Barn aisle ideas

I’m building a new barn this year and would like everybody’s views on barn aisleway material. I am considering pavers in and a drain down the sides.
Also what do people think of brick or pavers under the rubber mats in the stalls?

thank you

I have concrete pavers that are interlocking I shaped (Pavestone) … at least for me a drain is not needed as the pavers are installed over a bed of at least four inches of compacted roadbase topped with three or four inches of sand which after the pavers are installed is compacted. Any water on the floor quickly disappears into the grout

We went with the pavers as I was able to purchase factory rejected product (had color variance) CHEAP. and the plant is only ten miles away

The barn is small at 24 by 36 but there is over 100,000 pounds of materials in the floor

As for the stalls they also have the pavers with 4by6 mats … we put drains in two and have never used the drainage system in the over thirty years.

Sweeping the floor is pain in the butt however a leaf-blower is an instrument that evidently was made in heaven

Horses (at least All of ours including the dumb pony) learn not to run on the concrete

But you will get opinions that range from Do to Do Not Do … so it boils down to your personal desire becomes, which no matter what that is there will be a group who believe you just signed a death wish contract with the Devil

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How many stalls? What type of barn? I would think some type of stone, like 1 to 2inch and then a good 4 inches of dust on top would be best for stalls. Still has some give to it, drains god forbid your stall floods ever. But with tightly fitted mats n good bedding you shouldnt have to worry about pee seeping thru anyways. And the stone and then dust on top n the mats will have a good supportive base.

if you go with that as your base for the entire barn area it may be easier for your contractor to put all the stone down and get it really level all at once. Your aisle would have a good compacted base but wouldnt be hard on legs like concrete would and if you want to change pipes, elect, tack or hay area configurations, stall layout, etc, you wouldnt have to chop up concrete to do it.

You can put bricks or rubber pavers down your aisle with either more stone dust or the sand that is designed for that between them, but I would think eventually the nooks n crannies could shift more, if a horse peed on them you cant easily get the smell gone or sanitize your aisle if something crazy happened like a tractor sprung a gas or oil leak if youre using the fel for mucking out stalls, and you had to clean it up, or if a horse was bleeding from an injury and you wanted to hose out the blood or any other fluids. Again if you have to get to a busted pipe, especially if youre doing automatic waters in the stalls, a shorted elect wire if its underground, shut off valve for a hose bib, install another hose bib, or change something up, pulling up bricks or pavers, especially in winter or by yourself, would be miserable work on top of dealing with whatever youre trying to get to n fix.

Im sure you are not THAT rickety if you are still working with horses and taking on building a barn, but as we all age, things get harder, muscles get sore easier. I am 34 and I hurt in the mornings sometimes lol.

Having the stone n dust combo thruout, and putting the same rubber mats as the stalls down thruout the aisles would be easier to pull up in an emergency, easy to sweep or hell even use a blower to clean the aisle daily, safe for the horses feet, no paver or brick crevices to get a hoof OR your foot caught on, and probably less expensive since the stone and dust you will get a better price for the more you buy, think ahead about dry lots or run outs off the stalls and plan to get the stone and dusr for that at the same time, even if you just have a pile stockpile depending on your budget and timeframe to build. Same with the mats, be it rural king, tractor supply, etc, etc… they give good discounts on bulk purchases.

If money is no issue then of course, splurge on the brick or pavers. Same goes for if you have a neighbor, plumber, contractor that you can call whenever you need for an emergency if it is like 3am and you have something broken that cant wait till morning. Me personally I would want safe, simple, economically priced, and something I can move or dig up on my own to fix a pipe or at least diagnose the problem before paying an extra 100 or 200 bucks labor to someone else and paying to fix it.

There was just a thread on here a bit ago about stall mat drainage and people mentioned either caulking between the mats or using something like flex seal to keep them from shifting or pee getting in the cracks as well.

All that being said, no matter which way you go with your footings n stall base, make sure your water shut off for the whole place, and your fuse box to turn elect off quickly if need be, are placed somewhere simple and easily accessible!!!

Another thing to think about would be stall accessibility, especially if you have one go down or pass away in a stall. Horrible to think about but good to plan for. Make sure your stalls have either an outdoor or indoor in the aisle way to fully open. We had to drag my mare out thru a normal dutch door just to get her out into the yard to get her up and it was a horrible experience, it was Easter and it took triple the time due to having to drag her out.

You could design your stall fronts to either swing fully open and still have sliding or dutch doors if you go the post n beam route, or do prefab stall fronts that can easily be lifted up n moved and then put back into place once the horse is removed. I did the prefab stall fronts found on facebook sales out to my drylot, n mesh gates for two of the other sides of my stalls when we bought our place for that very purpose and it was budget friendly of course.

My mare passed a week before we closed on this place, but I took in a friends 30yr old senior. I know if he passes or goes down in his stall it will be sad and horrible, but at least dealing with the aftermath and removal/ burial will be simple.

Happy Building!!!

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In our barn aisle, we went with poured concrete as a base, rubber mats down the middle and a 6"ish brick apron on the side. The brick looks nice, but it does get chipped up slightly with heavy use (metal shoes will create nicks here and there). If you have OCD, the grout between the bricks might drive you nuts as it easily collects dirt and fine shavings. IMO, the brick takes a little longer to sweep clean to get all the dirt up versus rubber mats. We didn’t put any drains in the aisle. I don’t think they would be necessary unless you intend to hose down you aisle good and hard periodically.

I don’t know what would be the advantage of going with brick or pavers under the rubber mats in the stalls. Poured concrete is cheaper, at least in our area.

Personally, I would never, ever use rubber pavers. They look lovely, but they are so hard to keep clean. They have a porous surface that are magnets for dirt, hair and bedding. JMO

Why would you need drains in a barn aisle?

I love having drains in the barn aisle. Horse pees? Wash the pee down the drain. Horse sustains a major/bloody injury? Wash the blood down the drain. Dumping water buckets is so much easier too! We can also bathe or hose a horse down in the aisle (we don’t have a designated wash rack.)


the rubber pavers also hold the urine smell like a boss. Maybe if you could wash them with those handy drains, that would alleviate that issue

In thirty years we have never had a horse pee in the aisle … never. But put them in a stall…then Pee it is

Everyone is going to have their own preferences for a barn otherwise I guess there would be just one barn design repeated everywhere. Some want story book beautiful, others want basic utility and there is wide gap between the two…

I have seen horses unhappy as well as very content horses in either…

My aisle is concrete with a really rough broom finish. I can sweep it clean, hose it or pressure wash it easily. No one is in the aisle long enough to warrant rubber—the rough finish prevents slipping. I’ve never had horses pee in the aisle–so not sure why they would? My guys want their shavings!! My barn is on a slab that was originally poured for a hog barn with two drains—each running the length of the slab. But in reality, they clog with dirt/debris/whatever. They don’t drain. So I can either clean the “drains” or…not.


In the US, many barns have a wash stall / grooming stall available for a variety of tasks, including treating injuries. Some horses are not good about being cross tied in an aisle. If they back up, there is no barrier to encourage them to stop. Some panic and pull back. Halter and cross tie bits go flying as the horse bolts away. Wash stalls are much safer, IMO. And of course they have drains.

IME if a horse is brought inside from a field or another source of turnout, and that horse is immediately tacked up, it is a normal response for the horse to “void” themselves in anticipation of being worked. One way to avoid this is to give the horse a few minutes in the stall to urinate.

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I installed solid concrete blocks (12 by 6 by 4) in my new barn aisle this fall. I love the look, they have better traction than concrete, and they are much less expensive than the rubber pavers. We did that in my family barn back home 20 years ago, and they still look wonderful.

i am just not a huge fan of poured concrete’s look. I have it in my wash stall, and everything shows on it. Now it has a nice rough finish, but that wears off over time and then it gets slick.

drains do require maintenance to keep draining, especially in a barn.

I would recommend width in your aisle. Saving with a narrow aisle will create other issues later on. Our aisle is 12ft wide, which is ideal for many purposes. We can drive the tractor and spreader thru the center aisle without coming close to walls or hay storage. We can pull the hay hay wagon or truck inside aisle dimensions to unload hay, still have room to move around them. The Vet and Farrier can back inside to work out of trucks in any weather. Saves time and steps having vehicles close to hand for these professionals wHo seem to visit regularly. Being inside is shaded in summer, out of winter conditions oF snow, sleet, cold winds.

Our floor is broomed rough, poured concrete which others mentioned. It is still pretty ‘grippy’ after over 30 years of daily use. Horses are both shod and barefoot. Absolutely AVOID those smooth finished concrete floors!! The ones looking like random stones and bricks are very bad for slipping. They are slippery when wet, collect humidity from the air to be slippery on dry days!! A friends horse slipped and fell on the smooth, random stone look floor, causing permanent damage. Daily tractor use has not affected our rough finished floor.

We have 2 floor drains with traps below the grate cover. The trap catches dirt, let’s it settle in the lower level under drain tube, for my regular cleaning. This is using the shop vac to remove any “gunk” settled in the trap. Goes fast, easy getting all the junk there. I also keep a piece of fiberglass screen under the drain grate to prevent mosquitos and flies breeding in the wet traps. Screening also catches sawdust, dirt from going down into the drain, so cleanings can go longer between. Drains are SO HANDY for dumping stall buckets into. Saves you walking. We do not have a wash stall, the aisle gets used to wash horses, so the drain works well there too.

The pavers over thin layers of stone are not going to stay nice. They will move under weight (tractor or truck going thru, horses on paver edges,) freeze/thaw cycles. So you will be dealing with uneven surfaces in time. I would not want pavers in stalls either. I also think aisle would be harder to keep clean with the seams. Friends with brick floors curse them! Even buying the expensive vacuum, they are more work to keep clean. But it is a show-off barn and they have hired help to do those extras. I don’t have help or time, so brooming or blowing the floor clean works well here. Stalls have stall mats over a packed, deep bed of limestone for drainage. They are easy to clean, stay level, drain well.

Currently in a barn with rubber pavers. They look very fancy but are a pain to get clean. They trap everything.
drains in the center isle are the best thing ever. Dumping water buckets, spraying the isle out when it gets dirty, spraying off muddy horse legs real quick before they go into their stall, etc. Highly recommend.

I’m a big fan of concrete in the aisle. Brushed finish, and/or matted down the middle. Compacted aggregate under mats in the stalls. One or two drains would be AWESOME, what a great idea, I’m adding that to my “dream barn” plans.

We had smooth concrete in the aisle, with rubber mats on top. I was perfectly happy with it like this. The mats did shift a little but never more than an inch or two. The entire aisle was matted except about 2 feet on either side, we never had any issues with horses slipping.

I would never do pavers. They look beautiful but are an absolute pain to manage. They will settle and shift, especially when you lead a horse in always with a turn into his stall-those pavers he pivots on will shift. And it amazes me to this day how much horses will walk in the exact same way every single day, even if you try to shift your turns, etc. They really are creatures of habit. I also have broom finished concrete, no drains and love it. Blows easily, can be sprayed down and looks spotless. My only wish(well as far as this discussion goes) is that my stalls were below my aisle so I could blow or sweep into the stalls. My barn has been redone very gradually and certain things were in place and unable to be changed as we progressed and the stall fronts are one of those things. Oh well.