View Full Version : Smooth concrete in the barn - what to do?

Jul. 19, 2010, 04:50 AM
I love the farmette we have under contract, but this has me a little stumped.

The main barn was converted into a meeting/event building - the stalls were all ripped out (which is fine, I've seen pictures of the old stalls and they've just saved me the trouble), and they put down concrete. Everywhere.

So I'll be ripping it out on the side where I want stalls. The bigger issue is that this is *smooth*, sealed concrete. How can I salvage the concrete aisle? Is it even possible? I'd hate to have to rip it all out.

I guess I could just put lots of textured mats down. Is there a way to rough up existing concrete?

There are stalls on side of the arena as well, so this will be a "long term" project.

In the interim I'm considering hanging a disco ball and using it as my own personal skating rink. ;)

Jul. 19, 2010, 08:59 AM
I don't know about roughing up the concrete, you'd have to check with someone who does concrete but I can recommend the rubber mats. I don't know how wide your aisle will be but mine is 12' and a clay base. The clay base gets a mess in about 2 yrs so I had it leveled again and then put mats down the center of the aisle and used about a 1/2 mat leading from the stall doors to the matted center. I then just gradually added more mats every year until I got the entire barn aisle matted. It's about 55' long so it wasn't that expensive.

Good luck with whatever you end up doing. :)

One thing about the rubber mats. Sometimes when we've had rain and it's really humid, the mats will get wet and a bit slick. Not bad, at least not as bad as concrete but it's the only drawback I've had with them. It happens more frequently in the spring and fall. So far, even though we've had a fair amount of rain thru June and sweltering hot temps in the 90's, the mats have stayed dry.

Zu Zu
Jul. 19, 2010, 09:28 AM
We purchased a property with a cement :eek: aisle - which I hate :eek: cement in a barn ~~~ BUT when we had the barn re-modeled two stalls & added cement pad in tack room/feed room which is now neither but a cat apartment/ lounge with furniture.:lol:.. so anyway we purchased individual mats but placed them side by side the entire length ( there is only a few inches of cement 3" on the side borders) ~ horses step out and on to mat.:yes:.. mats with heavy pattern :yes: for traction - no slipping ~ I lost a mare I had in training at :eek: the trainers ~ she got loose and slipped on a "strip matted" aisle and fractured her pelvis ~ RIP ELEGANT LEADER aka "Ellie" thus I can not stand an unsafe aisle. My mats are butted up to each other side by side and are secured at each end = NO slipping or moving ---The cost of tearing up the concrete was too high and the MESS to scarey :eek: ~ so mats are what saved us ~

Jul. 19, 2010, 09:48 AM
I would not rip out the concrete for the stalls or otherwise. just put mats down in the stall and either mats or rubbber pavers down the asile. Concrete below the stalls keep the level and easy to clean and the rubber mats are easy on their legs.

Jul. 19, 2010, 12:12 PM
I would not rip out the concrete for the stalls or otherwise. just put mats down in the stall and either mats or rubbber pavers down the asile. Concrete below the stalls keep the level and easy to clean and the rubber mats are easy on their legs.

The concrete also allows urine to leak underneath the mats and pool......I would only use soft stalls over the concrete.

I have a concrete alley way but it is rough concrete designed for grip......which works well.....and in the main alley way I have four rubber mats inset in the concrete so I only actually have about 18" of concrete along the edges.

Hubby is a contractor in Canada and he said you need to talk to a concrete refinisher.......they hava a machine that can come in and grind a rough surface back into the smooth surface.....it is realatively inexpensive per square foot.


Jul. 19, 2010, 12:50 PM
I have a smooth concrete floor in my pole building, too. We took out the concrete where the stalls are, and replaced with gravel/screenings and mats.

For the aisle, I went to Wilco/Coastal (insert your farm store here) and bought the thin (1/4 inch??) rolled rubber matting. It is 4 feet wide and comes in 25 foot lengths, and is the same tackiness as a stall mat. A roll cost me $135, I think. I used several (purchased over time, as I couldn't afford to do it all at once) to line the length of the barn. They do not move when walked on by horses or driven on by trucks, but are light enough to maneuver them around by myself. Easier to sweep one continuous length of matting, too, none of those joints like 4 x 6 mats have.

Jul. 19, 2010, 01:11 PM
We have an asphalt aisle which has more texture than cement. I don't know if you could put down a layer of asphalt over the cement (if you could, you could bank it for drainage so you can wash it down) then put down mats. We have mats at each cross tie, and don't seem to need them in between. As for stall, don't know if the same solution would help, as you could possible slope them slightly for washing down.

Jul. 19, 2010, 01:20 PM
There is a rubber paint with some texture that is designed to go over concrete. Many of the major vet clinics use it. It looks great, is not slippery and is easy to clean. I can post pics of the clinic floors at New Bolton if you want to see what it looks like (PM me if you do).

We currently have a smooth concrete aisle and there was a reason the masonry contractor did not recommend a rough finish (can't remember what it was right now). We have rubber mats down the length now but we are either getting a custom cut single length mat or will be painting the aisle with the rubberized paint.....haven't decided which yet.

Jul. 19, 2010, 01:25 PM
I have a semi-smooth concrete aisle in my barn and I have rubber mats laid down. I'm happy with the set-up. Of course my cement isn't polished or sealed, and you can see some brush marks (meaning it's not "smooth" smooth), so maybe it has a little bit more traction than really smooth cement floors. I'd love to do rubber pavers, but I have too much aisle and not enough $$ for a project like that!

Jul. 19, 2010, 01:41 PM
We have wood floors in our 150 year old barn and it got me to wondering about yours. I think it should cost less than stall matts to put a wood floor over the concrete. Not sure how much trouble the elevation change would have in your barn wrt door swings, etc...but if it could work, maybe that would be a solution.

Jul. 19, 2010, 01:42 PM
You can have the concrete grooved:


Jul. 19, 2010, 01:54 PM
Fabulous ideas everyone, thank you. The concrete in the stall area isn't sloped, and does not have drains - I guess I could do something like stall skin/mattresses, but I would rather have something that drains in there - was planning on putting down gravel/stone dust after removing the concrete. I will need to rip it out where I want my wash stall too and have a drain/sloped concrete installed.

I will find a concrete refinisher, and get some quotes v.s. the price of continuous mats down the length of the aisle - interesting about the rubberlized paint! I will check that out too.

Zu Zu, that is exactly my concern - I have seen horses go down hard on slick concrete with very bad results. So sorry to hear about your mare - there are some feed/supply stores locally that have very textured mats, and I would definitely pick ones that were safe, and would bolt them down on the ends.

I would love to do rubber pavers, but while I have not priced them, I am pretty sure they are out of my price range. ;)

Thanks everyone!!

Jul. 19, 2010, 02:47 PM
I priced the rubberized "paint" and it was much more expensive than continuous matting.

Resurfacing concrete is also expensive and the results aren't great. My SIL had roughed concrete poured in her barn, and it is still slick. She uses mats on her aisle, as well.

Rent a concrete saw. Do the cutting on a hot day. You will want to wash down the barn after you are done, as you'll have concretey watery spatter everywhere. Have strong people around to haul out the cut concrete. Use it to make retaining walls, or planters in front of your barn. (we did that!)

Jul. 19, 2010, 03:28 PM
I don't think rubberized paint will hold up to the horses hooves/shoes.

With the mattress there is no need for slopiing or draining.......just use enough sawdust to absorb the urine. I have eight stalls done in Soft Stall and love it........it is expensive.


Jul. 19, 2010, 04:21 PM
Concrete barn floors have many advantages and, since you already have it there, why not try to adjust to the few disadvantges first, before going thru the trouble of taking it out?
You may like it and if not, you can take it out later.

I would try to make it work with mats and appropiate bedding on the concrete you have there for now and see how it works for you.
Every barn in Europe and the better ones in the USA were concrete with heavy bedding.
I never saw dirt clay floors in stalls until I came to the SW, on the race track training barn and it was a mess to clean those stalls and you had to add dirt to them all the time where horses pawed or just walked a hole here and there on it.
That was before mats, so maybe today with mats clay floors are ok, but then, so should concrete floors be also.

Now, if you didn't have the concrete and like to try other flooring, that would be different.
Since the concrete is there, why not try how that may work?

Jul. 19, 2010, 05:48 PM
Good point Bluey. I will take this under advisement as well. ;)

Jul. 19, 2010, 06:00 PM
We have concrete in our stalls and aisle but it has a rough broom finish.

My stalls have normal stall mats in them and I have had absolutely NO issues with urine pooling under the mats and I have had this barn for 10 years. Like Bluey said give it a try first before wasting alot of money removing it.

The aisle way should be fine with mats but please be careful. A friend keeps her horses at her inlaws barn. They were new horse owners when they built the barn and put in smooth concrete floors. My friend never had trouble with the floor unmatted until recently when she was untacking her gelding...........He slipped and fell into her (17 hand TB) knocking her to the ground. She had already taken off her helmet and she fell and hit the back of her head and neck. She was very lucky that all she had was a mild concussion and neck pain. She easily could have been killed :no:

Jul. 19, 2010, 06:01 PM
My barn had concrete when I moved in and I have come to appreciate it.

I prefer it to dirt stalls/floors.

We have fitted rubber mats in the stalls and a runway of rubber mats in the aisle and it is very convenient. Spend your money on rubber mats or stall mats rather than roughing up or removing the concrete.

Nice for sweeping, nice for washing, nice for wheelbarrows, looks good.

There must be a slight slope on the floor because we don't have trouble wit urine pooling but I would think you could drill out some channels for drainage under the mats if that was a problem.

It would likely be cheaper to install sealed stall mattresses in the stalls and rubber mats in the aisle than to tear out all the concrete!

Wood rots, dirt smells. So glad I have cement although I would probably not have chosen it initially.

Jul. 19, 2010, 07:40 PM
No worries Diamondindykin - absolutely no way is a horse going to even set a foot inside that barn until it is non-slip (one way or another). I was not kidding about the skating rink, that's how slick it is. Smooth, sealed concrete with a glass-like finish. I'm just working out the best way to make it safe. :) glad your friend was ok! Scary.

Jul. 19, 2010, 08:10 PM
Just put mats in the stalls and the aisle. If you bed properly you will remove all the urine daily. Do not even try and make drains - you will be really sorry that you did. The fallacy that urine pools under mats is just that - a fallacy. Over time any gaps between mats get packed and waterproofed with bedding. You will also avoid rat super highways under your mats by keeping the concrete.

Jul. 20, 2010, 10:34 AM
Just put mats in the stalls and the aisle. If you bed properly you will remove all the urine daily. Do not even try and make drains - you will be really sorry that you did. The fallacy that urine pools under mats is just that - a fallacy. Over time any gaps between mats get packed and waterproofed with bedding. You will also avoid rat super highways under your mats by keeping the concrete.

Agree. if you have the mats tightly /custom fitted to the stalls ( my contractor helped me do this with boxcutters, it is not a problem.

Jul. 20, 2010, 12:43 PM
Your horse will also thank you, because he won't have to stand in a hole thereby stressing his legs, for 12 hours a day.

CDE Driver
Jul. 20, 2010, 12:57 PM
A friend put these down her concrete barn aisle and is very happy with them.


Jul. 20, 2010, 12:59 PM
I've cement floors in my stabling and barns.

Spent a lot of time, trouble, effort and money making them that way.

Who knew that one day someone might want to rip them up!