Back in early 2005 we decided it was time to build a barn to house our rabbits. We were unsure of costs associated with building a barn. We visited a Carter’s Lumber as well as Lowes and looked at their bran kits. The kits come with prebuilt walls, and trusses, all the hardware, and basically you just have to put the pieces together. However, with the cost of those kits going for $4000 and up, we decided this was not the path we would take.
I began a search for bluprints that would give us everything we would need to accomplish the bran without the high cost of the kit. We found just the thing at acompany called Garlinghouse. They had the blueprints with complete materials list, and step by step instructions. I purchased my plans for around $15. I will testify that these plans are excellently designed, and the instructions easy to follow.
The first thing we did is leveled a site for the barn. We then laid out 3 4×4′s for the main floor support and then 2×4 on top of that. We decided not to use a cement floor, as this saved money and allowed us to build this structure without a permit since it is not considered a permanent structure. We then laid underlayment across the top of the floor framing. At this point the instruction gave us details on building a form for the trusses on the barn floor which worked out perfectly.
We made modifications to the blue prints to meet our needs. This adds extra calculating further down the road as you are building. One thing we added was a product called Fiberock. Its an incredible underlayment. We placed this right on top of our wood underlayment. Fiberock is great for applications where there may be water. In fact we left the Fiberock exposed over the winter with absolutely no damage. It also cuts very clean.
Then it was on to framing the walls. The plans allowed for an extra side door which we decided to use. We again modified the plans. The plans allowed for one window on the same side of the barn as the extra door. We put two windows on the other side of the barn as well. Ventilation is so important for the rabbits we decided this was well worth the effort.
Next up was the siding. Here we modified the materials list. Lowes carries a product called Barnside. It is installed as other exterior grade boards. It can be purchased treated and untreated. It has a wood grain appearance, and worked very well for us. It also has tongue and groove making it fairly simple to install. We had to rack the walls a little as it was installed, but everything came together nicely.
Most of the project I did with the help of my daughters and wife. They would help with little here and there’s as necessary. However, when it came to the roof trusses, I realized it was going to require some extra help. At 12′ across this was not a simple task. A friend came by and helped out, and we installed the trusses in about an hour. This left one more layer of exterior sheeting to finish the upper parts of the end walls.
Again we decided to make a slight modification to the blue prints. Near the roof line the blue prints called for a permanent triagular shaped opening, covered by screening. This was for ventilation. Since we were putting in a ridge cap we decided not to include that, but did put windows in the back near the top. Access to these windows will require that we put in a loft. The loft will also allow for some extra storage. The loft was not included in the blue prints.
Next on the agenda was the roof sheeting. Like the trusses, this required a friends help. Like the trusses it took us about an hour to complete. Here is where we ran into a slight problem, that later would require some fancy shingling techniques. Some of the dirt that we had used to level the area for the barn, had washed away or settled in one of the back corners. The barn had a slight lean to that corner. So the sheeting didnt square up as it should have.
Finishing the floor was our next step. We decided on a commercial grade vinyl composition tile. It would give the barn a nice appearance, and allow an easy we to keep the floor fairly clean. Suprisingly, the tile laid very nicely. After a few layers of some commercial wax, the floor was done.
Finishing the roof was a day long project. We need to add rake trim, fascia and drip edge before we could put on the roofing felt. After the roofing felt was done we installed the rake edge. Then it was on to the shingles. The plans called for 9 bundles. After adding the ridge vent, and installing ridge cap, I realized I was two shingles short. So the plastic ridge cap remains slightly uncovered, but it is purely cosmetic and not a functional issue.
I then built and installed doors. Then built and installed all the windows. Right now we have wood barn type windows on hinges. Eventually we will replace those with actual windows. For now though the barn is functional.
We have moved the majority of the rabbits into the barn. We still have a few more to move. Everyone seems to want to keep some of the brood does and litter in the house. Once they have all been moved in we will still have plenty of room for additional cages.
We still have several things left to complete the barn. We have to paint it before the carpenter bees decide to take up residence. We have some corner trim to do on the outside. We need to run electricity. The more we are out in the barn, the more I see the need for electricity. We would eventually like to run water to the barn, and install an automatic watering system. Although climate control would be nice, I dont see that happening in the near future. Not to mention some landscaping.
© 2006 – 2011, Three Little Ladies Rabbitry Blog. All rights reserved.Rob Usakowski