• Welcome to the Chronicle Forums.
    Please complete your profile. The forums and the rest of www.chronofhorse.com has single sign-in, so your log in information for one will automatically work for the other. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Chronicle of the Horse.



Forum rules and no-advertising policy

As a participant on this forum, it is your responsibility to know and follow our rules. Please read this message in its entirety.

Board Rules

1. You’re responsible for what you say.
As outlined in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, The Chronicle of the Horse and its affiliates, as well Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd., the developers of vBulletin, are not legally responsible for statements made in the forums.

This is a public forum viewed by a wide spectrum of people, so please be mindful of what you say and who might be reading it—details of personal disputes are likely better handled privately. While posters are legally responsible for their statements, the moderators may in their discretion remove or edit posts that violate these rules. Users have the ability to modify or delete their own messages after posting, but administrators generally will not delete posts, threads or accounts upon request.

Outright inflammatory, vulgar, harassing, malicious or otherwise inappropriate statements and criminal charges unsubstantiated by a reputable news source or legal documentation will not be tolerated and will be dealt with at the discretion of the moderators.

2. Conversations in horse-related forums should be horse-related.
The forums are a wonderful source of information and support for members of the horse community. While it’s understandably tempting to share information or search for input on other topics upon which members might have a similar level of knowledge, members must maintain the focus on horses.

3. Keep conversations productive, on topic and civil.
Discussion and disagreement are inevitable and encouraged; personal insults, diatribes and sniping comments are unproductive and unacceptable. Whether a subject is light-hearted or serious, keep posts focused on the current topic and of general interest to other participants of that thread. Utilize the private message feature or personal email where appropriate to address side topics or personal issues not related to the topic at large.

4. No advertising in the discussion forums.
Posts in the discussion forums directly or indirectly advertising horses, jobs, items or services for sale or wanted will be removed at the discretion of the moderators. Use of the private messaging feature or email addresses obtained through users’ profiles for unsolicited advertising is not permitted.

Company representatives may participate in discussions and answer questions about their products or services, or suggest their products on recent threads if they fulfill the criteria of a query. False "testimonials" provided by company affiliates posing as general consumers are not appropriate, and self-promotion of sales, ad campaigns, etc. through the discussion forums is not allowed.

Paid advertising is available on our classifieds site and through the purchase of banner ads. The tightly monitored Giveaways forum permits free listings of genuinely free horses and items available or wanted (on a limited basis). Items offered for trade are not allowed.

Advertising Policy Specifics
When in doubt of whether something you want to post constitutes advertising, please contact a moderator privately in advance for further clarification. Refer to the following points for general guidelines:

Horses – Only general discussion about the buying, leasing, selling and pricing of horses is permitted. If the post contains, or links to, the type of specific information typically found in a sales or wanted ad, and it’s related to a horse for sale, regardless of who’s selling it, it doesn’t belong in the discussion forums.

Stallions – Board members may ask for suggestions on breeding stallion recommendations. Stallion owners may reply to such queries by suggesting their own stallions, only if their horse fits the specific criteria of the original poster. Excessive promotion of a stallion by its owner or related parties is not permitted and will be addressed at the discretion of the moderators.

Services – Members may use the forums to ask for general recommendations of trainers, barns, shippers, farriers, etc., and other members may answer those requests by suggesting themselves or their company, if their services fulfill the specific criteria of the original post. Members may not solicit other members for business if it is not in response to a direct, genuine query.

Products – While members may ask for general opinions and suggestions on equipment, trailers, trucks, etc., they may not list the specific attributes for which they are in the market, as such posts serve as wanted ads.

Event Announcements – Members may post one notification of an upcoming event that may be of interest to fellow members, if the original poster does not benefit financially from the event. Such threads may not be “bumped” excessively. Premium members may post their own notices in the Event Announcements forum.

Charities/Rescues – Announcements for charitable or fundraising events can only be made for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. Special exceptions may be made, at the moderators’ discretion and direction, for board-related events or fundraising activities in extraordinary circumstances.

Occasional posts regarding horses available for adoption through IRS-registered horse rescue or placement programs are permitted in the appropriate forums, but these threads may be limited at the discretion of the moderators. Individuals may not advertise or make announcements for horses in need of rescue, placement or adoption unless the horse is available through a recognized rescue or placement agency or government-run entity or the thread fits the criteria for and is located in the Giveaways forum.

5. Do not post copyrighted photographs unless you have purchased that photo and have permission to do so.

6. Respect other members.
As members are often passionate about their beliefs and intentions can easily be misinterpreted in this type of environment, try to explore or resolve the inevitable disagreements that arise in the course of threads calmly and rationally.

If you see a post that you feel violates the rules of the board, please click the “alert” button (exclamation point inside of a triangle) in the bottom left corner of the post, which will alert ONLY the moderators to the post in question. They will then take whatever action, or no action, as deemed appropriate for the situation at their discretion. Do not air grievances regarding other posters or the moderators in the discussion forums.

Please be advised that adding another user to your “Ignore” list via your User Control Panel can be a useful tactic, which blocks posts and private messages by members whose commentary you’d rather avoid reading.

7. We have the right to reproduce statements made in the forums.
The Chronicle of the Horse may copy, quote, link to or otherwise reproduce posts, or portions of posts, in print or online for advertising or editorial purposes, if attributed to their original authors, and by posting in this forum, you hereby grant to The Chronicle of the Horse a perpetual, non-exclusive license under copyright and other rights, to do so.

8. We reserve the right to enforce and amend the rules.
The moderators may delete, edit, move or close any post or thread at any time, or refrain from doing any of the foregoing, in their discretion, and may suspend or revoke a user’s membership privileges at any time to maintain adherence to the rules and the general spirit of the forum. These rules may be amended at any time to address the current needs of the board.

Please see our full Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Thanks for being a part of the COTH forums!

(Revised 1/26/16)
See more
See less

Anybody tore through concrete to dig down and convert a low ceiling barn?

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Anybody tore through concrete to dig down and convert a low ceiling barn?

    I have about a million questions!

    Looking at an acreage with a two story prairie barn. The entire floor is cement. The ceilings are REALLY low--maybe 7-8 feet. They did house horses in there--I saw the tie stalls, but I can't.

    The barn is divided into three sections on the floor level (hay loft above) and the second section is somewhat open. I was wondering if it is a riduculous idea to look at digging out/through that concrete and digging down the floor? How do you do that? The front section could stay storage, the middle for horses and the rear is a nice lean to that is enclosed and of sufficient height--it is only 10 or 12 feet wide though.

    The barn needs a new roof (and it is scary steep), updated wiring, and paint (or better yet, siding) along with new doors, but I am a sucker for old buildings and it matches the historical nature of the house. There is cement everywhere, but my BO has a cement floor and just puts mats down and we have no issues (pee doesn't get underneath and reek, etc.). Of course hers is at least a 10-11 foot ceiling too!

    I think it would probably be cheaper to start over, but I want to explore all options.

    I have to imagine demo would be rather expensive too. Anyone have a rough idea (I"ll ask a contractor locally too, of course)?
    DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/

  • #2
    Originally posted by TrotTrotPumpkn View Post
    I want to explore all options.
    A neighbor had an old bank barn that sounds similar to your set up. He ended up raising the entire barn and having a new concrete block foundation put in to make it suitable for housing horses. This was a relatively small barn -- maybe 40 x 60. I have no idea what the cost was.


    • #3
      This isn't likely to be helpful to you - but - we have easily kept 16-17.2 hand horses in our 8 foot ceiling converted dairy barn. Never had a single problem.

      At this moment my horses range from 14 hands to 16 hands, and they live in there just fine.

      I absolutely would not go to the trouble of digging out all the concrete just to make the barn "taller." No way. They learn not to pop up and whack head on rafters or they get a headache. Every new horse that's come here to live has figured it out in the first day. And sorry but if a horse is stupid enough to rear repeatedly and bash their head on the ceiling, then you're probably better off cleansing the gene pool anyway.

      Horses trailer in 7 foot trailers without bashing their heads on the roof, so I don't see what the problem is????


      • Original Poster

        Well, yes. I see your point. Sucks if you spent a lot on the horse that needs to be cleansed from the gene pool though! I have had two TB nail their heads in barns with lower ceilings before. I guess I don't think either repeated the experience. One took out a light fixture too (not my barn). The other one got a nice scar...

        I don't haul 17+ hand horses in a 7 foot trailer...I'm sure they can do it but is it good?

        Actually they would almost always be outside anyway...
        DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/


        • #5
          Also, is the ceiling low because it is actually a floor for a second story, or hay loft sort of thing? You could just take that ceiling out and expose to the rafters. That would be my first choice.

          Even if the ceiling was low and that WAS the rafters, it would probably be less expensive to add on a new roof with rafters, or add on height to the building than tear out the old cement.

          I love thinking about things like that, do let us know what you decide to do!

          And, if you got pics, post em!
          Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.


          • Original Poster

            Yes, there is a big hayloft above. I couldn't even get to the ladder (there was a boat in my way)! That is an interesting idea. There are random support beams everywhere too.

            There is also a ton of beautiful old barn floor from a barn that was tore down. 10" x 2" 20 foot long planks!!! The whole back room is full to the ceiling with reclaimed lumber!!!

            I would have someone check it out structurally, but it looks really solid. The roof has held up to this point, so water didn't ruin it, like so many of the old barns. The owners are pretty cool folks and very fastidious.

            I'm a bit scared to find out what a metal roof would cost. But I think that would be the way to go.

            I'm getting kind of excited now.
            DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/


            • #7
              Replacing a metal roof isn't too bad, relatively speaking. Pull off the old metal, clean and repair the supports, and install the new metal.

              Busting out and removing concrete and then dealing with any potential drainage issues from a below-grade floor would take a fair bit of work and not be cheap. You're talking jackhammers and bobcats. Ditto picking the whole barn up and putting a new foundation under it. That's something my dad does fairly frequently for old bank barns, especially ones with old, often drystone foundations that are starting to roll in.

              You won't be able to remove the structural interior posts and will have to plan around them to use your space. It's often possible to move structural posts a short distance to a more convenient location, but is expensive and needs to be done by someone who knows what they're doing since the load still needs carried.


              • #8
                Unless the horse is a complete idiot spazz, even a 1,000,000 dollar horse isn't likely to bash its head on the rafters until it dies. Just put the horses in the barn and don't worry about it. No need to spend 30,000 to keep pookie from bumping his noggin. Some pretty big, hot and stupid horses have lived at this farm, and in our barn with 8 foot ceilings. They knock their head once and they don't do it again. People trailer their horses in here frequently for hoof boot fittings and I've never seen one of them hit their head.


                • #9
                  I have an old bank barn that matches the historic nature of my house ( 1780s) and had to tear out the concrete floors as well and gut the inside of the barn. It was not unreasonable. The concrete was actually not that deep. It cost me labor rate to have the floor jack hammered and taken out and disposed of properly. Then I redid the inside of the barn.

                  And I have not had a problem w/ my horses bashing their heads. I can measure it when I get home this afternoon if you want. I had one flip her head up into the center beam ( not hard) when I was trying to clip her ears. She never did it again.
                  Come to the dark side, we have cookies


                  • #10
                    I have an old bank barn on my property we thought of converting to horses. (I ended up using other barns instead). But I got a lot of advice, and the consensus was that it is better to have high ceilings, or very low ceilings; being somewhere in the middle was the worst. High = they can't bang their heads. Low = they know where the ceiling is and don't bang their heads. Medium = they forget where the ceiling is and fling their heads up whacking them.

                    You might try asking as many people as possible and visiting many barns. My trainer puts several of her big horses in a converted dairy barn (she has several barns) with no problems.

                    The other piece of advice I was given was to make sure that the barn was situated high and dry before digging down. Someone in Massachusetts did that, and every time it rained her barn flooded. My barn was on the edge of wetlands, so was definitely a concern for me.
                    Follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/peonyvodka/


                    • #11
                      I have to disagree with the implication that it's safe for horses to hit their heads in the barn or that they learn not to do it. I've done what I can to make more room between floor and roof in my old barn, but there are still a few places with beams low enough that a horse throwing its head up can hit it.

                      My horses are generally very sensible. But. We've still had a couple bumped noggins over the years. One incident (happened while I was out of town and the farmsitter did something silly), the vet said the blow would have been fatal if the mare had caught the beam just a little differently. The concussion and many stitches she got were bad enough.

                      It's a risk--it's just up to you whether you consider it acceptable.


                      • #12
                        I would determine what it's going to change about how well it drains/how the land lays/lies/falls/etc- that is concern #1.

                        assuming it won't flood the barn to change it, re: the ceiling - if it's 8' I would not worry about it. If you set out to clip a strange horse, lead 'em outside til you know if it's a huge deal, just be sensible.

                        If it's 7' then yes I'd worry about it.


                        • #13
                          For what it's worth, I have two loafing sheds: one in low and one is very low. Otherwise they are identical. If given the option the horses always choose the lower shed. I don't know why but their preference is strong for the lower one. Especially for individual stalls, after watching this conduct out of these horses (and even the one that it 16.2) for years, I would not worry about 7 or 8 foot ceilings.


                          • #14
                            I knew of someone that did something similar with a low barn. It didn't actually have cement, just dirt floor. They dug it out and added stalls. Looked good in theory, however the way the barn sat on the property allowed for water to fill all the stalls on one side any time it rained.It was quite a nasty mess. I'm not sure what they did to rectify it(I was taking lessons there at the time and then got my own horse and moved on to a different barn with better trainer).


                            • #15
                              I third (fourth? fifth?) the suggestion to make sure that the topography outside of the barn would allow for proper drainage for a lowered floor. Have a consult with a knowledgable excavator, and have them shoot some grades with a laser level. I am an equipment operator, and have done this sort of work before - both lowering floors in buildings, and digging new foundations under raised/cribbed buildlings. A good excavator should also have contacts with heavy hauler/house movers should you be interested in getting info about raising the whole structure.

                              Depending on the size of the area to be lowered, and accessibility for a bobcat and trucks, it can be a tedious, time-consuming project. However, if you have a place onsite to use up the fill or gravel beneath the concrete, this will lower your costs a bit.

                              How big an area would you be lowering? Just for reference, if I was in the bobcat running a job like this - assuming a 30'x30' squarish area - it would be a one or two day project. An hour or so to hammer up the concrete (assuming enough headroom to use a bobcat-mounted hydraulic hammer). A few hours to load out the concrete, a few more hours to dig out the excess material, and a couple hours to grade back in new base material for the new floor. We charge about $125 an hour for the bobcat, plus the cost of material and dumping fees for material removal.


                              • #16
                                I agree with the key being to figure out if it would work out with relation to drainage and so on first - and make sure you get someone in who has experience, not just someone who will eyeball it and say 'you'll be fine!', since the cost of doing it is likely to be fairly significant and the cost of trying to figure out how to stop the thing flooding every time it rains even worse. (I would not be surprised if someone doing a proper survey wanted to take a few core samples from the ground around the barn, just to see what was actually happening with the soil there and what you'd be digging down into.)


                                • #17
                                  Yes, a few small test holes wouldn't be a bad idea at all. Common sense says that an old barn that has survived this long sits on solid ground, and digging out a foot or so of material wouldn't be a problem. But it wouldn't hurt to poke a few holes in the ground outside the barn just to check.

                                  Ask around in the area for a respected excavator. This isn't the kind of job for the neighbor Farmer Bill and his backhoe.


                                  • #18
                                    It might be more beneficial overall to raise the ceiling over the stalls instead and put in new horizontal supports.

                                    Either fix won't be easy or inexpensive and both would require someone very experienced because either one done not 100% right would be disastrous.

                                    Or else switch to large ponies. That might be the cheapest alternative and ponies are fun!

                                    FWIW, my tall mare was famous for bonking her head on stuff. And nope, the dingbat never learned. She took out a light fixture, beaned herself on a beam and one time I couldn't figure out who the heck had pulled my horse's forelock for me when 80% of it was missing (and it was a skimpy one to begin with) until I noticed a large hunk of it on the top of the free standing stall wall stuck in one of the screws in the metal u-channel.
                                    Apparently the dingbat never learned that her temper tantrums could result in hair loss or a massive headache. And that last place she ripped out her forelock didn't have ceilings and the rafters were *way* over her noggin. But she still figured out how to change her hairstyle on the top of a 7' stall wall.
                                    When we moved her home I made sure there wasn't anything she could bonk her head on since she wasn't going to give up arguing over the tops of the stalll walls!
                                    Boy I miss that opinionated witch.
                                    You jump in the saddle,
                                    Hold onto the bridle!
                                    Jump in the line!


                                    • #19
                                      One of my concerns with a low ceiling height would be nails from the floor above being nailed to joists.....I would go around and check for nails that missed the joists and either pull them or bend them over.