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Asphalt vs. Concrete center aisle ???

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  • Asphalt vs. Concrete center aisle ???

    Currently our humble 5 stall barn has fully matted stalls on top of clay and a matted center aisle. As we are always upgrading SOMETHING, it looks like we may be in the market for new flooring.

    Essentially the entire inside will be gutted ( stall walls and all)so the 36 x 36 barn building can be refloored. After the reflooring has taken place, new stall walls will be put up and we will be brand spankin new!

    I know concrete is harder than asphalt but has anyone dealt with both and prefer one over the other? Does one crack or sink in more than the other?

    After we do the reflooring we will have mats covering where the horses are tacked up to prevent wear and tear.

    Also looking into some sort of drainage system, where if we hose a stall out it flows to the center aisle and out the back side. So maybe having the flooring at a very slight angle.

    All input is appreciated

  • #2
    Have you priced both? I think that is usually the deciding factor in why people go asphalt vs. concrete.
    DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/


    • #3
      Proper placed concrete does not sink......installation is key.

      I would also like to know if some one has had both and prefers one over the other.



      • #4
        Twere it me, I'd do concrete since it can be poured with stabilizing fibers added to it to prevent cracking, it's easier to work with for slope and you can brush it to provide ridges for traction.
        <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.


        • #5
          Every barn I have been in with asphalt has dips in it.
          Which is a shame because I think it is a slightly more forgiving surface than concrete. I went with concrete.


          • #6
            Every barn I ever worked in in Europe was concrete, stalls and aisle, it was the proper footing for stables.
            Some stalls had boards over the concrete, all were well bedded.

            I know it happens, but in all those years, I never saw not one horse wipe out on concrete, but have on asphalt streets.

            I first saw dirt stalls in the USA, with holes you had to keep filling in and wondered why some stables didn't have concrete in the stalls, only in aisles.

            Then I learned that some didn't like concrete, rather worked with the mess the dirt stalls were to keep up with.
            That was before mats.

            The idea that concrete is bad for horses falls flat when considering how many do live on concrete all their lives without harm.
            Today, I would have concrete and mats, because with them, your bedding is not as critical in keeping a horse comfortable.

            Some don't like alfalfa, when that is practically all we had to feed in Europe and horses did fine with that also.

            I think that, no matter what you do, someone, somewhere, will tell you how good that is, or how terrible.

            Good question, just remember to balance the answers with what makes sense, don't dismiss something because someone on the internet thinks is horrible.


            • #7
              I prefer concrete over asphalt only if you bed very deeply or use something like Comfort Stall. My over-flow stall was concrete and even with double mats a couple of horses had some aches and pains.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Paddys Mom View Post
                Every barn I have been in with asphalt has dips in it.
                Which is a shame because I think it is a slightly more forgiving surface than concrete. I went with concrete.
                Again this has to do with proper placement not the product it self.



                • #9
                  I have...seen a horse eat-it on concrete that is. It may have been brushed originally, but had worn smooth (very old barn). BO added aisle mats after the incident.

                  I have also been in a barn where they bedded on concrete. I don't have a problem with it if you use good mats and the mats seem to shift around less on concrete than dirt. I think the OP is just talking aisles though?

                  If I were designing a barn I think I would do concrete with mats in the aisle-way built-in (or flush). Concrete where the traffic is in and out of stalls. I haven't been in an asphalt aisle barn though...maybe it doesn't weep as much when it is humid? That could be nice.
                  DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/


                  • #10
                    We did concrete.

                    Concrete is light colored, can be pressure washed. Asphalt is always black, lots of chemicals involved in it. Not so concrete.

                    Yes, concrete with mats would be really nice. We have just the concrete only, love it just the same.


                    • #11
                      we have a barn close to your size; we used concrete pavers bricks (these are ones shaped like a I that interlock) ... easy to install... also now have rubber bricks of same size.

                      When we installed the pavers we contacted the manufacturer and bought discolored/weathered bricks that had been in storage... didn't make any difference to us as we also had rubber stall mats.

                      Cost was less than ninety cents per square foot installed ( 1991 price); no great technical learning curve.

                      Added bonus was when reappraised for restructure of our loan the pavestone floor increased the barn's value over plain concrete.


                      • #12
                        I think both are slippery and im not a fan of either alone without mats (my horse slipped on concrete and broke her wither, for whoever said they have never heard of a horse slipping...). I have boarded on both though, and I didnt notice damage in either of the floors. I would go with price.
                        My personal favorite are the rubber bricks, second is plain mats.


                        • #13
                          The barn where I board is concrete, with mats at the areas most likely to be slippery...doors at either end and the turnout door in the middle.

                          I've never seen asphalt in a barn, so I don't know how it would work.

                          Has anyone used concrete with pea gravel embedded in it? It's sometimes used for patios for aesthetic reasons, but I would think it would add some traction as well. It would be harder to sweep clean, but easy enough to wash.

                          Something like this:


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by DressageOverFences View Post
                            I think both are slippery and im not a fan of either alone without mats (my horse slipped on concrete and broke her wither, for whoever said they have never heard of a horse slipping...). I have boarded on both though, and I didnt notice damage in either of the floors. I would go with price.
                            My personal favorite are the rubber bricks, second is plain mats.
                            I did say I have never seen, but have heard horses slipping on concrete more than other places.

                            I have seen horses slip in dirt floor aisles and go down and get injured also, but it makes sense that they would slip less than on concrete.

                            For all the horses out there on concrete, how many do slip and how many get injured from slipping on concrete or other surfaces?

                            I think that management has much to do also with a horse slippping, other than pure accidents and those happen any place.

                            Sure, you don't want concrete where horses will run around loose and chase each other, as in a run in shed, not without something else there, mats or sand or whatever.

                            In an aisle, where most horses sedately walk around, or realize they better don't act up, I think concrete is a good solution, if you want to have other than dirt there.

                            We have dirt and a bit of sand on top, because we don't have much traffic.
                            In a busy barn, concrete makes more sense.
                            Asphalt, I don't know how that would work, or if any less slick than concrete.

                            The little round decorative pebbles, I would assume, are even more slick than concrete would be.


                            • #15
                              I've never had or used asphalt, but my barn has a concrete aisle with mats on top, and I've never had a horse slip. I just came in from hosing it down and scrubbing the mats, and I still love it after five years.
                              Last edited by saddleup; Jun. 1, 2012, 10:15 AM.


                              • #16
                                Many products used around stables contain aromatics and will damage an asphalt surface.
                                The inherent vice of Capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
                                Winston Churchill


                                • #17
                                  I don't know about mere foot and horse traffic. In general terms, asphalt is less durable than concrete and more susceptible to problems if the base is bad. Concrete may crack as it settles, but it generally doesn't crumble to pieces.

                                  While I've never seen a barn done with asphalt, the idea turns me off. Asphalt is more slick. Horses can slip on any surface, but asphalt is hands down a more slick surface. I personally wouldn't want to deal with the base issues, the chemicals, sealing it... Concrete is just easier.

                                  Originally posted by Dalemma
                                  Again this has to do with proper placement not the product it self.
                                  The odds of finding a contractor that does high quality asphalt work on a such a small scale are... not favorable. Dips are almost inevitable. Poorly done concrete work is a lot more livable than poorly done asphalt.
                                  "I did know once, only I've sort of forgotten." - Winnie the Pooh


                                  • #18
                                    I hate concrete. And asphalt. Seen horses wipe out on both of them, a couple with severe injuries. Both are extremely slippery in winter and when wet, and tend to be VERY cold in the winter. Cool in the summer, however.

                                    We currently have concrete in our barn. HATE it. I got very lucky when a 2 month old colt slipped and landed like a sack of potatoes on his side on a concrete floor. Knocked the wind right out of himself and he didn't get up for a minute or so. My momentary anxiety thinking he had broken something was relieved when he finally did get up and was okay, other than rather bruised. Ever since then, we've been saving for rubber tiles.

                                    In the meantime, we're going to paint the cement aisleway with a sand-grit paint. It will chip off fairly quickly, but it provides some traction until we can get the tiles.
                                    Practice! Patience! Persistence!


                                    • #19
                                      I have asphalt. I've had it for several years and I have been very happy with it. It has a popcorn finish and if I wanted to eat off the floor, it would probably not be a good idea, but for traction it rules. I have had zero issues with slipping or falling. I also love the look (I have black fences too). I don't have it in my stall area, as we have clay based soil with mats on top and that's worked well for us too.

                                      I think that folks pointing out the proper installation being key are spot on. Either flooring can be a mess if all of the factors aren't considered. Tom is also on the money about the types of solvents that will eat your asphalt, but the good part of that is that asphalt is easy to patch after your husband repeatedly spills gas on it
                                      * trying hard to be the person that my horses think i am


                                      • #20
                                        Like Bluey, concrete is the norm in the UK, and we never had any issues with it.

                                        I think it depends on the climate - temperature fluctuations, humidity, etc - on which floor will best suit your needs.

                                        We inherited a barn with a concrete floor in a COLD climate, and yes, it did become slippery in the winter. Horrid underfoot, but easy to keep clean (if you like sweeping constantly, that is - to me it's a total waste of time and energy).

                                        These days we have a temporary barn (going on 7 years ) with a stone-dust floor, and we LOVE it; I rake it once in a blue moon to keep it clean, it's not dusty (even with 5 horses coming and going, although they're never in for any great length of time), and it is NEVER slippery.

                                        The barn is on a slight slope, and the ground is very well-drained. The stalls are bedded with a mix of straw and shavings straight on to the stone-dust, and we deep-litter, mucking out every year or as required with a skid-steer.

                                        Piece of cake, imo!