View Full Version : Barn Building Advice Needed

Jan. 5, 2011, 12:42 PM
I am in the process of shopping around for a new barn (looking possibly at 36 x 36 with overhangs on each side). So far the cheapest alternatives are the steel barns (National Barn Co has the best quote I have received at this point). I like the look of the barns, my only concern is with safety. I do not want to have an injury with a horse kicking through the steel. The horses would be able to access the outside walls as they come and go from the runs attached to the barn. I can upgrade to 26 gauge steel for not much more money, but I am trying to find a resource that will tell me if that is strong enough steel to be safe and I can't find anything in my internet searches. I appreciate any advice you all are able to give on where I might find this kind of information.

Also, on a related note, they also offer a 30x48 barn at a similar price. I could get more square feet, but the aisle would be 10' wide instead of 12' and the stalls would be 10' x 16' instead of 12'x12'. This actually gives the horses bigger stalls, but I am not sure if the 10' width would be a problem. Any thoughts are much appreciated.

Thank you in advance.

Jan. 5, 2011, 01:26 PM
Can you search under "puncture strength" of 26 gauge steel? Then you would need to know how much force a horse creates when it kicks, but it might give you a general idea of whether it would be strong enough.
I have a concrete block barn, so I don't have any experience with steel. I do have a friend who did her barn in pole barn siding and she had to replace it after a couple of years of the horses coming in contact with the siding.

Jan. 5, 2011, 01:36 PM
I can't tell you puncture strength but I can say that I will never have horses in paddocks near a metal barn again unless they are extremely laid back horses. We have a paddock that is on one corner of our barn (Morton built metal barn). Morton does try to make it simple to repair by putting wainscote on the bottom 3 feet of the walls but evenso, every horse we ever turned out there managed to kick it and one decided to roll against the wall and flailed away with his hooves, making big dents. No one punctured the metal which was a good thing but it sure beat it up. I no longer turn anyone out in that paddock for any length of time - the dings were multiplying too quickly.

Jan. 5, 2011, 02:04 PM
I would not have metal siding where horses can access it. Like bludejavu said, it gets beat up. And I have a friend who nearly lost a horse that got cut on the lower edge of the metal siding of their barn. Yes, you can work to make it a bit safer by covering the edges and such, but no matter what, it will get dented.

Would it be an option to build the barn out of metal except the one side (assuming it is just one) where horses would be could be covered in wood or FRP or something safe yet durable? One of neighbor's did this with a shop -- one of those metal building places came and put up the building, then they covered the walls facing the house and road with wood siding to match the house, then the rest of the building was metal siding and all painted to match. They did it for aesthetic reasons, but it seemed to work out pretty well.

Jan. 5, 2011, 04:20 PM
If I changed the design to a shed row style with the horses only having access from the front, I think I could then build the fronts out of a different material. With the center aisle style, it isn't very feasible because it would mean the siding on both long sides would need to be changed.

Jan. 5, 2011, 04:34 PM
We've got a metal sided barn and our horses spend the winter in a sacrifice paddock that is along one of the long sides. We've never even gotten a dent from them. Only issue with the barn has been that one of our horses squashed the downspout on the corner and we had to reroute/replace it. I wouldn't say that our geldings are the rowdiest bunch, but they're certainly not placid and quiet either.

Jan. 5, 2011, 04:39 PM
What about placing an electric fence between the horses and side(s) of barn

Jan. 5, 2011, 05:33 PM
I wouldn't go for the 30' X 48' barn design. The wider the aisle the better for driving thru, air flow, light and safely walking horses thru.

I've yet to have a stall built that actually came out to the proposed dimensions. Once you deduct for the width of walls, framing and interior kick walls, you'll find your 10' width stall comes out closer to 9'6". That's too small/short for a horse.

Cathy D
Jan. 5, 2011, 06:08 PM
Agree with Bays. I have a 10 foot aisle and find it decidedly tight for turning horses around or if you need to drive a tractor or truck through the aisle. IMO opinion, 12' would be the minimum, and 14' even better.

Also agree with others that metal siding should be avoided if horses come into contact with it. Horses are hard on their surroundings. A friend's horse (18 year old retired mare) sustained a really nasty cut to her pastern/heel from a metal sided run in shed that that resulted in her being put down.

Jan. 5, 2011, 06:11 PM
I've yet to have a stall built that actually came out to the proposed dimensions. Once you deduct for the width of walls, framing and interior kick walls, you'll find your 10' width stall comes out closer to 9'6". That's too small/short for a horse.

Agree with this -- you have to look at the detail of your plans and how big things really will be. For aisles -- think of what all will be out there, like if you will be hanging blankets and stuff, that takes space, and if you have open front stalls where the horses hang the heads out, that is another issue. Also any water spigots, hoses out there?

My home barn has a grooming area/short aisle in front of one stall that is only 9'6" wide and I really wish I had made it wider. Empty, it is fine, works okay for grooming, etc., but when I have blankets hanging there, it makes it pretty claustrophobic. Now that the one horse decided to keep growing (hello, buddy, you are SIX now! stop it!!!), I have a hard time turning him around in there, so we have to walk out to the open area to turn around. But if I had my 15.2 guy at home, he'd be fine.

Jan. 5, 2011, 06:55 PM
CMLR, I have two thoughts for you. You might check with your local Building Code Enforcement Officer to make sure that the less expensive building meets all current codes. The International Code Council has been writing codes to standardize the building industry and the 2009 edition of the codes that have been adopted by many municipalities leaves a grey area where large structures may be considered 'commercial' rather than 'agricultural' requiring many more extras.

I had a 10 foot aisle in my previous barn and I hated it. Those two extra feet make a huge difference in an aisle. I would urge you go go with the wider aisle.

Good luck with your project! I would love be building my dream barn.