My husband and I are working on installing my dream 2 stall MD BarnMaster barn this next year! It has a large 12x24 feed room and we’re trying to decide between pouring concrete or compacted gravel. Any recommendations either way? We want to save as much money as possible, but don’t want to cut corners either.
I feel like it’s going to depend on the climate. Where I live in the PNW it’s so wet I can’t imagine having a gravel floor in stall or feedroom.
Think about cleaning it too. You are going to need to sweep up grain and scrub up spilled molasses or oil, and defend against rodents burrowing in.
I went with concrete for several reason.
Ease of cleaning, spilled feed is one thing, but just tracking in debris, even though I have a mat at the door, and do wipe my feet, dust, bits of this or that do get tracked in.
Rodent proof, because we used concrete, critters, mice, musk rat, or ?? were not able to dig their way in.
Moisture free, mostly, I do not have moisture soaking up from the floor which I do in the barn which is a gravel floor. It may not look wet but if you have a bale or bag or even a wooden box on the gravel there is some wicking which happens and the hay/bag will get wet, the box will rot.
I have a solid base upon which to build shelves.
Cost is dependant on various factors but since the concrete was once and done whereas gravel can get low spots, can get softer if water should spill ( I have running water in my tack room have had a spill) so may need repair, it will need a good base, packing/more gravel/more packing I am not sure if it would be cheaper in the long run.
Concrete all the way. Expensive, yes, but preventing rodents from burrowing is key. That, and rodent proof containers to store the feed in.
We did concrete and have never looked back.
We used large size patio type pavers in the feed/tack room, which is technically a stall.
They would be easy to remove if the space needs to ever be a stall again. It is nice solid footing that is reasonably easy to sweep (not quite as easy as the aisle but certainly easy enough).
In our case the pavers were very inexpensive too. Someone was getting rid of a whole bunch of them. They just wanted them gone. We had to buy a couple to finish the space completely but the majority of the room was done for just our labor to pick them up and bring them home.
It is not uncommon to find used pavers for really cheap on Facebook marketplace or Craigs List.
Edit to add - something like This paver is what we used.
I plan on doing this at my new place for the grooming stall - pavers under mats. Did you have any particular challenges in install? I’m familiar with installing pavers, but didn’t know if there was anything special about doing it in a barn.
The sand and crushed stone base pad that the barn was built on probably isn’t optimal but it seemed to work out just fine. I believe Mr. Trub added some extra sad in some places just to help with leveling.
I have been pleasantly surprised at how well the pavers have worked in the feed/tack stall and the entry way of the barn all these years.
I think as long as your base is solid and they are leveled well they should work fine.
What size pavers did you use? The big 16x16 ones?
Rodent proof, because we used concrete,
absolutely the best way to go if you want to try to keep rats out
our feed storage room is the only part of our barns with a concrete floor, most of all other areas are pavestone over compacted road base.
Rats will get into the road base material
Nevermind, saw your link!
In the feed room we used the 24x24 size. They are big.
Rats can get into the base material of concrete too.
Rats are jerks.
but to date Rats have not been able to dig through the concrete into the feed room
pavers over compacted road base when the base is disturbed can provide gaps in the paver floor that could allow rats access
we had one stall where rats dug into the base causing the paver flooring to shift, had to remove everything then replace
For 95% of our barns we used pavers over road base as then it was then a considerably less expensive way to go verses poured concrete.
My asshole rats at my last farm couldn’t tunnel through the concrete so they just chewed through the wooden feed room wall.
Go with as rodent proof as possible! We finished my 12x12 feed room as a room. Added a floor about 18” up (there’s one step to get in,) ceiling, walls, a regular people door. I put in the bamboo floor which has held up well. It stays dry and (knock on wood) no mice ever in almost twenty years.
Concrete with concrete block walls and concrete sheet ceiling and steel doors AND professional rodent control outside the building that comes on a schedule.
I hate rats. I would not have pavers or gravel anywhere inside (my lotto-dream barn) because I’ve seen the damage they can do in several barns. They are horrors no matter how tidy you are.
But the original question - concrete all the way. If you ever decide to change that space, as suggested above, you install mats or mattresses over the concrete.
Another vote for concrete. I’d also recommend you add a dead chest freezer for true rodent-proof grain storage
Concrete it is, thank you for all of the feedback!!! Also love the idea about the freezer for grain storage, that’s genius!
Next task - concrete in the cross tie area or gravel with mats? I don’t plan on using the crossties for much other than basic trims from the farrier.
Concrete never needs re-levelling and when/if mats move or get gunk under them, it’s far easier to lift/drag, sweep and put them back.