Buildings & Interiors

Metal Buildings by J4 Make Ranch Life Organized

Big Easy Ranch Goes Heavy Metal Installing Metal Buildings for Storage Barns on Hunting Preserve

Big Easy Ranch in Columbus TX Gets Organized with J4 Metal Building SolutionsBig Easy Ranch in Columbus, TX is a professional hunting preserve dedicated to personalized experiences with upland birds, fishing, whitetail deer, and exotic hunts.  The ranch, a little over an hour and a half from either Austin or Houston, is easy to get to and is the perfect place for the passionate hunter or fisherman.  The ranch manager, Matthew Jacques, adds a little Louisiana twist to the Lone Star State’s hunting experiences on the Big Easy Ranch.  There were already some storage buildings on the ranch, but the need for storage began to outweigh the usefulness of existing space.  Jacques said, “My reasoning for choosing a metal building is because they are practical. By practical I mean plain and simple. They are affordable to build and you have the ability to do almost anything that you would like with the inside. Maintenance and upkeep is much more simple then per say a normal structure as a stucco home or building. If something is in need of repair the tools or materials are easy access almost anywhere you go”. There were plenty of options:  stick-built, pre-fab, and metal.  In the end, he chose J4’s metal building solution as the most practical, cost-effective solution for two new storage facilities.

Matthew Jacques Oversees Contstruction as J4 Building Solutions Installs Metal Ranch BuildingJacques oversaw the construction of the foundation work to the erecting of the pre-engineered building. These two metal buildings that would house mobile equipment such as ranch trucks, tractors, implements, ATV’s and trailers.  Needing four garage bays in one building and two in the other, the designs were easily drawn out.  Site planning required considering flash floods, so concrete slabs were poured and expertly formed to create rainwater drainage troughs that would accommodate gutter run-off even during strong storms.

To save money on electricity, sky light panels were included in the roof skin to allow natural light to permeate the structure.  Wood panels were installed inside to create customizable vertical storage walls for tools and supplies. Finally, standard doors and windows were installed for security, practicality and comfort, and the project was completed in late March 2014.

Barndominiums, How Do They Do That?

Experts at J4 Building Solutions can tell you everything you want to know about barndominiums, from the thickness of the steel struts to insulation values mandates in your area.

But how does it all go into making a barndominium – defined as a (usually) rural, non-traditional structure which can be used as a home or repurposed to combine a home and business?

Large enough to contain a home and a dance floor/band area, barndominiums are cheaper to build, per square foot, than conventional stick-built structures, and have the added advantage of being fireproof and more or less weatherproof. At the very least, they are very low maintenance, even in severe climates, and offer the sort of longevity only afforded by steel framing and sheet metal siding pre-painted in a range of appropriate colors.

Taking you through the step-by-step process, let’s begin with site selection. J4 will want to ensure as much as possible that the site is relatively level, free from soils that might shrink and damage the foundation, and above the water table to prevent flooding during heavy rains or snowfalls.

Next, workmen prepare the foundation for underlayment using ordinary lumber. This includes rebar at strategic distances, and a plastic moisture barrier to prevent your cement foundation from sitting in standing water. When this portion is complete, a plumber will come in and run lines for bathrooms, kitchen sinks and dishwashers, and other locations like laundry rooms where water use is necessary.

After the slab is poured and machine-finished for extreme smoothness, it is allowed to cure for several days, after which the steel building frame is erected. It is this self-supporting steel frame which not only insures building longevity but gives barndominiums their spacious quality.

Next, workmen install metal wall building panels, standard doors, and a roof extension which provides a covered patio area to extend the living space in good weather. Read more »

Metal Buildings TX

Metal Buildings

Metal buildings have all the attributes of stick-built structures, with the added advantages of a reasonable price, a flexible approach, a lasting profile, a dynamic character, strength and durability, and a highly environmentally friendly footprint that is as small on the backside, or post-construction, as it is on the front side, in the manufacturing venue.

General contractors of metal buildings in Texas all offer some basic packages. You can choose from pre-engineered or pre-fabricated designs, or adapt a design to your personal needs. You can also design from scratch, and expect an expert architectural drawing and constant supervision from your building contractor. It is, however, extremely important that you bring in the building contractor at the design phase, to be sure your adaptations are feasible.

Metal buildings can be erected to serve as private or commercial mini-storage – a highly lucrative business with minimal overhead. They can also be custom-designed to act as private boat and RV storage units, blending almost seamlessly with existing buildings in terms of style, color and profile. See samples here.

Read more »

Metal Buildings for Sale

The history of house styles stretches back into a time before recorded history. Those primitive homes were likely either caves or trees.

After that came houses built in Egypt and Greece, of sun-dried bricks or stone – surprisingly the same materials being used on the North American continent among Mayans and Aztecs.

As civilization expanded into northern Britain and across the European continent, homes were variously round or square, primarily of logs and typically with sod roofs. The Viking longhouse was similarly constructed and long enough to allow the family and its animals to live at opposite ends of the house.

After that, in the 15th century, the first truly modern building style appeared. Called Tudor, these half-timbered or post and beam houses had walls between the beams filled with small sticks and wet clay – called wattle and daub – that mimics today’s plastered walls in both style and improved energy efficiency. Read more »

Ranch Buildings, The Steel of Texas

Gone are the days of Quonset huts with their half-circle domes atop steel foundations. Not that there is anything wrong with Quonset huts, which garnered their name from the location where they were first manufactured (Quonset Point, North Kingstown, Rhode Island). But even their strongest defenders admit that they are so plain just looking at them inspires yawns.

In striking contrast, today’s metal buildings offer all the style of a fashionista’s closet while still incorporating a well-deserved, enduring reputation for sturdiness, weather resistance and a clear-span interior; that is, uninterrupted or undivided by support posts or walls, as is the case in standard (“stick-built”) construction. Read more »

Metal Buildings, the New Structural Paradigm

The classic American post-and-beam barn with its double doors and red paint was made out of sturdy timbers and durable, handcrafted roof beams. Many date from the turn of the last century (1899-1901), their hipped or gambrelled roofs still standing tall and strong.

These old red barns have become so popular with Gen X’ers on the move up the corporate ladder, and entrepreneurs operating dude ranches, that there is at least one entire website devoted to buying and selling them.

While some focus on the nostalgia, working ranchers are turning more and more often to steel outbuildings, sheds and barns. There are a number of reasons, but all fall under the umbrella of long life and low maintenance, because busy ranchers don’t have the time or the money to keep shelling out for paint jobs and repairs. Read more »

High Fence Option Promotes Deer Breeding Operations

Because deer can jump over remarkably high obstacles, a deer hunting preserve needs not only very high fences but strong and reliable fences.

Some hunters argue that fenced deer hunting is “canned hunting”; that is, deer accustomed to the scent and movement of humans so that they come regularly to feed at corn feeders, for example. Others, including those who have hunted free range, on private or government property, often spend a lot of money for gear yet find themselves freezing to death in a deer stand eating cold canned beans and sleeping wild, yet never getting a deer.

The advantage of fenced acreage, whether it be 500 acres or 5,000 acres, is that it keeps valuable deer breeding stock inside a perimeter and away from native deer of questionable health and stature who might breed with them. In fact, this breeding is what enables some fenced preserves to advertise “pure blood” Canadian whitetail deer.

The real drawback is cost. Landowners are very fussy about quality, as well they should be. Fortunately, some firms specializing in fencing deer preserves also build cattle fencing, deer breeding pens and whitetail handling facilities, as well as metal buildings that can serve as workstations, barns, or storage facilities guaranteed to weather the years without rust.

One of these, J4 Fencing & Services, operating out of El Campo, Texas, has almost 20 years of experience in pleasing landowners and creating deer preserves that are not eyesores. J4 also uses the patented Pro Fencer Brace System, guaranteed to keep even high fences upright. And J4 works all across the United States, providing fast service and quality.

Ted Nugent, a musician, is also an avid deer hunter. Nugent doesn’t share the Luddite point of view surrounding deer preserves, believing that high fence deer hunting does not degrade the heritage of American deer hunting. Nor does he feel that chronic wasting disease and bovine tuberculosis are the result of fencing, or that continued fencing represents a privatization of the hunting experience.  

Barn Homes

Whenever I see one of the stunning barn homes built by J4 Building Solutions, I think of what my mother used to ask me when I forgot to shut the door behind me or tracked in mud or dirt.

“Were you born in a barn?”

Nowadays, the answer might well be yes, as 40-somethings re-purpose their lives, giving up suburban split levels to move out to where the sun rises and sets on 100 acres of big bluestem and sideoats grama.

This re-purposing also includes starting a family for many career women and couples. These are people who have been in the corporate scramble for two decades and solidified not only their position but a wage that allows for expansion.

So, yes, one might be born in a barn, but in the 21st century this is a reuse of salvaged barn materials coupled with superior insulation and vapor barriers, and triple pane, gas-filled, low e vinyl windows for a structure that looks quaint but performs like the space shuttle in terms of thermal exchange values.

Using old barn timbers and siding, as well as salvaged barn flooring and foundation stones, and topping it off with old but solid barn roofing and technologically sophisticated, energy efficient heating and cooling and accessories, means that the future homeowners are not only reducing the construction materials waste stream – a bonus for overused landfills – but creating a lasting heritage with a tiny environmental footprint regardless of its square footage.

On the other end of this building equation, J4 offers highly permanent, low maintenance steel buildings which serve a number of functions, as garages, workshops, storage buildings, boat, camper, or farm equipment storage. Besides never needing paint, and withstanding extreme heat, extreme cold, high winds (up to gale force) and termite infestation – which no stick-built structure can do – these metal buildings feature pleasant, neutral color schemes that won’t ruin the view and highly attractive interiors, including storage shelving, windows, electric service and bathrooms.

But the uses for these buildings are not limited to the descriptions above. More and more, smart ranch and farm managers and owners are realizing the true benefits of steel above traditional timber-framed barns and sheds. Used for storing hay, grain or feed, metal buildings are less likely to attract or harbor pests like rodents and bugs. Durable and non-combustible, these metal storage buildings go barns one better by offering the option of mist or sprinkler systems in the event a fire should start, in overheated hay bales for example.

They also improve on barns by providing a plumbing-ready interface and security systems to protect valuable livestock and equipment. Finally, the buildings can be outfitted with heating and cooling equipment and high ceilings to provide the optimum environment for making priceless breeding stock healthy and comfortable.

Best of all, owners won’t have to spend a single minute painting, and the wide doors mean inexperienced crew can drive even a Montana 4340C tractor in without taking out the doorjamb. In fact, these metal buildings are so attractive, and provided with so many features like bathrooms, meeting rooms and even showers, that they can be used as riding academies or arenas to keep students (and valuable horseflesh) out of the hot, noonday sun.




Deer Handling Facilities

For alternative livestock breeders and suppliers, the last decade of exponential growth has been a time of radical change. Greater captive deer populations mean a wider and more reliable breeding stock. New “farms” and other deer handling facilities mean more research, and more across-the-board experiences these breeders and suppliers can share for their mutual benefit.

Unfortunately, deer management advice isn’t always useful. In fact, it is sometimes false and unreliable, not to mention self-serving. This is why it is important to go to the real experts in the field of deer ranching, not only for advice on how to attract deer but on the nuts-and-bolts details of keeping them penned and healthy.

One of the most essential features of most game ranching is a “catch pen”; the place where you harvest deer, so to speak. This pen is commonly a four-sided corral of sorts, with an opening in one end where deer ranchers put out feed to attract deer. By simply moving the feed farther into the pen on each feeding, even cautious deer will sooner or later find themselves on the wrong side of the gate, and this is when carefully planned penning pays off, at least for the rancher.

Once the rancher has a viable and sufficiently diverse catch of deer, he or she can then devise the best methods for vaccinating the animals, deworming them, and artificially inseminating female deer, or does. Even though deer have a natural immunity to many diseases, there are a few which can decimate a herd. One is Epizootic hemorrhagic disease, or EHD. Another is Clostridia. Finally, ranchers must deal with bovine tuberculosis (mycobacterium bovis), which is normally not present in wild deer but seems to crop up when deer are farmed, or ranched, on densely populated acres.

Deer are easier to raise than cattle, due to natural immunities and a tendency to graze widely. But that doesn’t mean a future rancher can ignore planning. Issues that should be addressed before starting include the goal (are you raising deer to sell or hunt?), the amount of land available for the deer ranch, the size of deer pens (including the issue of intensive feeding), and the locations from which water and food will be dispensed. For those who raise deer for hunting, some kind of on-premise accommodation might also be necessary, and it should represent something slightly better than a bed in a bunkhouse or an unheated cabin.

Once a future rancher has all his or her ducks (or deer) in a row, success is related to many things but starting out right with the right deer handling facility can make all the difference. According to a 2006-2007 study, the economic impact of deer breeding and hunting activities exceeds $650 million a year and provides more than 7,335 jobs, with the lion’s share of the activity in Texas.

© J4 Building Solutions



Barndominiums, or barndos, are spring up all over the country as people discover the advantages of living in these simple yet comfortable dwellings. The first advantage is that barndominiums cost less than equivalent amounts of stick-built home living space. Typical savings are about $50 a square foot, depending on the amenities. However, barndo owners who choose marble kitchen counters, for example, or full-tile bathrooms with gold faucets, will find that the cost per square foot can be as much as $100, or equivalent to a standard home.

Barndominiums are faster to build, and this also represents a savings, freeing a family in transition from rental costs while waiting for their barnlike dwelling to be completed. Where the sale of a house hinges on having a place to move into, it also simplifies the transition.

One of the nicest features about barndos is that they require little or no exterior maintenance. Sheathed in durable, weatherproof exteriors, with vinyl windows, barndos come standard with the kind of exterior finishing touches that cost extra in a conventional new home. Additionally, barndos as a general rule have lower insurance rates, fitting into a metric that will make new barndo owners break out the champagne. Finally, many barndominium owners report lower utility costs, sometimes as much as 40 percent over an equivalent size standard home.

There are, of course, a few drawbacks. Barndominium exteriors are boxy, but it is precisely that squared-off shape that delivers constructions savings. And it can be difficult to get a conventional mortgage for a barndo, primarily because they represent a new paradigm in the mortgage industry. This means most appraisers lack a metric by which to value such a structure. That, however, is changing as more and more people begin to appreciate the Early American simplicity of barndominum living.

For those who see their barndo as an environmental statement, thanks to its reduced use of materials and its resulting smaller ecological footprint, “green” options – like rainwater collection, a rain garden, greywater systems, thermal windows, and recycled denim or soy foam insulation – reduce that footprint even more.

If I can help you with the design of a barn home in Texas or another state, please call me today. Cuatro Strack, J4 Fencing and Services and J4 Building Solutions, 979-637-9892! Or email us at or