Types and Styles of Barns

One of your toughest decisions – but many people feel the most fun – you’ll make when building your barn is the style. There are many to choose from and each style can have modifications. Things to consider are the style’s suitability to your climate, the function or “flow” of your horse work and, of course, your budget. The amount of time you can wait for a new barn is also a factor. A modular barn can be erected in a few days, while a pole barn building can take months.

TYPES

A Pole Barn (Post Frame) framing utilizes posts and beams to minimize the number of framing elements in walls. It is economical, strong and relatively simple to build, making it the most popular framing method for custom barns. A pole barn frame consists of 6- to 8-inch round or rectangular pressure-treated wood posts set 3 to 6 feet below the ground. Poles are typically set at 8- to 12-foot intervals and rest on a pad of concrete at the bottom of each hole. Poles and trusses or rafters are generally visible inside the barn. Pole barns are easy to build in part because they require no trench work for a foundation, only holes; and these can be dug using a tractor auger or a hand posthole digger.

A Timber Frame (Post and Beam) is another type of post and beam construction, but rather than plugging into the ground like a pole barn, a timber frame barn sets on a concrete foundation. A properly constructed timber frame is incredibly sturdy–some have lasted for hundreds of years. It is typically comprised of 8- and 10-inch square timbers for main members and smaller timbers for roof purlins and floor joists. Major joints are traditionally dovetails and mortise and tenon, often hand cut and secured with wooden pins, like fine furniture construction on a larger scale. Craftsmen using traditional timber frame methods don’t use nails or other metal fasteners unless they are required by local codes. Timber frame barns are sometimes built in or near the builder’s shop and shipped to the site to be erected by the builder, a local contractor or the owner. Timber-frame kits that use metal connectors to secure joints are available

Modular barns generally consist of a steel framework with steel-framed panels fitted in between. The panels are typically comprised of a plywood or OSB (oriented strand board) core with sheet steel laminated to the inside surface and steel, wood or other siding material laminated to the outside surface. An advantage of this framing is that damaged panels can be replaced relatively easily. Some modular barns have a “warehouse” appearance, but many manufacturers offer a variety of styles, siding and roofing materials. If you don’t see a plan you like, most manufacturers will modify an existing plan to suit your needs. Modular barns generally go up quicker and with less expense than custom barns. They are especially fire resistant because of the steel framing and steel-skinned wall panels.

STYLES

shed-rowA shed row barn is the most common type of modular (or prefabricated) barn.  It is a good choice for warm climates as they maximize air flow and ventilation.  They can vary in the size of the overhand and can be configured in a straight line, an “L” shape or a “U” shape, depending on the number of horses and your work flow.  Shed rows is also an option for colder climates, but consider enclosing the overhand area and adding insulation to the walls and roofing. Shed row barns have a shed or pitched flat roof. The shed roof is all one plane and is often used for three-sided shelters or small stables. It is also commonly attached to the eaves of an existing gable roof or to the wall of a barn.

monitor-or-raised-aisle-barnOne pole barn (or post-frame) style is called the Full Monitor or Raised Center Aisle barn.  It has a high center raised roof that lets hot air rise above the stalls and horses.  The design also allows skylights and windows to be installed on each side of the center roofline, letting in more light and additional fresh air. The monitor has essentially two shed roofs with a gable in the middle. This is good for long rows of stalls.

gambrel-styleAnother popular pole barn style is called the Gambrel.  It offers the benefit of a large loft located above the stalls for added storage. The Gambrel has a double-pitched roof popular on two-story barns having a second floor because of the increased headroom and useable floor space it allows. Gambrel trusses eliminate the need for interior post and beam supports, which allows you to create any floor plan you wish.

Take some times to fully consider what type of barn best suits how you intend to care for your horses.  They each have pros and cons – in the end, it will be up to you.

 

Photo credits:
Horizon Structures
The Carriage Shed
Harvest Moon Timber

The Word On Wood For Your Barn

wood-barn-integrityThinking of remodeling or building a new barn this spring?  One of your big decisions (and biggest expense) could be the type of wood you use for your project. There are many types of wood out there and it can be daunting to figure out which one to use.  The general answer?  It depends on what’s most available in your area as well as your area’s weather condition.  Heavy snows may require one type of wood while areas with insect issues might be best with another.  Whatever you choose, if you’re building your walls with wood, use pressure treated wood whenever it’s in contact with earth or steel.  However, pressure-treated wood should never be placed where horses can get to it.

There are many horse owners who like the traditional look of a wood when designing their barn.  And if you are interested in “going green,” often wood barns provide a much smaller environmental footprint than those made with other materials.  Wood is also a natural insulator so is an excellent choice for areas where summer heat and winter cold temperatures are extreme.

When researching the best wood for your barn, look for lumber that has a high-bending strength, good nail holding power, moderate shrinkage, decay resistance, withstands splitting, good painting and weathering qualities, freedom from warping and is easy to work with.

Classic Equine Equipment keep in stock premium imported hardwood and Southern Yellow Pine.  Both types are milled to their exacting specifications – including a tongue and groove as well as a v-notch on the face of each board. Additional types of wood are also available upon request.  Wood is sold separately.

Tongue and groove wood material for your stall lining is one of your best options because it’s flush and there are no ledges.  Some horses find chewing on wood an amusing pastime.  But there’s a possibility of splintering and chemical ingestion. Keep your barn looking good and your horse safe by eliminating opportunities to chew.

brazilian-hardwoodTheir Brazilian hardwood is 1” this and comes in 12” increments.  A true hardwood, it is very dense and durable.  Although no wood can be considered “horse proof”, the strength of this wood is exceptional.southern-yellow-pine

The Southern Yellow Pine comes in 2”x 8”x 12’ lengths.  It is #1 or better premium wood – no warping, stains, stamps or discolorations.  Although not as dense as the hardwood, this is the strongest of the “softwoods” and is a very popular choice for horse stalls.

wood-alternative-hdpeHDPE (High Density Polyethylene) uses primarily recycled post-consumer plastic with a positive environmental impact to create a long-lasting, no maintenance and weather resistant material.  HDPE is UV resistant, easy to maintain and does not require staining.  It comes in a variety of lengths and colors.

Many barn builders use high-grade 90% Spruce J-Grade logs.  The lumber is uniformly seasoned in dry kilns which improves strength and stiffness.  It also enhances its appearance and increases its resistance to decay and insect attack. It can be used for all aspects of barn building, including a log siding. 

Red cedar is another option for your barn.  However, the oils in cedar that help protect it are extremely enticing to horses.  They love to chew on cedar wood so confine your use of cedar to the outside of the barn.  While beautiful, it is not as structurally strong as other types of wood.

Bamboo is one of the fastest-growing plants on Earth, with reported growth rates of 39 inches in 24 hours.  Bamboo is best used as flooring in the tack room, your office or in the barn club house.

Be as picky with your choice of lumber as you are with the rest of your barn design.  Low grade wood may look just fine when you put it in, but five years later you can have problems.  Like most everything else, you get what you pay for.

aisle 7

 

 

7 Do-It-Yourself Upgrades To Your Barn

These seven upgrades (all available through Classic Equine Equipment) are functional, cost effective and can enhance your property value. These projects can be accomplished by most do-it-yourself-ers and the results will be appreciated by both the two- and four-legged users!

CEE doors

  1. Metal exterior barn end doors

Consider purchasing new metal barn end doors.  To prevent rusting, look for doors made from pre-galvanized steel, and ask about the availability of a rust-inhibiting primer and powder coating.  If you have a large opening, consider investing in aluminum doors, which won’t rust and are much lighter and easier to handle than either their steel or wood counter parts.  Don’t forget to update the track system, too.

  1. Dutch doors

Look for steel doors built with fully formed outer jambs, much like a regular door frame.  These are made to fit an existing opening.  If you do not have openings for Dutch doors, cut them in to your barn wall and then build a simple jamb.  The doors are a great safety addition and add much needed ventilation.

  1. Windows and window grills

Stall windows add light and airflow.  If you add glass-paned windows, be sure to include protective grills.  Bar spacing on grillwork should be three inches or less for safety.

  1. Stall fronts

It is possible to just replace the stall doors and tracks.  Grillwork for the front of the stalls can be added or replaced – just be sure the spacing is three inches or less.   For a more complete renovation, a one-piece fully framed stall door can be purchased.  Be sure to consider yoke and feed door options, too

  1. Stall mats

Consider selecting high-quality interlocking stall mats that stay in place.  Look for mats that have a lifetime warranty against rolling, buckling and curling.

  1. Aisle flooring

Often the existing floor must be dug out to accommodate the thickness of the flooring.  Individual dog-bone-style pavers provide less waste than larger matting, the finished look is elegant, and the surface is non-slip.

  1. Tack room organizers

Like closet organizer systems, tack room organizers have component pieces that allow endless combinations of racks, baskets and hooks to be mounted on the tack room walls.

If you handle one upgrade per weekend, by the end of summer you can have a great barn!

 

10 Ideas To Keep Your Horse Fly-Free

Summer is a great time to own a horse and spend time riding – except when you’re swarmed with flies.  In addition to just being annoying, flies can also spread disease, including  Pigeon Fever and Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA).  Here are some ways to help keep the fly population away from your horse and barn.horse in fly sheet and mask

FOR YOUR HORSE

  1.  Fly masks – there are many different styles.  The key is finding one that fits your horse.  Be sure that it’s large enough so that your horse’s eye isn’t rubbing against the mesh. Get the ones with ears to help keep flies out of your horse’s ears.

Or consider using a fly bonnet – the ones that are crocheted with fringed ends help keep flies out of your horse’s eyes and ears while riding.

2.  Fly sheet – again, many different styles, including some that cover the neck and belly as well as the rest of his body.  A sheet can also protect your horse’s coat from sunburn.

3.  Fly protection legs – the horse’s sensitive legs are a popular place for flies to land. When fly spray isn’t enough, try fly boots or wraps to add an extra layer of fly protection.

4.  Fly spray – repellents provide a basic layer of fly protection for your horse.  There are many different types made of a variety of ingredients.  The two most common ones in commercial fly sprays  are Pyrethrins (made from a type of chrysanthemum flower) and Permethrin (synthetically produced). Both are relatively non-toxic to mammals (including humans) and both break down fairly easily.

Still, if you are not a fan of processed products, there are many options for homemade or “natural” fly sprays.  Most contain citronella and/or apple cider vinegar.

FOR YOUR BARN

5.  Manure pickup – many flies breed in manure.  Get rid of their breeding medium, i.e. pick up manure regularly in stalls, paddocks and turn-out areas, to help reduce the fly population.

6.  Feed-through fly control – products like SimpliFly are ingested by the horse, then passed through in their manure.  The product prevents house & stable fly egg development.

barn fan7.  Fans – fans in your horse’s stall or in the barn helps keep air circulating, making it harder for flies to land  on your horse.

8.  Fly spray – you can get an automatic fly spray dispenser for just your horse’s stall.  They dispense a spray at regular intervals to keep flies away.  For a large number of stalls, you might consider a fly suppression system that dispenses an insecticide in a fine mist at specific intervals through special spray nozzles.

9.  Birds – while sometimes considered pests themselves, birds are actually a great asset in fly control by  feeding on bugs after catching them  in midair .

10.  Predators –  tiny non-stinging wasps both lay eggs in the fly pupa as well as feed on fly larvae while it is in the manure around your farm. By eating the larvae fly predators break the fly life cycle. In addition, the eggs the predators laid hatch and naturally increase their predator population on your farm.

For best results, build an integrated pest control system to beat flies both in your barn and on  your horse.

Photos from HorseTackReview.com and Classic Equine Equipment

 

 

 

14 Ways To Use Stall Mats To Solve Common Barn Problems

a horse for elinor run in shed.jpgWhile stall mats are great to use as the base layer in your horse’s stall for comfort, stall mats can also be used in several “non-traditional” ways to make your barn safer, cleaner and more user-friendly.  Consider these alternate uses in and around the barn as well as other areas where you can use Classic Equine Equipment’s versatile and durable stall mats:

  1. Stall mats can help eliminate mud around gates, doorways and paddocks. They are especially useful in and in front of run-in sheds..
  2. Stall mats in paddocks are easier on your horse’s legs and easier to clean up manure.
  3. Stall mats in the hay room make it easier to sweep and keep clean and helps keep your hay dry.
  4. Stall mats in indoor wash racks are non-slip and easy to clean. In outdoor stall mats, they do the same thing, but also prevent mud from hose runoff.
  5. Stall mats in the shoeing area are easier on your horse’s legs when being shod – and on your farrier’s too!
  6. Stall mats on the tack room floor are easier to clean than carpeting and are softer and warmer on your feet than concrete.
  7. Stall mats in the grain room make it easier to sweep up any spills. They also provide a deterrent to mice burrowing up into the feed room.
  8. Stall mats make great walkways in a variety of areas – down the aisle over concrete to keep horses from slipping or as a pathway to the barn in rainy weather.
  9. Stall mats attached to back walls of stalls can help save your walls and the legs of a horse with a habit of kicking.
  10. Stall mats in the bed of your truck make it easier to sweep out hay carrying hay or gravel.
  11. Stall mats provide excellent padding on the floor and sides of trailers and make floors easier to clean.
  12. Stall mats are great to bring to a show. They provide a soft and safe place for your horse to stand and a clean place for you to groom or tack up.
  13. Stall mats can be used under your compost bins to prevent nutrients from seeping into the ground. They also make it easier to scoop out the finished compost.
  14. Stall mats can be used around the house. Cut into smaller pieces when necessary:
    1. Use in front of your sink to keep your feet warmer and prevent leg strain from long periods of standing.
    2. Use as a mulch in the garden or around trees
    3. Use as a welcome mat
    4. Use a place to store muddy boots.
    5. Use in the garage or workshop to insulate the floor and cushion feet while working.
    6. Use in the back of your station wagon or SUV to keep it clean when hauling wet or muddy dogs.
Mighty Lite stall mat

 

Mighty Lite mat

 

Classic Equine Equipment mats come in the traditional 4′ x 6′ style as well as our lightweight and portable Mighty Lite mats.

There are probably many more uses for the“jack of all trade” stall mat – what others can you think of?

Photo credit:  Classic Equine Equipment; ahorseforelinor.com

 

Barn Flooring Options

horse stall with matsThere are typically three parts to what’s under your barn – the foundation, the footings and the flooring.  Foundation and footings are what hold your barn up, keep it from shifting in cold and heat, and provide the stability to keep it from moving in high winds.  Those decisions are best left to the professionals.  An Extension Service engineer can take a look at your proposed building, the site and the soils and advise you on the proper footing depth and wall sizes.  You may want to hire a professional to pour the concrete walls or floors, especially when working with floors with drains or plumbing.

But flooring is what you and your horse will be standing and walking on.  The easiest and least expensive is just leaving everything dirt.  However, horses in stalls can start pawing the dirt and can eventually make quite a substantial hole.  In addition, if you have a high water table, a prolonged rain or melting snow can cause your stall and aisleways to become a muddy mess.

A better option is installing several inches of gravel, sometimes called screenings or 5/8 minus.  You want small, irregularly shaped gravel – the roundness of pea gravel can cause it to shift too much and large stones can bruise a horse’s hoof. Once the gravel is installed, compact it down.  You can rent a compacting machine, but if you just have a few stalls, you can also just spray the gravel with water, and then use a hand compactor to pound.  Repeat a couple of times, letting it settle a few hours between compacting.

Another common flooring option is concrete.  It is expensive, but easy to clean and disinfect.  It can also be hard and cold on the horses that are standing on it.  Many barn builders use concrete in feed and tack rooms to help prevent rodents from burrowing in.  Concrete is also common in aisleways and washracks where it is easy to keep dry and clean.  However, concrete can be slippery so many people opt to “score” the concrete with lines to make it less so.

The addition of stall mats (like those by Classic Equine Equipment) can help keep horses from pawing dirt floors and can add additional cushioning with gravel or concrete floors.  Classic Equine Equipment also offers Tru-Step® Pavers for a safe, comfortable and nonslip surface in horse stalls, aisles and wash racks.

Your flooring is a critical part of your barn, and one that is difficult to change once it’s done.  Be sure to install electric and water lines BEFORE putting down the flooring

Photo credit:  Classic Equine Equipment