by American Stalls January 05, 2022
During our design process, many clients often first think about the horse stalls in their dream barn. That is with good reason and good intent. After all, our horses often spend significant time in their stalls so we want them to be designed just right. The horse stalls are often also the showstopper in many barns.
Once the horse stall design is complete, clients often then think about other amenities in the barn. That may include the tack room, lounges, wash bays, and other amenities that make our barn experience more comfortable. Although these are important considerations, we always first urge clients to think about their barn's design. This means to understand how sunlight, airflow, and traffic will flow in the barn. This then affects decisions on the stalls, barn layout, and exterior components. Once these are done, flooring is next on the list.
In this article, we will spend time talking about flooring for your barn's aisles. After all, we spend a good deal of time just getting from place to place. It's important that our aisles are beautiful, tidy, but most importantly safe.
Your decision in your aisle flooring will affect how you use your barn in the long run. It can affect day-to-day aspects such as caring for your horses and how you keep your aisles clean. Your aisle flooring can also impact how visitors see your equine operations for the first time when they step foot in your barn.
In a nutshell, your barn's aisle flooring should be safe, durable, and forgiving. It should ultimately optimize for traction and comfort – for both the horse and handler. Let's dive into the three most common aisle flooring among our American Stalls barn projects.
Concrete is one of the most simple and popular flooring options for barns. To begin, concrete is a composite material made with three ingredients including cement, aggregate, and water, aggregate (rock, sand, or gravel). The wet concrete mix is then poured by a barn builder and hardens in place. Concrete is popular among our clientele because it is economical choice, but also an easy-to-clean choice. This surface makes for a dependable, level base that also has a long lifespan.
The downside to an only-concrete aisle is that concrete is hard, cold, and dangerously slick when wet. Any horse person can attest that concrete is hard on the hooves, feet, and legs as you spend time on your feet over the course of a day. While some clients might prefer only-concrete in their aisles, we always recommend the addition of a rubber product.
Interlocking Rubber Mats
If a client has a concrete aisle, interlocking rubber mats are the first option for an aisle. Please note that we recommend interlocking rubber mats as opposed to straight edge mats because interlocking mats will stay in place. The addition of rubber mats can minimize the hazards that concrete poses to the horse and human. While it provides traction, it also provides more comfort as well. The addition of rubber mats will add costs to your barn project, it is a no brainer investment for your barn's safety.
One concern that clients often express regarding rubber mats is cleanliness. It is true that urine can sometimes gets trapped between the concrete and rubber mat bottom. However, interlocking rubber mats tend to be easy to clean as they can be hosed off each day.
The former option, interlocking rubber mats, are popular as they are economical but durable. Rubber Pavers are our preferred flooring option for barn aisles, but they also tend to be the most costly. Our Rubber Pavers come in a variety of sizes (paver thickness) and colors. They are interlocking pavers that can be laid over a concrete or packed dirt (or stone) surfaces.
Most American Stalls project use our rubber pavers as they offer tremendous grip and traction. This helps minimize concrete's slipping hazards. Our pavers also provide significant comfort as they are either 7/8" thick or 1-3/4" thick. Although this might seem minuscule on paper, our clients repeatedly give us feedback that they are exceptionally comfortable compared to concrete or rubber mats.
Looking to improve your barn aisle? We have 4 tips for a safer horse barn aisle.