South Dakota native Ryan Rusher was enjoying an evening drive through the South Dakota countryside— fields and farmhouses, rolling hills and grassy plains unfolded before him as he followed the dirt road. The worn tin roof of a dilapidated wooden barn caught his eye. After a few moments, Rusher got an idea. Rough, old barns, falling down and no longer in use, are commonplace in the midwest, remnants of farming days gone by, their structures storytellers of work and life from decades and even a century ago.
Rusher wondered, what if he could put those barns to use, preserving history and giving their stories new life? Dakota Tin was born. Today, Rusher’s innovative idea takes once-obsolete tin from old barn roofs and repurposes it into rustic ceiling tiles that capture the essence of rural life and the history of the midwest.
Using the knowledge and expertise he had developed from his first entrepreneurial venture, Ceiling Connex™, Rusher developed Dakota Tin to evoke a nostalgic, aged atmosphere for homes and industrial and commercial spaces — providing a distinctive architectural element that is uniquely Dakota born and bred.
The Rescue and Re-use Process
The barn tin, after being removed from the structure, is cut into 2x2 ft tiles. Because the tiles come straight from the structure, each one is different, featuring unique rust lines and nail spots, some of them even display their manufacturers –Sioux Steel Company and Strongbarn, just to name a couple – painted into the galvanized steel sheets.
Every step of the process has sustainability in mind. The idea is to use as much of the barn tin as possible to reduce the amount of metal and scraps from making it into landfills. Each panel is inspected before it goes out to ensure just the right amount of rust and distress. Also, the metal is never treated with chemicals, metal-stripping, or finishing measures, further reducing the environmental impact of our ceiling tiles. All of this allows each individual panel to maintain its character, meaning that you’ll receive the highest quality, most original tin ceiling tiles on the market.
About the Founder
Dakota Tin was founded by Ryan Rusher, a product designer with an expansive background in engineering. His passion, using manufacturing processes to create efficient processes for construction, automotive, and remodeling markets, allows him to create high-quality, cost-effective products for homes and businesses.
Aside from his innovative ideas, Rusher is involved in local community groups, personal home-improvement projects, and has a weakness for competitive automotive racing. He spends his free with his wife and two children, watching their baseball games and kayaking the Missouri River, located just a few minutes from their home in Yankton, South Dakota.