Looking at that old horse barn, it slowly starts becoming obvious that it has seen better days. Time flies by, the wear and tear start to show, and the years of heavy rain, snow, and baking summers don’t forget to leave their mark. But now, while the construction still bravely defies gravity, it’s time to set it to rights. Be it for a cosmetic update or radical renovation – we’ve rounded up some tips for restoring an old horse barn that will help you give its four-hoofed lodgers a proper home.

Structural soundness

The primary purpose of your stabling system is to provide security and maintain wellbeing. Hence, the critical step of revitalizing a dilapidated horse barn is keeping it from falling down and restoring the building’s original structural integrity and soundness. It is well to remember that repairing any structural damage typically entails hiring an experienced contractor.


A leaky roof is a considerable weak point: by ignoring it, you risk compromising everything from the foundation to the barn frame. Water infiltration is likely to cause significant moisture issues and, consequently, mold breeding and pest infestation. All of this poses a risk to you and your horses’ health and safety.

Contacting a professional roofer should help you decide whether you need a simple fix or a complete tear-off. If the latter, bear in mind that an increasing number of barn owners keep turning to steel panels for their longevity and ability to withstand harsh elements. Although a bit pricey, this purchase is cost-effective because it will keep the animals inside safe and perfectly comfortable when the temperatures drop.

Foundation and drainage

Foundation, the unsung hero of any building, supports the complete frame of the barn and keeps the groundwater out of your property. Consult a professional for a permanent solution for your foundation, and don’t waste money or time on other fixes until the central part is sound. Also, if there are any drainage issues, address them in order to avoid mud everywhere once the rain starts.


If the building’s siding is too good of an indicator of its age, it’s another sign that your old horse farm needs some restoration work. Weathered siding with holes or missing sections threatens the integrity of the structure in its entirety. Therefore, painting and repair are essential for siding preservation. However, if not salvageable, an upgrade to a new, watertight siding will solve water infiltration. Typically, wood is preferable to metal, vertical lines to horizontal, and hardwoods to softwoods.


The decay of the structural beams is something to be especially mindful of when restoring an old horse barn. Any structural defects can be extremely hazardous and even cause an entire frame and roof to collapse. So, make sure to check sill timbers, their joints, as well as support posts, basement footings, rafters, ridge-beam, floor joists. If you detect any splits, cracks, or any other weak points or problems that should indicate stresses on the structure or even cause its movement, intervention is needed ASAP. Also, look for insect infestation and damage, fungus growth, rotting wood, seek appropriate treatments.

The repair on the inside

As for the interior repair, you ought to think about updating the flooring, electrical work, and ventilation. Also, orchestrating separate tack, feed, and tool rooms will allow for a higher level of organization and practicality, which is an essential point of consideration when tackling this project. Besides, if each item has its place, it’ll be easy to navigate when movers start delivering all of your equipment. When packing your tools and other barn items for the move, use the guidelines that zippyshelllouisiana.com and other moving websites include in their blogs. This way, you’ll make sure everything arrives in top-notch condition.


When it comes to flooring, in older barns, you can usually find poured-cement aisles, and upon tackling your renovation project, you need to stay away from hard footing. Choosing softer kinds of flooring is an effective way to protect your horse from laminitis. Concrete flooring is becoming less popular among horse owners, but an upgrade with solid drainable rubber matting will make a big difference. It provides a non-skid surface with cushions that are gentle to the horses’ joints. Plus, it’s easy maintenance.

Electrical work

Contact a professional electrician and schedule the inspection of the barn’s electrical work: they should examine the fuse box and wiring in your barn to see if there are any faulty electrical connections. Of course, rodents chewing on electric cables can also create a hazard. Place new light fixtures in each stall, at least 8 feet high, and on the back wall instead of above the center to decrease shadows in the stalls.


Of course, everything is so much more pleasant with natural light. Open up the dark old barn by replacing the old windows with new wood-frame barn ones. If they’re not at least 7 feet high, protect them with mesh or sturdy bars. But, besides letting in the daylight, windows to the outside are crucial for proper ventilation. A closed-up stale barn may cause moisture, as well as polluting gasses to build up and cause respiratory issues for both you and the horses. Windows, eave openings, and a dome that allows airflow in and out of the barn contribute to proper ventilation, but be careful not to allow for cold air or drafts.


  • Give your old horse barn a new look and vibe right away by adding grilled partitions to the stalls’ solid walls. This will enhance airflow, increase light, allow animals to socialize, and provide better supervision for the owner. Of course, keep partitions at the standard 8 feet high, so the horses cannot get their hooves over them; bars no more than 3 inches apart.
  • Anything less than a 10-foot by 10-foot is not recommended for a stall. So, if this is the case with the barn you’re currently renovating, removable dividers are great when you must increase the size of a stall. Your horses should enjoy plenty of room to move around, get up and down and roll comfortably.
  • As for doors, go for those topped with bars (again, to increase light, airflow, and socialization) and wooden lower sections. V-door openings will allow horses to relieve boredom by putting their heads into the aisle zone. Avoid Dutch doors – they are half-height and may encourage jumping over.
  • The quickest and most effective way of feeding the horses, which doesn’t include opening and closing the doors of a stall, is easily accessible feed buckets. A swing-out panel with a hayrack on the top and a feed tub below is a popular choice.
  • Consider installing automatic waterers as they offer fresh water for your four-legged friends at all times. There are various models: some come with a meter and even a shut-off mechanism. Another option is installing hydrants to provide sufficient drainage for overflowing or dripping water (but you might need to consider frost-proofing with this option).
  • Stall mats will make cleaning as simple as ABC while also counting as rather comfortable bedding for your horses. Naturally, if you feel the need to provide additional comfort for your horses, mattress systems are a great choice.

Feed room

In the feed room, you’ll want to have cabinets for storing supplements and a refrigerator for keeping medicines. Also, you want to keep grain to last you a week and hay for one day. Keep all excess in another building (for cleanliness and fire-safety). Portable storage units are an excellent option for additional storage you can keep on your property, as they are easily accessible but still keep excess items out of sight.

Tack room

Regardless of your budget and space, try to keep your tack room a closed space separate from your feed and tool areas. It’s as simple as using partition walls: a practical tack room needn’t be huge or fancy. Also, place fitted cabinets to coral saddles and bridles. This will free up more floor space, provide extra storage, make it easier to clean, and deliver genuine functionality.

Tool area

Having a separate place for your muck bucket, pickers, and scoop shovels is another thing to think about when restoring an old horse barn to its former glory. When everything has its own home like this, it’s easy to keep your tools out of the aisles and the entire barn organized.

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