When considering your barn’s safety and visual appeal, you’ve likely considered the ventilation, the windows, the stall door style, and hundreds of other important details. However, the flooring you choose for your horse barn directly impacts the amount of time and money you spend keeping your horse healthy and your barn looking its best. When choosing between flooring options, you’ll need to strike a balance between key aspects such as safety, ease of cleaning, durability, visual appearance, and cost.
The most basic horse barn flooring material is concrete. While this is a common and affordable option, concrete lacks any visual appeal and it has a tendency to crack. However, the alarming concern with concrete flooring is that it becomes dangerously slippery when wet. This means when it becomes wet from snow or rain or water from the wash bay, your horse is at risk for sustaining serious injury due to slipping on the wet floor.
As veteran horse barn builders, we know the safety of your horses is paramount. We help our clients understand other flooring options available to them, depending on their needs and constraints.
Horse Barn and Equestrian Facility Floor Options
1. Porous Asphalt
Less Slippery | Easy to Clean | Inexpensive
Porous Asphalt is a coarse pavement that allows water or urine to drain through the asphalt into a layer of stone and, eventually, to the soil below your barn. This type of flooring is easy to install, as it does not require the contractor to have special equipment or skills. It has a lifespan of more than 20 years, and it is as easy to patch and clean.
Porous Asphalt is an inexpensive option to concrete, though it is only somewhat less slippery when wet. Additionally, depending on your barn maintenance, the pores may eventually clog with particulates and not function properly. The flooring material is not attractive, and over time, it may look worse. Depending on your cleaning and heavy use, the material may turn a dirty brown color and potentially collect manure particles and tractor tire ruts.
2. Rubber “Dogbone” Pavers
Non-Slip Surface | Attractive | Easy to Repair
Rubber Pavers made in the Dogbone shape are best known for their visual appeal: the interlocking pavers create an attractive pattern to your floor. The pavers are easy to install over a hard surface, such as concrete, and they are easy to replace if one becomes damaged. The rubber material provides excellent non-slip grip as well as anti-fatigue cushioning for you and your horse.
However, rubber pavers aren’t without drawbacks. Water may become trapped on the underside of pavers if a non-porous surface like concrete is the base. Porous surfaces, like stone, may settle over time, causing an uneven barn floor. The pavers are also hard to clean, requiring a small electric leaf blower to get in the cracks. Rubber “Dogbone” Pavers offer a trendy aesthetic, but they are more expensive than using concrete.
3. Interlocking Mats
Slip-Resistant | Easy to Repair | Inexpensive
Similar to the pavers, Interlocking Mats offer a cushioned floor of rubber with anti-fatigue benefits. The interlocking mats do not pull apart or move around, and they are easy to install or repair. This flooring is very slip resistant and are easy to clean. They are an inexpensive option for people looking for a durable, long-lasting non-slip flooring option.
Unlike the Dogbone style, however, Interlocking Mats are not an attractive flooring option. While resistant to extreme weather, mats may expand and contract in certain weather conditions. Water can also become trapped on the underside of the mats if placed on a concrete base. If on a stone base, the mats may become uneven as the stone settles and shifts.
4. Polylast Trowled Rubber
Slip Resistant | Anti-Microbial | Easy to Clean | Attractive
Polylast Trowled Rubber flooring checks almost all the boxes when it comes to finding the best flooring. The 100% recycled rubber is very attractive, can be applied over any hard surface, and creates a seamless floor for your barn. Your horse can step easy with the safety and comfort of this cushioned, slip resistant surface. In fact, Polylast Trowled Rubber reduces your horse’s leg impact concussion and shock by 40-50%.
Polylast Trowled Rubber is unique in that the flooring system is infused with an antimicrobial technology through Microban®. This system inhibits the growth of harmful microorganisms, fights pathogens, and ensures your floor stays cleaner longer between washings. This feature also helps to reduce stains and smells on your floor.
Polylast Trowled Rubber is valued for its slip resistance, comfort, and antimicrobial features. However, these benefits mean this flooring system generally costs more to install than paver options. Installation and any future repairs will have to be completed by a company-trained professional, rather than by your primary contractor.
Slip Resistant | Anti-Microbial | Easy to Clean | Attractive
Padenpor provides a resilient, seamless textured floor and has been used in horse barns, equine facilities, and veterinarian buildings. They provide a sanitary environment for horses and humans: when combined with regular cleaning, you can expect anti-fungal and anti-microbial results. There are no cracks, voids or seams for bacteria to grow.
Padenpor withstands heavy traffic, though it can be resurfaced if necessary. Resurfacing is less expensive and time consuming than removing and replacing floors. The floor covering is constructed with recycled rubber and self-leveling polyurethanes which means it is adaptable to many environments. The rubber makes the flooring slip resistant and easy to keep clean.
Because of its durability, anti-microbial benefits, and visual appeal, Padenpor is a high-end product with high-end costs. Additionally, installation and any necessary repairs will need to be completed by a company-trained individual.
Making the Choice
Striking the balance between looks, benefits, and budget requires considerable thought and planning. We enjoy helping our clients understand their options, and our decades of experience allows us to provide useful advice based on real-world scenarios. If you would like to learn more about flooring options for your barn, feel free to give us a call at 717.687.0292 or Contact Us to get started.