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Let's talk barns!!

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  • Let's talk barns!!

    Ok, we are in the process of getting initial bids for our first barn...yay!! :-)

    We are thinking of doing a 6 stall barn with 4 stalls w/dutch doors to outside runs, a wash rack, and a tack room. We want overhangs on both sides.

    So, here's where we need your experience!

    We are thinking packed road base flooring in the stalls, concrete in wash stall and tack, aisle...coblestone? rubber mats over road base? concrete?? Any suggestions?

    Barns...metal building? Morton? MD? Barnmaster? Pros/cons?

    In your experience, does it come out cheaper to have it all done by one company, like Morton does it (site prep, building, stalls, etc.), or to do it all using separate contractors and try to do what we can ourselves?

    What are we missing, or what haven't we even thought to ask?

    Bookend Farm

  • #2
    Where in TX are you?

    I will say that wood won't last long, you will be doing repairs all the time, in most of TX you will either have rot or dry rot and insects eating a barn down.
    Every barn and shed we used wood on to frame or for the whole structure is gone.

    We built a race horse training barn in the late 60's out of wood, beautiful barn and had to tear it down eventually, after every critter ate on it, from termites, that tunneled clear up to the rafters, to all other kinds of insects.
    It also was a fire trap, with only one main entrance and the other end stalls with runs.

    The several barns built with metal from 1945 on are still standing and doing fine.

    I would look around your area, see what is new built, what is old and still standing, what is old and falling down and go by that.

    If you have the money, get a good contractor to build you the barn and finish it.

    If I was building, I would have someone build a metal structure and then add portable stalls in there and finish the tack and washroom.
    The advantage is that when you want to resell, the structure will be considered multi use and attract more buyers, plus it may give you a tax break over a standard horse barn.

    You could ask these companies, the first one is one of the cheaper ones that still has an excellent product, the second one is a first class one.
    Try to get bids from both, so you have some to compare with your more local builders:




    • #3
      We built a new barn this summer. We had one company demolish & remove the old barn and create the new building site. I did not ask the builder what his demo/site prep rate would be because the dirt guy was so highly recommended by someone else I know in the trade.

      Our building site pad is 6" of packed limestone screening. I put mats directly on top of the screenings in each stall. It works perfectly. The aisle is just screening though I will add mats to part or all of it later. My barn is a 40' by 60' with 2/3'eds of it being for the horses/hay/tackroom and 1/3 the horse trailer, tractor and storage for the miniature horses carts.

      Our barn is pole frame with metal siding. The stall walls are lined with 3/4" plywood and as Bluey offered, I had a local welder make me pipe stalls which are bolted together and into the walls. They are removeable in the event we want them out down the road or want to change the stall type. (FTR, my horses are laid back stock type horses so pipe isn't a huge issue with them. IOW, if I was going to be having a lot of foals or *hot* type horses I would go with solid walls up to 6'.) On the stall divider panels there is a piece of plywood (3/4" thich) attached to a frame- this is at the aisle end of the panel. The hayracks are bolted to those and I can put hay in them without going into the stall. They were painted with the same oil based paint used on the panels so it looks like a piece of sheet metal. The main reason for this was to give each horse privacy and a place away from an evil eye during feeding- and to keep the hay off the ground.

      Mr. SLW is doing the electrical. That saved us some money but it is nothing to try for yourself unless you have experience. Because of snow around here I put in one overhead door- down on the horse trailer end. At the horse end of the barn I have 10' slider doors on the east and west side. My favorite splurge was to put windows in the slider doors on the east side. It looks nice and keeps daylight in the barn even if I close every stall and exterior door. Ditto the man door into the barn, it has a 9 pane window in it.

      My walls are 12' high and I love that. I went into barns with 10' sidewalls and thought they were nice but 12' really opens it up. Plus, I needed it tall enough to back the trailer in.

      I so wanted an overhang at the end of the barn where the stalls open up to the pasture. That was going to add another $3000 to do 40' so I nixed that. Because our property is small and the barn is 100' from the back door I did have soffets put on the eaves. It makes it pretty in addition to serving a function. But again, that cost $2500.

      Good luck and have fun! Ask a zillion questions because folks have such good ideas of what has worked and what hasn't worked!!


      • Original Poster

        Thanks & keep the tips coming!

        Than you so much! Great idea, Bluey on the resale value.

        And the flooring info that you gave SLW is exactly what I'm looking for! And, thanks for the tip on the 10' vs. 12' walls...good to know!
        Bookend Farm


        • #5
          I built my barn three years ago and used Barnmaster. It's a six stall, (4 stalls, storage bay, and tack room) gable style. I have a 16 foot concrete center aisle, as well as concrete in the tack room and storage bay. I have mats down the middle of the aisle. I had a great experience with Barnmaster, and have recommended them to a couple of friends who have used them, too.

          I used a general contractor to tear down my old barn and raise the grade almost 2 feet, so that everything would drain away from the new barn. THAT WAS THE BEST MONEY I SPENT! The stalls are road base with small gravel on top, all compacted, with mats on top.

          Barnmaster's contractors did the concrete and everything else. I have dutch doors out to connected 40 foot runs, that open to the main turnout paddocks. I have a 10 foot overhang on the west side that provides shade and rain/snow protection for that side. The east side is protected against the prevailing winds by the barn itself. They also did a hay storage building for me and a loafing shed.

          I also had skylights put in, and they made the barn very light and inviting. I have big sliding doors on the north and south sides so can open or close them as the weather dictates. Also makes deliveries much easier.

          In the summer I rent a pressure washer and clean everything up very easily, and it looks practically like new.

          I put Nelson waterers in the stalls, which simplified my life greatly.

          The hard part was that all the design decisions had to be made when I ordered the barn, and that required a lot of work and organization. I love my barn, and really wouldn't change a thing except I wish I'd made the hay shed bigger.

          Good luck and have fun.