your barn? You could plan for a small, traditional style barn or a more modern multi-functioning space. Certain aesthetics can be achieved simply by selecting the correct finish for your barn door and hardware. Your interior aesthetic will be dictated by items such as paint colors, window treatments, furniture, and wall décor. Ultimately, this is the time of the design process to focus on the look and feel of your space now that you’ve accomplished planning around the building’s functionality.

For any questions related to barn door hardware or tips for designing your barn, reach out to our industry experts at RW Hardware. With over 140 years in the business, we are your go-to resource for all quality hardware needs. Ready to get started on your project? Visit our online shop.