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Rubber mats inlaid in the barn aisle - how to do?

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  • Rubber mats inlaid in the barn aisle - how to do?

    I am in the middle of building a new 4-stall barn. I have a 12' aisle that will be concrete. I would like to lay rubber mats into the center portion of the aisle, rather than place them on top of the finished concrete, so that the surface of the mats is flush with the surface of the concrete. The company doing the concrete pour has done many barns, but this is the first time someone has requested inlaid mats from them. They are concerned about getting the mats level when they are put into the concrete.

    Are there any guidelines for how to do this correctly? Pointers are welcome!

  • #2
    i would prep the area for the mats with stonedust beneath and use those steel/iron L bars as a frame to separate the the concrete area from the matted area. Hope that makes sense.
    Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
    Witherun Farm


    • #3
      Just run the cement down the sides, and have the mats on gravel - you can move them if necessary, level them, it provides drainage, etc. Sort of like what would be under mats in a stall. Wish I had done this, I am tired of realigning the mats in the aisle!



      • Original Poster

        So do you mean to pour 2, 4'-wide concrete slabs (which would constitute the left and right concrete sides), then after it's dry build up stone dust in the center 4' where the mats will go?

        That sounds much simpler than putting the mats into the concrete! It would also allow me to replace mats if needed down the road, whereas if we set them into the concrete they would be permanently stuck in.


        • #5
          You need to search for Badger here on COTH. She did some sort of framework around the mats in her new barn in Aiken. She shared some photos on FB showing the arrangement.


          • #6
            Mat ideas

            Look at the mats from Linear Rubber. We have mats in a 16' x 120' barn as well as some others, made by Linear Rubber to fit.

            Needed some final trimming but they interlock like jigsaws, don't move, and having fewer seams is a huge advantage when it comes to cleaning them... STUFF gets stuck in the seams but ours are so tight they are a breeze to clean with the leaf blower and always look nice.

            Ours are laid over compacted, leveled decomposed granite. Take your time to make the base level, hard, and clean and the final matting job is much nicer.

            We don't have freeze/thaw so don't have to worry about temperature extremes.

            Having the mats (it's kind of like rubber wall to wall carpeting in the aisle!) saves our barn helpers hundreds of hours of labor each year, and the entire barn is much cleaner. Some feel it made the barn warmer but I am not sure about that.


            • #7
              Why not just put mats down on top of the cement, for the entire aisle?

              I too have a 12' aisle, that is 36' long (my barn is basically three 12x12 stalls on the left, and the right is all 12' aisle - entire building is 24x36).

              I just put mats down on the entire aisle.
              "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


              • #8
                Like a sidewalk down either side of the aisle. Then, the area under the mats (like the road down the middle) is based compact with gravel, contractor's sand, stone dust or whatever is recommended to provide a hard, level surface which drains well.

                If you make the inset base concrete, then you will have a horrible time with water and urine and dirt running under the mats with no real way to clean that out, even if you took up the mats. You want either the aisle to be all of the same surface, for washing and draining, or gravel underneath.

                Frankly, I don't see the point of not extending the mats to the edge of the aisle, but if that's what you want, either put the mats on top of all concrete with no insets to catch urine etc or make the inset drained gravel type.

                My concern would be that the concrete "edge" would be vulnerable to erosion, cracks, chips, even if your mats were right up tight to the edge. I would also be concerned about how the pressure from a hoof half on half off the concerete/mat border might erode the gravel bed differently from the concrete. Or how something else would erode the gravel bed differently from the concrete. I don't know. Just not certain it would work well over time.
                My warmbloods have actually drunk mulled wine in the past. Not today though. A drunk warmblood is a surly warmblood. - WildandWickedWarmbloods


                • #9
                  We have rubber mats inlaid in the our barn aisle,but I'm no help in terms of how to do it, because they were in place when we bought this farm.
                  They are as you described,down the middle and flush with the floor.
                  We have had this farm for 12 years and they are still good,and in that time have never moved, curled up or slipped.
                  They do have small spaces between the ends, but this is easy to sweep out, or blow out with the leaf blower.
                  There are also drains in the aisle and in the stalls, with the floor slanting slightly towards them.

                  They were one of the selling points to me when we bought the farm,and I continue to like them.
                  A Fine Romance. April 1991 - June 2016. Loved forever.


                  • #10
                    Tasia has some great pics of her mats down the center of the aisle, and it inspired me to do the same. We poured the concrete with a channel down the middle, just the depth and width of the mats, so the mats sit flush with the aisle. We considered putting stonedust underneath but our contractor believed the concrete base would allow him to make them more exactly flush and remain stable. The two mats at the ends of the aisle are bolted to the concrete, rest just sit into place. These have been in place since last fall. Only problem so far is that on hot days on the west end of the barn where the sun comes in, the mats expand enough to buckle up where they meet. They go down when the temp drops. We are waiting for July heat before fixing it, as we want to trim enough to handle as much expansion as the summers will deliver. The end mats will stay bolted down, and we will trim to allow some space for expansion along the length of the aisle. We have had no problem with urine etc getting under the mats. The rare time I've had a horse pee in the aisle, I just flush the mat with some water and it is fine. I worried about this before installation, but it has not been an issue.

                    I like the look of the mats running down the center of the aisle, rather than going the full width of the aisle. Prefer having the strips of lighter concrete on either side rather than a sea of hot black rubber. Was REALLY glad I went this route when a loose horse decided to gallop full throttle down the length of the aisleway and came to no harm. I had loose mats on top of concrete in my old barn and much prefer this. They stay put, they are flush, when you stand on a stool to pull a mane or braid, your stool is level. What's not to love?
                    Hindsight bad, foresight good.


                    • Original Poster

                      Badger, how did you make the channel in the middle?

                      I am kind of leaning towards doing stone dust under the mats because my builder and the concrete guy are not very confident about getting the channel correct in the middle, which makes me not very confident that they will do a great job with it and I don't want to have to live with a badly done aisle. The concrete guy expressed concern that the channeled portion may not come out perfectly level everywhere, so I'd end up with an uneven mat surface. Also, the property is on sand, so I'd have really good drainage under the stone dust.

                      I do have 2 aisle drains already roughed-in, so I can go either way with the center channel...just trying to gauge the pros and cons of both approaches.


                      • #12
                        We did a double pour of concrete. First level was the complete aisle, second was the "shoulders" on each side of the mats. I had the mats glued/bonded together and I love it.
                        www.clearbluefarm.com - a work in progress


                        • #13
                          We did the same thing as Clear Blue for pouring the granite. Our contractor and the concrete guy didn't think it was any big deal.
                          Hindsight bad, foresight good.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Badger View Post
                            We did the same thing as Clear Blue for pouring the granite. Our contractor and the concrete guy didn't think it was any big deal.
                            Glad the mats worked out