How to build a horse barn with pallets

Written by misty barton
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How to build a horse barn with pallets
Pallet recycling preserves trees by reusing valuable lumber. (Getty Thinkstock)

A pallet, or skid, is the wooden structure that products are stacked on for transportation around a store room or warehouse. The pallet structure contains two layers of lumber joined by 2-by-4s with a 2-inch gap between layers. Wooden pallets are often discarded after use and taken to landfills and trash dumps. Green groups are encouraging the use of pallets in construction of basic structures to recycle the lumber rather than throwing them away. A horse barn can be constructed from recycled pallets and a few other basic building supplies.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Post hole digger
  • 7 posts, 4-by-4, 11 feet long
  • Level
  • Concrete
  • 32 square pallets, 36-by-36 or 42-by-42 inch
  • Electric drill
  • Drill bit, ¼-inch diameter
  • 50 bolts, ¼-inch diameter by 3 1/2-inch length
  • 50 nuts, ¼-inch diameter
  • Ratchet
  • ¼-inch socket
  • Hammer
  • 2-inch nails
  • Circular saw
  • 8 boards, 2-by-4-inch, 8 feet long
  • 2 boards, 2-by-12-inch, 8 feet long
  • 12 boards, 2-by-6-inch, 8 feet long
  • 5 corrugated metal roofing sheets, 8-foot long
  • Roofing screws

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  1. 1

    Hire a professional to do dirt work to level and pack the ground that will form the foundation and floor of your shed, or select a naturally flat location.

  2. 2

    Dig holes at least 3 feet deep with a 12-inch circumference to set the main posts of the barn in. The shed has a length of 252 inches and a depth of 126 inches, and posts should be set accordingly. Dig a hole at each corner of the shed and at the centre of the front and back. Dig an additional hole 42 inches from the left end of the barn or 84 inches from the centre post on the front side of the shed.

  3. 3

    Set a 4-by-4-inch post in each hole. Make sure that the post is plumb, or runs straight up in down, by checking the vertical balance with a level. Fill the hole around each post with cement. Allow the cement to dry completely before beginning to attach the walls to the posts.

  4. 4

    Predrill two holes through both the right and left sides of each pallet using the drill and the ¼-inch drill bit. Position the first hole 2 inches down from the top of the pallet and the second hole 2 inches up from the bottom of the pallet.

  5. 5

    Lay pallets out on the ground side by side in groups of three. Make sure to line up the holes on the sides of the pallet. Bolt each group of three pallets together by pushing the ¼-inch bolts through the holes in the pallets and tightening them into place with the ratchet and ¼-inch socket. These groups of three pallets create partial walls that are the basic building block of the shed. You need a total of 10 groups of three pallets to construct the final barn structure.

  6. 6

    Attach two of the partial walls to one another with bolts pushed through the predrilled holes. This creates a long partial wall six pallets long. You need two of these long partial walls.

  7. 7

    Set one of the long partial walls against the back side of the posts set in concrete. Nail the pallet to the post using 2-inch nails. Use at least four nails at each end to secure the rear wall of the structure.

  8. 8

    Set short partial walls against the outside of the posts on each end of the barn and on the right side of the barn front. Nail the partial walls to the posts using 2-inch nails in the same manner as the rear wall.

  9. 9

    Set a single pallet on the left side of the barn's front outside of the posts. Attach it to the posts using 2-inch nails.

  10. 10

    Cut six of the 2-by-4-inch boards into 12-inch sections. These are used to connect the first and second level of pallets to form the walls.

  11. 11

    Set a second layer of partial walls on top of the first and nail them to the posts. This makes each wall of the shed 84 inches tall.

  12. 12

    Attach the first and second layer of pallets to one another using the 12-inch-long sections of 2-by-4-inch boards. On the inside of the shed, place a section of 2-by-4-inch board so that 6 inches of the board are on the bottom pallet and 6 inches are on the top pallet. Nail the board in place with 2-inch nails. Repeat this process every 24 inches all the way around the barn structure for all four walls.

  13. 13

    Frame in the door of the barn. Nail a 2-by-4-inch board, 84 inches long, between the pallets on the right and left side of the barn front, flush with their top edge. Nail a second 2-by-4-inch board between the pallets 24 inches below the top edge.

  14. 14

    Board in the top 24 inches of the barn above the door. Nail 2-by-12-inch boards to the 2-by-4 frame to close the space.

  15. 15

    Raise the front wall of the barn an additional 12 inches. Use 12-inch-long sections of 2-by-4-inch board, nailed to the back side of the pallets, to extend the walls up. Nail these extensions every 21 inches along the full length of the front wall of the barn. Nail 2-by-6-inch boards, stacked two deep, to the extensions. It takes three 8-foot lengths to go across the front of the barn.

  16. 16

    Create rafters for the roof by nailing 2-by-6-inch boards between the front and back wall. Rafters should be 48 inches apart.

  17. 17

    Screw metal roofing sheets to the rafters. Sheets of metal should run parallel to the rafters.

Tips and warnings

  • For a more finished look, use metal siding on the outside of the barn to cover the pallets.

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