Planning for farm building repairs and renovations

Whether due to damage or simply aging, most farm buildings eventually require repairs. Spring is a popular time of year when farmers want to fix up or enhance their structures.

Jeremiah Fairbanks, general manager of repairs for Morton Buildings, said their projects typically fall into three categories:

  • An updated look — The most common need, he says, is updating a building, giving it a fresh, modern look. Examples include replacing faded or rusted steel on the roof and sidewalls, installing skylights or renovating structures that otherwise might be torn down.
  • Functionality — Many farmers want to add new features that enhance the performance of their buildings or make them more versatile. “Examples include a porch addition, new windows, large sliding doors, interior installation and building extensions,” Fairbanks said.
  • Damage repair — He notes that well-used farm shops and garages can take a beating, whether due to storms, equipment mishaps or simple wear, which in most cases can be addressed with a variety of minor or major repairs. 

Fairbanks cites several factors to consider when planning a repair or renovation:

  • If repairing weather damage, be sure to talk with your insurance agent to determine what is covered.
  • Check whether any building damage or wear is protected by warranties.
  • If functionality is the issue, think about your needs — and what updates are needed to meet current as well as future requirements.
  • Finally, while many farmers have the basic skills to do some of their own repairs, it’s not always easy to fix a building. “There are issues involving safety and proper installation, and some materials may be hard to come by,” Fairbanks cautions. “Using a professional can help avoid problems and save money in the long run.”

He adds that it can be tough deciding whether to repair or replace a farm building, since many farmers become attached to older buildings that have been in the family for a long time. 

“Some of these structures can be updated and preserved. In other cases, it may be impractical to repair a building that is not structurally sound or is too small to meet needs,” he said.   

For farmers who decide on a new building, Fairbanks says be sure to factor in not only the cost of the structure but also other associated costs, such as the concrete foundation and utilities. “Renovating may be a more cost-efficient way to meet your building needs until you are ready to build new,” Fairbanks said.

Fairbanks notes that Morton Buildings provides repairs through most of their construction centers for their own post-frame structures as well as most other brands of post-frame buildings. For more information, visit

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