We did a lot of research when deciding what kind of flooring would be best for our horse barn. There is no shortage of opinions when it comes to flooring and footing, but this is what we decided to build and it’s worked well for us.
Horse Barn Aisle Flooring
The aisle in our barn gets a lot of traffic. Horses in cross ties, manure spreader, our Kawasaki Mule, SUVs with horse trailers, trucks for hay delivery, etc. So it had to be durable.
We also wanted it to be easy to clean, not slippery when wet, and something we could afford.
That’s why we chose 4” poured concrete with a light broom finish.
The light broom finish means they drag a broom over the top when the concrete is setting, which gives it a slightly rougher finish. Pushing harder on the broom creates deeper ruts, which is good for traction but makes cleaning a nightmare. The light room finish provides enough traction and it’s easy enough to clean with a push broom.
Cost Effective: Concrete slab is a relatively inexpensive option for a permanent floor. Depending on where you live, it may cost $4 to $8 per square foot for concrete. This does not include any required leveling, excavation work, or fill material you may need. Many installers will also include a brush finish at no extra cost.
This is also a good base for the tack room and hay storage area, though we recommend using pallets in between your hay and the concrete floor to minimize moisture and spoilage.
Asphalt (Popcorn/Porous), Crushed Stone or Clay, Stone Pavers, Rubber Pavers, Rubber Mats, Interlocking Rubber Mats, Compacted Soil (Sometimes you have to work with what you’ve got!).
Horse Stall Flooring
If you thought there were a lot of opinions about horse barn aisles, flooring for horse stalls is even more contentious.
A lot of people have opinions without regard to how the stalls will be used. Are you going to keep your horses in every night? Will they only be stalled for feeding, vet visits, and property maintenance?
Comfort, cleanliness, and maintenance should all be considered – and will impact what might work best for you. Cost (money or time) is also something that may be important to you.
All that pee has to go somewhere. If you keep your horses stalled more often, there is more waste to deal with.
What we chose and why: On top of the fill sand and crushed concrete base that was brought in and leveled for the entire barn, we put 3 inches of ¼ inch limestone and 1inch rubber stall mats on top. This combination made the stall height the same height as the 4” concrete slab in the rest of the barn.
Limestone: We chose limestone due to its absorption and odor neutralizing properties. We chose ¼ inch so that we could have a relatively smooth surface but still have drainage. Tip: Don’t get 1/4inch stones with “fines” or “crushed stone”, sometimes called “¼ and below” limestone because it will become hard and not as porous. You want a little bit of space between the stones for urine and other liquids to drain away – not stay locked between your stall mat and floor base (yuck).
Rubber Stall Mats: Rubber stall mats serve two main purposes. One is to keep the horse comfortable, and the other is to protect the limestone ‘drainage’ area from getting clogged with hay, manure, bedding, etc. These are the types of stall mats you can get at Tractor Supply, Rural King, Farm & Feed stores, etc. We recommend cutting them to the exact size and fitting them together as snugly as possible to reduce passing through manure and bedding.
Concrete/Asphalt – You’ll definitely need rubber mats for comfort and LOTS of bedding material that can absorb urine. This usually means higher long-term cost for bedding and lots of upkeep, including removing/washing stall mats and a concrete foundation that doesn’t drain.
Earth/Clay – Horses have survived a long time on dirt floors, but it can be uneven and may not be as hygienic or low maintenance as other options.
Horse Stall Floor Comparison
This is a helpful chart from the PSU Extension, but the prices are from a long time ago: