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Barn that floods, solutions?

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  • Barn that floods, solutions?

    The place I board consists of a large metal building that houses 16 stalls and the indoor and it is attached via a corridor to an older wood barn.

    The wood barn was built by people who knew how to build a barn but didn't know anything about where to put one so it sits in a low area. When the big barn was built it was done by pros who brought in fill to raise the area the barn was going to sit on so that any water flowed away. Some of the stalls along the outside will flood if the horses dig the corners down but the rest of it stays dry. It probably made the problem with the wood barn worse though.

    Although the roof is good the barn aisle and stalls flood in the winter and spring. I put light weight mats down in the aisle and the mats actually floated in the water. The stalls also flood. Unfortunatly the big barn is just one stall short so there are two horses livng in the wood barn right now. They go back and stand on mats in their stalls while we ride and then we rotate horses into the indoor at night. This is a pain in the ass.

    I am working on bringing in dirt to build up the stalls, you can see where over time the stalls (originally not on mats) were dug down. If you move the mats there is standing water in puddles under them but the higher edges of the stalls remain dry. Even if they are matted the water comes up over the edges and ruins the bedding. Then it freezes. Which is fantastic.

    I was wondering if anyone had any ideas that two women without any major equipment and a limited budget could do to fix the problem.

    I was thinking about burying a drainage pipe full of holes under the mats and have the opening of the pipe end up outdoors.

    Or maybe digigng ditches outside the barn to flow the water away.

  • #2
    Depending on the access to the outside of the barn, get a grader in there and have them move the water away from the barn, so the barn sits on a higher site.

    Those, around here, for a larger one, cost about $90/hour and it should only take 1-2 hours, if they charge driving over.
    Get a bid from several, someone may be able to work you in between building pads for houses.
    Those machines really move the dirt around.

    If there is little room there, you may need a smaller machine, some kind of skidloader can do it, but it will take them longer.


    • #3
      Regrade the site, that's what Bluey is talking about, it's like ditch digging but more subtle in appearance. Make sure that there are gutters and they are directing the water off of both roofs away from the wood barn, dig ditches, or you can put in a berm, it's a lump instead of a ditch, to make water turn and flow in a desired direction.
      Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
      Incredible Invisible


      • #4
        I built my run-in barn in the lowest spot on property. I knew it was a terrible spot water wise but it is the best spot so all pastures can have access to shelter and for day to day convenience for me to care for the horses.

        Knowing this I *thought* I had enough fill brought in to raise the barn area. Well, one winter was all it took to tell me I miss calculated What I have done is:

        1) had swale like ditches dug in a circular path around the barn
        2) lots and lots of screenings (cement fines) put down around the barn
        3) gutters
        4) french drain at the front of the barn where the hill really comes down to it and most of the water flows

        This has pretty much solved the problem unless I get a monsoon. I tried all the short cut solutions the first 2 years with no luck. With poor draining it appears that you have to do it right or it just won't work.
        Read about my time at the Hannoveraner Verband Breeders Courses:


        • #5
          We have inherited the same issue where the grade behind the barn is higher than the barn. The builders of the barn somehow didn't think (or didn't want to spend the money) to raise the grade with compacted gravel and such. So not cool.

          Our property has a variety of soil types from clay, to sandy loam and everything in between. The barn and paddock areas happens to sit on sandy loam. This is nice for drainage, but we obviously didn't want the drainage to be happening under our barn!

          So, what we did is dig a ditch behind the barn from point A and ended with Point B beyond the barn into a large pit in a sandy loam area. In the ditch, we installed some sleeved O-pipe along the bottom of the ditch to pick up the water and direct it to the pit. We then back-filled the entire ditch and pit with gravel. This way, it can be safely walked on and nobody falls into some deep dark void. Works great.

          Hubby also dug down the cement foundation and sealed with some thick black goop (new technical term ) to doubly ensure dryness.

          Our barn is now dry instead of flooding in ankle deep water with snow melt or rain storms. This winter we have noticed no heaving of the barn floor which previously led to some cracking in the cement - the repair of which was another project we did last fall.
          Practice! Patience! Persistence!