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Triton Kit Stall Installation Guide


Introduction

Scope and purpose of this guide

Here is the information you may need to help you select, plan and build your horse stalls using Triton Kit Stall components. Whether you are placing a pair of stalls inside an existing structure or building a complete barn of your own design, we hope you will find this guide helps you complete your project quickly and easily.

Typical Triton Kit Stall
Typical Triton Kit Stall

Kit stall components can be used in an endless variety of different applications and we can't cover all possibilities here. We've tried to cover a few representative applications in enough detail for you to be able to build your own project from start to finish following the steps described below. We also hope that there is enough information to help you adapt our components to your special needs if even if your project is unlike those we describe.

Triton Kit Stall components allow you to build safe, durable, well engineered stalls with a minimum of carpentry work. They provide manufactured parts that eliminate most of the tedious work allowing you to build stalls that are strong, highly resistant to damage by your horses, and that will keep their great appearance for the life of your barn. 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.

Intended audience

This guide allows an individual horse owner to design and complete an entire set of stalls on their own as a one-person project. It helps a professional builder finish out a barn interior to meet his customer's individual needs. Kit Stalls are best suited to applications where Triton Standard Stalls don't fit, to horse owners trying to save on cost, and projects making use of lumber or other materials that may be available locally at low cost. You may well find that you can achieve the results that you want with less effort and little or no increase in cost by using Triton Standard Stall panels.

Barns vary and not every section of this guide will apply to your project, allowing you to skip over those sections that don't apply.

What you can expect from your Triton Kit Stalls

For all Triton Barns and Stalls, 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, showground facilities, arena groomers, and with our line of modern free-run horse exercisers but these products are outside the scope of this guide.

Getting Started

Basic Stall Structures

Triton Kit Stall Expanded to show the Major Component Parts
Triton Kit Stall Expanded to show the Major Component Parts

A typical horse stall consists of four walls or panels, usually with one stall front (distinguished by the provision of a stall door) and three stall side (or back) panels without doors. This configuration may vary if a door between stalls or a door to the outside is provided.

These walls may be supported by one post or pole at each corner of the stall. The corner posts may be structural poles supporting the walls and roof of the building or they may posts just sitting on the ground, as in a block of free standing stalls. We will cover the configuration with a fixed post at each corner first. Later we will describe stalls attached to existing walls of a building, and stalls that don't use corner posts. In the following sections "recommended" often means "this is how you would build with all new materials acquired for this project" while "alternative" means "this is how you might build to use different materials or materials already on hand".

Materials

Components supplied by Triton are heavy gauge, commercial duty, welded, HDG (hot dip galvanized) steel. This extra quality is critical for added strength in structural components such as doors, vents (grilles), "U" channels, and wall stiffeners. It is also important for safety and durability in finish components, such as "L" chew strips, to avoid the risk of damage to the component that can leave a sharp metal edge or exposed wood.

Hot dip galvanized finish provides the highest level of rust protection and durability. It is suitable for exterior applications and for use with treated wood, applications where lesser grades or electroplate are not recommended. When purchasing hardware locally, be sure to select hot dip galvanized or stainless steel nuts, bolts and washers.

When purchasing dimensional lumber, SYP (Southern Yellow Pine) is recommended, with #1 grade being preferred for best appearance. For boards exposed to moisture, use treated lumber and look for a minimum preservative retention of 0.4% (0.6% is better) for boards in contact with the ground. Don't use treated wood where a horse might be tempted to chew the wood. Don't worry if you can't find #1 SYP T&G or if it's too expensive; there are lots of alternative materials that will work well with our Kit Stalls.

Planning

The best way to get started if you are new to this type of construction is to skim through this guide to see what is involved, plan your project, and draw up a floor plan roughly to scale on quadrille or graph paper. Start with the building outline and any fixed features such as existing roof supports and then add in the stalls you are going to build. Next re-read the sections of this guide that apply to your project, make a list of the materials you need, and start building.

Some important points to keep in mind when planning your project include:

  • How many stalls and what size stalls do you need
  • Where should all the stall doors go for convenient access
  • Do you need additional facilities such as a tack room, a wash rack, hay storage, a place to store tractors and trailers (they may not fit through a standard stall doorway)
  • Do you have easy access for unloading hay and do you have a place for the vet and farrier to work
  • Will you have sufficient daylight and ventilation
  • Do existing facilities (such as floor drains, window locations, electricity outlets, roof trusses, existing pillars) constrain your design

The next few sections assume you have fixed poles in convenient locations and that you have a hard, flat floor. Later sections explain how to add poles, attach stalls to an existing wall, make provision for uneven dirt floors, or even build stalls without any poles.

Solid-Wall Stall Side Panels - Recommended Materials

Recommended materials

To build one solid-wall stall panel (assuming the corner posts are already in place, nominally on centers to mach the nominal stall sizes) about 6' 8" high, the preferred materials list would be

  • Pair of 8' "U" channels (secures the ends of the lumber at the posts)
  • 12 HDG lag bolts, 1/4" diameter, 1" long or more depending on post lumber size (attaches the "U" channels to the posts)
  • Pair of 8' wall stiffeners (strengthens the wall)
  • 48 HDG lag bolts or wood screws, 1/4" diameter, 3/4" long (secures the stiffeners to the lumber, quantity can vary)
  • 2"x dimensional lumber, typically 16 boards of 2"x6"x(length-of-the-panel) T&G (Tongue and groove) #1 SYP lumber
  • "U" channels (up to twice the length-of-the-panel) for use as trim and/or chew stop across the top and bottom of the panel (optional)
  • Additional lag bolts, mending plates with wood screws as needed (see the text below)

Assembly, using recommended materials

The vertical "U" channels are secured to the posts with 1/4" diameter lag bolts. 1" is sufficient length but you can use longer bolts penetrating as far as the middle of the post lumber. This is the primary mechanism that holds the panel in place. The "U" channel is a slip fit to 2"x dimensional lumber and holds both ends of the lumber boards vertical and resists any tendency of the board to twist.

Cut the lumber to length. Maximum length is the pole spacing less the allowance for two thickness of "U" channel, two bolt heads with washers. We recommend using the maximum possible length of board. Minimum length is the pole spacing less 1", to ensure sufficient lumber extends into both "U" channels, regardless of where in the "U" channels the board is placed. (Should you cut one board slightly too short, you can use spacers to hold it centered between the "U" channels as described below.)

Loading lumber

Place the lumber into the "U" channels. T&G lumber is placed tongue side up. Most T&G lumber has a beveled edge along one side adjacent to the tongue; this bevel will produce a visible decorative groove between the boards as they are stacked. Place this side of the board for show, usually towards the outside for exterior walls and to the aisle for stall fronts.

Place the first board (and odd numbered boards) towards one end (fully bottomed in the left "U" channel) and place the second board (and all even numbered boards) towards the other end (fully bottomed in the right "U" channel). Tap each board down if necessary to ensure the groove at the bottom of the new board fully encloses the tongue of the previous board. When you are finished, half the boards will be pressing against each "U" channel and post, and the wall stiffener will be bolted to every board and will maintain this relationship. This stagger provides the maximum stiffness (ability to resist movement under stress) to the panel.

Continue until the wall reaches the desired height, typically about 7' or as much as 8'. The top board may be ripped (cut along its length) to define the height of the finished panel or to provide a flat top surface but most builders will leave the top tongue showing.

Normally lumber is loaded one board at a time, dropped into the "U" channels from above. You may need to hold the board nearly level to prevent binding as the board is lowered into position. If you have clearance above the "U" channels, the "U" channels can be kept full length and you can skip the chapter below on "Loading Lumber with Insufficient Overhead Clearance". Use of a step stool or step ladder is recommended to raise boards above the top of the "U" channels.

Lumber dimensions are relatively stable along the grain of the wood (length dimension of the boards) and expansion is not a problem. Lumber will swell and shrink in the other two dimension as the moisture content of the wood varies. Consequently you may see a small variation of the total height of the stacked boards in a stall panel from season to season even if the wood never becomes wet. Because of this change in the height of stacked boards, and because the weight of the boards is sufficient to keep them in place, boards are never secured to the "U" channels.

Wall stiffeners

The T&G structure results in a strong wall, usually strong enough to withstand a kick without damage and heavy enough to discourage kicking. Additional strength is provided by attaching wall stiffeners to both sides of the wall. For T&G lumber the maximum recommended run of boards between "U" channels and/or stiffeners is 8'. Thus one pair of stiffeners is sufficient for wall panels up to 16' long.

Attach the stiffeners vertically with HDG 1/4" diameter lag bolts or Philips round head screws. One pair of screws per board per stiffener is recommended. The tongues and grooves keep adjacent boards lined up and help to prevent individual boards from bowing (bending in the length direction). Stiffeners help the tongues and grooves resist warping of the boards and they add considerable strength (especially resistance to bending about a horizontal axis) to the finished panel.

Wood trim to fill "U" channel and wall stiffener gaps

We recommend that you never drill or cut the "U" channels or wall stiffeners because the no-rust warranty becomes void due to the removal of the galvanized coating at the cut. If you do cut our galvanized components you can treat the cut area to protect it from rusting, and even if you allow the cut to rust, rust will be limited to the area of the cut unlike painted materials. You could cut the stiffeners (or even "U" channels) level with the top board but we recommend you keep them at full length.

You can add a spacer (for example a vertical run of 2"x4" lumber secured with the same screws used elsewhere for the stiffeners) to fill the gap from the top board to the top of the wall stiffeners. You can add a filler (for example a vertical run of 2"x2" or 2"x4" lumber) to fill the gap between the walls of "U" channels, secured by the lag bolt holding the "U" channel to the post, which will be longer than the lag bolts lower down the "U" channels. These trim pieces are optional but will improve the appearance and will ensure there are no metal corners without wood behind them.

Loading Lumber with Insufficient Overhead Clearance

If there is insufficient clearance above the "U" channels (due to roof trusses or a ceiling, for example) to load lumber and the wall of your stall panel does not reach the 8' height set by standard "U" channels, simply cut the "U" channels and wall stiffeners to the desired height and load the lumber as described in the preceding paragraphs. We recommend you avoid cutting any of our galvanized components if at all possible. You can order custom cut lengths if necessary at no extra cost but the delivery time will increase compared to using standard lengths.

Angle-cut boards

If there is insufficient clearance above the "U" channels and you want to avoid cutting them, the lower boards may be installed with the angle cut method. Cut the first (bottom) board to the exact length that will fit between the two "U" channels (don't shorten the board to allow for the heads of the bolts holding the "U" channels in place). Tilt the board off horizontal until the board just fits into the "U" channels. Lower the board until one corner touches the base of each "U" channel. Using the side of one "U" channel as a guide, mark one cut line on the board, at whichever end of the board is up. Remove the board and make the angle cut.

Replace the board between the "U" channels and lower into place. If bolt heads prevent the board from fitting, remove the board, determine locations of the bolt heads (for many boards there will only be a problem at the square end), cut out enough wood to clear the bolt heads, and reinstall the board. This board should now just fit, touching the bases of both "U" channels. Continue until so many boards have been installed that tilting the next board to fit into the "U" channels is no longer possible. Use the "Short cut boards with spacers" method or the "Short cut boards retained with stiffeners" method, both described below, for the remaining boards.

Short-cut boards with spacers

For longer boards, it may be possible to slide one end of a board into one "U" channel. Slide the board until it touches the base of the "U" channel, keeping the board level. Using the wall of the other "U" channel as a guide, mark the board for length. Remove the board and cut to length including cutting two spacers as described in the next paragraph. Slide one end of the board back into one "U" channel until it touches the base of the "U" channel, at which point the other end of the board should just clear the wall of the other "U" channel. Slide the board back until it is centered; then insert the two spacers, each spacing the board away from the base of a "U" channel and preventing lateral movement of the board.

The spacers mentioned in the previous paragraph are made by first cutting the board to length to fit exactly between the bases of the two "U" channels, shortened if necessary to clear any bolt heads. At this length, the board will be the exact length to fit into the "U" channels, but too long to install. The excess length to shorten the board to allow installation is removed in two approximately equal cuts, with each cut producing one spacer.

It is advantageous to have some boards accurately located laterally (in the board length direction) between the "U" channels so that pressure on the boards or on the wall stiffeners cannot cause those boards or the stiffener to move more than a small lateral distance. Then the wall stiffener can be used to hold other boards that are not otherwise accurately located in place laterally with both ends remaining constrained securely by the walls of the "U" channels.

Short-cut boards retained with stiffeners

For the top one or two boards, insertion of the spacers may be difficult or impossible. Spacers are used only to keep the board correctly positioned laterally with both ends inside the "U" channels. For the top two boards, this lateral positioned can be maintained just relying on the screws that hold the stiffener to the board, no spacers needed.

If the top board is to be an exact fit to a horizontal surface (an existing ceiling or the bottom chords of roof trusses, to take two examples), it may be necessary to remove the tongue from the board it sits on, and it may be necessary to rip cut the board to the exact width needed to fill the opening. If the top board would be inconveniently narrow, remove material from the board below, sufficient to make the top board a convenient width. Remember too that if the floor and ceiling are not parallel, the top board will have a taper. This board will be retained by the stiffeners, and if you find it necessary it can be aligned to the board below at additional locations using standard hardware mending plates and screws.

Cut "U" channels

If you use full length boards from floor to ceiling, you can remove a small part of each "U" channel side wall to ease installation of the boards. Cut out one wall at the top of each "U" channel, just long enough to allow the boards to be inserted and lowered into position. The missing wall section of each "U" channel is replaced by the use of a suitable mending plate and screws.

In many applications, the stall panel will be 6' to 7' high. In that case, you can just cut the "U" channels and wall stiffeners to length, level with the top surface of the top board. The weight of the lumber will hold all the boards in place and the wall stiffeners will hold the top board down. If the stall panel reaches from floor to ceiling and there is less than 8' of headroom, it may still be necessary to cut the "U" channels and wall stiffeners to length to clear the ceiling.

If the height of the stall panel lumber is shorter than the actual "U" channels and wall stiffeners, you can fill each excess length of "U" channel and each wall stiffener pair with 2"x2" lumber (running vertically), or a piece of the 2"x boards used in the main panel, depending on the visual effect you prefer, as described above.

Metal Trim

With Triton Kit Stalls, there are several optional uses for "U" and "L" channels. "L" channel or "chew stop" channel can be used to protect exposed wood edges both from horses and from accidental damage by machines or people. We especially recommend that all treated lumber edges (treated lumber poles are just one example) be covered to prevent cribbing and ingestion of potentially harmful chemicals. Some stall builders may also find use for these materials just for aesthetic and appearance reasons.

Top and Bottom Trim/Chew Stop "U" Channel

You can cover the top edge of the top board with inverted "U" channel, cut to length to fit between the vertical "U" channels at each end of the stall panel. At the wall stiffener locations, you have three choices:

  1. Cut the "U" channel to butt up to the stiffeners;
  2. Cut the wall stiffeners to butt up to the "U" channel;
  3. Allow the stiffener to cover the walls of the inverted "U" channel (recommended).

Use of inverted "U" channel has the advantage of acting as a "Chew Stop" to prevent horses or general wear and tear from eroding the edges of the board, and it improves the appearance by adding trim to match the vertical "U" channels, framing the wood of the panel. Unless the top board is an exact fit to a ceiling or truss, secure the trim "U" channel to the top board with lag bolts.

You can cover the bottom edge of the bottom board in a similar way with "U" channel. Using lag bolts with extra washers to act as spacers, you can create a small air gap under the bottom board over a hard surface such as concrete. The bolt heads (with optional washers) will be below the "U" channel, and the required washers will be inside the "U" channel. Use about 1/4" total thickness of large diameter washers to provide adequate support to the wood and sufficient air space for drainage and ventilation. Leave alternate holes in the "U" channel with no bolts or washers to provide the required drainage. This can be useful in providing clearance for water to drain away and for keeping the bottom board dryer to extend its expected life.

Solid-Wall Stall Side Panels - Alternative Materials

Assembly, alternative materials

T&G lumber, nominal size 2"x6" or 2"x8", gives the best results for a minimum of labor invested. Sometimes alternative materials are more readily available or have a lower cost. Here are some ideas to help with alternatives. The recommended materials list above applies, but depending on the alternatives you select, the quantities may be modified and you may have to substitute materials and add more line items.

Short lengths of lumber

If you cannot obtain lumber of the correct length (only 12' is available for a 16' panel, for example) then cut some boards into 4' lengths. Use one 12' and one 4' length to obtain the required 16' coverage. Stagger the joints so that no joint is immediately above another joint. Use three pairs of stiffeners on 4' centers, so that all joints are covered by a stiffener. Trim every board so that all joins are centered between a pair of wall stiffeners. This technique may be modified to suit many different situations.

If there is a reason why the joints cannot be located behind stiffeners, use two 1/2" dowels to line up and join the boards at the joint and allow the joint to be visible. Again, stager the joints and use stiffeners on 4' centers or less.

If the pole spacing is larger than a standard dimension (for example on 12' 6" centers and you wish to use boards 12' long), then use 1"x4" or 2"x4" spacers between the "U" channels and the posts, with lag bolts long enough to penetrate through the spacer into the post.

Rectangular lumber

While T&G lumber is available across the country, it is more expensive than regular dimensional lumber and it is harder to find. When you substitute rectangular lumber, there is no longer a mechanism for adjacent boards to restrain a board from warping. For best results, install wall stiffeners every 2'. Alternatively use biscuits between boards every 12" and a stiffener spacing of 3' to 4'.

2"x lumber is available in various widths. It is fine to mix different widths in one panel, depending only on the appearance you may want. Sometimes using boards with different widths may let you build a wall to the exact height you need without rip cutting any boards. Otherwise, choose whichever width allows you to achieve the desired height at the lowest cost. Remember, dimensional lumber is smaller than the nominal size. For example, three 2"x4" will be 10.5" high, two 2"x6" will be 11" high and one 2'x12' will be 11.25" high. Two 2"x6" tongue and groove boards will be 10" high, excluding the tongue extending above the top board.

Plywood and sheet materials

Conventional plywood is too thin to be satisfactory for the walls of a horse stall. Also, new plywood is likely to cost more than dimensional lumber. However, if you have a supply of plywood on hand, you can laminate multiple sheets of plywood to build up a full 1.5" thickness. For example, three thicknesses of 1/2", four thicknesses of 3/8" or six thicknesses of 1/4" will work, and you can select a mix of OSB (Oriented Strand Board) and plywood.

This is more difficult than using dimensional lumber, which can be placed or replaced one piece at a time. Don't expect to laminate plywood and then install it yourself; the panel will likely be too heavy as well as impossible to slide into the "U" channels. Another issue is the thickness of readily available plywood. For example, 7/16" is more common than 1/2", and three panels will add up to 21/16", or 3/16" less than the desired 1 1/2".

As an example, consider a stall panel requiring fill material 140" wide by 84" high (typical dimensions for a 7' high wall between 4"x4" poles on 12' centers) filled with 3/8" thick sheets of 4'x8' material. The final panel will weigh several hundred pounds.

Cut all 12 panels to the required height (84" in our example). Cut four panels to 44" width (to allow two 48" panels and one 44" panel to span 140" in our example). It is possible to laminate these panels in place with adhesive and produce a panel 140" wide by 84" tall by 1.5" thick. You may want to install temporary bracing to hold the materials in place as more sheets are placed and as the glue sets up. In our example there will be 4" overlaps where the panels join. Stiffeners should be placed on top of this overlap, just hiding the line where the sheets join.

If you have a ready supply of plywood that you can laminate into a large panel working on a flat surface, you can replace each of the "U" channels with two "L" channel strips. Install the first two "L" channels with lag bolts. Tilt the large assembled plywood panel (with the optional "U" channel already bolted to the bottom edge if you choose to use this) into place and secure it with two more "L" channels with more lag bolts. This task is best performed with a team of people due to the large size and weight of the panel.

One other option is to manufacture tongue and groove boards from plywood. For example, cut 1/2" plywood into 12" strips. Fabricate 12" T&G boards by displacing the center layer of plywood up to leave a groove at the bottom and a tongue at the top. Assemble these boards as if they were standard T&G boards.

Stall Panels with Vents and Grilles

Ventilation

Good ventilation is essential in any barn to help ensure the health of your horses. We recommend you install ample ventilation in the barn building with doors, windows, roof eve or soffit openings, ridge vents and cupolas. Then use plenty of vents and grills in the stall walls so that each stall has adequate ventilation.

Ventilation is also important for hay storage. If fresh hay contains too much moisture, heat will be generated by chemical reactions inside the hay. Too much heat will spoil the quality of the hay, and in extreme cases can result in spontaneous combustion. Stacking fresh hay with air gaps between bales and next to any walls, and allowing fresh air to circulate will reduce the temperature rise and reduce spoilage of the hay. The only complete solution to the problem is to make sure the moisture content is sufficiently low when the hay is baled, and that baled hay does not get wet.

Triton offers Stall Wall Vents designed to replace lengths of board in the lower part of your stall walls and Solid Welded Steel Grilles to replace the entire upper section of the stall wall. We recommend you use these vents in all stall panels (front, side and back) where ventilation is possible. Exceptions include panels adjacent to existing walls that would prevent useful ventilation and panels where water or dust exclusion is important such as wash racks and tack rooms walls. You might also skip installing wall vents in stall fronts adjacent to our full grille sliding doors.

Stall Wall Vent
Stall Wall Vent

Stall Wall Vents

Stall Wall Vents are available in two lengths, half and full wall width. The shorter length is suitable for most stall fronts while either size will fit most stall walls.

Installation consists of removing parts of selected boards and replacing them with the vents. Generally, the lowest possible location is best for optimizing ventilation but you will want to leave the bottom one or two boards uncut for strength. In many cases, simple square cross cuts will provide the correct opening size. However, depending on the dimensions of the lumber you are using, it may be necessary to cut a notch in one board. Alternatively, rip a board down to width to fit height of the grille and cross cut that board to the correct lengths.

Vented Side Panel

Vented side panels add to the open appearance of a barn, improve ventilation, and allow horses to see each other. The venting is accomplished by replacing the upper boards with a Solid Welded Steel Grille. "Solid Welded" describes the construction technique where the vertical bars forming the grille are welded around their full perimeter to the top and bottom cross members. All welded construction is more robust than a slide fit or swaged construction and allows both the inside and external surfaces to be protected fully against rust by hot dip galvanizing. The vertical bars are 1" diameter 16 gauge tube on 4" centers (3" openings between the bars) to provide exceptional strength combined with a good see-through effect and strong physical separation between animals on either side of the grille.

Solid Welded Steel Grille is available in one size suitable for stall fronts and in a smaller size where two grilles fit a 12' side panel. In a typical installation, the lower section of of a stall panel might consist of nine 2"x6" tongue and groove boards. The bottom cross member of the grille is a12 gauge inverted "U" channel and fits directly over the top 2"x board. The top cross member is solid bar 3/16" x 1 1/4" punched in two places for 3/8" diameter lag bolts for attachment to a 2"x6" board above the grill. This board fits into the vertical "U" channels (like any other board) to complete the installation.

Wall Stiffeners

Stall panels with grilles are just stall panels where some boards have been replaced with grilles or vents. The recommendations given above for filler lumber, wall stiffening and so on still apply. Whether you use full length wall stiffeners the height of the wall or shorter stiffeners the height of the lumber depends on your preference and on the visual effect you prefer. Never leave any vertical spacing wider than 3". You can fill the empty "U" channel sections and spaces between full height wall stiffeners adjacent to a grill with 2"x2" boards if you like (lumber wider than the metal sections might be subject to chewing) for added strength and better appearance.

If the grilles don't match your panel size (perhaps you are using one grill section in a panel 10' wide) continue to use short boards to fill the gap, typically between one vertical "U" channel and the grill or possibly between two grilles, and rely on full height pairs of wall stiffeners to secure the boards in place. Use of a cut section of "U" channel to cover the sawn ends of the short boards is optional.

One advantage of using at least one pair of full height wall stiffeners is that the full weight of lumber in the panel is available to stop a horse that tries to lift the top of the grill.

Grille Locations

The conventional placement for a grille is in the top half of the stall panel. With kit stalls you can change this height to match better the location of a window in an external wall and you can also adjust the lateral location for this purpose. Sliding windows and hinged windows opening to the outside can still be used for ventilation while the grille should ensure that the horse does not damage the window or break the glass.

Grills heights may be adjusted to match the height of you horses. The standard height of solid paneling is set to discourage one horse from intimidating a neighbor while still providing good visibility. For small pony and miniature horse stalls, a lower height for the grille offers better visibility; this is accomplished by reducing the number of boards below the grille. One board above the grille is sufficient, but you can use as many boards as you wish. For a stall front, the minimum number of boards is set by the need to match a standard door height.

Stall Front with Sliding Door

The stall front is a little more complex due to the sliding door, the extra post (sometimes shorter than the four corner posts, and referred to below as the "door post") that defines the door opening, and the possible inclusion of feeder doors and other accessories. The first issue is the door post; if this is just another post, set into concrete or otherwise located in a similar way to the other four posts, construction consists of mounting a header board, assembling the fixed stall front proper and hanging the sliding door. If you are installing this post as part of the stall installation, we show you some ways to do that later.

First, a header board is secured to the outside or aisle surface of both corner posts and the door post. This header board, typically 2"x6" dimensional lumber, serves two purposes; to locate accurately the top of the door post and to provide the support to which the door track is attached with screws. The top of the header board should be about 87" above the floor, to match the height of the sliding door. Check these dimensions before starting installation.

Second, the fixed section of the stall front is assembled, very similarly to a side panel with a grille as described above. Both "U" channels, one attached to a corner post and one to the door post, are left full length, 8', and bolted to the posts. Boards are placed in the channels (possibly including a Stall Wall Vent or a door for a water bucket, depending on your design). The grille is inserted and attached to the top board. Wall stiffeners and any trim parts are attached.

Non-protruding Door Latch
Non-protruding Door Latch

Frequently 12' boards are supplied to build a nominal 12' stall front. Each board is cut to provide one board for the stall front and one board for the door. No boards other than the one header board are the full width of the stall front.

Third, the door track is attached to the top of the header board. The door hangers have provision for adjusting the door height to make sure the flange at the bottom of the door engages the door guide and door stops correctly. The door hangers are also adjusted so that the door just clears the door post and the corner post as it slides. The door guide is attached to the door post, one door stop is attached to the corner post and the other door stop is attached to the bottom board and will require a small spacer (typically a piece of 1"x4" works well if the boards are centered on a 4"x4" door post) to line up with the posts. Complete the assembly by installing the door latch mechanism and (depending on the door style you selected) loading lumber into the bottom section of the door.

Lazy Susan Feeder
Lazy Susan Feeder

Lazy Susan Feeder

One popular stall front option is the Lazy Susan Feeder which is available on both standard and kit stalls. Assembly of the kit stall front is very similar to the regular grille except that some boards (exactly three if you are using 2"x6" T&G boards; you may have to cut a notch in one board if you are using other sizes of lumber) will require cutting to a shorter length.

Double Dutch Door Grille

One popular option available as part of the grille or as part of the door is the Double Dutch Door. Two sections of the grille are manufactured as swing doors. In the closed position, all the vertical grille bars have a uniform spacing, on 4" centers. Each Double Dutch Door section can be raised and swung out, leaving an opening that can be used to provide feed and water for the horse or to allow the horse to put his head out into the aisle.

Door Choices

Triton offers a selection of stall door designs as alternatives to the standard door which has a fixed full grille upper section and a solid lumber lower section.

Alternatives for the top half of the door include "Fixed Full Grille", "Half Grille Drop Down", "Half Grille with Yoke", and "Double Dutch". The alternatives for the bottom half of the door include solid T&G wood boards, a "Full Grille" and a "Full Grille with Shaving Guard". The grille design for the lower door section provides better ventilation and contains twice the density of bars compared to the upper section and extra reinforcement in the horizontal direction.

Another option is the hinged Swing Gate Race Horse Stall Gate.

You can choose our ES1203 Custom Mesh Front with Sliding Door or our ES1204 Classic Custom Front with Swing or Sliding Door from out line of Custom Euro Stall Fronts as a complete pre-engineered stall front in place of a kit stall front.

Locating the door post or fifth pole

In many installations, only the four corner posts may be pre-existing, such as poles supporting the roof of the building. The fifth pole or door post, needed to form the one side of the door opening and hold the front wall firmly in place, will be part of the stall front installation process and can be provided in a variety of ways.

  • For Triton Standard Stalls, the solid welded frame with its tubular top and bottom members provides a very strong, pre-engineered solution, and the stall front can be mounted directly to two corner posts.
  • Triton Custom Euro Stall Fronts also offer several strong pre-engineered solutions, including a choice of a sliding door and a center swing door, any of which can be mounted directly to two corner posts. All of these options avoid any work to set door posts.
  • For many kit stall installations, the door post is set at the same time as the corner posts, which makes for easy installation of a kit stall front.
  • Otherwise the door post is secured by locating the bottom of the door post (set in the dirt, set in concrete, located with a Simpson Strong-Tie ABU44 or similar galvanized post base anchored to the concrete) and bracing the top with the header board.
  • For concrete and other hard floors, a simple way to locate the base of the door post is by drilling a 1/2" diameter hole into the floor, insert a 1/2" rod, drill a matching hole centered into the bottom of the post, and set the post over the rod. Brace the top of the door post with the header board.
  • Another popular solution over a hard floor uses a base board, such as a 2"x6" treated lumber board, flat on the floor, connecting the two corner posts, and located flush to the outside edges of the corner posts. The simplest implementation uses angle brackets and wood screws to connect the board to the corner posts and angle brackets and wood screws to connect the door post to the base board. The base board securely locates the door post, helps retain shavings inside the stall, raises the stall front boards 1 1/2" (you can notch the board if you don't want to raise the "U" channels too), and provides a convenient mounting for the door door stops and guide.

Freestanding Stalls, Floating Corner Posts

The paragraphs above assume that you are working with securely located poles, such as the poles supporting the roof of your building, poles you have installed by attaching the poles to the floor and the roof trusses of your barn or poles set in the ground with concrete. In many cases, you won't have such poles available and you will have "floating" corner posts to work with. In this case, you may be relying entirely on your stall panels to hold your corner posts upright.

We recommend you consider using Triton Standard Stalls to solve this problem. Triton Standard Stalls allow you to construct a block of free standing stalls much faster than using Kit Stalls. No corner posts are necessary (or you can incorporate some existing wood poles as corner posts if you want) and the ability to modify or relocate stalls in the future may be a great advantage to you.

Installing floating posts

To start work with floating posts, cut your posts to length if necessary. Re-cutting the ends with a miter saw may give you a smoother surface finish that the original mill cut. Consider attaching the finial (if you use one) to the top of the post at this point. Nail a temporary leg (such as a 2' piece of 2"x4") to the post to form an accurate "T" orthogonal to the first panel you will construct. Nail a second temporary leg (such as a 1' piece of 2"x4") to the post to form an accurate "L", extending along the first panel you will construct. Repeat for each post. Accurate angles are important to keep the posts vertical. This will hold the post in place as you build the panel. Remove each temporary leg piece as soon as it is no longer needed.

You may want to treat the exposed wood grain at the bottom of the post with wood preservative to extend its life if it is exposed to moisture or you may consider using a temporary spacer to hold the post an inch or so above the floor and away from moisture.

Posts can be located by the use of a rod extending down into the floor and up into the post or by the use of a galvanized post base anchored to the concrete. The manufactured post base has the advantage of holding the end of the post above any water running over the floor. However, stalls that rely on friction from the weight of the lumber to hold the wall panels in place are generally quite satisfactory.

Most of the strength and nearly all of the stiffness (resistance to shear or diamond distortion) for the stalls comes from the wall panels ("U" channels filled with 2"x lumber); all that is necessary to complete a strong structure is to make sure the stall panels and corner posts are joined securely together, and there are several simple ways to do this.

Before starting construction, determine how you will attach the posts to the walls, and obtain the corresponding hardware. Common techniques using additional wood boards to provide connectivity include:

  • Locate the bottom of each post with a rod or cap to the floor, and tie the tops of all posts together with header boards.
  • Tie the bottoms of all posts with footer boards and tie the tops of all posts with header boards.
  • Lay a pattern of square cut base boards (typically 2"x4" treated boards) under all stall panels, attaching posts to the base boards with angle brackets. Tie the tops of all posts with header boards.
  • Lay a pattern of miter cut base boards under all stall panels, attaching posts to the base boards with angle brackets. Tie the tops of all posts with header boards.

Other techniques that rely on added hardware in place of added boards include:

  • Heavy duty angle brackets
  • Formed steel straps
  • "U" channel method
  • Trim "U" channel

Each of these methods is described with more details in the following paragraphs.

Header Board Method

Locate the bottom of each post with a rod or cap (as described above at "Locating the door post or fifth pole" ) to the floor, and tie the tops of all posts together with header boards. In this context, a header board is a 2"x6" board long enough to span between the centers of two posts. The stall is secured to the floor at each post location, and each header board holds two posts against one stall panel at the top to form a rigid structure. Connecting two panels sharing a corner post with their header boards creates a self-supporting structure. Four header boards hold four panels and four corner posts into a completed stall

Materials required per stall panel (in addition to "U" channels, wall stiffeners, lumber, grills, doors, etc.) are:

  • Header board, 2"x6"x(nominal-length-of-panel) - Must span from the center of one post to the next post; some headers can be cut longer for improved appearance, For a stall front, this is the same header board required to hang the door track.
  • Wood screws, 6 pieces, suggested size 3" #10 countersink or similar. Alternatively use lag bolts and washers or use through bolts, washers and nuts.
  • Rod, post cap with anchor bolt components, or equivalent to locate a post to the floor.
  • For a stall front only, second rod, post cap with anchor bolt components, or equivalent to locate the door post to the floor.

This method does require drilling into the floor, but results in a completed stall with minimum of added components.

Header boards must be as long as the post center to center spacing to provide adequate overlap for strong screw locations. Header boards will just touch at the junctions of stall fronts and stall backs. At the end of a row of stall fronts, either leave part of the post not covered by a header board, or cut a longer board to match the header at the side of the stall (you can use a miter cut or a square cut as you prefer). Header boards for stall partitions and end panels can be cut longer, level with the post surfaces, in order not to leave a small gap.

Header boards for stall fronts will always be located outside the stall so that they can be used to hang the track for a sliding door. Some header boards, such as headers for the end panels of a row of stalls, can be mounted inside the stall. If you mount the headers for the stall backs inside the stalls (for example, because the stall backs are located adjacent to a building wall), you will need to mount the header boards for stall partitions below the other headers.

You may be able to adjust you stall size to minimize the number of cross cuts required. For example, assume you have 2"x6" T&G boards all exactly 144" (12') long. Build the stall panel without cutting any of these boards. Depending on the post dimensions and details of the hardware you are using, you will find the posts are on centers of about 148". Purchase header boards just longer than this (nominal 14' boards for this example), and cut the header board to the exact length you need (about 148" to 155" depending on the location). That means you never need more than four cross cuts per stall. Also, your stall will be about 4" larger per side than the traditional stall with posts on 12' centers, with this extra space coming out of the width of your aisles.

Header and Footer Board Method

If you do not want to drill into the floor, you can omit the rod or cap, used in the previous method to locate the bottom ends of the posts, and use footer boards instead. In this context, a footer board is a 2"x6" board long enough to span between the centers of two posts. Footer boards are cut and installed just like the header boards describe above except they are located at floor level.

Materials required per stall panel (in addition to "U" channels, wall stiffeners, lumber, grills, doors, etc.) are:

  • Header board and footer board, each 2"x6"x(nominal-length-of-panel) - Must span from the center of one post to the next post; some headers can be cut longer for improved appearance. For a stall front, the header is the same header board required to hang the door track, and the door hangers are adjusted to locate the door just outside the footer board.
  • Wood screws, 12 pieces, suggested size 3" #10 countersink or similar. Alternatively use lag bolts and washers or use through bolts, washers and nuts.
  • Extra lumber (4"x4"x4' or 2 pieces 2"x6"x4', for example) to widen the door sill (optional).

This method relies on the footer board at the stall front to locate the door post. By default, this will give you a sill or threshold across the stall entrance that is 5 1/2" high and 1 1/2" wide. This is quite an effective retainer for shavings, but it may be higher than you want to step over or take a wheel barrow over. You can cut (notch) the footer reduce the height of this sill and you can add lumber to widen the sill as you choose.

Most barn designs locate the "U" channels and stall panels at the center of the corner posts, giving an aesthetically pleasing effect. With footer boards, you may choose to move the "U" channels off the center of the posts and line up the outside edge of the "U" channel with the inside edge of the footer board. This reduces the amount of debris that can accumulate between the footer board and the stall panel.

Square Cut Base Boards

An alternative to footer boards (placed adjacent to the corner posts) is to use base boards, laid flat on the floor and continuing under the posts. In this context, a base board is a dimensional lumber board placed flat on the ground under the stall walls, similar to the base board in conventional stick-built home construction. 2"x4" boards are sufficient but 2"x6" can be used, especially if you use corner posts larger than 4"x4". This method relies on header boards to locate the tops of the corner posts.

Materials required per stall panel (in addition to "U" channels, wall stiffeners, lumber, grills, doors, etc.) are:

  • Base board, each 2"x4"x(nominal-length-of-panel) - Must span from one post to the next post; typically supporting just one post.
  • Header board, 2"x6"x(nominal-length-of-panel) - Must span from the center of one post to the center of the next post; some headers can be cut longer for improved appearance. For a stall front, the header is the same header board required to hang the door track, and the door hangers are adjusted to locate the door just outside the footer board.
  • Wood screws, 6 pieces, suggested size 3" #10 countersink or similar. Alternatively use lag bolts and washers or use through bolts, washers and nuts.
  • Angle brackets (also known as corner braces), typically 4" or 5" size and less than 1" wide, with matching wood screws 1 1/2" long, 4 brackets per stall panel, typically 4 or 6 screws per bracket or 16 or 24 screws per stall panel.

Base boards can be fastened to the concrete or left floating. Careful selection of stall dimensions may allow you to avoid cutting your T&G boards, similarly to the footer boards above. One base board may support one post, or some base boards may support two posts while other base boards support none. All base boards butt up to another base board at the edge of a corner post.

Once the base boards at a corner post have been placed, the post is placed and connected to the base boards with angle brackets and 1 1/2" wood screws. Use two angle brackets per base board (from four brackets total at a corner location to eight brackets total where four stall panels meet). Base boards connect to corner posts with two angle brackets at each connection.

No direct connection is required between two base boards although extra angle brackets and screws could be used for this purpose. Alternatively you can lay out the base boards and tack them in place with staples to hold them together until the posts and angle brackets have been installed.

For a stall front, the base board provides a threshold 1 1/2" high, across the door opening. The base board supports the door guide and door stops.

Angle Cut Base Boards

As an alternative to square cut base boards, you can miter cut the base boards at 45 degrees. The end result is very similar. There is a slight strength advantage in that some screws are now located further from a cut board edge. On the other hand, the total length of base board required may increase slightly.

Heavy duty angle brackets

The methods just described above for assembling stalls with floating corner posts are based on connecting the posts together with wood boards. However, it may make more sense for you to connect the boards forming the stall panels directly with hardware, trapping the corner posts in place during the process. One way to do this is to employ large angle brackets (also known as corner braces) and mending plates (also known as mending braces, which as like flat versions of angle brackets) screwed to some of the T&G boards.

Place the corner posts in situ. Attach the "U" channels to the corner posts, with the outer edges of the "U" channels level with the outer edges of the posts. Place the lumber, vents and grilles inside the "U" channels for the first two stall panels. Place the angle bracket outside the corner and attach to the T&G boards. Choose a location for the angle bracket that will not conflict with the elevations of the bolts attaching the "U" channels to the post.

One possible corner brace part is National Manufacturing Corner Brace N220-244, 10" x 1 1/4" x 0.25" thick. Since the countersinking is on the wrong surface for this application, attach with lag bolts 1" to 1 1/2" long by 1/4" or 5/16" diameter. Bolts in the last two holes are sufficient. Additional lag bolts into the corner posts are optional. Make sure not to use a lag bolt where the head would interfere with placement of a "U" channel for the adjacent stall; usually this means avoiding lag bolts within 2" of the bend in the angle bracket.

Use one angle bracket at the bottom board and another at the top board. One or two brackets at intermediate boards are recommended. Complete the first stall (see the notes just below first) and add wall stiffeners and trim as required.

Note that where four panels meet, you have the option of using two longer mending plates to connect all four panels. The first mending plate will initially connect one panel of the first stall and one corner post, but it will extend past the corner post and subsequently connect to a panel of the adjacent stall. Similarly the second mending plate will initially connect another panel of the first stall and the same corner post, but it will extend past the corner post and subsequently connect to a panel of another adjacent stall. One possible mending plate is National Manufacturing Mending Brace N220-376, 12" x 1 1/8" x 0.19" thick. Generally two long mending plates provide a better solution than using angle brackets.

Note that where three panels meet, you have the option of using two mending plates to connect all four panels. The first, longer mending plate will initially connect one panel of the first stall and one corner post, but it will extend past the corner post and subsequently connect to a panel of the adjacent stall. The second, shorter mending plate will just connect a panel of the first stall and the same corner post. One possible mending plate is National Manufacturing Mending Brace N220-368, 10" x 1" x 0.16" thick. Or you can use one angle bracket and one mending plate.

Note that when connecting the corner post adjacent to a door opening, it may not be possible to use an angle bracket without cutting one arm short so that it does not project into the door opening. In his case, use a mending plate to connect the post to the boards. The header board from which the door tracks hangs and the base board used to locate the door post will provide extra stiffness.

For subsequent stalls, you may find that existing angle brackets force a space (1/4" with the angle bracket mentioned above, less with the mending plates) between the next "U" channel and the post. Use sufficient washers between the "U" channel and the post to avoid deforming the "U" channel as you tighten the bolts.

With mending plates, you will always have a choice to use countersink wood screws. With angle brackets which you are attaching to the outside of a completed stall, you will always have a choice to use countersink wood screws in one arm but the other arm will not have suitable countersinking and so lag bolts are appropriate.

Straps

The angle bracket and mending plate hardware used in the previous section is used to hold components together. The hardware is not used to hold parts at specific angles; friction and the weight of the lumber will do that. Consequently, you may be able to save money by replacing the angle brackets and mending plates with perforated steel strapping that you cut to length and bend to shape. This strapping is often used to hang air conditioning components. One source of supply is Fastenal part number 0701900 or 0703230.

Alternatively, form short lengths (about 9" long, the exact length will depend on the strapping you use) of steel strapping into "U" shapes, using a hammer and anvil or vise jaws, sized to fit over the Triton "U" channel and the bolts securing that "U" channel to your posts. Make sure your boards are cut to a uniform length so that pushing the "U" channels and boards together will leave the "U" Channels vertical. Once the lumber has been installed, secure the ends of the straps to the boards using screws or lag bolts with sheet metal washers large enough to cover the cut ends of the straps. Use one strap for each bolt where a board covers the bolt and fits under the strap. In the completed stall, the lag bolts and straps tie each post to the boards, resulting in a strong structure.

"U" channel method

It is possible to to drill holes through the side walls of the "U" channels and bolt the "U" channels to the T&G boards (as well as to the posts). This is simple but not recommended because you will damage the galvanized finish at the drilled holes.

When the panel has been assembled and all boards are in place, you need to make a secure connection between the posts and the panels using the "U" channels. First check that the posts are still vertical and that they have not moved away from the ends of the boards. Drill 1/4" clearance holes through the walls of the "U" channels and pilot holes in the boards. Pick locations where material has not been removed to clear bolts holding the "U" channel to a post and stagger the holes on the two sides of the "U" channel. Locate the holes 1" from the base of the "U" channel or 1/2" from the top of the wall of the "U" channel. Secure with 1" to 1.5" long lag bolts.

Trim "U" channel

If you bolt "U" channels to the top and bottom of your panel, you can connect the vertical and horizontal runs of "U" channels to secure the post to the panel without relying on bolts through wood boards within an inch of the end of the board.

Make sure your horizontal "U" channel pieces extend fully into the vertical "U" channel pieces. In some cases this may require you to thin the 2"x lumber slightly at the overlap to compensate for the thickness of the extra "U" channel wall. Drill 1/4" clearance holes through both walls of both "U" channels and through the board and secure with 1/4" through bolts, washers and nuts. This method secures the post and "U" channel to the panel relying on bolts through steel and does not rely on bolts near the end of any boards.

Triton Barn Systems / AJM 18 May 2008 All rights reserved
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