View Full Version : Barn Building - What Would You Repeat vs Change If You Could "Do Over"?

Jul. 8, 2010, 01:16 PM
I think the title pretty much says it all!

I am considering building my own barn in the not too distant future. I have some ideas in mind (of things I do want as well as things I don't want), but would love to hear from the rest of you!

Please be as detailed as possible as every little thing counts! For example: I want bullnose cement blocks on all the corners.

What feature(s) do you have that you love and would do exactly the same again?

What feature(s) did not work out the way that you anticipated and you would do differently if you could?

What, if anything, did you overlook and wish you'd thought of initially?

Thank you!

Jul. 8, 2010, 01:23 PM
My only regret with the barn was not insulating the roof- it would have cost about $2000 (36x84 barn, 5/12 pitch) for the bubble wrap stuff and I didn't want to spend that much at the time.

Jul. 8, 2010, 01:31 PM
Wish I would have:

1. I've been one of the biggest anti-shedrow barns, BUT I think I would have been happiest if i could have a shedrow with overhangs off both sides. I just really like the openness.

2. Planned better for positioning. the barn has doors on three sides, but one of the horses is in the hot morning sun with little breeze, whereas it feels 20 degrees cooler under the other ones overhang. Then again, it obviously flip flops in the evening. That's one reason I think I would love having a shedrow with overhangs on both sides. Aside from that I like looking out my window at night and checking on them. I can't see one of them because of the way the barn is positioned. :(

3. better excavation/elevation. I skimped even though I knew better. It was $$$.

4. more sidelights. I have 4 that are a few feet long. I REALLY wish I had done them around the entire barn. It lets in a lot of light.

Glad I did:

1. Dutch doors with an overhang. This would definitely be a non-negotiable requirement should I ever have a different barn.

2. Built our own stalls. They are so much more solid than the prefab stalls I've had in the past. No rattling around, bowing when a horse leans on it, etc. I love that they can stick their heads over.

3. Spar varnish on the wood. It's been really nice to wipe the nasty walls off and it just comes clean! I wish I had put more on now honestly.

4. Have the barn enclosed by fencing. At my old barn if a horse got out of the stall on accident they could end up on the road. I have SO much more comfort knowing that if one were to happen to get out (saaaay you let them in the stall via the dutch door and maybe forget the regular stall door is open...) they'd just end up enclosed in the fencing around the barn. Love it.

Jul. 8, 2010, 01:41 PM
Two things I would change that wouldn't have cost me anything:
Very slightly angling of the aisle floors so that they drained out. I have chickens and hate a stained floor so I scrub and hose it out a lot.

Things I would do if I had the extra money:
lean-to on both sides of the barn. The difference in the summer sun is drastic on the non-lean-to side.

Lights outside each entrance/exit
Plugs outside each entrance/exit
6' storage room for wheelbarrow/rakes etc

Jul. 8, 2010, 01:42 PM
Forgot the "repeat" part--I'd rebuild it as it is now but would particularly point out:

I would buy my beautiful doors again http://www.flickr.com/photos/fairweather/4655753103/in/set-72157622441156352/

I would run 220 electric for my bad-ass fans from Farmtek.

Jul. 8, 2010, 01:44 PM
I bought a farm with an existing barn. It is about 60 by 48, I think. I haven't measured it. It is an old tobacco barn that was converted to a horse barn, with stalls flanking a center aisle, a long bay on one side behind the stalls that I park my horse trailer in, and a hay storage area behind the set of stalls on the other. The last two stalls (one on each side) are run-ins and so doubly deep.

Things I love about my barn:

Location - it is at the top of hill and situated to catch the breeze as it comes over the hill

Spacing betwen the boards on all 4 sidewalls- it allows for air circulation at all times and is still surprisingly snug in the winter

The "hay doors" high up in the front and back, that are really just big windows cut in the wall. I never have to worry about heat buildup under my roof.

The height of the barn - very high - no idea how high but very. It also allows for wonderful circulation.

My center aisle is slightly sloped downhill. I can lay a hose down in the aisle, and it drains itself. I LOVE that feature, as water does not stand in my barn. Each stall is level but the runins at the ends of the barn are sloped, which is great as they see the most action.

Dirt floors in all the stalls and center aisle, with gravel over the dirt in center aisle. Its not fancy but it works great

Seperate tack and feed rooms

Huge tack room (gotta love those old barns)

Two Run-in stalls that are 24 x 12.

A 24 x 12 hay stall. I like using the stall for hay, rather than the mows.

Two frost free water hydrants!

Gates at either end of the barn aisle, so nobody accidently wanders away, and I can let animals into the center aisle to work with them.

Jul. 8, 2010, 02:37 PM
Things I plan to do when I find the extra cash (yeah, like that is ever going to happen).

Overhang/porch type setup over the doorways on either end of the barn (center aisle type barn), to reduce the sun and rain that comes into the barn.

Move the outdoor wash rack area out of the sun, it is an oven in the afternoon, no idea what the former owners were thinking. I end up washing them on the shady side of the barn in the dirt instead of on the nice concrete wash rack.

Ceiling fans.

Solar attic fans.

Stall mats.

Replace the swinging tack style gossip doors with sliding stall doors.

Firgure out a way to make the ladder to the loft retractable.

Jul. 8, 2010, 02:40 PM
Forgot the "repeat" part--I'd rebuild it as it is now but would particularly point out:

I would buy my beautiful doors again http://www.flickr.com/photos/fairweather/4655753103/in/set-72157622441156352/

I would run 220 electric for my bad-ass fans from Farmtek.

Those doors are what I want for my barn someday, are the windows glass or plexiglass?

Jul. 8, 2010, 02:44 PM
We are pretty basic here, pole barn with center aisle.

I think the only thing I really regret would not be going a couple feet taller. We have 12ft wide and tall doors at both ends, and all the rafter trusses are 12ft high. To "do over" I would have made the barn taller for the added hay storage we could gain.

Otherwise, pretty much nothing in design. We have modified one set of stalls from two boxes to 4 ties stalls, enclosed the feed area with that stall face lumber reused. But stalls stayed in the same place, feed area did as well, just with a wall to lock things up.

On advice of brother-in-law the builder, we had the base hauled in the year before, so weather worked on the pile and settled things as seasons changed. We were raising the barn up over 4ft, so that year in the rain and snow was wonderful in preparation. Barn floor has one small crack since being poured over 25 years ago, and we blame the woodchuck who got in under the floor before we caught him for that. Cement is very thick, holds up the fully loaded semi with hay on it, usually about 600 bales per load.

We have a 12ft wide aisle, would not accept anything less now. Any and all of the trucks fit inside to drive thru. Easy for the tractor and spreader to cruise thru when cleaning stall, work on both sides of the machinery. Vet and farrier trucks come in out of the weather to work on animals. We hitch the Four, Pairs, Singles in there, drive thru the barn. Aisle hitching with tied animals is a very safe method. Never had a horse balk at doing a covered bridge!!

The box stalls are 12x12, fit big and small horses fine. We built them ourselves with rough cut lumber. Extremely solid, suitable for our climate with solid doors. We personally HATE having heads hanging out the stalls, especially with using the aisle for so many drive-thru things. You could kill a horse who came out at the wrong time! Also prevents disobedience when going by and led animal spooks when stall horse extends a head. Box stalls are used for the oldies or broodmare and foal when we have one.

4 Tie stalls replaced 2 box stalls when we needed more barn room for MORE horses! Tie stalls are 12ft long, by about 5'6" wide, suitable for our Sporthorse built animals. We love the tie stalls for their many benefits, use less bedding, faster daily barn cleaning, teaching tools for the young horses. Just having horses in the stalls, they learn so much with people and food coming and going. Takes out the tickles, no one kicks back if surprised with a touch, they move forward to let food IN faster. They load in trialers easily, back great distances easily when asked, that is how you LEAVE a tie stall, no big deal. As the handler, you don't need extra time to train these things, it is part of the daily routine. All ours tie well, spending time in these stalls, do not develop bad habits like stall walking and door banging since those options are NOT AVAILABLE in tie stalls. Again, using the aisle behind these stalls, no one is nervous or kicky with others behind them, stuff just happens back there all the time. They turn and watch, learn to be calm, accepting. All the horses are only barned half a day, so they don't spend huge amounts of time in stalls.

We have a large enclosed tack room in one corner, was going to be FINE with just owning the FOUR horses we planned to ever need! Have to say it is a tad small since we have gained so much driving equipment and harness. It is a good design, we just have TOO MUCH stuff with owning so many horses. We were up to 10 for a while, now down to 6, but really NEED one more for the new spare in our Four. Maybe I should sell some of the STUFF!

Barn holds about 800 bales on one side. That extra 2feet higher would probably have gotten us an even 1000 bales in the barn on the one side. Tack room has a good roof, we can store bales on that and over the feed room as well. Still leaves an open space between stall wall and tack room wall for carriage, wheelbarrow, tools on the wall, shelving storage, other stuff we commonly use in the barn. Forks and shovels for stalls are hung on one inside wall of the feed room. No standing around implements. We don't have anything hanging out in the aisles except crossties. No chance of snagging on things driving thru.

Brother-in-law says you should plan for all the things you NEED now, add 1/3 more space for when things change. Have to say that is true, we had our barn plan full, before we ever put the base down!! I got husband to add on another 20ft in length, though we could not imagine ever needing it! Yet we did later as our horse interests changed from only riding to include driving needs.

The wasted part on our barn was the 8ft overhang on one side. Plan was to park 2-horse trailer and truck under there, protected from the sun and weather on the north side. Overhang also covered the people doors for entry in rain or snow. That idea was pretty much a bust, snow swirled between small barn, woodlot and new barn, ending up in drifts along the north wall. This pretty much buried the trailer and truck above the wheels, so you could not get it out all winter.

However the overhang got "recycled" as we added a lean-to/shed on the north side. Only had to add length on the roof truss to meet new sidewall, not re-engineer the whole roof, for that additon. So the overhang became useful, about 7 years after the barn was first built. We park the trailers in that shed now, can pull a load of hay under the roof if rain looks likely and we are too tired to unload.

Everything is pretty plain and workmanlike. No fancy work, no varnished walls, though the tack room walls and box stall faces are treated with Olympic opaque stain for waterproofing. No varnish! Everything has worked pretty well over the years, held up to hard usage, not cobbled together or needing much attention. Extremely usable for a variety of horse needs, Pony Club and 4-H demonstrations or work sites. You can have a dozen kids working on 6 horses under supervision, learning new stuff. Husband has built and repaired MANY things in that 12ft aisle out of the weather. We saddle up, hitch up horses in the aisle, then go use them.

Have fun with your barn plans.

Drive NJ
Jul. 8, 2010, 02:47 PM
Front and back stall doors for each stall. Having been involved in a fire I want to be able to get them out without going in the barn if possible

Fenced area not far from door, but NOT encompassing the barn. Again, in a fire you want them fenced away from the barn/fire

Overhangs on both (or all) sides of barn to keep the building cooler, provide some weather protection when out in attached fields

Wash stall is too small at our place. Feels crowded, which is only OK because our guys have very good manners. Also needs a window or something to allow better air flow. But then I'm really just as happy washing them outside and watering the grass at the same time.

Go Fish
Jul. 8, 2010, 03:00 PM
Wide aisles...big enough for a tractor or pick up to drive through with comfortable room on each side. I don't think 12' is wide enough. This is expensive, though.

I don't know what you're going to be using your barn for, but I'd add two extra stalls for "ready" areas. I hate horses cross-tied in the aisle...I prefer a solid wall behind them. I also don't put my ready areas or tack room in the middle of the barn, but close to either end. Your farrier and vet will love you. When you load up or unpack for shows, you'll love yourself, too. Position the barn so you can easily pull a trailer up and get it turned around.

Big enough pipes to the barn. You don't want to compromise on water pressure.

I know some think of it as a fire hazard, but barns go up in a heart beat anyway. I like my shavings bin close to the barn. You might think about trailer and tractor storage, too.

Don't scrimp on stall doors and hardware.

Jul. 8, 2010, 03:02 PM
Things I Love:

1. Horses have direct access to dry paddocks from stalls when they are not turned out.

2. Half stall doors so horses can check out what if going on inside the barn.

Things I would Change:

1. I would install automatic waterers

2. I would never build a wooden barn again. Everything eats wood (bugs, horses, dogs etc).

3. I would install ceiling fans.

But all in all I love my barn.

Jul. 8, 2010, 03:45 PM
I have to pat myself on the back, for the most part I am more than satisfied with my barn.
First-timer that I am, it all worked out pretty darn good.
Not at all fancy but very serviceable.

BTW: FairWeather I LOVE & covet those doors! I priced similar aftermarket and :eek:

Things I did 100% Right:

#1 Floor Plan:
*Rear Dutch Doors on stalls with fencing set up so the barn is in the middle of 2 pastures.
Sacrifice paddock is this middle ground.

*Horses have free access to their stalls and both pastures 24/7/365.
Or I can shut off either one or both pastures with just one gate.

*Having them loose makes farmsitting a no-brainer for even the non-horsy.
Horses know to go into a stall for feeding and {knock wood} so far everyone behaves in a mannerly fashion.
This has worked for me for 2 different sets of 2 geldings.

*12' wide aisle means hayguy can drive his loaded wagon through the barn so unloading & stacking are less bother for all

*Indoor is attached to the barn, separated by a 12' sliding door.
I can leave this open for extra ventilation in all sorts of weather.
Indoor has additional sliders on the other 3 sides so it can be really airy.

#2 Mechanicals
*Frost-free pump inside makes Winter less of a hardship.

I have heated buckets in the stalls but once temps dip below 40F I can refill these from buckets without having to freeze my a$$ off.

If I were a bit less lazy I could use a short length of hose...if I remembered to drain it after use.

*Cold ballast fluorescent lighting inside the barn and in the indoor.
No irritating halide buzzing & instant ON (except for the occasional really damp day)

*Eavelights & skylights let in enough daylight so I hardly use the lighting, even in the indoor.
I got the 2', but 3' would be even better.

Things open to Improvement:
*Gate from fenceline to barn is 12' wide. This was recommended 7 I went with it.
16' would make me breathe easier when equipment comes through.

*Add gates to both pastures so I have access from the far ends.
As it is I have to go in & out the same way which makesfor soem extra footsteps or driving if I'm on the mower.

If I could get some more base laid down there would be ZERO mud to deal with.
The entrance to each pasture from sacrifice paddock quickly becomes a bootsucking swamp every Spring and rainy Summer day after.

Jul. 8, 2010, 05:05 PM
I wouldn't change a thing about the barn we built last year but will add we sure had a problem with snow banks last winter from blowing snow. I don't know what folks up north do but I need some bushes/fences/walls places somewhere to cut down on the problem.

I ditto the advice to plan generously and then add a little more for growing pains. You'll never regret that!!

Jul. 8, 2010, 05:19 PM
I love my open style barn. Paddocks off the stalls so if the horses are in they can still move around. Really good for a laid up horse, plus most horses will not poop in their stalls when they have the option to go into the paddock
Paddock base is geotextile fabric with rock dust over it. No mud ever, easy to scoop poop.
All doors are 6 foot wide, no banged up hips.
I wish we had remebered to build stairs to the loft:lol:

Jul. 8, 2010, 06:32 PM
I have a four stall center aisle barn. I love my auto waterers and that each stall has a door to a run outside that then leads to a large paddock. My non-horsey helpers never have to handle a horse to turn them out or bring them in.

My runs have 8' gates so I can get the tractor in for maintenance.

The only thing I really wish I did differently was to unchain my wallet and get overhangs on each side. It was going to cost $3k more and I decided it wasn't necessary. Wrong choice. ;)

Jul. 8, 2010, 07:14 PM
heated walls in the barn and arena. Quiet, cost effective and consistent heat. Not sure how I worked/taught at barns without it.

Jul. 8, 2010, 08:21 PM
I would rotate the barn about 20 degrees counterclockwise, because the prevailing winds in the summer (when I originally plotted out the barn site) are about 20 degrees different than they are in the winter . . . the summer breezes are welcome but the winter winds are AWFUL. I would trade a slightly off-target summer breeze for less of a direct hit from the winter winds! Live and learn--site the barn so the WORST of the prevailing winds can be avoided, not necessarily so the BEST of them can be capitalized upon.

Of course if I lived in a very, very hot climate it would be different. :)

As it is now, the winter wind definitely blows in my barn (kept open most of the time) and I've been known to find a few snowdrifts in the stalls in the morning. :lol:

I've toyed with a little built-on windbreak at the end of my horse porch, but the horses don't seem to mind the wind and snow so it just hasn't happened yet. And a barn 20 degrees off-kilter from where it is now would look like it just got plopped down there with no particular plan. At least now it is more or less "square" with the driveway, creek, and fence lines.

Jul. 8, 2010, 09:17 PM
I didn't originally have an overhang on the west side of my barn, but added it last fall and it's so much better. I wish I had put three stalls on one side instead of 2 and 2. I originally had four horses here, but then was down to three and one didn't have a stall to hang out in, since they all liked to be together. The overhang made it bearable since even though he didn't have his own stall, he had shelter and shade. My stalls open to 40 foot long runs which are open to a field...so they're in and out as they wish.

I love my skylights, the 16 foot center aisle, and the auto waterers. Concrete aisle is great, too. Love the dutch doors out to the runs, but really only use the dutch door feature when a horse is rehabbing so he can still visit with his buddies. Still, when needed they're a nice feature. Definitely have two doors to each stall.

I also added another frost free hydrant out by the stock tank. It's so much easier in the winter than having to drain a long hose every other day.

I spent a lot of money raising the ground where the barn was built, and the drainage is really good. I can go out to the barn and back without stepping in any mud, thanks to lots and lots of gravel and proper drainage.

It's an ongoing process. I tried to think of every possible thing, but you really need to go through the seasons and see how things work, then tweak it here and there. Overall, I love my barn.

Jul. 8, 2010, 09:35 PM
Things I would do again-

Attached to the garage (I can get from the kitchen into the barn without going outside. a reall advantage last winter)

big overhang on each side

Lots of flourescent lights

Hot and cold running water to the feedroom sink and to the wash stall.

frostfree hydrants at each end of the barn

center aisle barn

concrete floor with drains, covered by mats

electric outlets (with GFI) outside every stall, as well as the wash stall and teh tack room.

dutch doors on every stall, both to the aisle and to the outside

barn surroundes by sacrifice paddock, which is connected by gates to the pastures- I never have to lead horses in and out, just open and close gates.

The main things I would do differently

electric outlets at 4' off the ground

built in fans

Jul. 8, 2010, 09:38 PM
I love my drainage and completely mud free barn. I sited the barn on the same pad as the 80+ year old mule barn we took down. It is a rare hot summer day that I don't have a breeze down my aisle. Even better 30 years ago when the property was phosphate mined the soil around the barn was taken so the barn pad actually sits up about 3 or 4 feet higher than the surrounding land. We had 18 inches of rain in two days in May and I still did not have mud. Do not skimp on drainage and gravel.

Jul. 8, 2010, 11:11 PM
Drainage, drainage, drainage. Mr Blue was having a fit over all the "wasted" money I was "throwing away" on "stuff you can't see" when we were building. He wanted to *see* what we were spending all that money on...like fancy stall fronts or something solid and bought from a store. Instead a huge chunk of the budget went into grading, grading, grading to promote proper run off. The foundation being built up around it on all sides and ditches all around and grading away from it. French drains. Dry wells. The interior of the foundation being entirely back filled with stone for more drainage, etc. Mr Blue, "You're BUYING MORE STONE???" (our lot has a lot of rocks, he couldn't understand why I'd buy more, LOL)
However...6.5 years later and my property is dry. Bone dry. Couldn't flood if it tried. And I don't have mud...not real mud. The worst it's ever gotten after biblical proportions rains for weeks on end was a slight slick of mud on top of solid ground, no more than 1-2" deep at worst. And dried out fast. Broke a water line in the barn...water shooting out all damned night at a very high rate. Barn had very little water in it...it was draining away through the mat seams because there's 4 feet of drainage under those! Dried out in 2 hours. Most other area farms near me have puddles, lakes and seas of mud months out of every year. Not me. :cool: So #1 for me is always spend on drainage!!! (whew...that was a long pro)

Other pros:
heated auto nelson waterers
insulating barn walls
roof vent fans to keep air cool and fresh

Turnouts attached to barn, no need to lead anywhere. All turnouts attached to one another including riding ring area...it's like having a perimeter fence without actually having a perimeter fence. If a horse pulls loose, it can't go anywhere. Only one gate in/out of the horsie areas.

Really good maintanance free fencing and even better bigger fence posts. You never waste money on good fencing...it's what keeps your horses in the safe zone and not running amok.

Pro installed electric and plumbing. So much better than rigged up Uncle Jerry's utilities. :D And installed by people who know barns. :yes: CFGI everywhere in the barn.

Ventilation. Can't have enough of it. Do ridge, eave vents, cupola, windows, etc.

Cons/Do overs:
Due to property topography/layout I had the barn built as a front aisle with one main door. There are 6 windows (24x40 4 stall barn) ridge and eave vents for ventilation...but it doesn't get cross breezes due to not having two end doors. But then that area of the property doesn't get much in breezes...but still wouldn't do that again probably.

Placing barn a little differently so I could have run-out stalls. Would be nice and something I'd consider if I built again. However...I do use my barn aisle as a built-in run in shed. Hung a gate in the aisle and can swing and latch it so I have a 12x24 section of aisle as a run in.

A climate controlled room would be great. Somewhere to keep stuff from getting humid in summer and from not freezing in winter. My barn isn't brutally cold due to insulation, but in mid winter some liquid stuff in the tack room will either freeze or gel so U have to bring it in the house.

Overhangs! I forgot overhangs and have been kicking myself for years over that. I will put them up eventually...one on the front as a "porch" that will provide a dry entrance in rain, a spot under roof for the horses if they don't want to stand in the aisle run in and help keep the sun from beating in during summer. And a side or back overhang...multiple uses such as tractor or trailer storage or 3 sided as hay storage.

I didn't insulate the interior of the roof/ceiling. Dingbat me was thinking to avoid condensation in winter when horse breath vaporizes, rises and freezes on an insulated roof and then "rains" back down when the sun beats on the roof and melts it. However...I do not have a steel roof! (smacks head) So wouldn't have that issue. I will insulate the roof soon too, already have the insulation but I hate heights and ladders. Also have to buy sheets of screen to cover it. Plywood is too heavy for me to hold up and attach overhead as an insulation cover (if you don't cover it, birds and critters nest in it!) but I can use a staple gun and cover it with fine mesh metal screen maybe. It'll help a bit with frigid temps in winter, but more importantly I want it to combat sun-heat in summer.

Jul. 9, 2010, 12:58 PM
heated walls in the barn and arena. Quiet, cost effective and consistent heat. Not sure how I worked/taught at barns without it.

Call me dumb, but how are the walls heated? What is the barn made out of? I'm only familiar with the overhead tubes (whatever they are called), radiant heat, or heat in-floor in concrete. I'm all about cost-effective...

Jul. 9, 2010, 03:16 PM
OP you beat me to it, we will be building a new barn at a new property next year and I have been thinking about this as well.

Three things I will definitely change:

1) Really miss not having a wash stall
2) Regret not putting hot water in the barn
3) I had the idea that if my tack/feed room was not enclosed all the way to the ceiling it would stay warmer via heat from the stalls (we live in a cold climate). The cats love being able to perch up there on top of the walls but the dust in my tack/feed room from from the stalls is just not worth it. Will not do that again.

What I will repeat:
1) Access to pasture very close to barn to save time turning out in the a.m.
2) Really building up the area that the barn sits on. Barn is always high and dry. Our contractor suggested that and we balked a bit at the extra cost but he was oh so right.
3) Hay shed close to barn, another time saving feature.

Jul. 9, 2010, 03:45 PM
I have lived with our new barn since 05. I have some things I would finish further so that the barn "looked" better but...

I forgot to put a floor drain in my tack room and bathroom. Then the washer sprung a leak. Too late now with concrete floors.

I could have used more sliding windows in my arena for better ventilation. Wanted a bigger arena too.

A way to keep the birds out of the barn would be nice.

I really love having second story hay storage in the big barn as we walk upstairs and drop down hay. very convinient but it really makes the barn hot. Need to improve the ventilation up there soon with exhaust fans or something.

Outlets, you find that there will be some you wish were else where and some you never use.

I would have loved stalls with runout paddocks but our layout didn't allow it with great cost. All my stalls in both barns are on the exterior walls with a window in each. That I love, no horses living in the dark center of the building.

I also flubbed a bit on my tack room layout with the water tank, double sink and washer dryer. great to have these but I could have used the space better. Instead I have a wasted corner.

Jul. 12, 2010, 09:06 PM
One of the best things that we did was put in a little "heated garage" for the water hose. It is about 4'x4' and sticks off/attaches to the tackroom that is heated. We have about 75' of hose on a reel...we open the hinged door, pull the reel out, water, reel the hose back on, and push back into the heated garage! No frozen hoses. If it gets really really cold, we turn on a little computer fan to help circulate the air from the tack room into the garage. It works great! :)

Jul. 19, 2010, 12:11 AM
Love my barn:

My fav things:

14' Aisleway: It really does make a difference to have an extra foot on either side. If you have a tack trunk in front of the stalls, the extra space makes up for the space those trunks take up, turning around is easier and a wide area for breezes to flow through makes summers more bareable

I second the bad a$$ fans!!! They make a huge difference in ambient temp in the barn, quiet, and just happy altogether with them.

Triton Stalls, they can make anything for you and they help by fitting the most into your budget. I have "off-size" stalls and I was able to use 'normal' dimensions with the addition of a custom sized door, so it only cost me a little more to do a custom sized door. The quality is superb, and I am just thrilled with everything from style, to finish, to quality...and they took the time to step me through the process. VERY satisfied. They aren't as well known as some of the other companies, here's their website...www.tritonbarns.com

Rubber pavers down the aisleway, love 'em, they look great, and feel great under foot

Sliding dutch doors with windows and runs off each stall...priceless. i will now always make runs off each stall. It gives the horses extra room in their stall, nice for rehabilitating injuries should the need arise, or in my case, for the first few days after a foal is born (and nice in general for foals and mama's to have that extra space)

Extra Large doors...I'm not sure why it isn't more standard to see larger doors, they make everything easier!

Best of luck to you!

Jul. 19, 2010, 11:31 AM
I haven't read through the whole thread, and I didn't build from scratch but rather renovated an old bank barn, but the one thing I regret not doing, and I knew it at the time and regretted it before we even finished pouring the aisle concrete, was not piping water lines to each individual stall for the eventual possibility of auto waterers in every stall , or at least every other stall (there are models you can get where one waterer is placed so that it accesses two stalls). Seriously, the concrete wasn't even dry before I was mad at myself. But it just tipped us too much over our expenses, which had of course already grown as the project was in progress and "issues" arose! :lol:

Jul. 19, 2010, 01:12 PM
Mine's a converted cattle barn, and I'd do a lot of things differently if building from scratch. A few things are good:

-Love the 14 ft aisle and wouldn't want less.
-Love being able to turn out and bring in horses directly from the stalls. It saves a ton of time.
-The ventilation is perfect. The barn is cool and dark in summer, with a fresh breeze and few bugs, and stays warm and snug in the winter.

For a do-over, I'd:

-Have an overhang at the end where the horses come in, since they spend a lot of time there.
-Build all on one level. Hay mows are a PITA, and near impossible for the aged or infirm.
-Keep things open and tractor-accessible. Chores go a lot faster if you can put the manure spreader right at the source, use the tractor to fill hay racks, etc. (Not to mention how much more popular they are with the hubby when he can use motorized equipment.)
-Have a better redundant winter water system for times when the power goes out (no well water and nothing to keep water from freezing = bad) or, once, the farmsitter forgot to make sure the horses had water.
-Site the barn where the drainage is better. It's at the base of a hill, and I've spent $$ dealing with the lousy site.

Jul. 19, 2010, 01:39 PM
Album 1:
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2027610&id=1075391436&l=61d2cf1383 (first picture is the layout)

Album 2: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2056522&id=1075391436&l=307a61eb6c

Do differently:

Overhang around the entire barn, not just the one long side
Outlet and switch for every stall, not every two
Bathroom (all we will have is a utility sink)
Cathedral ceilings with vents
Paddock around barn with gate to get to driveway or total perimeter fencing (this might happen still just need to figure things out)
Fix our one big booboo with the sliding door opening into the light switch

Except for our booboo, everything else we don't like was done to save money.

Everything else we planned for years and have for very specific reasons and love, but here are some major points that I can think of:

Location, most wonderful breeze in the summer but sheltered from winter storm
Varnish on walls
Big tackroom, feedroom, and open storage area
Washstall and tackroom with hot water
Dutch doors to the outside
Sliding doors with yokes for those who like to stick their head out but aren't good about stall guards
Separate hay/bedding/storage barn with enough room for tons of each
Angles in concrete for water drainage
Lots of good excavation around barns for water flow
Ceiling covered
Stonedust and mats in stalls
Big sliding end doors with windows
Windows in tackroom and feedroom in case of power outage
People door on outside of feedroom/barn to get in without having to open the big end doors in case of storm
Water faucets so all the stalls and the fields can be watered with only 25' hoses (so we have two in the barn, and one between each of two fields
Flex fence
Insulated tack and feedroom
Wonderful aisle lights
Lots of outlets

We had reasons for not doing auto waterers, runs right off the barn, and some of the other things that lots of people like.

Feel free to ask any questions :) Like I said, it was a major project for us and one that took years of research and planning!

Jul. 20, 2010, 12:47 PM
Album 1:
We had reasons for not doing auto waterers, runs right off the barn, and some of the other things that lots of people like.

Feel free to ask any questions :) Like I said, it was a major project for us and one that took years of research and planning!

I'm curious, why did you not do the auto waterers?

I'd like to add a word of caution on the "back doors" with attached paddocks everyone is so jazzed about. They will weaken your structure somewhat, especially if you have a masonary barn. You will get a lot of cracks in the mortar. Lots of holes in building= weaker building. Not to say all barns like this are doomed to collapse. Of course not. Just somthing to consider, particularly if you like somewhere with a lot of hurricanes or tornado's.

The barn I am building is cinderblock. We poured a foundation and put all-thread in, did the walls, next is the roof. In the end we will end up with the roof tied into the foundation every few feet thanks to the all-thread (a long long steel threaded rod) via all thread coming up through all the corner blocks. We have large, arched windows in the stalls and the front door is arched. Give your pastures a year to get established nd grow deep roots. Hot water is a must for me. Heated auto waterers will be nice too, I think. For a foaling stall, I will have 2 12x12 stalls with a removable wood partition. The way my barn is designed, we will have a window from the lounge into the foaling stall. Nice. All the other things others have said about ventialtion, etc... very true. Will have a 12' brushed concrete isle.

What I do not like about my current barn (not the one under construction)

Hayloft keeps it hot in the summer, is a fire hazard, and without a hay elevator it is a huge PITA to get the hay up there.

The driveway is not wide enough to get a 53' semi trailer in. Barely a 26'.

Not enough room in barnyard to back up a 53' trailer, only the 26' (barely)

Not enough pasture for the number of stalls

The wash rack drain is HORRIBLE! It does not drain anywhere. its just a pipe that ends underground. No Dry well, no french drain. What were the builders thinking???

Also WR concrete slopes toward the isle, away from the drain.

Jul. 20, 2010, 01:54 PM
I'd like to add a word of caution on the "back doors" with attached paddocks everyone is so jazzed about. They will weaken your structure somewhat, especially if you have a masonary barn.


I can see how it would weaken a masonry wall. But in a typical teimber framed barn or pole barn, the walls are not weight bearing anyway.

Jul. 21, 2010, 12:50 AM
We built our barn 2 yrs ago, some things I love and would never change,, the cement floor all around is great, just wish we would have extended it 4 foot out and included a shedrow along the stall sides. When it rains it gets very muddy there. I also would like to find a way to raise the stairs going up to the loft. The loft is light and airy, we dont use it for hay. The cement floor in the wash stall is sloped toward the center w/a drain (I love it)
Looking back, we wished we went bigger :lol:

Jul. 21, 2010, 06:56 AM
I'd like to add a word of caution on the "back doors" with attached paddocks everyone is so jazzed about. They will weaken your structure somewhat, especially if you have a masonary barn.


I can see how it would weaken a masonry wall. But in a typical teimber framed barn or pole barn, the walls are not weight bearing anyway.

Right, even with masonry and tie rods thru concrete blocks, you frame for your openings, they are not in general making any structure like a barn or house weaker.
They would make a war type bunker weaker, but we are not building those, but barns and houses.:yes:

The many barns of all kinds I have been in, bar none, when horses were kept in stalls, those that had a run out from the stalls were much happier and I didn't see any disadvantage at all.:confused:

There is one disadvantage the more outside openings you have in any structure envelope, that is heating or cooling.
You lose more the more openings you have.
Ideally you want less than 17% of your envelope to be doors and windows and achieving that will be part of helping you achieve "Energy Star" rating for your structure.
If your barn won't have to be heated or cooled, the number of envelope openings should not be a concern as far as strenght.
Frame right for it, that is what building engineers look for in designs before approving them.:)

Practically everyone I know is building today with that feature for the larger barns, because not only are the horses happier with the extra real estate and entertainment, but so are the caretakers, as they have happier horses.

An overhang outside the stall was great, the larger the better, but you can live without that.

Jul. 21, 2010, 10:07 AM
Mine is a simple shedrow pole barn, 12X12 tack feed/combo, 2 stalls (12X12) and a 12X20 poured concrete storage area. Hay goes in the loft 10' 'aisle' in front of the stalls, wash rack on the end of the barn, uncovered 12X12 concrete rack.

the tack and feed room is fine in size. Feed goes in a dead deep freeze. Wish the 8' ceiling was higher so I could run a ceiling fan in there, it'd be kinda tight feeling to hang on. Door is a normal metal house door that swings in, I like that- easy to open and lock.

like how airy the stalls are which are rarely used except for feeding and rare nasty weather. Floors are sloped and rear wall has a gap at the bottom to allow air flow. Nothing small enough to capture a leg but lets in air. You can feel a breeze on your ankles - the barn just naturally draws a little air.

I REALLY wish I had 2 narrow little grooming 'stalls' tack up areas to cross tie horses. I don't like to tie them in their stalls. I wish it was still a shed row, but it was tack/feed | 6' wide grooming bay | 6' wide grooming bay | stall |stall | storage. Would only add 12' and I have the room.

The sun/wind choices were good. I'm reliant on some trees in the AM for shade but after about 2 the aisle, etc are in the shade. Yay.

the 'barnyard' is completely fenced and if a horse were to get loose from the washrack, for example, he's still contained. Said yard has a 16' gate so there's plenty of room for pulling hay trailers in there, even triaxle dump trucks to deliver gravel can easily get in there and move around.

WATCH your drainage!! We have finally got it right but we own little that's level it seems and water wants the path of least resistance. PLAN that well.

I'm happy with my little homemade barn. It's nothing fancy

would like:
more light
more outlets

Jul. 21, 2010, 10:49 AM
Here's what we did right:

1)14 foot wide aisles -horses can pass a tied horse in the aisle easily and any sort of machinery fits right through.
2)with 12 foot wide doors at either end- wonderful for catching the breeze and again machinery can get in and out easily.
3)and 12 foot ceilings.- on a suddenly rainy day, I really appreciate being able to ride right inside without dismounting.

4) hot water heater in the tack room, so it actually keeps the place warm without having to turn on a separate heater. We did put a catch basin and drainage under the water heater.
5)separate wash/grooming stall with a sloped floor so the water drains to the drain.

6)walk out paddocks- much less handling of horses required.

7) good drainage pipe all around and through the paddocks, topped with a good rock drainage base and then good, dry footing. Has saved us inumberable mud problems, the farrier and the vet say our horse's feet are the best in town and we have never had a case of thrush or mud fever.

8) putting the riding ring within a few yards of the barn. I hate having to tack up and then walk half an acre to a ring, like I used to have to do at some of the boarding places I was at. So convenient if you forget a piece of equipment or need to use the loo.

9) painting the entire interior white so its bright and airy all the time

10) ventilation ventilation ventilation. My heave-y horse was immediately better after moving home from the boarding barn where he didn't have a window. We have the eaves open, and the large doors and if it gets cold, we just put blankets on the beasts. Better they can breathe fresh air than have a sealed barn in the name of heating. But then again, we rarely get snow, so heat isn't exactly a need in this climate.

What I would do differently:

1) separate building for hay, not an overhead loft. We have a hay ladder, and I enjoy climbing into the loft for hay, but for fire safety I would've preferred a separate building like I have for my shavings.

2) dutch doors on the stalls instead of overhead hung, one piece doors with stall guards. The tracks on the overhead doors are forever needing adjustment as they gradually get looser and hang lower and then won't close and open properly. and they weigh a ton and adjusting them is a two person job. My one dutch door stall has never given me a moments trouble.

3) otherwise I think we got it right and have been very happy for 15 years with the barn we built ourselves.

Jul. 21, 2010, 11:26 AM
Clearly I should have worded my post differently, and would have had I known everyone and their brother was going to argue with me about it. My personal experience has been this. I have designed 3 cinderblock barns, 2 with stalls and pens attached. Almost every single exterior door has cracks in the joints running from the door to the top of the block, and some running laterally across the wall. I hope we can all agree that a cracked wall is weaker than a wall with no cracks. Personally, I'd like a barn with no cracks in the walls.

I guess these are just not popular in my area. When my horses are stalled, it is because of extreme heat or cold or storms, so I do not have a need for runs or paddocks. Other people may worship them, and that's great. Build a barn with nothing but doors if you want. This thread asked people what they liked and disliked about their barns and that is all I am trying to do.

Jul. 21, 2010, 11:37 AM
I wish we did a better job on grading the first time around. Who wants to go into a barn that has mucky swamps in front of doors?

I wish I had spent the money right away to get the electric and hot/cold water put in the barn. Garden hoses are cheap, but I will NOT go through another winter of draining & storing them to protect from freezing.

I do like that I stayed on budget. I have no loan to pay on it. It's not some giant monster I have to keep up with it... it's just the right size.

The only thing left for me to deal with is the lack of much hay storage on my property. But short of building a big pole barn, I just have to buy my hay (mostly roundbales) as I need them.

Jul. 22, 2010, 11:57 AM
I just have a small (12x30 with 10' overhang) prefab barn, but the one thing that I wish I had done differently, and WANTED to do differently, but dad said ohhh it'll be fine.... Would be to have built up higher under the barn, to a) aviod it flooding in the barn in the first place, and b) to drain better, if water does get in (think blown-in snow melting, sideways rain, quickie baths in the barn, pee, etc)

Barn's only been there just under 2 years, and I'm going to have to completely dig out under the overhang and put in new, bigger gravel under the mats. And dig out a 'ditch' in front to fill with big gravel to catch runoff. Right now, it still turns into a pond when it rains, but was much improved after I did the gravel and mats for the overhang the first time.
Lesson learned: don't always listen to your father! :o :uhoh: :lol:

The thing I like best is the paddock that encircles the barn. I like having my horses on 24/7 turnout, so they can be in, out, or whatever they want, whenever they want. I know they were out in the pouring rain last night because they were both clean this morning! :lol: