From time to time we’re asked to inspect older timber framed or post and beam structure’s so I thought I would start a thread to look at some of the things I see while inspecting. This barn was built in 1850 and ongoing repairs were apparent. The usual siding and door replacement, new poured concrete on one side and new electrical.
Inside there were obvious signs of the frame leaning to one side. Several attempts to shore up the frame were seen on the second floor, which in my opinion are not consistent with proper framing techniques for this time period. I’m somewhat of a traditionalist and always recommend any repair be period correct to preserve the barn.
Although the repairs to the main timbers may have left the installer feeling as though he had help stabilize the structure the reality is it probably had little effect.
The root of the problem is in the crawlspace under the barn. Most of the wood piers under the middle of the frame are deteriorated and lack proper footings. This area was ignored most likely due to a lack of access. Because the piers lack support the barn started to settle, as it did the frame started leaning toward the left. This took many years and I doubt the frame will ever be straight again but it certainly can be stabilized. The overall condition was not bad and with some work to the footings and piers this barn may last another 100 years.
This inspection included the main home which was in pretty good condition but had issue’s too. I’ll post pictures and hopefully start a discussion of inspecting antique timber framed homes and barns, what typically fails and whats the best recommendation for us as home inspectors.