Pros & Cons of Various Horse Stall Flooring Choices

If you are building new horse stalls or thinking of re-flooring some existing ones, you have several options when it comes to flooring. You should choose your ideal stall flooring material based on ease of installation, drainage ability, and comfort for your horse. Here's a look at three common stall flooring options, and the advantages and disadvantages of each one.


Concrete floors are rather common in horse barns, and if you're at all handy, you can probably pour a concrete stall floor yourself with ready-mix concrete or simply hire a professional.


Concrete floors are easy to keep clean. When you are putting a new horse in the stall, you can easily disinfect a concrete floor by spraying it down with an antibacterial agent and water. These floors are also durable. You don't have to worry about slowly carrying parts of your floor out with the dirty bedding as you would with a soil or crushed stone floor.


Since concrete is so hard, you'll need to either place rubber mats on top of it or use an extensive amount of bedding in order to make it comfortable for your horse. The cost of either of these options can add up quickly. Also, concrete is not overly porous, so you'll need to be careful to slightly slope the stall towards the outside wall of the barn to encourage drainage of water and urine.


If the soil in your area compacts well, you may wish to use it as your stall flooring. Generally, experts recommend digging out the stall area and adding a layer of crushed gravel before refilling the hole with more soil. This encourages better drainage.


Soil is soft enough that you won't need heavy bedding or rubber mats as padding; however, some owners still choose to use them for enhanced comfort. Soil is also free—there's probably as much as you need in the floor of your barn already, though you will need to pay for the gravel underlayment and spend some time digging out and rebuilding the floor of the stall. Dirt drains well, so your stalls won't get too wet and slippery.


If your horse paws or stall walks, the bedding could get pushed to one area of the stall, exposing the dirt and leading to a dirty horse should he choose to roll. You may also find that as time goes on, your stall floors start to get "hollowed out" as you carry away some of the dirt when you clean the dirty bedding and manure out of the stall. To keep stalls level, you will need to add more dirt from time to time.

Crushed Stone Dust

Crushed stone dust may sound like an uncomfortable, rough choice for your stall floor, but once it compacts, it can be as smooth as dirt. This material can often be obtained cheaply from a local quarry.


Crushed stone dust offers remarkable drainage, making it a good choice if you live in an area that receives plenty of precipitation or if have a particularly "wet" horse. It also does not get slick when wet, like soil sometimes may. Crushed stone is typically easy to install. Just dump in a few wheelbarrows full of it, and spread it out evenly.


Even once crushed stone becomes compacted and smoother, it can be a bit hard. If you bed with wood chips, pine pellets, or another less-voluminous bedding, you may wish to use rubber mats over top of it. The stone layer may also develop holes and depressions, especially if the horse paws or stall walks. You'll want to fill these depressions in regularly, so they don't accumulate too much moisture or present a tripping hazard.

Whether crushed stone, soil, or concrete is the right choice for your stalls will depend on your own wants and needs. With the above information in mind, you should be able to make a more informed decision.