View Full Version : Dark block barn any suggestions?

Jul. 2, 2010, 08:53 PM
We are finally getting a horse property to bring our horse home! That being said it isn't much of one being only at 2.5 acre. It has a 5stall cinder block barn that has a narrow aisle way. Not ideal because the barn is dark..nice and cool on a really hot day but a bit gloomy. There is lights overhead I just haven't seen them on yet to see how it looks fully on. On one side the the tiny aisle way is a block wall and on the other sides of the stalls is a large car garage. The windows overlook into the garage so not much lighting from that side. On the other side of the block aisle wall is going to be a large tack room. Above is a large fully enclosed loft (cept for the large open window on each side) so no light from there.

Do horses seem to mind the dimness or will I have to keep the lights on?

Jul. 2, 2010, 09:05 PM
When I kept my horses in the bank barn- I had the same problem. I would leave all the lights on during the day. Unless it was wicked hot out- then I'd just leave the aisle light on.

Jul. 2, 2010, 09:22 PM
Although the outside of our barn is metal, we have block walls on the fronts of our stalls. We painted them high gloss white and it brightened it up considerably. I don't know if you want to consider a new roof yet, but we replaced our roof and put skylights all the way down the hallway (in fact you could probably put them in with your existing roof). Between the skylights and the white walls, our barn is incredibly airy and light.

Other than the above, the only thing you can do is invest in extremely good lighting.

Oops - just reread and saw that you have a loft - guess skylights wouldn't work for you.

cyriz's mom
Jul. 2, 2010, 11:49 PM
There's been discussion about lighting before and the general consensus is that Humans like barns light and bright and horses actually seem to like them dark...more cave like. I don't have any lights (or electricity) in my barn and the walls are a dark wood. The east side of the barn is open from about 4' up to 8'. And there are big sliding doors on the north and south. My horses, who typically live out 24/7, love being the barn. I always laugh because when I keep one stalled (foaling or injury), they don't want to leave. We call the stalls, condos or suites!

So, as long as the ventilation is good, I wouldn't worry too much about it being dark.

Jul. 3, 2010, 04:14 PM
If you leave them inside during the day, you will have lots less flies in the darker barn than one with white walls inside. Old barns were designed to be dark inside on purpose. Windows leak cold air in winter, make drafts. Stored feed stayed greener, flies didn't harass the animals all day. Flies also make black specks on light finished walls, see it in lots of barns. Hard to clean off that fly dirt.

I would think the block barn would be cooler in summer.

Jul. 3, 2010, 04:41 PM
Flies can't land as easily on high gloss surfaces which is also why they don't leave specks on white vehicles. We have no white specks on our walls. White does attract flies but with good manure management practices in place and stable spray/fogger, we've not had any real problems.

Coming from a Saddlebred background, there used to be quite a few dark barns that housed Saddlebreds. When I was young I visited quite a few and although they were clean, I didn't like how the horses would blink like crazy once exposed to sunlight and how it long it took them to adjust to their surroundings. I also noticed dark barns seemed to build up odors faster than barns that aired out with sunlight. That being said, I'd take a dark, clean barn over a light, dirty barn any day.;)

Jul. 3, 2010, 10:29 PM
Paint the ceiling white as well as the walls.
Make sure you seal the cinderblock 1st or moisture will peel the paint off.

Invest in good flourescent strip lights you can get bulb protectores for them.

Bright light reflectant colors not only in stalls but aisle way will make you feel cheerier and make place look bigger as well.
Also stall screens instead of solid doors allows light to travel.

Jul. 4, 2010, 11:08 AM
I have an 8 stall cinderblock barn. Our inside walls are painted a high gloss white and we do not have any problems with black fly specs. In fact we get them on our stall front bars but none on the walls. I love our barn, it stays cool in the summer and warmer in the winter. The walls are super easy to clean, just get a bleach sprayer and then hose them down. Painting the walls ans ceiling will really help brighten the plcae up. I would add a few more lights I think. Horses don't mind dark, they see almost as well in the dark as they do in daytime. The only thing is it takes a horse much longer than a human for their eyes to adjust when going from dark to light or vice-versa, about 5 minutes or so. Just somthing to keep in mind. Good luck!