Falling Barns Get New Life

It’s a sad sign of change, to look across the countryside and see a once beautiful old barn sagging with age. While some have been invested in others simply cannot continue to stand. That’s where Ken Goodwin comes in. Ken is the owner of Wisconsin Barn Board and Beam, a company that specializes in taking down barns and salvaging the wood for its next life. 

For over 10 years Ken and his crew have been carefully disassembling barns on farms across Wisconsin and beyond. He says that it’s not just the boards and beams that they salvage, they take almost everything from the floors to the joists. Once the barn is taken down, Ken collects and sorts the wood and resells it to interior designers, furniture makers and other wholesale customers. Although the pandemic slowed orders and design trends have shifted, Ken says the demand for barn board and beams is still there.

For those with a barn that needs to be removed, Ken says he meets up with the owners and goes over the options for removal. His company also offers site clean up after the barn is gone. And while you won’t get the premium prices for the boards, which Ken says can go for $3.50 a linear foot and up, Ken does pay the barn owner for the wood he recovers. 

So where does the wood that used to house the animals and feed for a farm family here in Wisconsin end up? Ken says it goes all over, and some has even made it to homes in Hollywood. Movie stars aside, generally the barn owner does keep some of the wood for their own family. Flooring, mantles, frames or furniture are often created from the barn wood and cherished by the family for generations to come.