Q&A Questions and Answers:
Hi Bob -
I just came across your website (don't know how I've missed it thus far because I'm always looking!). I love everything about it and need to pick your brain. I'm in Michigan (Thumb area) and I'd love to know a good way to build up my stall floors. Right now, they are hard packed dirt/sand. I have mats over this with shavings as bedding. I have 3 horses who come in only to feed, during injury rehab and when our Michigan weather gets overly crazy during the winter. I have two 3-sided run in shelters facing different directions (the horses pick whichever they're the most confortable in). One of the shelters is attached to the back of my barn & the ground is higher than that of the barn and consequently, the stalls. When we have alot of rain, water seeps in and covers about 1/4 of my first stall. Long explanation to get to my question (sorry), which is this:
I need to build my stall floors up about 4-5 inches. I originally put a product called 'crusher sand' in and it's wonderful. However, the sand and gravel company folks apparently didn't communicate to one another, and they ran out of the product. Result: I ended up with about 1/8 of the amount I needed to bring my stall floors up to the level of the run-in. I can't find crusher sand anywhere remotely close to me - supposedly it was trucked in from out-of-state and Michigan won't be getting any more (not sure why). I need something that won't get tromped / worn down easily but doesn't cost a ton of money. What would you suggest?
Obviously you know your facility and I don't, but I can't help wondering if you're looking at this problem backwards. Rather than raising the floor level inside the barn, why not lower the ground level in and around the attached run-in shelter?
Doing a rough calculation, if you raise the stall floors by five or six inches you will need to somehow bring in and distribute two or three dump truck loads of fill inside the barn and stalls. In addition to that, you should dig down to a lower level, possibly install a drainage system, and level and compact the stall floor every few inches. Having done some renovation of floors inside stalls, I know the job is more difficult than it might seem.
Depending on how the stalls are constructed, you will also either need to raise the stall walls or face the problem of the bottoms of the walls rotting/rusting from now being in contact with several inches of moist dirt. (The water from outside will still seep into the barn, making the fill under the floor surface wet.)
On the other hand, it would be relatively easy to bring in a small bulldozer to lower the level of the run-in floor and modify the drainage pattern around the barn. You could even install ditching and/or drain pipes to speed the downhill flow of excess water. In the case of lowering the shelter floor, you would likely have a four- or five-inch gap below the shelter's walls and the ground. This would improve drainage and air-flow, promoting a drier shelter floor.
If I'm not understanding the situation correctly and you have no option but raising the stall floors, you can still obtain what you call "crushed sand." The problem you've encountered is that it is called by several other names: stone dust, artificial or manufactured sand, crusher run, screenings, or quarter-inch minus. The most common name is "stone dust," and a quick search on the internet turned up several companies in Michigan that sell it.
A couple of advantages with stone dust is that you can actually reduce dust levels by specifying the size of the particles (by screening) and it can be produced from less abrasive stones, such as limestone. If you go this route, remember to keep the layers level -- no more than a slope of three inches for every 100 inches of horizontal distance.
As I mentioned before, if you don't change the situation outside, you'll still have the problem of water coming into the barn under the floor.
I hope this helps a bit with your problem. Thanks for your question!
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