Tips & Guide: Building a Horse Barn on a Tight Budget

Last Updated on July 21, 2020 by Allison Price

Today’s barn options are a lot. You can build your own barn by buying a prefabricated model or hire a company to build the barn for you. Building your own barn is least expensive if you know what you’re doing. There are major things you need to consider in building your own barn. This includes material, size, barn layout, cost, and other add ons. Here, we will discuss the things to consider on building a barn in a tight budget.

How Long Does it Take to Build a Barn

Building a barn usually takes six to 12 weeks to finish. That said, the amount of time needed will depend on your barn layout. The size of your project will play a huge role in knowing the timeline for completion. The finishes you choose and the location of where you’ll get the materials will also be a factor. To optimize your project timeline, make sure your plans are complete. Also, the foundation is already set before you gather the materials.

Things to Consider When Building a Barn

Calculate the Cost

If you’re planning to build a horse barn but short on cash, you might want to consider the following cost:

Immediate costs (or savings)

These are the initial costs of materials and labor to construct the barn.

Short-term costs (or savings)

These are replacements that will need to be then made in the first year or two of service. This will include flooring and wooden rails.  And it is all because of the poor choice and that it was not protected from chewing.

Long-term costs (or savings)

These are the replacements made after the barn is several years old. This includes replacing the shingles on the roof and gutting the damaged stall walls.

Maintenance costs (or savings)

These are regular upkeep items, such as painting and weatherproofing. This also includes the amount of bedding that is usually required daily.

Associated costs (or savings)

These are the amount of feed wasted or was not used due to feeder or stall design. Also, the significant associated costs can be because of veterinary bills. This is due to management-related mishaps, such as colic diseases or injuries.


You should not forget these features in a barn to keep it effective and to avoid extra costs for renovation:

  • Ventilation
  • Hay storage
  • Dutch doors


Either on a budget or not, selecting the materials needed for the horse barn is important. You should build a structure that will serve you and your horses well for years to come. Don’t try to cut costs for these essentials.

Pole barns are usually much cheaper than post-and-beam, brick, or frame construction. Trusses are less expensive than rafters and beams. Metal roofing is less expensive than shake roofs. Order concrete cement by the yard and have it delivered by truck. One way you can save costs is by having your own crew of neighbors and friends help.

For lumber, use 2 x 6s for stall framing. Use rough-sawn (RS) boards which are full-dimension boards. If you have a metal barn, line stalls should be at least 4 feet up. This is from ground level with 2-inch boards or a double thickness of 3⁄4-inch plywood or similar material.

For your hardware, bolts, hinges, handles, latches, and locks should be heavy duty. Also, inquire about some fire safety equipment.

For anti-chew strips, get 14-gauge or heavier angle iron from a metal fabricator. Another option is to buy ready-made anti-chew strips online.


You might have added expenses depending on your preference. This includes wash racks and hot and cold water. Also, you can add heated (or air-conditioned) insulated tack rooms, and restrooms. If you don’t need them right away, you can plan to add them later.


Plumbing can be difficult for an amateur. You can hire a professional to install water pipes, drains, sinks, washers, and wash racks.


Hire an electrician. Don’t skimp on the number of outlets, switches, or light fixtures inside or outside your barn. Never tackle something as important as wiring unless you are then experienced. Faulty wiring is a fire hazard.


Your own installation of your sub-roof and sub-wall will save you labor costs. You can put the skin on your barn if you don’t mind walking around on a roof or handling 4ft by 8ft sheets of material. Nailing these large areas can take a considerable amount of time.

Finish Work

You can do most of the finishing work by yourself. With this, you can save labor costs. But, completing your barn might take longer than usual with few hands working on it.

This finishing includes:
  • Landscaping
  • Lining the stalls
  • Laying stall flooring or mats
  • Painting and finishing the tack room
  • Painting and treating wood areas
  • Installing metal anti-chew strips.

Five Tips in Building your Budget Horse Barn

A budget horse barn is a good choice whether you are replacing an old barn or starting your horse hobby. Here are the five choices you need to make to get the barn you want that suits a limited budget.

Choose a modular built horse barn

The two main style of a horse barn constructions are modular and traditional. Traditional construction requires that the entire barn to be then built at your site. Modular process involves constructing the frame in a workshop and assemble it onsite. Modular barns are often higher in quality than the traditional barns. These are far more efficient to build and with lesser costs.

Opt to create a one level horse barn

One level horse barn is also called a single storey barn. Another way to lower your barn’s price tag is to opt for only one level during construction. Adding a second floor needs extra material costs as well as extra labor time. These costs will be then added to the total project price.

Limit the number of stalls.

To cut your barn’s expense, make sure you install the number of stalls according to what you need. You can add as much storage space while building your barn. It is cheaper to pay for these spaces while you’re building your barn than adding them later.

Another option is to build a shed row style barn.

Shed Row Style are usually built in a simple, stripped-down barn style. It costs less and are easy to work with.

Hire an efficient barn builder.

You must find an experienced team who can build your barn according to your timetable and budget. This will save you extra costs later.

More Tips
  • Have a local contractor that add extra service like the electrical system to save money.
  • Upgrade stall windows to Dutch doors. There are several benefits to this. This will give you another avenue to access the stall and will increase ventilation. Horses enjoy putting their heads outside for sun and fresh air.
  • Eliminating metal roof, wash stall, glass in aisle doors can save you money. Also, you can replace cupolas with a less expensive ridge vent.
  • Check the weather. Delays caused by a weather condition will affect your barn building timeline. This will incur unexpected expenses.


Always speak with professionals who can guide you through the barn planning. They will be able to deliver on price point. Also, they will let you know other factors you may not have considered in the beginning. They can also offer a variety of barn styles which you can choos

Allison Price
Allison Price

I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!