Historic preservationists understand the term “stabilization” to mean putting the brakes on further decay of historic structures by making them watertight, structurally braced, and resistant to animals, vegetation and vandals. Also known as “mothballing”, stabilization measures are taken to protect a vulnerable building until restoration and utilization of them can occur in the future.
In the case of an early 20th century barn which was deteriorating, the need to use the building immediately was too pressing to allow for a complete restoration; a partial restoration resulted. The interior of the barn had acquired a pleasantly rustic character due to the numerous gaps in the siding from assorted holes and deterioration. The light-dappled effect experienced within the structure was pleasing and seen as a priority to retain. A plan to stabilize and simultaneously utilize the structure became practical with the use of clear corrugated plastic panels.
The plastic panels not only protect the wood siding and the weathered appearance, but also stop wind, rain and snow from penetrating the numerous gaps in the walls. The panels were extended into the ground, over the foundation, so also offer protection from mice and insects. The first panels used had a slightly violet tint to them which darkened the appearance of the wood siding; two sides were completed before the decision was made to find a perfectly clear siding. The clear material is what is shown below.
Once the installation was completed, another benefit was immediately realized; the panels function as solar collectors and significantly warm the interior during the day! Simply by covering the barn with these panels, the space became warm, dry, quiet and free of wind whistling through the interior as it had previously. The weathered exterior is now frozen in time and the interior walls are still peppered with random bits of daylight… truly a win/win/win situation! And the best part? It’s easily reversible!
Now encased in clear plastic, the building’s appearance varies more dramatically than before (dependent upon weather). The siding can be virtually invisible on a cloudy day while taking on a reflective quality in the sun.
The installation process was described in a previous post, and the following photos show the end result:
Here are some more images of the effect created on the interior:
And now, a few night-time views…