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Cinderblock barns - needs some thoughts please.

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  • Cinderblock barns - needs some thoughts please.

    We are in the final planning stage for the new boarder barn - have the layout pretty much firmed up but cannot decide on construction materials.

    Current barn has a metal exterior (except behind the barn) and shingle roof. The stalls are stained tongue and groove to kick height and T1-11 above that. All the stalls have dutch doors leading to a 12' run in, which is also T&G/T1-11. The floors in the stalls and aisleway are edged in concrete with rubber mats in the middle.

    Toying with the idea of building a cinder block barn with stall front panels - would still use the same shingle roof (love the quiet) and concrete/rubber mat floors we have in the current barn. From a construction standpoint, it seems that this would go up much faster which would be good with winter not too far off. In terms of maintenance, I am fast approaching an age where I would prefer a barn with a bit less maintenance, but don't want to give up the sturdiness.

    If you have a cinder block barn and could please share your likes/dislikes, it would be greatly appreciated.

    If you are a boarder, what are your thoughts too - all things being equal, would a cinder block design be a pro or a con in your search for a boarding facility?

    TIA for any insight you can give me to help to push me off this fence I am stuck on!

  • #2
    My opinion is that the most efficient barn is a shell barn, even concrete block walls with individual doors from each stall to the outside would be fine, but the stalls inside portable/modular ones.
    You can have them made as fancy as you want, or simple off the shelf ones do fine also.

    Why?
    That is considered a multi-purpose building, that you can change at will as your needs change and even use for other than a horse barn.
    If you build a barn that is framed as a barn with stalls part of the framing, that is all you can do with that barn without really serious remodeling.
    It is hard to change if you or someone else wants to put it to some other use later.

    Most vet clinics and older, better breeding barns here are concrete block barns.
    Those are wonderful, but like for a few years now, some sit empty, as horse barns is all they can be used for and the breeding business is in the dumps here.

    Comment


    • #3
      My neighbor has a concrete block barn and I would kill for it. It's warmer in the winter, cooler in the summer. He has it set up as 24 x 12 foaling stalls, with two doors and dividers to turn them into individual stalls.

      Comment


      • #4
        I have a cinder block barn and love it - now! I did hate painting it though. It took forever and sucked up a lot of paint. Otherwise, it's wonderful! It's relatively cool in the summer and warm in winter. I built wooden stalls with mesh fronts. I wish I had added more windows or doors but did add one door in the back wall later.

        Would I do it again? Absolutely! The painted block is easy to scrub manure stains off. It's also easy to pressure wash. Good luck with your new barn!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Bluey View Post
          My opinion is that the most efficient barn is a shell barn, even concrete block walls with individual doors from each stall to the outside would be fine, but the stalls inside portable/modular ones.
          You can have them made as fancy as you want, or simple off the shelf ones do fine also.

          Why?
          That is considered a multi-purpose building, that you can change at will as your needs change and even use for other than a horse barn.
          If you build a barn that is framed as a barn with stalls part of the framing, that is all you can do with that barn without really serious remodeling.
          It is hard to change if you or someone else wants to put it to some other use later.
          .
          This is the way our main barn is built... there are several advantages. One the stalls not being attached to the building are considered furniture thus are removal able and not a part of the building ... if we are to ever move we can take them and the stall mats with us.

          Secondly the building appraised at a value of over twice the value of a barn which was great but carries a property tax value of the use

          Comment


          • #6
            Dad's an engineer and loves the stuff as long as it's properly reinforced with rebar and concrete poured into all the voids. It's darn near hurricane proof if you do that. If you don't - well I've watched my DH slingshot a rock right through the one wall of a concrete block with the finish mower

            I do agree with the concept of modular stalls making the structure more flexible.
            Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
            Incredible Invisible

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            • #7
              Years ago I boarded at a cinder block barn, loved it! Stalls had dutch doors and a window on the back wall. Only drawback, it was haunted, but that's another story! LOL!

              Comment


              • #8
                The barn I board at is cinder block with rebar and poured concrete in the voids. Knock on wood, that thing is probably indestructible. Which is nice in hurricane country.

                Comment


                • #9
                  LOVE Block Barns

                  I boarded for about 5 years in a block barn in MI and loved it. Cooler in the summer/warmer in the winter which was a big plus for me as I cleaned stalls for the owner on the weekends. The one I boarded at had block stalls also (4' up with bars up from there). They left one block out above the feed tubs so you could dump feed without entering the stall. There were 3 foaling stalls (double) with a T & G wood wall that could be added/removed as needed. The only thing to consider is if you have a stall kicker it will be hard on thier legs if they do not learn/get hurt the first time they kick those walls. If you do have a kicker you can line the walls with mats or wood for a little give.

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                  • #10
                    I boarded my horse at a block barn in college. I had a kicker, and he soon stopped in that barn. Had run outs from each stall and as others have pointed out toasty in winter, cool in summer. Pretty indestructible as well. I'd build one.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Cinderblock barn in the Mid-Atlantic

                      Like others have said, cool in summer and warm in winter. Also, like another poster experienced, discourages kickers Stubborn/illogical ones can injure themselves banging on such a hard surface. Insurance rates can be better since the block will still be standing after a fire.

                      I've never seen a painted cinderblock barn. Your goal is reduced maintenance. I'd skip painting. Blast a leaf blower at cobwebs and once a year power wash the walls.

                      Need the right tools to bolt in tie rings. Bars on the top half allow easier options for buckets, fans, etc. Maybe the rear wall facing the run in could have bars with solid walls on adjoining sides.

                      Are you imagining one entire wall (front) of the stall be a panel? That's a great idea! Otherwise, extra-wide stall doors as there is no removing a stall wall in an emergency (ie horse dies overnight thus body must be removed).

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        We built our cinderblock barn 33 years ago and it`s GREAT! Warmer in winter and cooler in summer and almost fly- free in summer because of the cooler temp inside and the fact that it is darker than outside. The cinderblock still looks new and has never needed re-painting. We painted it the first year it was up with Sears Weatherbeater. It really soaked in the paint but has stayed like new and mostly water repellant all these years. The roof is tin and no maintenance there.

                        We have a 2000 + small bale capacity hayloft and when I have hay up there, it has a wonderful insulating value. Also, trap door can be opened to let air flow up and through the ridgilators on the round but with a peak roof ( ) (snow just slides off too, no gutters). Two sliding hayloft doors, one on each end upstairs to throw down hay or straw, shavings etc.

                        The barn faces east and west with a 12 foot cement aisle. A good wind whips down the barn aisle on most days, to the delight of 6 horses hanging their heads out of their dutch doors, stall guards and maybe a fan when it is really warm if there is no breeze, which doesn`t happen often since we live on a ridge. (Most of the time they are out in the pastures but there are those days when it is terribly hot, like this year, when it storms or there is a blizzard, then they are in)

                        The windows are large, and glass block 4`x 4` and located fairly high, boardering the ceiling, so mostly out of kick range, at least it has never happened here in all these years. A small window with screen in the middle of the glass block (but I found that the barn stays cooler if I leave the windows closed. The wind down the aisle and the trap door to the hayloft and ridgellators take care of the good ventilation that I get. Screen door that is half of a split door the width of the aisle is put in in the winter and stays there all winter long. It keeps birds and critters out during the winter when I want the horses in and still keeps the air circulating without it getting stuffy or too warm in winter. (Yes, a barn can be too warm in the winter.)

                        I learned about cinderblock barns and glass block windows from the dairy farmers around here, lots of light and maintenance free. I wash the windows twice a year to let in lots of sunlight from the south, VERY nice on winter days.

                        I feel that my horses are safer in a cinderblock barn than a tin barn.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I am currently renting a block barn and love it for all the reasons mentioned. Warm in the winter, cooler in the summer. I do wish mine had larger windows, the windows are only about 15" x 30" and only open half way. There are a few other changes I would make if I owned it, but I would love to have another block barn.

                          Christa

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I would love to see some pictures of these block barns pretty please!
                            DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Hi all - thank you so much for all of your replies - this is very helpful. All of my other searches came up with people talking about horses with broken legs from kicking the walls but I too have boarded at a cinder block barn for years and never heard of a problem. This makes me feel much better for thinking this is the way I want to go. That said, I would not be against lining a stall to have in the event of a kicker if it made the owner feel better about boarding there.

                              We currently have 2 plans - one has 3 stalls at each end and the wash rack and tack room in the middle to allow for more cross tie space and avoid a lot of passing on the aisle. If we go that route, the side walls will be block too with a window for visitation and ventilation. Stall fronts will be mesh panels and everyone will have a dutch door leading to their own paddock.

                              The other plan has all the stalls at one end so we could do T&G walls on the sides in channels so they could be removed if needed - this is what our current barn has and it allows for a larger stall for a chronic caster, foaling or layup. Still will have the mesh stall panel, and all of the other rooms (tack, feed, bath/utility) and wash stall will be cinder block.

                              Before the horses move in the block will be treated with filler and then painted - it will take some time initially but after that it will be power wash and touch up paint with a roller. Makes the stalls much brighter and keeps the block from absorbing unwanted moisture which can make the barn smell bad.

                              Now I am really excited (think kid in candy store excited ) to go forward with these plans and get this barn built!

                              Thank you very much!!!!

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by TrotTrotPumpkn View Post
                                I would love to see some pictures of these block barns pretty please!
                                Me too!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I love block barns. Not to be nosy, but does anyone know how the construction cost compares with a wood or metal pole barn?

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    I have talked to a couple of contractors (not doing this one ourselves this time) but since we hadn't settled on block or not don't have any quotes yet so will have to let you know.

                                    Our barn now has metal exterior and wood interior walls so from a labor and materials standpoint it should be the same or less and much less time - the block guys I know can roll when they get moving.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      The nicest barn I've ever kept horses in was a block barn - they dressed it up a bit with stacked stone on the outside and some pretty doors on each end. The stalls had grilled doors and large windows on the outside to let the horses hang their heads out and enjoy the view; walls between stalls were concrete block with blocks "missing" to create ventilation and let the horses see each other without being able to get AT each other, if that makes sense.

                                      There are pictures on the farm website but it seems to be impossible to link to just one photo - the one that shows the barn best is #11 http://www.shannondale.com/photo-gallery.aspx

                                      I loved the fact that I didn't have to worry about fire, and the barn was easy to keep clean and bright. It was also cool in summer and warm in winter, as others have noted. If I ever have the opportunity to build a barn, I will definitely use that material, and it is my first choice of barn materials as a boarder.
                                      **********
                                      We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
                                      -PaulaEdwina

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Lucassb View Post
                                        The nicest barn I've ever kept horses in was a block barn - they dressed it up a bit with stacked stone on the outside and some pretty doors on each end. The stalls had grilled doors and large windows on the outside to let the horses hang their heads out and enjoy the view; walls between stalls were concrete block with blocks "missing" to create ventilation and let the horses see each other without being able to get AT each other, if that makes sense.
                                        I had the same experience as Lucassb WRT boarding in a block barn- all the way down to the 'missing' blocks between stall walls for ventilation and equine socializing... nicest place ever, and I felt that Reese was much safer there in the event of bad weather (we're somewhat prone to tornadoes in my neck of the woods), or [God forbid] a barn fire. The block barn was just so sturdy and solid... if I were to ever build a barn, I would definitely go with that option. I also liked that in addition to all of the stalls being appropriately matted, all of the stall walls were matted (just in case someone kicked out too hard).

                                        Originally posted by Lucassb View Post
                                        I loved the fact that I didn't have to worry about fire, and the barn was easy to keep clean and bright. It was also cool in summer and warm in winter, as others have noted. If I ever have the opportunity to build a barn, I will definitely use that material, and it is my first choice of barn materials as a boarder.
                                        Agree with Lucassb again, on all acounts here.

                                        The barn where I had previously boarded Reese was quite literally all sheet metal- both the barn exterior and roof was made of it (with wooden stalls inside).

                                        The external metal wasn't maintained very well (i.e.; at all)- the bottom of the metal exterior of the barn (I'm talking the entire perimeter of the barn) were all rusted and curled back and upwards. Same with the sliding doors at the ends of each aisle and the doors at each end of the indoor. Every time I had to open those doors, the only thing that went through my mind was, "tetanus, tetanus, tetanus..."

                                        The ill-maintained metal exterior actually caused a very serious cut to the hind leg of my friend's pony... as she was walking him to the outdoor ring, he got caught up in a particularly large piece of rusted, sharp metal that was jutting out from the bottom of the barn exterior (which was actually really hard to see, because due to the rust the ground around the area, it blended right in... I wouldn't have seen it either) and he severed a major artery.

                                        He almost didn't make it because he was bleeding out so fast; and there were serious doubts as to whether or not the injury was going to be career-ending (she did a lot of showing with him- the A's, Pony Finals, etc...). Thankfully he made a full recovery; but Jesus Christ on Crutches- talk about a preventable accident.

                                        At this same facility I also saw a horse take down his stall and seriously damage- to the point of collapsing- the metal exterior of the barn that surrounded his stall and the stalls immediately next to his... not pretty. At all. And I'm not even going to get into the fire risks that were there.

                                        I just realized that I wrote a novel, sorry about that! I'll just conclude by saying block barns are the way to go (IMO)... and if I still had a horse and was looking for a place to board, a good block barn would be on my list of "must-haves/non-negotiables;" and would be one of the top requirements, too (if not the #1- aside from good, competent care).


                                        Originally posted by Martha Drum
                                        ...But I don't want to sit helmetless on my horse while he lies on the ground kicking a ball around without a bridle while Leatherface does an interpretive dance with his chainsaw around us.

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