Shed Used as Shelter Flooring Question
Hello everyone, I am new to this forum. I purchased a miniature horse for my son's 2nd birthday (back in September) and he lives right in our backyard (we have almost 2 acres fenced). I built him a lean-to so he could get out of the rain, but instead he goes under our deck and still gets wet! He is little, about 320 pounds, and acts much like our dog :lol:
Anyway I got a great deal on an 8x12 side lofted barn (shed) and I am planning on building a stall in it for him. My question is, what do I use/ do for the flooring? Should I treat the wood where it will be? And then use mats? If so, what kind do you all recommend? What kind of bedding on top of the mats? Or is there something better to put on the floors? I just don't want his urine to rot out the floor, and because it is so small, it won't take much to get an amonia odor.
I only plan to put him in there when it rains or on really cold nights (we are in Coastal NC so not many cold nights and most years no snow). And then use the other side of it for storage for all his "stuff". It also has extra storage above, kind of like a hayloft!
Thank you all in advance for your advice, I am looking forward to it :-)
Is it coming with a wood floor? I would really avoid wood floors, they soak up the pee and hold it there so there is lots of ammonia problems. If it is just going to be used as a run-in with a fairly large area to be out in, I would just put mats down over a few inches of crushed gravel with no bedding on top. If it is going to actually be used as stall (meaning closed in it), I would put down pine shavings. Straw doesn't soak up urine and can get slippery, sawdust can get dusty, and paper bedding tends to blow around. I actually prefer buying wood pellets meant to be used as bedding for livestock and then soaking them in water (just open the top part of the bag and dump water into the bag and the pellets will expand into shavings). The pellets more space efficient.
In my barn, I have dirt floors with rubber mats on them and bedding on top when the horses are staying in - You may wish to consider this as it's quite easy to clean up and comfortable for the horses. The bedding I use is straw (wheat straw is the better of the straws to use) but shavings would do just as well - It will depend on what is handy in your area.
If you have to (or decide to) go with wood flooring and it is not pressure treated lumber, you can use Thompson's water sealant on it to help preserve the wood longer. I use the water sealant on my horse trailer floor with great success.
Thank you both for your replies. The barn already has a wood floor, it is plywood. I don't think it is treated either. I am going to section it off and have like a swing gate, so yes he will be closed into the area. I am using half of it for his stall and the other half for storage of his supplies so I don't want him just loose in there. Would it be worth it to put down like a small layer of concrete and then use mats? It's only going to be about a 8'x5' area of "stall" so whatever I do for the floor won't cost too much, just trying to avoid the floor rotting or smelling. If water seal, mats and proper bedding are enough, that would be the easiest :-)
Are there stall mats you all would recommend? What thickness should I go for?
Thanks again for your help!
Im curious about the cement as well. We are thinking of doing cement under mats to keep our floors from eroding. We had leaks but fixed them for the most part, the small ones still there will be adressed but, now I am wondering about drainage. If sloped will it still be ok or should we go crushed packed gravel?? I have 1500 lb horses that shift things, lol.
I don't know how your barn is constructed but I am assuming that it will be 2x4 framed under the floor, spaced at either 1.5 ft or 2 ft on centre, with the plywood laid on top of the frame. If that is the case I would suggest two things. One will be more doable than the other for you but the end result will be the same - to ensure your little charge does not step through the plywood. 1) Add additional 2x4s to the floor frame under the plywood. I would suggest a quantity to recreate spacing a couple of inches apart. The reason for this is that the original spacing will allow the plywood to flex or bend with concentrated weight (as well as plywood does have a limited weight bearing capability) and then break. 2) Place and nail/screw 2x4s (or 2x6s - whatever is readily available) on top of the plywood just like you would lay a hardwood floor. The 2x4s are snugged up against each other and the 4" side touches the plywood (not the 2" side). Also put them opposite to the framed pieces - eg if the framed 2x4s run north/south, then the top ones run east/west. In either of these cases, use the sealant on the plywood and the 2x4s if you can't get pressure treated ones.
For mats, I'm assuming your in the States, so you could go to Tractor Supply and get them there. I believe I read in an earlier post (dealing with horse trailers) that they have matting on roles, which is a 1/2" or less in thickness, that is cut to your specs. I'm sure that would do quite well for you. The mats I use are quite thick and extremely heavy but my horses also have another six or seven hundred pounds on your fellow.
With regard to the concrete, I personally wouldn't go that route. I think if you do the sealant treatment (which isn't hard - it's just painted on) and the mats you'll be fine.
nvr2many - my quote thing isn't working. Do you have a wood floor now? In my barn, I have a dirt floor which consists of a thick layer of clay with a layer of something called "32 base" on top of it, all capped off with rubber mats. 32 base is essentially a sand and gravel mix. The floor doesn't have a grade to it as such - it's fairly level. I must say with the mats installed, I've not had a drainage problem at all - just make sure you've got something absorbent to catch the pee as it will stay on top of the mat.
nvr2many - Yes to your question. Every once in awhile you will still have to 'relevel' the pot holes. We've had to do that once in a blue moon; for us we dumped some base in the hole, raked it smooth, relaid the mat and called it a day.
I'll mention 'pea gravel' for at least part of your double stall -- it's made up of more substantial, smooth stones and is meant for foot paths and such. You might find that will work well for your exposed area because it doesn't have the sand component to wash away by the rain and since it does have some substance to it, it's more difficult to push around.
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