Published on Thu, Oct 6, 2005 by ack Kintner

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Home Improvement

By Jack Kintner

When Mike Gobbato wanted extra storage behind his house on Pipeline Road, he decided to build a barn instead of another efficient but boring pole building. “I originally designed it to be about 1,800 square feet,” he said, “then went up to 2,400, and now can see where it could have been even larger. It gives us the look we wanted, though, kind of old style but with modern touches.”

As it is, the structure is impressive enough, and will provide plenty of covered storage for Gobbato’s growing collection of antique John Deere tractors and other machinery, such as a small construction crane he’s used in building the structure that peaks out at about 30 feet. “Herb Krause built this thing, and it’s come in handy,” said Gobbato, now a shop foreman at Krause Manufacturing, where he’s been a steel fabricator for 18 years, during which time he learned the intricate but creative art of computer aided design and computer aided manufacturing known as CAD-CAM.

That’s how he designed his barn, which has the profile of much larger dairy barns with its low break in the hip roof. The panels he’ll use for the steel roof are almost half again as long (15 feet 8 inches) on the top as they are below the break (11 feet). He said he kept the top lower by lowering the roof break, and also provided more space on the upper floor, built strongly enough to support both of Mike and Shannon Gobbato’s kids and all their friends.

“That is going to be indoor play space,” Gobbato grinned, “so the floor’s strong enough to support a lot of people.” Given the span and size, the manufacturer of the roof trusses, Valley Truss in Surrey, B.C., required Gobbato to space them only two feet apart, making it look a little like the building has been covered with an intricate wooden quilt. The effect will be covered this week or next with two inch-thick sheets of insulation and a metal roof screwed directly to the sheathing through he insulation.

“But I know my kids will play up here, so I spent the extra money to get some pretty tough stuff. This insulation is pretty strong and punctutre proof. When I opened one of the rolls I can’t tear it with my bare hands,” said Gobatto.

The south wall was given special attention after Gobatto’s experience rebuilding his dad’s barn, across a nearby field. Gobbato’s five acres is half the original farm his dad Mario operated. “This is Blaine’s Little Italy,” Gobbato said, pointing out several properties near the Odell and Pipeline roads intersection, “and we grew up over there on Odell. My brother and I watched over the years as the south wall of dad’s old barn rotted out, and it leaned more and more each year. It got pretty bad before we straightened it up, built a new wall inside the old one and then took the rotted parts out.”

In Gobatto’s new structure the exterior is all T-111 5/8 inch fir plywood, and on the south wall the intersections between the three complete rows of 4 x 8 sheets standing on end plus pieces to fill in the peak are all flashed like a roof. He’ll put cedar battens on the exterior, on 16 inch centers, and he’ll cover the lateral seams between the rows with larger boards much like the 2 x 8 pre-primed barge boards that finish out each end of the roof.

“Gotta keep that surface as dry as we can,” Gobbato said, adding that he left off a ridge vent on the roof for the same reason, “because eventually I think that storms can drive rain into them and they can also let snow in. I’ve got windows on this end, and a regular barn loft door on the north side, so with fans it will still be well ventilated.”

The 40 x 60 building sits on a regular foundation with eight inch walls going down two feet to 16 inch footings, and the middle is filled with concrete that Gobatto and several friends worked patiently into a finish worthy of a skating rink.

Internally, there are four vertical posts in pairs 15 feet from each end that support large glue-laminated beams Gobatto salvaged from a Ferndale factory building and cut down to 30 feet.

The Gobbato’s house, which with the barn gives the place a 1920s kind of look, originally sat at the southwest corner of H street road and SR 543. Gobatto moved the house in 1992 out to Pipeline Road, and despite raising the roof and adding dormers for a second floor, it still looks original. “See that row of shingles in the siding?” he asks, pointing out a subtle shift in the texture of the siding on his house.

“That’s the gap I filled with more shingles when we jacked up the roof,” he said, his eye for design preserving the older look while providing a new and more useable second floor. It’s a place where an antique John Deere would look right at home.