My barn aisle is dirt, and I want to
resurface it. What's best - concrete or pavement?
A dirt barn floor surface is
obviously the most inexpensive flooring for a barn, but is it
going to provide you with long term safety, ease of maintenance
and usability? Probably not. While the temptation may be high
to justify a dirt floor due to budget, suitability of local soil
types, time constraints, etc., more often than not it is
resurfaced somewhere down the road, after it has been patched up
and made tolerable one too many times.
A long term solution would be
either concrete or asphalt pavement. Concrete is relatively
expensive, but it is permanent and easier to apply than asphalt.
It can be poured into forms that will seal off the lower portion
of stall walls, eliminating any dangerous gaps that a horse may
get a leg through. It should be applied to a depth of no less than
four inches. The only thing about concrete that is not permanent
is its surface texture in high traffic areas. When applied, a
stiff broom should be used to rough up the surface before it sets
up completely, which provides necessary traction. After a while,
this surface can get worn down by horse traffic to the point where
it is almost too smooth to be safe. There are ways to re-texture
the surface, but they involve special equipment and probably a
specialty contractor, which could be expensive.
Asphalt, on the other hand, will
always provide a safe amount of traction. It is relatively soft,
so the material itself provides more grip underfoot without
relying upon any sort of broom finish that can wear away. It is
very difficult to use asphalt in any application other than a
floor surface, because it is not poured into place but rather
applied by special equipment and a specialty contractor. It is not
a task any homeowner would be well advised to undertake. It is
fairly difficult to apply asphalt in a barn, and most asphalt
contractors are used to letting the edges just taper off as they
would on a road surface. Take the time to find a contractor who
will finish off all edges around posts, stall fronts, water pipes.