Metal roofing on a Dutch Barn conversion

Christopher Morley, Marketing Team

Unused agricultural buildings, especially Dutch Barns, can make great family homes. In this blog, we take a look at some of the benefits and challenges in adding a new metal roof and taking on a dutch barn conversion.

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Dutch Barn shells, such as this one in Oxfordshire, present great opportunities under Class Q rules

You can certainly convert a Dutch barn into a dream family home, but first you must establish if the barn has been previously used for agricultural purposes (on or before the 29th March 2013). If it had, and as long as the Barn is not located within a conservation area, there is a good chance of being able to convert the building for residential use under a ruling called Class Q conversion. 

Class Q is a type of permitted development that allows a change of use from commercial (agricultural) use, to residential use, without the need for full planning permission.

However, converting an old Dutch barn under Class Q regulations does have a few limitations; no more than 3 dwellings are allowed, and there is a total allowable floor space of less than 450m2. There are other stipulations but in general, so long as the changes are ‘reasonably necessary,’ barn conversion should be achievable.

Dutch Barn Conversion 2
Metal standing seam roof on a Suffolk Dutch Barn conversion

One area that the planners may take an interest in (and will certainly affect the appearance) is the type of roof covering.  Many Barns, particularly Dutch Barns, were built generations ago with a curved metal roof that went right across from eaves to eaves in what appears to be one continuous sheet. Replacing these barrel-vaulted roofs using corrugated metal sheeting is impractical. Instead, a standing seam metal roof offers a great option.

This type of roof gives a modern-day appearance that relies on very traditional roofing skills. If an eco-friendly coated steel material such as GreenCoat PLX is used, insulation costs can be easily achieved and with an appearance that stays true to the original building. GreenCoat PLX, as sold by The Metal roof Company, is available in various colours including black, red and galvanised finish; colours that were traditionally associated with agricultural outbuildings but produced to modern day standards.

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This Dutch Barn conversion, completed by The Metal roof Company, uses GreenCoat PLX in anthracite colour

“Standing seam for a Dutch Barn roof is a marriage made in heaven” explains Sean McHugh, Director of The Metal Roof Company. “We have used standing seam designs on ultra-modern new builds in central London and it looks very chic. By simply selecting a different colour and adding a curve onto the metal roof sheets, an old agricultural Dutch Barn can be brought bang up to date”. It’s a skilled process but any one of our trusted and experienced metal roofing contractors should be able to achieve an excellent finish.

Design will need to be thought-out and consideration should be given to whether a cold-roof or warm-roof build-up is needed. If you need some help with this, you can view our guide here. An architect will be able to advise, but as a rule of thumb, a warm roof may well be preferable for a Dutch Barn roof as the metal roof sheets can be installed eaves-to-eaves without the need for a ventilating ridge.

gutter to compleemtn blog

Whether you are converting a Dutch Barn in Devon, Suffolk or Norfolk, The Metal Roof Company has a broad range of experience and can offer a wide range of metal samples from Europe’s leading Zinc and Steel Mills.

Lindab rainwater goods offer an ideal complement to these standing seam metal roofs.

Lindab offer a wide range of coated steel gutters and downpipes. Lindab Magestic™, shown above on an outbuilding, is a galvanised style finish and is one of the most popular finishes for outbuilding conversions.

Dutch Barn Conversion FAQ's

A Dutch barn in the UK commonly refers to a metal-roofed agricultural barn, often used to store hay or straw. The metal roof tends to be curved and the barn is usually, but not always, without any walls or sides.

This type of barn design arrived very late to the UK and hence metal corrugated iron roof sheets were commonly used as a roofing material.

Yes, absolutely! Prior to undertaking any work, make sure that you have a qualified professional, such as an architect or structural engineer advising you.

If the Barn has a metal structure, it may need to be checked over to ensure it can support the new structure. Zinc and GreenCoat PLX are ideal roof options for this type of building

It’s very likely they will favour this coated steel material over other roof types – even zinc.  GreenCoat PLX is a coated steel material with a long-life expectancy; the standing seam appearance stays true to the original design spirit and appearance of the Barn. If GreenCoat PLX brick red is used in a standing seam style,  then a modern-day take on the original Dutch barn can easily be achieved.

We would recommend using a skilled metal roof contractor that has experience of zinc for roofing and GreenCoat PLX standing seam installations.  This is because of the level of skill and specialist equipment required. Call 0208 810 0120 for more information or read our blog on how to choose the ideal metal roofing contractor.

If the outbuilding did not have this type of roof to start with, then it is unlikely that local planners will allow such a drastic change under Class Q rules.

However, there are plenty of other options. Get in touch with The Metal Roof Company to find out more about all the different types of roof suitable for standing seam. 0208 810 0120.

So that’s it! If you’ve got any questions about metal roof barn conversions, get in touch below!

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