Stall Floors

What are your stall floors?

We don’t love the idea of horses on concrete for long periods (even with mats), but we also HATE the dirt we have right now and are planning a barn revamp.

Currently we’re thinking of going ahead and concreting the entire barn, but what do you have as a base and what have you loved/hated?

ETA: horses would be out days, in nights or the other way around and we bed heavy, so I know there will be cushion with concrete… but figured I’d look at alternatives as well. Especially since our concrete quote was also high.

I’m not sure what brand they are, but the barn I recently moved to has stall mattresses. So far they seem really nice. They are super cushy. They don’t have to bed as deep which I thought I might be bothered by as my gelding loves to lay down, but it’s plenty absorbant and he is staying quite clean. No wet spots leaking under stall mats and stinking. I imagine they are pricy but I had never seen or heard of them before.

I have a gravel base with Stall Savers. I absolutely love the Stall Savers. Mr Squirrel and I installed them about 8 years ago and they are still going strong, BUT my horses are never locked in their stalls. They have full access to the outdoors but are fed hay in the stalls.

Concrete floors with well-fitted mats would be my ideal flooring but pouring concrete wasn’t an option for our barn.

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I have bigger rock combined with what we call crusher run down here - basically screenings. And interlocking mats in top. It has held steady for the 20 plus years here and I wouldn’t change it. The stall mattresses sound nice but I don’t think they hold up as well as mats do.


I can’t speak for the longevity unfortunately. They are a few years old now and our stall is still in great shape from what I can tell. No tears/patches anything like that. Mats are pretty darn tough though!

You might want to question whether people have shod or barefoot horses on the mats. Most of our horses are shod with drive-in pin studs for traction. If a horse paws, or in front of stall door area, used daily, the mat may need replacing sooner than other mats.

Our box stalls have a thick layer of bigger limestone pieces, 2-3 inches, down about 15 inches, 4-5 inches thick. Then gravel, about 4 inches thick, with the top layer being limestone (fines, crusher run) and sand under the 3/4 inch mats. Stalls drain well, no smell. The other stalls, tie stalls, are board flooring. White Oak seems to last the best, is the hardest wood available in 12ft long x 10inches wide x 2 inches thick. But they still wear down under shod hooves. Usually replaced about every 8-10 years. They have an 8 inch crushed small, limestone layer under the boards which are on cross pieces (sleepers). They have perforated pipe under the limestone that drains outside the barn.

All stalls are well bedded with pine, wood fiber, cleaned to the mat or boards daily. Tie stalls actually are a bedding saver, with not being whirled around, smaller spaces. It is very absorbent, not dusty like sawdust can be. Horses lay down in stalls of both kinds, never any rubs ar scuffs. They are in half a day or night, depending on the season. No free access here.

Doing a screenings base right is SUCH a workout. If you don’t want concrete, that’s the way to go, but be prepared for the work. Tamp with a vibrating plate tamper, ensure they’re even with a long, flat board. Cut the mats so they fit tight and pound in with a rubber mallet.

I’d give a limb for concrete in my stalls under the mats, tbh.


Just for a different idea for you… I have wooden planks as floors of stalls. They are rough cut fir planks a full 2 inches thick, and 12 inches wide. They sit on four 4 x 4s which are embedded in gravel. They are not fixed to the 4x4 s they just stay in place butted up against the walls of the stall. A sill at the doorway. Nice and springy and warm. They settle firmly into place with use.


Excavator put in the base for my barn & indoor.
He was the Da Vinci of pads, tamping stuff down for days!
Honestly, he took longer than the builder to get it done to his satisfaction.
He put down a gravel base with 9" of packed screenings on top. Same for stalls & aisle.
I don’t have mats & stall floors drain great.
My unintentional :roll_eyes: Deep Litter method of bedding had a buildup of shavings along one wall in each stall - over a foot in the worst.
My Bad for not completely getting out wet spots.
But, I just recently had the mess removed & underneath stall floors were still level.
AND: no ammonia stench, EVER.

After almost 19yrs, I’ve only recently had a problem with a stall taking water at one corner & that is most likely due to a buildup of muck just outside the back of the stalls.

We did gravel topped with screenings, all tamped down and leveled. Then mats over top. My horses are rarely locked in unless we have very unusual weather (like the 17" of snow we got last week…some of which is still here). This has worked well for us for some 15+ years.

I’ve boarded where they were on concrete floors, topped with mats, and I hated it. But those were typical of barns in this area in that the horses did not get turned out enough so might spend 20 hours a day inside (which is awful no matter what the flooring is, but concrete made it worse). If they had in and out stalls and plenty of time outside, I wouldn’t worry so much about concrete now.

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I have the big gravel then smaller gravel then thick mats on top. Mine are only inside overnight in nasty weather and they come in daily to eat. I’m very happy with them. My place is functional, not fancy, and safe.

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If I ever run out of projects,I would like to upgrade to Mayo mats for my barn. Currently my stalls are packed bluestone with standard mats from Tractor Supply, and they work fine cause I bed deep.

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m10 with mats on top!

We opened in 2004. Our barn aisle is (heated) concrete, but the stalls are softstall cow mattresses. Only one is worn through: a horrid shod pawer was stabled in it for 12 years before the liner gave up. His neighbour had snow nails and borium on his heels in winter, and the mattress if fine.

Most of the mattresses are on sand, but two have a layer of plywood between the mattress and the sand to make them more firm: ideal for horses with ligament issues. One we experimented with and made a shallow trough at the back, where I always kept a mare: I love that stall as the pee always settles in the back nicely.

My barn never smells. I love it.

I grew up with the stories of people who rehabbed cow barns for horses and their travails jackhammering out the concrete. Worked at a barn with old fashion clay base stalls - what alot of work to maintain! And the barn smelled like a barn even when it was brand clean. Had a friend with a barn with screenings based stalls. The barn was poorly sited and one stall was a swimming pool every time it rained. Worked at a high end barn with grid mats which were a pain mucking and a headache to reposition. That barn also smelled. Then I self care boarded for a decade at a large barn with concrete floors. The air quality was good, even with the barn closed. The floors were level without any work. The stalls could be power washed. Everything was great while the bedding was sawdust. Then they switched (I did not) to straw bedding and the horses started having issues with sores and soundness.

When I built my barn I did concrete floors and walls, rubber pavers in the aisle. The weather stays outside, no damp/flooded stalls. The pee stays inside and is removed daily. It doesn’t “drain” out of the stall to sit under the barn. I have a mat by the door only and bed deep with superfine miniflakes. Bigger flakes don’t work as well because they move too much. The sawdust/tiny flakes makes a better bed. We also used hemp for awhile. That worked well but became prohibitively expensive.

Good luck with your rehab!

These depend on the horses. I have 5 stalls of these, and two are damaged, one so much I put regular mats over the top. The other 3 are fine. The severely damaged one houses an 18h Hanoverian and his shoes just shredded it over the course of 2 years.

Next time I want to try stall mattresses but will phase them in to see how they work. I am disappointed in the Stall Savers because otherwise they have worked well and remain absolutely level.

In any kind of stall I have been managing horses over decades, concrete has been best all around.

From vet clinics to top olympic stables, concrete and proper management has been all around working well for humans and horses, the past few decades with mats over concrete even better.
That is what we have now, but horses can also go out on runs and they do.
Some prefer to sleep inside, others outside.

In Europe half a century ago, practically all barns were concrete and horses also did fine there, but the management and the work horses did was a bit different, so hard to compare.

The worst was native soil clay floored stalls, those needed holes filled practically weekly and cleaning them was horrible.
I think the poster Clanter has some stalls with pavers for flooring and he has before mentioned how well those work for them.

Is good that we have choices, so everyone can use whatever they prefer. :slightly_smiling_face:


I’m always SO INTRIGUED with wood floors. You bed right on the wood? Do you catch your fork on the edges of the boards?

I keep toying with the idea of putting wood in my run in.


yes I live near a PaveStone plant (it is at Grapevine, TX) , went there when I built the barn as I heard there could be some deals on unwanted product…they had what they considered production Thirds since there was a color variation in the product run… Got those for 33 cents per square foot (plus delivery, it two two truck loads as these thing weigh a lot)… total floor cost well under a dollar per square foot including all base materials, delivery of the base and the pavers and equipment rentals.

The pavers we used are 6000 psi concrete shaped like a capital I which makes them interlocking, I see there are rubber pavers shaped the same.

We put in a perimeter concrete retainer foundation, then back filled the floor area with road base, compacted that then put in the bed of sand for the pavers… floor has over 100,000 of materials in it .

Stalls are matted using the same as used by vets. They have been in place for 32 years, one mat has a sign of wear where the pawing horse stood for 23 years, just rubbed off the dimpled surface to smooth.

An advantage to the pavers is water will drain through the joints thus spilled water just soaks into the base. We did install drains in two of the stalls thinking it would handy to have them when we washed the stalls out, but we have never needed to do so since the mats butt tightly.

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How long have you had the flooring?