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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. etc. 


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