Blog By Nikki Alvin-Smith
It’s almost impossible to overstate the benefits that the addition of an overhang to a farm building brings to the world of horse care.
The overhang is a finishing touch that beautifies the building while serving several utilitarian purposes. Plus, it is relatively inexpensive to include in your new horse structure plans. Also known as a lean-to, this invaluable roof extension can be incorporated into all types of shelters: run-in sheds as well as shed row and modular barns. The overhang is extremely popular for good reason.
Typically, the overhang extends the roof for either the width or length of the building and can be an additional roof tier or a simple extension of the existing main roof.
It is imperative that the overhang is built to meet or exceed the National Building Code. The construction should provide a strong, weight bearing capacity to ensure the overhang will stand up to extreme weather. At Horizon Structures you can be sure that every overhang we build is constructed to meet or exceed your local snow loads and wind rating as well as being a beautiful and useful addition to your building.
Take a look at the benefits an overhang adds to your farm buildings:
Beneficial for Barns:
- The overhang protects the exposed stall side of the barn from wind, rain and hot sun. This means your horse can happily munch his hay with his head out of his Dutch door without being subject to the elements.
- Everyone knows turn out helps stalls stay cleaner saving you TIME on mucking and MONEY on bedding. However, turn out without a run-in shed causes anxiety if you’re at work and a bad storm comes up.
- An overhang provides another level of protection against deterioration to the siding and doors from sun and rain.
- Don’t forget the finishing touches! An overhang provides the perfect protected decorating area to enhance your barn with hanging flower baskets, holiday lights and extra wall space for barn blackboards, signage and personal touches such as ribbon cases and cupboards to store wraps and medical kits.
Enclose an end wall to create a place for hanging tack or tools as well as an additional wind break.
Excellent for Equines:
- An overhang allows you to turn out your horses without using the stalls for shelter. It provides the perfect solution to protect the horses for the busy equine owner who is not always home to bring the horses inside during poor weather.
- The stall entry areas are, obviously, high-traffic areass of the barn and, without an overhang, your beautiful grassy entrances will quickly become quagmires of mud.
In winter, snow and ice may make this area slippery and dangerous. An overhang will protect these areas from water and the unnecessary tracking of dirt and debris into the barn. When melting snow slides off the roof and builds up outside the building, the area under the lean-to closest to the barn remains relatively clear allowing easy access without much shoveling.
Perfect for People:
- There are a myriad of added daily uses the overhang provides for the horse owner. A clean dry space for cross ties creates a much appreciated outdoor place for vet, farrier and care providers to work.
- Expanding your barn’s electrical system outside into the lean-to area (*using outdoor rated fixtures away from the horse’s reach) extends the utility of the area beyond the daylight hours.
- You can also use this extended covered space to tack up your horse, store provisions and horse equipment. Enjoy ‘a quick cuppa’ between grooming or clipping sessions under the shelter of the overhang. It provides a place to chat with students and friends without being in the aisleway. You can enjoy watching your horses graze in the pasture or beg for carrots from their Dutch doorways out of wind, sun and rain.
The overhang is one of the best ways to enhance both form and function of your horse structure when working on a tight budget. Ask us about different size options and we’ll make sure the overhang meets or exceeds building codes. Overhangs are not all created equal, and it is imperative that the structural components be properly built for longevity and safety.
One final note… Making an overhang part of your barn will require extra site prep. You can read more about what’s involved HERE. Be sure to take this into account when planning your project budget. Adding an overhang to your barn is an investment that will pay huge dividends over the life or your barn making it the ideal place for those who live AND work in it.