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Cost of building a barn in northern Fairfield County, CT?

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  • Cost of building a barn in northern Fairfield County, CT?

    We just purchased a property with 19 acres, most of which is open and has plenty of room for grazing. Re: the barn, I'm originally from England, so have no idea how much these fancy American barns cost. I have contacted a barn builder and am awaiting a quote back from them, but in the meantime, my curiosity is nagging at me and I'd like to know the approximate cost of installing:

    A three-stall barn (ideally 14 x 14) with wash stall, Dutch doors and heated tack room. Am I correct in thinking 50-100k?

  • #2
    I shouldn't even reply, b/c I'd just be guessing, but I'd say yes. Since you want heat, hot water, and I think you need septic for the wash stall (though don't know that for sure) (and would you need to dig a well or will you use the house well?) all these things add $$$$!
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    • Original Poster

      There's an existing well close to the intended barn site. Would that suffice, do you think?

      What do people think of shed-row stabling? This is what I was accustomed to in England, but of course the weather is nowhere near as treacherous as CT.


      • #4
        Basic recommendation for a barn that makes the most sense is a center aisle one.
        There you are protecting the most area for the least cost.

        Nothing like raining, snowing, a gale out there and you can be under a roof and as closed up or opened to the elements as you want.
        Unlike in a shedrow design, where you are only partially protected.

        I have worked in all kinds of barns, in all kinds of environments and I say, center aisle hands down.
        You can make that design as open as you want in hot climates, as closed as you need in colder ones.
        You can't close a shedrow barn enough and, again, you are protecting half the space for the same money.

        Now, if your heart is set on shedrow, that is different, you can live with any kind of design if that is what your eye, tradition or habits prefers.

        As for prices, you really have to see what is available in your area, as you are doing.
        There are some national barn builders that will give you quotes over the internet, may want to ask them also.


        • #5
          The cost will vary widely and depends on many things.
          -how much excavating needs to be done
          -materials used -> wood, metal, cement or pavers for aisle, etc
          -what kind of stalls -> pre-made, do-it-yourself, custom
          -dutch doors?
          -loft, no loft
          -roofing material
          -how many lights, what kind of lights -> exterior and interior

          The price also depends on who builds it - are they insured? Are they using subcontractors?

          My recommendation is to know EXACTLY what you want, from the placement of the smallest light to the positioning of the building. What area gets the best breezes in the summer? Where do the cold winter winds hit? Plan every single detail. I planned my barn for 7 years and changed my mind about several things as I learned more about what I needed. I now have a barn that is absolutely perfect. I would not change a thing. And I used a builder I trusted who had done work for me before. He isn't a horse person but he listened to what I wanted and was very conscientious about details. I learned after getting several quotes that not every builder would listen.

          So, the cost is really going to depend on what you want and what you are willing to spend. But take your time and be patient. I am most proud that I can honestly say I wouldn't change one thing about my barn, and that is because I took my time.


          • #6
            I'm in CT too.

            My barn is a 24x40, but it's not a center aisle barn. I have it set up like a shedrow with all stalls up one long side (4 10x12 stalls) and the aisle is 12x40.

            We got quotes from a few barn builders, a couple contractors that don't specialize in just barns and pre-fab buildings. We ended up going with a pre-fab. The building itself was $17,500 which included 6 thermapane windows, eave vents, full ridge vent, cupola, delivery, taxes and construction on site. It came in finished wall sections and then they built the roof on it here. Came with a team of 8 guys, showed up at 7 am and drove out at 6:30 pm with a finished barn.

            However...the whole barn soup to nuts cost just about $60k finished. We put in the insulation we wanted and interior walls over the insulation and kickboards. And the stalls, we bought stall kits with grill tops and sliding doors. The foundation had to be put in to the barn's specs, due to a LOT of grading and drainage added the foundation (poured concrete 4' frost wall) was $9,000. That did include the interior "floor" of levelled and packed stonedust. We added rubber floor mats in the entire interior. (nice bonus of stonedust flooring a few feet deep is I can run water on it all day long and it runs between the mats and drains, barn cannot flood since it's one giant dry well)
            The enire cost also includes electric, plumbing which includes an exterior frost free hydrant, interior water lines and spigot, a heated auto waterer in each stall and another heated auto waterer in the paddock set into the fenceline between both paddocks.
            Also included in the barn price is all of my fencing materials...posts, cement, nails, screws, flex fence, coated wire, electric rope, charger, ground rods, etc. Not installation of the fence though. That we did ourselves. (and then a few years later paid someone to take it out and put it in again, LOL! We stink at fencing )

            The same barn by barn builders came to between $65,000 and $75,000 depending on builder. But that did not include the waterers, the insulation or any of the fencing materials. All of which comes to an extra $8,000 or so.

            My barn is 9 years old now and I've been happy as heck with it. It has stood up to some ridiculous weather here...and there were some stick built barns that collapsed due to snow loads a couple winters ago here and mine is fine. Didn't even have a single beam bow a bit with the weight of 4 feet of snow on it and huge ice dams. And it's held up to 80 mph winds from a hurricane. I was impressed.

            However I did replace the main doors, they weren't made to withstand horses and my paddock is attached to my barn. I had a real wise-arse horse years ago that tore all the cross-hatching off of the doors for fun and then bit holes in them. They were good doors, but not horse-proof doors. I had someone build me some doors that are much heavier.

            But yeah, your estimations for barn building sound about right. Area also adds cost...and your county is known for loving to charge the state's highest costs for about everything.
            You jump in the saddle,
            Hold onto the bridle!
            Jump in the line!


            • #7
              Here's my barn's floorplan, so it's like a shedrow:

              My aisle doubles as a run-in shed when the horses are turned out. There's a swinging gate on the inside of the aisle to keep one end of the barn horse-free.

              If I had a brain in my head, then when I built my barn I would have flipped the floorplan when I finished the interior. So instead of using the aisle like a run-in when they're turned out and having windows in each stall I;d have had a door in each stall to the outside, kept the aisle solely for convenience for me/grooming/etc, had doors on either end of aisle to catch summer breezes/better circulation and added an overhang outside the stalls so that could be a run-in. Far more use this way, IMO:

              Something to consider other than protection from weather in the winter is how to keep the barn cool in summer. Horses don't care about the cold, but they HATE to be hot. My barn's set up doesn't catch cross breezes very well, my mistake there. I added huge vent fans in the roof to help. Also add outlets for each stall, GFCI and placed for safety. But nice to have for many reasons, including adding fans for summer.
              You jump in the saddle,
              Hold onto the bridle!
              Jump in the line!


              • #8
                I have to add that what is called a shedrow generally means open to the elements, not enclosed and that is what is not as effective use of the resources.

                Once you enclose the building, even if the stalls are only on one side, I don't think that is considered a shedrow any more.

                Our race training barn was enclosed on four sides, but because it had an open middle, it still was considered a shedrow barn:


                We had to use canvas curtains on most sides to keep rain and snow off the aisle and stalls.


                • Original Poster

                  Misty Blue, that's very similar to what I had in mind--enclosed barn but with Dutch doors (or shedrow) to the outside. In front of the Dutch doors, I hope to have a pasture of about 2.5 acres and would like to do 24/7 turnout as much as possible in summer, but with ready access to the barn, should the horses desire it.

                  Thanks for the input regarding barn costs. Next up, fencing costs!


                  • #10
                    I would add one more recommendation re design...

                    A 12" covered overhang off the back of the barn where the stall open out. This is way in decent weather (i.e.; not a NE blizzard) you can offer the horses shelter without access to their stalls. Makes cleaning SO much easier as some horses will hang out in the pasture and walk into their nicely bedded stalls to pee and poop.

                    I have started 3 farms from scratch from a 2acre place in Loxahatchee, Fl to a 40 acre farm in CA to now a 12 acre place in NC. I have learned a lot about building the most convenient layout as it is just me caring for 4-6 horses with a full time job I look for ease of care and safety. Even still I wish I had done some different things at my current place! I guess perfection is not attainable (unless of course you have $$$)
                    Read about my time at the Hannoveraner Verband Breeders Courses: