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Concrete Horse Stall Flooring: Pros, Cons, and Best Practices

Last updated: February 29, 2024

By: Miles HenryFact Checked

Ever wondered how much the flooring beneath your horse’s hooves matters? After 25 years with horses and experimenting with nearly every stall flooring out there, I’ve learned it’s not just about looks or cleaning convenience. It’s about their health, safety, and comfort.

As caretakers, we shape our horses’ living spaces to support their well-being. Let’s delve into the world of horse stall flooring together, focusing on the benefits of concrete floors, and discover how we can make the best choices for the horses in our care.

Picture of a horse owner feeding hay to a horse in a stall with a concrete floor covered by a rubber mat and layered with shavings.
Concrete horse stall floor covered with a rubber mat and ample bedding.

Analysis of Concrete Horse Stall Floors

Concrete floors offer durability and easy maintenance for horse stalls. Pairing concrete with rubber mats and a suitable bedding material enhances horse health and comfort.

Advantages of Concrete Floors:

  • Durability & Longevity: Resists wear and tear from horse hooves, ensuring a stable environment.
  • Easy Maintenance: Simplifies cleaning and disinfecting, crucial for disease prevention.

Optimizing Horse Health with Proper Bedding:

  • Comfort & Well-being: Use thick rubber mats and pine shavings for cushioning against concrete’s hardness.
  • Stress Reduction: Helps alleviate leg and joint stress in horses.
  • Temperature Regulation: Keeps stalls warm in winter and cool in summer for optimal horse comfort.

Experience Insights:

  • Over two decades in the equine industry have shown that the combination of concrete floors and appropriate bedding meets both horse and caretaker needs effectively.
Picture of concrete being poured for the floor of a horse stall.
Pouring concrete for the floor of a horse barn.

Disadvantages of Concrete Floors in Horse Stalls

While concrete floors offer several benefits in horse stall settings, they also come with certain drawbacks that need careful consideration. Understanding these disadvantages is crucial for ensuring the health and safety of horses.

Potential Risks of Concrete Floors

  1. Hardness:
    • Impact on Horses: The hard surface of concrete can be tough on horses’ legs and hooves, potentially leading to joint stress, discomfort, or even injuries.
    • Long-Term Health Concerns: Prolonged exposure to hard surfaces can contribute to chronic issues like arthritis or hoof problems in horses.
  2. Slipperiness:
    • Risk of Injury: Concrete can become slippery, especially when wet. This poses a risk of slips and falls, which can lead to serious injuries for horses.
    • Stress and Anxiety: A slippery surface can cause stress and anxiety in horses, affecting their overall well-being.

Solutions to Mitigate These Issues

  1. Use of Rubber Mats:
    • Cushioning Effect: Placing high-quality rubber mats over concrete floors can provide the necessary cushioning and reduce the impact on horses’ joints and hooves.
    • Non-Slip Surface: Rubber mats offer a non-slip surface, significantly reducing the risk of slips and falls.
  2. Adequate Bedding:
    • Additional Comfort: Using sufficient bedding material, such as straw or wood shavings, on top of rubber mats can further enhance comfort and provide insulation against the cold nature of concrete.
    • Absorption of Moisture: Bedding helps absorb urine and moisture, keeping the surface dry and reducing slipperiness.
  3. Regular Maintenance:
    • Keeping Floors Dry: Regular cleaning and ensuring proper drainage can help maintain a dry surface, minimizing slipperiness.
    • Inspection and Repair: Regularly inspecting the concrete surface and mats for wear and tear and addressing any issues promptly can prevent the development of slippery areas.
  4. Textured Concrete Finishes:
    • Improved Traction: Opting for a textured finish when installing concrete floors can provide better traction and reduce slipperiness.
Picture of a person finishing the concrete floor of a horse barn.
Putting a rough finish on a concrete floor for a horse barn.

Expert Opinions and Case Studies

Veterinarian Perspective:

“The flooring of your barn is a main consideration; choose materials that would keep the floor dry but will still be durable.,” states Bob Judd, DVM, DABVP (Equine Medicine). “Also, it needs to provide good traction yet be easy to clean. Although more expensive than other materials, roughened concrete fits these criteria better than most other materials.”

Horse Stall Professional:

American Stalls, a seasoned seller of horse stall equipment with over 15 years of experience, advocates for concrete floors. “Although concrete does allow some moisture to seep in, it is not nearly as porous as stone dust or dirt. This makes it an attractive flooring option once it is combined with products such as rubber mats, rubber pavers, and stall mattress systems,” as explained in their article Flooring 101 for Horse Stalls.

Real-World Example of a Barn Using Concrete Floors

Hart Equine Farm:

Hart Equine Farm, a horse boarding facility, serves as an ideal case study. They transitioned to concrete floors covered with rubber mats in their stalls two years ago. The decision was based on extensive research and consultations with equine health experts.


  • Improved Hygiene: The facility reported a significant improvement in hygiene and ease of cleaning, leading to a healthier environment for the horses.
  • Enhanced Comfort: With the addition of rubber mats and proper bedding, the horses exhibited better comfort levels, with reduced signs of discomfort or stress.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: The facility experienced a decrease in long-term maintenance costs due to the durability of concrete floors.
Picture of our stall with a rubber mat and thick bedding.
Our stall has a concrete floor, rubber mat, and thick pine shavings.

Addressing Questions and Concerns About Concrete Floors

I’ve encountered numerous questions and concerns regarding the use of concrete floors in horse stalls. Here, I will address these common queries and offer practical advice to ensure that your decision to use concrete floors aligns with the best interests of your horses.

Common Questions and Concerns:

  1. Is Concrete Too Hard for Horses?
    • Concern: The hardness of concrete might be harmful to a horse’s leg and hoof health.
    • Response: While concrete is indeed a hard surface, its impact can be significantly mitigated by covering it with a thick rubber mat and using proper bedding materials and deep bedding. This combination provides cushioning and reduces stress on joints and hooves.
  2. How Does Concrete Affect Stall Hygiene?
    • Concern: Maintaining a hygienic environment on concrete floors.
    • Response: Concrete floors are easier to clean and disinfect compared to other materials. Regular cleaning and proper drainage are key to maintaining hygiene. Ensure that urine and spills are promptly removed to prevent the buildup of ammonia and bacteria.
  3. What About the Cold Nature of Concrete?
    • Concern: Concrete floors might be too cold, especially in winter.
    • Response: Adequate bedding is crucial to insulate against the cold. Rubber mats can also provide a barrier against the cold concrete surface.

Practical Advice:

  1. Proper Installation of Concrete Floors:
    • Ensure the concrete is professionally installed with a slight slope towards a drain to facilitate easy cleaning and drainage.
    • Consider a textured finish to prevent slipperiness, especially when wet.
  2. Choosing the Right Bedding:
  3. Maintenance Tips:
    • Regularly remove soiled bedding and clean the concrete surface to maintain hygiene.
    • Inspect and clean under the mats periodically to prevent moisture and bacteria buildup.
    • In colder climates, additional bedding may be necessary to provide extra warmth.
  4. Long-Term Care:
    • Periodically check for any cracks or damage to the concrete surface and repair promptly to maintain safety and hygiene.
    • Rotate the placement of mats and bedding to evenly distribute wear and tear.

By addressing these common concerns and following the practical advice provided, you can create a comfortable, healthy, and safe environment for your horses with concrete flooring. Remember, the key to success lies in the thoughtful combination of concrete with the right bedding and maintenance practices.

Picture of a barn with a concrete aisleway and clay stall floors.
This barn has a concrete aisleway and clay stall floors.

Concrete Floors vs. Other Horse Stall Flooring Options

In the equine world, the choice of stall flooring is a critical decision impacting horse health, cost, and maintenance. Let’s compare concrete floors with other popular options, drawing on data and studies to provide a comprehensive view.

1. Concrete Floors

  • Horse Health: When combined with proper bedding, concrete floors can offer a stable, firm surface. According to a study by the Equine Veterinary Journal, adequate bedding on concrete is crucial to prevent joint and hoof issues.
  • Cost: Initial installation can be costly, but concrete floors are a long-term investment due to their durability. The American Journal of Animal and Veterinary Sciences suggests that the long lifespan of concrete can offset the initial expense.
  • Maintenance: Easy to clean and disinfect, requiring less day-to-day maintenance. However, they need regular checks for cracks or damage.

2. Dirt Floors

  • Horse Health: Dirt provides a natural, softer surface, which is easier on horses’ legs. However, uneven surfaces can develop, potentially causing strain, as noted in the Journal of Equine Science.
  • Cost: Lower initial cost, but may require frequent maintenance and replenishment, adding to long-term expenses.
  • Maintenance: High maintenance, needing regular leveling and replacement. Poor drainage can lead to moisture-related issues.

3. Rubber Mats over Various Bases

  • Horse Health: Offer cushioning and can reduce the risk of leg fatigue and injury. A study in the Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition found that rubber mats can significantly reduce stress on legs.
  • Cost: Varies based on the quality of mats and underlying flooring—generally, a moderate investment with significant benefits for horse comfort.
  • Maintenance: Easier to maintain than dirt but requires lifting for thorough cleaning underneath.

4. Wood Floors

  • Horse Health: Provide natural insulation and are softer than concrete. However, they can retain moisture and develop rot, impacting horse health, as per the Equine Health Studies Program.
  • Cost: Can be expensive to install and require treatment to prevent rot and pest infestation.
  • Maintenance: Require regular maintenance to prevent rot and damage from moisture and pests.

The best flooring choice is based on individual needs, facility setup, and the specific health requirements of the horses housed. It’s essential to weigh these factors carefully to ensure the well-being of the horses and the practicality of maintenance and cost for the caretaker.

Picture of a horse laying down in a stall with concrete flooring covered with deep bedding.
Our horse is comfortable in her deep pile of pine shavings.

Experiences and Opinions from Horse Owners

When it comes to equine care, the collective wisdom of the community is invaluable. Below are insights and opinions from the horse racing community and horse owners from various forums. These real-world experiences offer a diverse perspective on the use of concrete floors in horse stalls.

Shared Experiences from Horse Owners

  1. Positive Feedback on Concrete with Bedding:
    • “Concrete stays where it is, bedding absorbs any urine, it can be power washed out, swept daily and has no ammonia from the urine hanging around.” – Foxhunter, HorseForum
  2. Concerns and Solutions:
    • “Install the mats properly. Don’t just lay them down. Buy the biggest mats you can, and find a couple strong people to help. Use a hammer or a mallet to bang them together as tight as possible, don’t leave gaps anywhere. You should still bed fairly deep, bare mats will still result in hock rubs.” – The Chronicles of the Horse, GoodTimes.
  3. Maintenance Insights:
    • “I work in a barn where we have both, (dirt and concrete). I much prefer the concrete floors with thick rubber mats. The concrete stalls we do put deeper bedding in but overall they stay much cleaner and smell less.” – Kato, HorseForum.

To further enrich our understanding and share knowledge, I invite you to contribute your experiences and preferences regarding horse stall flooring:

  • Share Your Story: Have you used concrete floors in your horse stalls? What has your experience been like in terms of horse health, maintenance, and overall satisfaction?
  • Seeking Advice: If you’re considering switching to concrete floors, what are your main concerns or questions? Let’s help each other make informed decisions.
  • Photo Sharing: Do you have photos of your horse stall setups, especially those with concrete flooring? Share them with us to inspire and educate others!

Your insights, questions, and stories are invaluable to our community. By sharing our collective experiences, we can help each other provide the best possible care for our equine companions. Please leave your comments below, and let’s engage in a constructive and informative discussion about horse stall flooring options.

Here is a YouTube video showing how to install mats in horse stalls.

Maintenance and Long-Term Care: Concrete Floors in Horse Stalls

Maintaining concrete floors in horse stalls is crucial for ensuring their longevity and the health and comfort of the horses. Here’s a detailed guide on how to maintain these floors and recognize when it’s time for repair or replacement.

Routine Maintenance

  1. Daily Cleaning:
    • Remove all bedding and debris daily.
    • Sweep the floor to remove dust and loose material.
    • Use a hose or pressure washer to wash away urine and feces. Ensure proper drainage.
  2. Disinfection:
    • Regularly disinfect the floor to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi. Use a horse-safe disinfectant.
    • Allow the floor to dry completely before adding fresh bedding.
  3. Bedding Management:
    • Use enough absorbent bedding to provide comfort and soak up moisture.
    • Change bedding regularly to keep it dry and clean.

Periodic Checks and Repairs

  1. Surface Inspection:
    • Regularly inspect the concrete surface for cracks, chips, or signs of wear.
    • Small cracks can be filled with a concrete repair compound. Larger cracks may require professional assessment.
  2. Drainage Check:
    • Ensure that any drainage systems are clear and functioning. Poor drainage can lead to moisture buildup and damage.
  3. Rubber Mat Inspection:
    • Check the condition of rubber mats, if used. Look for signs of wear, tear, or curling edges.
    • Replace mats that are no longer providing adequate cushioning or have become a trip hazard.

Long-Term Care

  1. Resealing Surface:
    • Consider resealing the concrete surface every few years to maintain its integrity and ease of cleaning.
    • Resealing helps to keep the surface water-resistant and extends its lifespan.
  2. Moisture Control:
    • Be vigilant about moisture levels. Persistent dampness can lead to deterioration of the concrete over time.
    • Use moisture-absorbing products if necessary, especially in humid climates.
  3. Replacement Indicators:
    • Significant, widespread cracking or surface erosion are signs that the concrete floor may need to be replaced.
    • If the floor becomes uneven or rough, causing discomfort or potential injury to horses, it’s time to consider replacement.

Proper maintenance and timely repairs are key to maximizing the lifespan of concrete floors in horse stalls. Regular cleaning, disinfection, and bedding management, along with periodic inspections and repairs, will ensure that these floors remain a safe and comfortable environment for horses.

Picture of a barn with concrete horse stall flooring.
New horse barn with concrete horse stall flooring.

Questions for Consideration

As we’ve explored the advantages and challenges of concrete flooring in horse stalls, it’s clear that this decision impacts stall maintenance of the stall and the comfort and welfare of horses. To help you navigate these considerations, here are a few questions to ponder:

  1. Balancing Benefits and Drawbacks: How do the benefits of concrete flooring, such as durability and ease of maintenance, weigh against potential drawbacks like hardness and the need for additional bedding for horse comfort? Reflecting on this can help you determine if concrete flooring aligns with your priorities for stall maintenance and horse welfare.
  2. Choosing the Right Bedding Materials: Given the importance of bedding over concrete floors, what are the key factors you should consider to ensure your horse’s comfort and welfare? Think about the absorbency, ease of cleaning, and the bedding’s ability to provide sufficient cushioning.
  3. Evaluating Costs and Benefits: The initial investment in concrete flooring and the ongoing costs of bedding materials are significant considerations. How can you balance these costs with the long-term benefits, such as improved hygiene and potentially lower veterinary bills due to better living conditions for your horse?

Reflecting on these questions after reading about the pros and cons of concrete flooring can guide you toward making the best decision for your horse’s comfort and ease of stall maintenance.

Conclusion: Concrete Horse Stall Flooring

In this exploration of horse stall flooring, particularly focusing on concrete floors, we’ve looked into various aspects crucial for making an informed decision. The journey through the nuances of flooring choices highlights the impact these decisions have on the health and well-being of our horses.

Choosing the right flooring for horse stalls is not a decision to be taken lightly. It’s a balance between practicality, cost, and, most importantly, the health and comfort of the horses. Concrete floors, when used thoughtfully and in conjunction with suitable bedding and maintenance practices, can offer an effective solution.

However, each barn’s needs are unique, and what works for one may not be the ideal choice for another. The journey to selecting the perfect flooring for horse stalls is a thoughtful process that requires considering various factors, including horse health, maintenance ease, and long-term costs.

By equipping ourselves with knowledge, seeking expert opinions, and understanding the specific needs of our horses, we can create a safe, comfortable, and healthy environment for them to thrive.

Share Your Experiences and Questions

  • Your Stories Matter: Have you used concrete floors in your horse stalls? Share your experiences, both positive and challenging, and how you’ve addressed them.
  • Seeking Advice?: If you’re contemplating switching to concrete flooring or have any concerns, feel free to ask. Let’s pool our knowledge to help you make the best decision for your equine friends.
  • Feedback and Suggestions: Do you have any feedback on the article or additional suggestions you’d like to share? Your input is crucial in enhancing our content and making it more useful for everyone.

Stay Connected and Informed:

  • If you found this guide helpful, consider signing up for our newsletter for more insights and updates on racehorse ownership.
  • For personalized advice or specific inquiries, feel free to contact me directly. I’m here to help guide you through your racehorse ownership journey.


Engage and Learn More


What do you need in a horse stall?

Horses need a hayrack, some way to hang a feed and water bucket, good ventilation, tie rings, suitable flooring, and lighting. For more detailed information on horse stalls and some design tips, check out this article: What Horses Need in Their Stall. 6 Stable Design Tips.

What’s the best material to use for horse stall bedding?

I prefer to use pine shavings for stall bedding; they’re easy to clean and absorb moisture well. Various other bedding materials are also suitable for horse stall bedding.