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tpup 03-27-2013 06:35 AM

Which way should barn aisle and main barn doors face?
Help! Building home and barn on 10 acre lot in Virginia. The lot is a perfect rectangle, and top of lot is on a hill/top of slope - this is the short side of the rectangle. Lot slopes somewhat downhill (with some flat areas) Virtually all 10 acres in full view and the width of the lot is about 2 acres across...5 acres "length" down if that makes sense. The home and barn will be on the top quarter of the lot, near the top short side. Because we are on a hill, facing the wide open and a mountain ridge (gorgeous views!!), the wind can get crazy up there. I have had opinions from: builder, a 3rd party builder who also has a horse farm, trainer/horse owner for years. If you are standing at the top of the hill, you are facing West/slightly northwest. The house will face due west (the best view) so it will be angled slightly to the left at the top of the hill. The worst winds and "sideways rain" comes from the Northwest. If I face the barn with the dutch doors facing down the lot (overseeing pastures and mountain ridge/views) which my trainer who owned horses for 40+ years liked, the wind will hit mostly the dutch doors. Builder/farm guy worried that this would constantly blow shavings across the barn aisle. In the heat of the summer, the horses will be in during the day (2 horses, maybe 3). Planning on 3-4 stall barn so I could move at least 1 horse to a back stall. In this arrangement, horses would also be facing sun good part of day (in their stalls) but we are having an overhang/porch/roof over the dutch door side.

Idea number two is to have the short side of the barn, a.e. barn doors and aisle facing the wind. Horses would be looking at our home from their dutch doors but worry is wind will come ripping through the aisle. People who have liked this option felt that since we are in VA and winters are not horrible, I can just close the doors in bad weather. But in summer, this would provide a nice breeze through the barn which IMO is the worst for the horses (heat and humidity of summer). So in other words, plan more for summer advantages. We will have box fans for each stall. Also in this setup, on windy winter days, when wind is coming from one side of aisle, I can leave the other doors open (in back of barn) for air and ventilation. Horses would be out during the day and at night the barn doors would be closed anyway in winter, when they are in (due to critters, foxes, etc)

Idea # 3 from our fence guy - angle the barn the same as the house. Will look nice, worst winds will hit front right corner of barn...brush past dutch doors and somewhat down aisle if that barn door is open. Best of both worlds? Horses can see down pasture and our home/yard from their doors.

Would also love opinions on metal vs. board and batten!

Thoughts? Regrets? Thanks :)

ponyboy 03-27-2013 06:39 PM

I like idea number 2. What's the point of keeping your horses in when it's hot if the barn gets hotter than outside? You need good ventilation to prevent that.

backyardhorse 03-29-2013 08:57 PM

I agree with Ponyboy. Living in KY with a situation similar to yours has given me a little insight to the issues you are going to face. Here, the prevailing winds come from the west, but the WORST winds come from the east. Our barn faces directly west, and there is almost always a breeze. While it's great on a summer morning, in the afternoon, that breeze cannot cool the barn with the blazing sun. Angling your door slightly to the north will help with that. There are many times when I'll shut the west door to keep the horses just a little cooler----we have also installed fans in each of the stalls. I also shut the west (or east) doors if the winds are such that the bedding is getting blown around too much. The dutch doors should provide enough ventilation.

Fort fireman 04-03-2013 01:59 PM

I like option 2 . Use the natural beeze to your advantage when hot and just close the door down if the wind getts to cold in winter.

Joe4d 04-03-2013 04:28 PM

face the front / doors of barn due south. You'll have walls blocking the western AND eastern winds, in the winter the sun is lower in the horizon and will shine into the barn warming it. In the summer the sun will be over head so interior will be shaded. Also I dotn see any reason to lock horses inside. Not good for them and just creates more work for you.

Saddlebag 04-04-2013 08:45 AM

The horses need to be out and about. They will be healthier. They will seek out the cooling breezes which best suits them, not you. My barn is in the pasture so the horses can go in if they chose. If the interior is kept as dark as possible the bugs won't follow them in. If you put windows in be sure to make covers for them.

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