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Controlling water when power washing barn interior

My barn has a concrete aisle and concrete in the feed & tack rooms. Unfortunately, it’s graded so water flows into the feed & tack rooms, and it will go right under the walls.

The barn interior needs to be pressure washed, but keeping water out of the feed and tack rooms (which don’t get pressure washed, and shouldn’t be wet) is a frustration.

I was thinking of using those absorbent socks which should work?

But is there anything else I should consider? Like trying to seal the base of the wall between these rooms, maybe? It’s just typical 2x4 framed walls but there’s no seal between the sill and slab. It looks like one should have been used when the wall was built to prevent this issue!

look at the Quick Dam Flood Bags available at the big box stores…here a 17 ft one costs about $30

they say the product is reuseable

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I have what you have described. Thrre things:

  1. A plain old garden hose laid along the intersection of the wall and floor of my center aisle is enough of a barrier to divert most of the water. Not perfect , but easy to do.

  2. For be pressure washing the floor buy and use a Karcher surface cleaner attachment for your pressure washer. Better than direct spray for cleaning and uses less water for less mess. About $65.

  3. A helper using a shop vac set up to suck up the water right away gets the dirty wash water out of the barn and limits that water running under the walls.


There is a local fellow that does power washing for buildings, farm machinery and horse barns.
He uses a high pressure rig with hot water and uses hardly any water.
May want to check into that system?

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Do you know if this can be used on vertical surfaces like walls? Looks like it would be great to get the built up nasties off the stall walls while controlling overspray.

The one I use for floors is pretty heavy, but there are smaller, similarly working pressure washer attachments designed cleaning walls. I don’t own one, though. I have seen them advertised in 6 inch diameter and a 12 inch diameter sizes. They have handles so that you can hold them vertically against a wall and the pressure washer hose attaches directly to them rather than to the wand, like the one for floors.

If you do a search for pressure washer attachments you should find all sorts of specialty attachments like this. I just saw one on rollers for spraying upside down - roll it under a car or tractor to pressure wash the underside. I want one of those.

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Ugh, it’s frustrating, isn’t it? Thanks for the ideas! I have mats over the concrete in the aisle so don’t really worry about the floor. It’s the water running down the walls and then under the sill plate that’s such a problem :grimacing: Although I might have to find a use for that floor attachment–how cool!

I did some digging and it looks like running a bead of polyurethane caulk at the base on both sides of the wall isn’t a crazy idea, so I might try that. If it works, it still leaves the doorways but at least water wouldn’t be under the walls.

@clanter thanks, those look to be available in more lengths than the absorbent socks I found. Might be nice to have something longer than 4’.

@bluey I’ve been universally disappointed in hiring out work that I’m capable of doing myself.


I was wondering about caulking along the wall bottom, that is what we did in our tack room/wash room walls, even around the door sill and it worked well.

I would think long and hard before caulking that barn wall-concrete floor gap.

Moisture wicks up through the concrete floor. A small air gap will allow the moisture to evaporate. Sealing the gap traps moisture in the wall and could eventually lead to mold growth. Mold in my barn is what I am most concerned about and a nearby barn has had this mold problem , causing health problems with the stalled horses.

If the concrete under your barn aisle rubber mats is the least bit damp when you lift one up to look, I would not caulk.

I get your point, but my barn is hardly in the least little bit air tight. There are PLENTY of other air gaps for moisture to go. Like, sooooooooo many.

The aisle is matted, the feed and tack rooms are not. I don’t find moisture under things sitting on the concrete. Any moisture under the mats is limited to weather blowing in. I’m a lot more worried about moisture wicking under the wall between the sill and slab, rather than moisture coming up through the slab.


I think the machine the other person is talking about is a Hotsy (or competing brand). I bet you could rent one locally. They are very expensive to purchase. They don’t use less water than a regular pressure washer (at least the 10 we have here at work don’t), but they clean faster because of the heat. I don’t know if I would use that on the wood walls though, as it might damage them. They make crazy high pressure, enough to take paint off a car.

I feel like caulk fails in such a way that makes me regret ever putting it on (ie, removal of the stuff SUCKS). If this were my place, I’d be tempted to use flashing instead of caulk.

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I used to work at a barn with a hot pressure washer. It was amazing and used very little water. However, it was basically built in with its own chimney to vent the diesel motor/water heater. Squeezing the handle could knock you off your feet if you weren’t braced for the power which was a concern when standing on a wet plastic grid floor :o

If you could rent one like that with long enough hose to have the unit running outside your barn, you’d have your barn spic and span in short order with very little run off in your aisles. There would be some, but less than from cold water, lower pressure pressure washers.

There are also soap additives available. I don’t know if they’d be appropriate to your materials though. We were cleaning stainless steel, rubber, silicone tubing, porcelain tiles, and concrete - no wood whatsoever. We used a regular garden hose on the plastic grid floor so the pressure wouldn’t uncouple them and send them flying through the air :rofl: (That was possible due to the floor being sloped down to a floor drain.)

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I wound up sealing the floor/sill plate seam with a non silicon clear caulk. When I was prepping for that, I found that the sill plate didn’t even hit the floor in the worst corner–no surprise water was flowing into the tack room there :woman_facepalming: :woman_facepalming: I filled that 1/2" gap with expanding foam (the stuff labeled as “gap filler”) and then ran a bead of caulk over the whole thing.

It did exactly what I wanted and kept water from flowing under the wall. I did still have water into the feed room under the door, even despite a few absorbent socks there. The slab dips right at that door (siiiiigh) so water was pooling. I’ll have to figure that out next time. Maybe use a sock or hose or something as a barrier to prevent water from flowing into that low spot.

@LCDR I did wind up picking up a floor attachment and that thing ROCKS. It wasn’t expensive from Harbor Freight and damn does it do a better job than trying to use the wand! I was already done with the walls by then but I totally would’ve tried it there, too :laughing:

@endlessclimb I did give some thought to your suggestion of flashing, but I’d have to pull the bottom board off the wall to install, and still seal it to the ground in some way? We’ll see how this sealant holds up, but it was an overall quick and easy solution!


There are products that can be used to correct that is Flo-Coat Concrete Resurfacer or Fast Setting Self-Leveling Resurfacer

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