Consumer Guide to Horse Stalls
There are so many choices when it comes to stalling your horses, that things can sometimes be confusing! Between technical terms and various options, it’s hard to know exactly what you’re getting for your hard earned dollars. We’ve created this consumer’s guide as a way for you understand some of the differences in stalls. We hope that by asking these questions before you purchase your stalls, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting, no matter whom you buy from. Stalls are a big investment. We want to help you invest that money in a quality product that will provide a safer, more comfortable environment for your animals for years to come!
What type of material are horse stalls made out of?
Horse stalls can be made out of different number of materials. Most of them are made out of steel or aluminum. The strength of steel is indicated by the “gauge” or thickness of the tube. A smaller number indicates stronger steel. For example, 16-gauge steel is stronger than 18-gauge steel. Steel is 3 times denser than aluminum and can be coated with zinc to protect it from rusting.
At Ramm we personally use 14-gauge steel for the body of the horse stall and 16-gauge steel bars for the grill work. We believe in building quality horse stalls, so that is why we always start off with heavy gauge quality steel.
Aluminum is another common alloy that is used when manufacturing horse stalls. Aluminum is very lightweight, but does not possess the strength of steel. It is resistant to corrosion though. Aluminum can buckle, bend and shift if kicked or repeatedly pushed on by a horse, because it is not as strong as other metals. Incorrect welding can cause stress to the metal as well. The metal will appear fine on the surface, but can warp, crack and break later on over time.
What type of rust protection are horse stalls equipped with after they are assembled?
Hot-dipped galvanization is a process in which a thick coating of zinc is applied to steel, usually more than necessary to make sure the whole thing is covered. It acts as a barrier to oxidation and will last indefinitely. This process is superior because it coats the steel inside and out.
Electro galvanization is another process in which a thinner layer of zinc is applied by a process called electroplating. Electroplating is a plating process in which metal ions in a solution are moved by an electric field to coat an electrode. The process uses electrical current to reduce cations of a desired material from a solution and coat a conductive object with a thin layer of the material, such as a metal, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electroplating). This provides excellent rust protection on the outside of the metal, but does not last as long as material that has been hot-dipped galvanized.
Our Pro-Line and Standard Stalls have a galvanized finish that is made through the electro galvanization process. Our Welded, Portable Stalls, Modular Panel, Racetrack, and Designer horse stalls are all hot-dipped galvanized.
Even with the best rust protection, some rusting is inevitable. Minor touch-ups will eventually be necessary at weld joints to keep stalls looking like new.
If painted, what type of paint is used to coat the horse stalls?
Powder coating is a type of coating that is applied as a free-flowing, dry powder. The main difference between a conventional liquid paint and a powder coating is that the powder coating does not require a solvent to keep the binder and filler parts in a liquid suspension form. The coating is typically applied electrostatically and is then cured under heat to allow it to flow and form a "skin". The powder may be a thermoplastic or a thermoset polymer. It is usually used to create a hard finish that is tougher than conventional paint. Powder coating is mainly used for coating of metals, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Powder_coating).
This is the best possible process to finish horse stalls in and highly recommended by Ramm. After we assemble each part of a horse stall, we then sand blast each part to get any impurities off of the metal. It is then inspected and sanded by hand for a smooth finish. It is then hot-dipped galvanized and let to dry. After it is dried we spray each piece with a powder coating primer and cured half way. We then take it out of the oven and apply the finish color powder coating and then fully cure (bake) it. Our powder coated items are cured three times longer than standard powder-coating, because we have found that this provides an optimal finish. We also use a specially blended grade of paint that is a higher quality than most.
Paint dipping is when an item is dipped into a large vat of paint. Paint placement is not as precise and a lower-grade paint is used than in powder-coating. Due to the nature of this process, runs in the paint can and may occur.
Spray painting is another process and is a process where the item is sprayed with paint. When spray painted, the material only adheres to the surface of the metal and is more likely to chip off when anything comes in contact with it. Because paint placement is not as precise, a lower-grade paint is used than in powder-coating.
No matter how your stalls are painted, standard wear-and-tear can produce chips or scratches in the paint. If this happens, you simply need to touch up the spot to prevent rusting.
When horse stalls are welded together, how are they welded?
Welding is a fabrication or sculptural process that joins materials, usually metals or thermoplastics, by causing coalescence. This is often done by melting the workpieces and adding a filler material to form a pool of molten material (the weld pool) that cools to become a strong joint, with pressure sometimes used in conjunction with heat, or by itself, to produce the weld, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welding). If the horse stalls are welded, check the welds for bumps, burrs and holes.
At Ramm we use a system that we call our hidden welded system. We do our welds on the inside of each metal piece. We do this for stronger welds and also for the safety of your horses. This way your horses do not get cut on sharp weld burrs and then you have costly vet visits.
What can I do if I need a special size?
Stalls typically come in 10’x10’, 10’x12’ and 12’x12’ configurations. Some of our stalls can be cut down to size if they a little smaller than the standard sizes. Some systems can be specially built and sized to fit your unique needs. Make sure these options are available so you can get the best stalls for your horses.
Some other important questions that you should think about when purchasing horse stalls are...
What reputation does the company have?
How long have you been serving the horse industry?
Can you put me in touch with satisfied customers?
Have these stalls been tested in the field?
Can your staff help me through my project from planning to completion?
Debbie has over 45 years experience with horses and equine-related businesses. She has owned, trained, boarded horses and run stables at various times in her career. She is a certified fence installer, has given balanced riding lessons, and has shown horses in Western, Western Pleasure, Trail, English, Hunter/Jumper, Fox Hunting, Hunter Trials, Dressage and driving classes. Debbie has been involved in foaling, and just about every aspect of horse ownership possible, and she welcomes your questions and comments. If you are interested in using any articles by Debbie, please send her an email.
RAMM Fence Systems, Inc. makes every effort to provide reliable and useful information on horse health, care and products. The statements made on this website are based on years of experience with horses, however, they are based on generalized situations and should not replace diagnosis or treatment by a veterinarian or consultation by a professional. RAMM Fence Systems, Inc. does not assume any legal responsibility. Readers should always consult qualified health care providers for specific diagnosis and treatment.