When it comes to horse stalls and barn doors, there are two primary materials involved including steel and wood. This is the case whether you are thinking of remodeling or building a barn.
In this article, we would like to talk in-depth about the lumber choice for your horse stalls and barn doors. This decision is important because the lumber makes up so much of the horse stall. As a result, the choice in lumber will dictate the strength and longevity of your horse stall system. It will also drive the safety factor which is important to consider in a horse stall environment. Lastly, your choice in lumber also has a large in impact on the overall project expenses.
To start, below is an overview on the most commonly used materials and lumber in horse barn products:
- Softwoods – This includes the most popular option for horse stalls which is Southern Yellow Pine. That being said, we always recommend to use the highest grade of wood that is possible for your project’s budget. This is because softwoods are generally not recommend for use inside horse stalls. Softwood is prone to warping, twisting, and shrinkage over time. Southern Yellow Pine lumber is the only viable option in the softwood category for horse stall environments.
- Domestic Hardwoods – Hardwoods are more expensive than softwoods, but last much longer due to their density. Many domestic hardwood options can also be found in FSC-certified versions. Domestic hardwoods include douglas fir, mahogany, and oak.
- Exotic Hardwoods – Exotic hardwoods can be extremely dense when compared to domestic hardwoods and softwoods. This profile allows them to hold up to the rigors present in a horse stall environment. This makes exotic hardwoods particularly well suited for horse stalls and barn doors. This option lasts longer and provides your barn with a higher quality aesthetic, but it is also one of the most expensive lumber options. Exotic hardwoods include options such as Brazilian hardwood.
- Plastic (HDPE) Infills – Lastly, a growing alternative to wood is a plastic (HDPE) fill option. These are synthetic materials that are built to look like wood. The benefit to plastic HDPE is their benefits around longevity and durability. The synthetic fill keeps its finish longer. It is also easier to clean so it is a more sanitary material compared to wood. Lastly, HDPE fills use primarily recycled post-consumer plastic which makes for a more positive environmental impact.
Given the wide variety of wood and filler options, it can be difficult to make a decision about the best material for your barn. Although there are some best practices, each barn is unique because of its location, surrounding climate, and the barn’s overall build.
A barn located in New England will experience heavy snow and heavy winds. This New England barn will often require different considerations than a barn located in a southern barn where insect issues arise. Below is a list of factors to research and consider when deciding on lumber:
- Does the lumber have a good nailing holding powder?
- Is there moderate and reasonable shrinkage?
- Is the lumber easy to work with, finish, and clean?
- Will the lumber resist decay and warping?
- Does the lumber withstand splitting?
The above is a starting point for your ultimate decision regarding the wood for your horse stalls and barn doors. Please contact our team if you have any questions or need guidance. Our team works on projects across North America and has significant experience in guiding our clients. Feel free to contact us today at (855) 957-8255 or complete our inquiry form. Our American Stalls team is here to be a resource to help you build a barn that is elegant, safe, and built to last.