Horse Stalls: Standard Stall Installation
Scope and purpose of this guide
Here is the information you may need to help you select, plan and build you new Triton Horse stall or barn. Whether you are placing a pair of stalls inside an existing building, setting up a couple of hundred temporary stalls for a show, building an individual horse owner's barn or constructing a major equine facility, we hope you will find this guide helps you with all stages of your project.
We've tried to cover all aspects of the process, from site selection and preparation, sizing and designing your facility, obtaining any necessary regulatory approvals, all aspects of assembly and construction, hints on customizing the installation to better meet your needs, to the hardware and accessories to complete the project. Triton stalls and barns allow a project to be completed far more quickly than a traditional structure. This guide concentrates on the use of standard components to minimize complexity, cost and time while showing you some of the ways to customize your project to create a unique facility that meets your exact needs.
For people who need greater freedom to customize their design or who may have a supply of existing material on hand that they wish to reuse, we offer out Triton Kit Stalls and we have a separate Triton Kit Stall Installation Guide.
This guide allows an individual horse owner to design and complete an entire project on their own as a one-person project and it helps a project manager plan and execute a large commercial project efficiently from start to finish. We don't attempt to replace expert trades such as an electrician or plumber where you may need professional assistance.
Barns vary and not every section here will apply to your project, allowing you to skip over any sections that don't apply to you.
What you can expect from your Triton barn
For all Triton barns, you can expect stalls that are safe for horse and owner, robust to withstand decades of daily use, maintain their great appearance over the years, efficient and convenient for daily operations, and are available with a wide variety of styles.
You can use Triton for every application from quick-to-assemble temporary equine housing to the fanciest of permanent facilities and from a small barn for one horse to commercial housing for hundreds of horses. Triton components can be used to build a complete barn from floor to roof and cupola, to finish out stalls in an existing building, and for temporary housing.
Triton can help you with covered riding arenas and showground facilities and with our line of modern free-run horse exercisers but these products are outside the scope of this guide.
Erecting the Stall Wall Framework
Triton stall construction principles
A typical horse stall has four walls, usually three regular walls and a stall front. There are several choices or options for each of these walls, depending on the design of your barn. Each wall consists of a frame (that determines the width and height of the wall) that is manufactured as a rigid welded structure, and components mounted to the frame (such as panels, doors, vents, feeders and so on). Top and bottom drop in connectors secure wall frames together at each corner. Four frames, four top connectors and four bottom connectors form a rigid framework for the first stall. Subsequent stalls are built using three or two (depending on the floor plan) additional frames and pairs of connectors .
Generally it is easier to assemble the stall frames first and add the other components after the framework is complete. A typical stall frame may weight about 150 pounds and can be raised into place by a single person. This is the heaviest single component in an entire roofed barn. A stall divider complete with lumber might weigh about 600 pounds. Freestanding stalls (not attached to the walls of an existing building and not part of a roofed barn) use two way (straight or corner), three way or four way connectors as appropriate.
Stalls that are part of a roofed assembly always use a four way connector at the ground. This connects the frames and locates the bottom of the column that supports the roof. The top connector is replaced by one clip per frame, each bolted to the column. These clips hold the columns and frames into a rigid assembly.
Stall panels abutting an existing wall could be drilled and connected to the wall with screws or bolts. However the recommended attachment method is to insert a clip into the top of the frame (using the slot where the connector for freestanding stalls fits) and attach the clip to the existing wall. Attachment to fixed structure is made after the rest of the frame structure has been completed because it will be necessary to tilt some frames to insert the bottom connectors.
Our line of European stall fronts includes some spectacular designs with swing gates at the center of the stall front. These custom components (unlike our standard line of stalls) are provided with horizontal brackets or feet that need to be secured to the floor or ground to provide proper support.
Preparation for assembly
Before starting assembly, make sure you complete these steps. The proverb: "Measure twice, cut once" (or "lift once" in our case) is still very good advice.
Make sure you have the correct components (frames, connectors, columns, etc.), that you know where each one will go, and that you have identified which side is which. Many stall panels have an inside and an outside and are not reversible. The provision for loading lumber or composition panels will normally be on the inside of your stall. This one difference makes a left side door frame different from a right side door frame.
Measure and if necessary mark out your assembly site.
If you are assembling a row of stalls in the corner of an existing barn, this may be as simple as measuring to check that the new stalls fit and starting assembly from the corner using existing walls as a guide; no marking out required.
If you are assembling a freestanding block of stalls over a hard surface such as concrete or asphalt, snap four chalk lines along the edges of the block to use as a guide during erection. The entire block of stalls can then be installed with no further measurements.
If you are assembling stalls over a soft surface such as grass or newly leveled and compacted fill, we recommend stretching two strings (each stretched between two stakes) along two outside edges. Use the 3, 4, 5 triangle check to make sure the strings are orthogonal; small errors here will show up when you install the roof. Alternatively, stretch four strings to form a rectangle along the outside edges, and check that the diagonals are equal within ¼ inch.
If you plan to use a continuous array of stall mats under the stall walls, place those mats now and mark the stall locations over the stall mats.
How to erect freestanding stall frames
To install freestanding horse stalls (stalls without columns at each corner to support a roof), pick a starting location, typically an outside corner of the structure. Place the two frames forming the corner on the ground, just outside their final location if possible, inner sides facing up.
Insert the two bottom connectors into one frame. Use connectors to match the floor plan. Tilt that panel up into its final location. In most applications, the panel will stand unsupported, but if necessary hold or block the panel so that it remains vertical.
Insert one bottom connector into the second panel. Tilt that panel up into its final location, lifting one corner so that it fits over the corner connector already in place from the first panel.
Insert the top corner connector. Adjust the panels if necessary so they they line up accurately with the desired final location. If that location is the inside corner of an existing building, you may have to move the two frames several feet from the location where you tilted them up and connected them to fit into that corner.
An alternative procedure is to tilt up one frame, then tilt up the other frame, and insert the top corner connector. Now lift the corners of both frames to install the bottom corner connector. Some people prefer this method, but it does require lifting a heavier load at one time. Installing bottom connectors before tilting frames into place avoids any need to move or disturb frames that are already accurately in their final location.
Use similar procedures to install the remaining two frames and complete the first stall. Place each frame on the ground, inside side facing up, and insert any required bottom connectors. Tilt the frame up into place, lifting it over any previously installed connectors. Secure the frame with the top connectors.
Continue, completing additional stalls, until the framework for the entire block of stalls is complete. You may have to lift and reinstall top connectors as frames are tilted up into place.
If there are stall walls that abut an existing wall, install the clips securing the top of the panel to the wall after you are satisfied with the location of all stalls. These clip fit into the top corner of the stall frame and a secured to the wall of the building with wood screws or with bolts.
How to erect stall frames with roof supports
To install stalls with roof supports, pick a starting location, typically an outside corner of the structure. Place the two frames forming the corner on the ground, just outside their final location if possible, inner sides facing up. Select a vertical column with the correct length for the corner location. Columns near the eaves are shorter than columns near the ridge.
Insert the two bottom connectors into one frame. All bottom connectors are four way; top connectors are replace by clips and bolts in the finished structure. Place the corner column next to the vertical "U" rail of one frame, with the bottom of the column inside the bottom connector. Note that the orientation for the column must be correct so that the top of the column aligns with the rafter and pitch of the roof.
Connect the column to the top of the frame with one clip secured with a through bolt, washer and nut. Bolts should be oriented for best appearance; typically with the head towards the exterior or the aisle of the barn. Tilt that panel and column up into its final location. In most applications, the panel will stand unsupported, but if necessary hold or block the panel so that it remains vertical.
Insert one "four way bottom connector" into the second panel. Tilt that panel up into its final location, lifting one corner so that it fits over the corner connector already in place.
Install a second clip with a through bolt, washer and nut to secure the second frame to the corner column. Adjust the stall panels if necessary so they they line up accurately with the desired final location.
An alternative procedure is to tilt up one frame, then tilt up the other frame, and insert the column. Secure each frame to the column with clips and bolts. Now lift the corners of both frames to install the bottom corner connector. Some people prefer this method, but if does require lifting a heavier load at one time. Installing bottom connectors before tilting frames into place avoids any need to move or disturb frames that are already accurately in their final location.
Place a vertical column into one of the bottom connectors and secure it with a clip and bolt to the end of the frame. Repeat for the other frame. These columns will vary in length to match the pitch (slope) of the roof and the orientation of any column must align with the rafter.
Use similar procedures to install the remaining two frames and complete the first stall. Place each frame on the ground, inside side facing up, and insert any required bottom connectors. Tilt the frame up into place, lifting it over any previously installed connectors. Secure the frame to previously installed columns with a clip and a through bolt, washer and nut. Place a column of appropriate length adjacent to each new panel with the correct orientation to match the roof pitch and secure the column until four stall frames and four columns have been assembled with a total of eight bolts.
Continue, completing additional stalls, until the framework for the entire block of stalls is complete. In many locations you will use a previously installed bolt, washer and nut to secure a second clip on the opposite side of the column. We recommend installing bolts finger tight initially and tightening the bolts when all frames and columns are in place.
You should make a quick check as each stall frame is completed that the two diagonals are equal in length to within 1/4 inch. If not, adjust the stall frames until the stall is square and the diagonals are equal, before moving on to the next stall.
No measurements are necessary when building a continuous block of stalls. However, correct spacing between blocks of stalls is very important when that space will be under the roof (as in a center aisle barn, for example). You can either rely on accurate measurements or you can place a stall frame (to be used later in the project) as a temporary spacer to guarantee accurate spacing for the aisle width. Similarly, a stall frame can be used temporarily to ensure a correctly sized opening (as for a wash rack, for example).
When the barn frame is complete and checks out square, tighten every nut and bolt. At this point you can install the wall paneling and accessories or you can proceed to install the roof first.
Install Roof Rafters, Trusses and Purlins
Once all the stall frames and columns are in place, run a quick check to make sure all the columns are the correct height and oriented to match the pitch of the roof. The next step is to install the rafters or roof trusses. We use the term "rafter" for a roof support member running parallel to (up and down) the roof slope and the term "truss" for the composite structure of rafters plus the components connecting them at the ridge. For a simple shed roof (a single-panel sloped roof with no ridge or valley), "rafter" and "truss" are the same thing.
Place each rafter in place and secure with bolts, washers and nuts. For most barns, the end of the rafter with extra holes is placed at the ridge. Note that the end rafters are different to the intermediate rafters in that end rafters have brackets for purlins on one side only. Also locate and secure the intermediate supports under the rafters at the mid-point of each stall wall. For a ridge roof, connect the rafters at the ridge with plates, bolts, washers and nuts to complete the truss. Tighten all nuts and bolts.
Place purlins, the roof members that run horizontally across the the roof, in the brackets of the rafters and connect with bolts, washers and nuts to complete the roof sub-structure. Tighten all nuts and bolts.
You are now ready to install the roofing of your choice.