concrete - remove or cover?
I'd appreciate anyone's thoughts and/or experience on this!
My property at one time was a large scale dairy operation. All the work that needs done to the property is extensive and since I'm working on a grant/donation budget, I need to trim costs as much as I reasonably can.
I have two spots I'd like to get more usage out of, but both are currently causing difficulty due to concrete. (bleh)
The whole central part of my barn was the original dairy cow/milking area. It's a sunken concrete floored with a 2 foot raised center walkway, and 8 inch deep, 8 inch wide gutters. The area is not usable to be right now and is just being used for storage, but it's a very large section of my barn and I'd like to be able to put it to work in terms of putting some stalls in there. Currently all my stalls are in the rear section of my barn, (4 normal stalls and one double foaling stall) also on concrete floors, I keep them matted and well bedded, not ideal but at least the concrete back there is level. There is room in the center section of the barn where I could put in 4-6 additional stalls with a 10 foot aisle. But the problem is this uneven floor. I've had contractors tell me two different things - either rip all the old concrete out, or bring in gravel and sand and build up footing on top of the concrete. There is head clearance enough to still have decent height if the whole level of the barn was brought up to the raised central walkway (which would become part of the center aisle) and that would make the level of the floor the same throughout all the sections of the barn.
Same goes for the area that would be best suited for my enclosed arena. On the east side of the barn is what I am assuming was at one time the cattle feedlot - it's a concrete yard about 100 ft wide by 200 ft long. It would save me a lot in costs by being able to attach my arena to my barn rather than having a completely separate stand along structure. But again there is this vast amount of concrete that I am looking at an absolute fortune for removal and disposal. The same contractor also suggested bringing in large amounts of sand and rubberized arena footing to build up over the concrete rather than remove it. I'm highly skeptical about going over the concrete in the arena in particular. This contractor was sent out by the grant foundation, and I don't think he knows a whole lot about horse facilities and the need for shock absorbtion/footing that gives, so I wonder about the wisdom of his advice. I do already have a half-sized arena going in on the other side of the barn, no concrete there at least! But this enclosed arena will be important to be able to continue therapies during the winter months. Any thoughts are greatly appreciated, and sorry this is so long!