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Cost of barn building-- cinderblock vs. Hardieplank and wood?

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    Cost of barn building-- cinderblock vs. Hardieplank and wood?

    I live in the Southeast-- heat and termites, and wood prices have gone way, way up. I'm thinking of switching from a wood framed Hardieplank barn to an old school cinderblock barn. Any idea of the cost comparison?
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat

    #2
    I find cinder block buildings to be really damp and nasty. If I had to build down there, I would probably consider coming up half way with block, and doing the framing and hardie board the rest of the way. You could stucco the block, or put lick and stick stone on it to make it more attractive.

    No numbers for you, but you have to put some kind of footers in for the walls anyway, so coming up part way with the block makes sense anyway. No wood with ground contact.
    When someone shows you who they are, BELIEVE them- Maya Angelou
    www.americansaddlebredsporthorse.net
    http://www.asbsporthorse.blogspot.com/

    Comment


      #3
      Some years ago a TB breeder built a large concrete block barn.
      See if I can paint a picture of that.

      It had 21 12' x 16' stalls, 12 on one side of a 16' aisle, six on each side of a 12' opening, concrete block wall 4'+ between horses with chain link tops.
      The walls were painted with a waterproof paint he could wash down or power wash and disinfect.
      The other side had 6 such stalls, that same 12' cross aisle and the other 3 more stalls, those were his stallion's stalls, office and larger feed room with a larger overhead door on the outside for feed deliveries.
      The stallions could see all that was going on and horses coming and going and felt part of the herd.
      They were very well mannered, had daily exercise/turnout and seemed very contented right next to each other and mares across the aisle.
      The breeder said they had excellent sperm quality and that set-up was part of it.
      The ceilings were high and with those two big aisles the whole barn had plenty of air exchange.
      The place was always clean smelling, no dust and a good 20 degrees cooler in the hot days.

      He also had grass paddocks with individual sheds, some individual ones, some bigger for small bands of mares and their foals.
      All those were V-mesh with pipe posts and top, as safe as you could make fences for horses.
      One of his stallions was a beautiful son of Secretariat, impressive looking horse.

      The breeder told us he loved his concrete block barn, had copied it from several KY top farms and it didn't cost any more than if he had built a metal or wood barn and stalls.
      Don't know how prices today would compare, but by the time you figure everything, I would not be surprised the cost to be very close.

      I think you can build any barn to be more of a dungeon, another clean and airy, no matter what you use for building materials.
      Here is one concrete block barn in Ocala, FL:

      https://worldequestriancenter.com/lo...florida/barns/

      Some internet pictures of others:



      Attached Files

      Comment


        #4
        I always wanted a concrete block barn... easy to keep clean /sanitize and no risk of fire. mvp the place we went to see that clinic together was concrete block - absolutely gorgeous, no? I have always been told it is slightly more expensive to build with block v. wood framing, but cheaper to insure.
        **********
        We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
        -PaulaEdwina

        Comment

          Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by Lucassb View Post
          I always wanted a concrete block barn... easy to keep clean /sanitize and no risk of fire. mvp the place we went to see that clinic together was concrete block - absolutely gorgeous, no? I have always been told it is slightly more expensive to build with block v. wood framing, but cheaper to insure.
          Yes, I dug it. Some people worry about them kicking the walls and hurting themselves, some people don't. The ones I have been in feel like wine cellars. Yummy!

          I thought they were slightly more expensive, too. But if wood is going to be rudely expensive right now, maybe I should just go all cementy.
          The armchair saddler
          Politically Pro-Cat

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Lucassb View Post
            I always wanted a concrete block barn... easy to keep clean /sanitize and no risk of fire. mvp the place we went to see that clinic together was concrete block - absolutely gorgeous, no? I have always been told it is slightly more expensive to build with block v. wood framing, but cheaper to insure.
            Unless you coat the walls with some form of epoxy, they are just as porous as anything else, unfortunately.

            I had an indoor arena with a ten stall barn attached. The indoor was like a crypt during the winter, and held moisture during the Summer, so it was cooler than outside, but humid.

            The best block barn I ever was in was built by Dr. Lose, of Blessed Are The Broodmares fame. It was awesome! She epoxied the walls, and each stall had matts, and a drain. She could sterilize everything. Her surgery was in part of the building. It had a huge high ceiling, was bright and airy and marvelous.

            She sold her property to Toll Brothers, and they leveled the barn.
            When someone shows you who they are, BELIEVE them- Maya Angelou
            www.americansaddlebredsporthorse.net
            http://www.asbsporthorse.blogspot.com/

            Comment


              #7
              Most working barns I was at in Belgium and Holland were cinderblock with concrete floors (with and without drains)

              I did not find them more damp than any other barns when stalls were well bedded and maintained, and God knows it can be very damp in that area of the world. They also stayed cooler in hot weather which was nice.

              I love a wood barn but for utilitarian reasons I would most prefer a concrete block barn, with concrete floors.
              Let me apologize in advance.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by mvp View Post

                Yes, I dug it. Some people worry about them kicking the walls and hurting themselves, some people don't. The ones I have been in feel like wine cellars. Yummy!

                I thought they were slightly more expensive, too. But if wood is going to be rudely expensive right now, maybe I should just go all cementy.
                If you do, I will be crazy envious. And for the record, NBH lived in that barn for years (as did his fancy predecessor, for years before that.) Never once saw any kind of injury from kicking a wall. I suspect the ones who are inclined to do that might try it once, find it unyielding, and decide not to do it again.
                **********
                We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
                -PaulaEdwina

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Lucassb View Post

                  If you do, I will be crazy envious. And for the record, NBH lived in that barn for years (as did his fancy predecessor, for years before that.) Never once saw any kind of injury from kicking a wall. I suspect the ones who are inclined to do that might try it once, find it unyielding, and decide not to do it again.
                  Wow, this certainly dredges up a memory. When I was a kid, there was a concrete barn on the schooling show circuit, and we would go a few times a year. There were quite a few holes in the cinder blocks in the stalls, from horses kicking.

                  My trainer at the time said you had to fill the blocks with concrete when building, or that would happen. No idea if that's actually the case, or if the blocks used there were just unsuited to that purpose, but something to ask about. It sure would be a shame to build a really nice barn and have a horse put a hole in the wall That barn WAS nice and cool in the summer!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Simkie View Post

                    Wow, this certainly dredges up a memory. When I was a kid, there was a concrete barn on the schooling show circuit, and we would go a few times a year. There were quite a few holes in the cinder blocks in the stalls, from horses kicking.

                    My trainer at the time said you had to fill the blocks with concrete when building, or that would happen. No idea if that's actually the case, or if the blocks used there were just unsuited to that purpose, but something to ask about. It sure would be a shame to build a really nice barn and have a horse put a hole in the wall That barn WAS nice and cool in the summer!
                    There are different grades of concrete blocks.
                    You can see those i Home Depot, the very light, gravelly/sandy feeling ones, the double the weight smoother concrete ones.

                    If you build with the light "cinder blocks", not concrete blocks, a horse could make holes in those, unless filled with concrete itself.

                    If a horse kicks walls, you have to hang rubber mats to protect the horse and walls, no matter what those are made of, or house the horse where there are no annoying neighbors or walls to kick.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      A friends barn is made out of regular concrete, even the stalls.
                      He welded metal frames and had concrete trucks come fill them, then stood them up and put them in the barn as stall walls, the fronts are metal.
                      When the concrete was setting in the metal frames, he imprinted the barn initials/brand and it looks sharp.

                      Some here build regular concrete walls, then top with metal for their barns.

                      I think that concrete blocks make more sense than straight concrete walls

                      There are many kinds of horse barns, maybe the OP could go look at several and decide what she likes best, ask who built it, see if they are still available and at what cost.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        My former veterinarian (since moved to another area) built a concrete block clinic with attached stalls for stallions, which I visited quite a few times over the years, in all seasons. Such a cool (important here) and comfortable barn area!

                        Her mare motel featured very large stalls with concrete block partitions which were open above (guessing about five foot high partitions), and it was also very comfortable in the heat (I kept a broodmare there for a while). When I commented on how comfortable the barns were, the vet told me that she specified concrete block precisely because it would be relatively cool during hot summers.

                        I used to haul to a trainer who worked out of a concrete block barn (former Arabian horse showplace), which was quite well kept, and I never saw any wall damage. Certainly never noticed any dampness or dankness, either, but that's not typical of our climate anyway.

                        We've been pleased with our MD modular metal barn, which went up very quickly and has been super low maintenance but, if I was building from scratch, and the costs of stick-built as compared to concrete block were anywhere near the same ballpark, I'd go CB. Especially if I lived in a possible hurricane zone, or even tornado alley.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I’m disappointed no one has any experience with the price!

                          I have also heard cinderblock barns are “more expensive.” But I am really curious to know what kind of price point we are talking about, or if that’s even still true today.

                          As far as dampness goes, I have found it varies with design.

                          My 100 year old barn with a clay floor has partially stone & cinderblock walls. It’s damp, but that’s more a function of poor drainage and grading combined with some additions built on that dramatically reduced light and ventilation.

                          A lot of bank barns have cinderblock or concrete walls, and have the same dampness problems for the same reasons.

                          Yet I’ve been in a lot of smartly done cinderblock barns. I can’t recall ever experiencing dampness in a shedrow style cinderblock barn. A farm sitting client years ago had the nicest 4 stall cinderblock center aisle barn that I’ve coveted ever since! Bright, airy, and so low maintenance.
                          Last edited by Texarkana; Aug. 17, 2020, 05:43 PM. Reason: Typos galore
                          Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO

                          Comment


                            #14
                            I boarded for a while in a concrete block barn in CT. Unfortunately the design was not well thought out. It was a double aisle design , so the inside stalls had no windows. Being a boarding and lesson barn, they didnt want horses poking their heads into the aisles,so there were bars on the top half but solid wood doors. Sometimes you could not tell if a horse was in there without turning on a light! The stalls on the outside were better, though the windows were fairly small. Until they expanded. They built a tackroom and grooming area along one side and an indoor arena along the other. No more natural light to speak of! I left about then.

                            It was cooler, but damp in the summer. In the winter it was not too cold, but it had that damp, cold garage feel.

                            My takeaway was that if using block, pay extra attention to ventilation and light!

                            Comment

                              Original Poster

                              #15
                              Originally posted by Lucassb View Post

                              If you do, I will be crazy envious. And for the record, NBH lived in that barn for years (as did his fancy predecessor, for years before that.) Never once saw any kind of injury from kicking a wall. I suspect the ones who are inclined to do that might try it once, find it unyielding, and decide not to do it again.
                              That's my plan.... let them figure it out. Also, buy good-minded horses and manage them well.

                              Can any of you all tell me what tends to make some of these barns trap moisture on the inside and what does not? I don't think I have been in a damp block barn.
                              The armchair saddler
                              Politically Pro-Cat

                              Comment

                                Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by Bluey View Post
                                There are many kinds of horse barns, maybe the OP could go look at several and decide what she likes best, ask who built it, see if they are still available and at what cost.
                                I can try. I do have a builder (in theory) and plans. Also, most of the ones I have seen around were built decades ago. I'm in Aiken, SC and I'm not sure our population of builders doesn't rotate through faster than that.
                                The armchair saddler
                                Politically Pro-Cat

                                Comment

                                  Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by MsM View Post
                                  I boarded for a while in a concrete block barn in CT. Unfortunately the design was not well thought out. It was a double aisle design , so the inside stalls had no windows. Being a boarding and lesson barn, they didnt want horses poking their heads into the aisles,so there were bars on the top half but solid wood doors. Sometimes you could not tell if a horse was in there without turning on a light! The stalls on the outside were better, though the windows were fairly small. Until they expanded. They built a tackroom and grooming area along one side and an indoor arena along the other. No more natural light to speak of! I left about then.

                                  It was cooler, but damp in the summer. In the winter it was not too cold, but it had that damp, cold garage feel.

                                  My takeaway was that if using block, pay extra attention to ventilation and light!
                                  Those middle stalls sound like The Hole in jail! Your point about about air and light is well-taken. My design does that pretty well for a center-aisle barn anyway because openness is still a good idea for a hot climate!
                                  The armchair saddler
                                  Politically Pro-Cat

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    I've been in a few cinder block barns and always liked them, but in Southern California. The key to a nice one is to have it be very airy with metal grilles and free air space between the top of the walls and the roof.

                                    I've not had any experience with hardieplank around horses but if it's anything like the board I have on my house, it's not something that will take a kick or contact abuse without cracking.
                                    If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      I used to board at a cinderblock barn/arena, I loved it. We considered building that way, but back in 2004 it was WAY more expensive that wood. We also looked at building with the Styrofoam blocks you then fill with concrete: that was cheaper than cinderblocks and had a better R-Value, but still out of our budget for barn and arena. We ended up doing a concrete pony wall, and then wood frame on top. The pony wall allows for hot water heating. If we didn't want to heat, a cinderblock pony wall might have been a good option, with wood on top.
                                      Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by mvp View Post

                                        I can try. I do have a builder (in theory) and plans. Also, most of the ones I have seen around were built decades ago. I'm in Aiken, SC and I'm not sure our population of builders doesn't rotate through faster than that.
                                        Maybe look for commercial builders, those that build schools and shopping centers?

                                        They may know who is good with concrete block, as they use those regularly.

                                        We built one of our well houses out of concrete block, filled with insulation.
                                        The fellow that laid the blocks was at that time building a local high school.
                                        He was an artist with that, had that done in a Saturday afternoon.

                                        Maybe some "cement plant" can tell you who builds with concrete block.
                                        They sell and haul truck loads of concrete and other sand and gravel construction materials for the bigger jobs, so they know all builders.

                                        Hard to guess what such a barn would cost today.

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