StallSkins Permeable stall liners

What are they? How do they work? Are they better than rubber mats? Do I need them in my stalls? Will they hold up? Are they worth the $?

After years of experience with Stalls Skins, I'm filling you in on everything you need to know decide if they are right for your horse.

After using Stall Skins geotextile stall liners for the past seven years both in stalls and in run-in shelters I wanted to fill you in on them so you can decide if they will are a good option for your barn.

Stall Skins are a water permeable thick felt like material. They can be cut to the size of your stall or shelter and attach to the walls to stay in place. I put together a pros and cons list to give you an idea of how they hold up compared to rubber mats. Check it out and decide for yourself if they are an option for your stalls.

Pro

The biggest benefit of stall liners is that they don’t shift around like traditional rubber stall mats. Because they are installed as one large piece of geotextile material that gets attached to the stall walls they never have that annoying edge that won’t stay down because shavings keep getting stuck under it like you get with stall mats. You will not be battling with pulling mats out, leveling the footing, and then putting the mats back in only to have them buckling all over within a weeks time.

On the fence about rubber stall mats vs Stallskins stall liners? Check out this post for the full scoop to see if stall skins are right for your horse's stall. It covers the pros and cons of putting permeable geo-textile in your barn and shelters as well as handy DIY installation tips from Insightful Equine.

Con

To put a stall liner in a 12×12 stall it is more expensive than doing basic rubber mats. But you will save some money on bedding and time not having to pull the mats out to try getting them to lay flat after bedding gets under them.

Pro

They are lightweight so installation is fairly easy compared to heavy stall mats. The only tools that are required are a power drill and a utility knife. The trickiest part is getting the mat lined up straight to attach the first side. Once you have it started it’s very easy to just work your way around the stall. Cutting around posts or doorways is much easier than with rubber mats too

On the fence about rubber stall mats vs Stallskins stall liners? Check out this post for the full scoop to see if stall skins are right for your horse's stall. It covers the pros and cons of putting permeable geo-textile in your barn and shelters as well as handy DIY installation tips from Insightful Equine.
Stall Skins come roll up in a box with hardware to attach to the walls of the stall and is light enough for the kiddos to help with installation.

Con

Stall liners don’t last forever. If you have a horse that paces, paws excessively or wears trail shoes or studded shoes they will wear out fast so I would not recommend them for those situations. We replaced a few after about five years of use when they got small rips in them. Even with the rips, they are still useable but get annoying when the apple fork tines get caught in them.

Pro

Geotextile is water permeable so some of the urine will drain through them which saves on bedding. Keeping your stalls dry can also be beneficial for preventing hoof issues.

Con

You need to be sure to put the right footing material beneath them or they will not drain well. We have had a bit of difficulty with this and have had to do some trial and error. They work similarly to how a leach field drains. They are also not likely to stay dry if your stalls are in an area that has soil with poor drainage so you may want to consider other options if that’s the case.

On the fence about rubber stall mats vs Stallskins stall liners? Check out this post for the full scoop to see if stall skins are right for your horse's stall. It covers the pros and cons of putting permeable geo-textile in your barn and shelters as well as handy DIY installation tips from Insightful Equine.
The horse that stays in this stall tends to pee near the back wall so that is where to drainage area went. Of course the cat is supervising the process just as every good barn cat does.
On the fence about rubber stall mats vs Stallskins stall liners? Check out this post for the full scoop to see if stall skins are right for your horse's stall. It covers the pros and cons of putting permeable geo-textile in your barn and shelters as well as handy DIY installation tips from Insightful Equine.
Putting in drainage holes filled with rocks will give the urine a spot to drain through the stall liner so it can soak into the ground keeping your shavings dryer.

Pro

Rubber mulch can be layered underneath them to give added support and cushioning to your horse. For horses that have joint issues or a being stalled for recovery/supportive care, this can be very beneficial. 

On the fence about rubber stall mats vs Stallskins stall liners? Check out this post for the full scoop to see if stall skins are right for your horse's stall. It covers the pros and cons of putting permeable geo-textile in your barn and shelters as well as handy DIY installation tips from Insightful Equine.
I put a thin layer of cheap landscape mat down before the rubber mulch so that it would stay separate from the footings.

Con

If the footings underneath them shift you have to detach the liners from the stall walls to smooth them back out or be okay with the floor not being perfectly level. Again this goes back to what type of prep work you did before installation as to how much maintenance they will require to keep the footing level.

Pro

Since Stall Skins are permeable they can be deodorized by pouring a liquid odor neutralizer on them. This can help with smells that may be in the geotextile mat and under the mat in the footings. We use odor neutralizer every day when we clean and I like the idea that it’s going through the mat to take care of the ammonia beneath it.

Stall liners work well to give horses a clean dry spot to get out of the mud in their run-in shelters.
We've used them in our outdoor shelters also. Stall liners work well to give horses a clean dry spot to get out of the mud and make cleaning the run-ins much easier.

Overall I’m glad we have our stalls lined and prefer cleaning stalls with them vs rubber mats. I do wish they were a bit sturdier and it was easier to get the drainage just right.

They are still a big step up compared to rubber mats that don’t drain at all and shift around a lot but they do have their drawbacks.

If your thinking of putting them in your stalls but feeling unsure if they will work well feel free to leave your questions in the comments. 

On the fence about rubber stall mats vs Stallskins stall liners? Check out this post for the full scoop to see if stall skins are right for your horse's stall. It covers the pros and cons of putting permeable geo-textile in your barn and shelters as well as handy DIY installation tips from Insightful Equine.

Insightfully,

Becky

-what are they, how do they work, are they better than rubber mats, do I need them in my stalls, will they hold up, are they worth the $

This Post Has 13 Comments

  1. I also have used the geotextile mats and compared to anything else I have used they are great! Yes, they do clog up with the smaller shavings and dirt/mud, but I take a pressure washer with diluted pinesol every few weeks and pressure wash them….so much easier than lifting a heavy rubber mats to clean the stalls. This cleans out the pores and they drain again.
    I also, currently, rarely keep my horses locked into the stalls. They come in and out at will so I typically don’t use shavings.
    When I have kept them in stalls for 12 hours a day to keep them from eating too much grass, I placed a small (2×4) rubber mat in front of the stall doors. They have pawed and have never broken through the fabric. I have had 6 stalls lined for 8 years and never a problem. I have had 3 run-in, 12×14 sheds lined for 4 years and never a problem and have never put any rubber in front of the doors. I have tried both the ones with texture on the top surface and the ones with no texture. I would never buy the ones with texture again as your fork will gets caught on them if you do use bedding. I dug a 3′ x 6′ hole in each stall, filled with rocks, gravel and topped with sand. The sand does move around, so as I am building a new barn, I will put in the stall grids to keep the sand stable this time, probably will add the rubber mulch for comfort and then the geotextile fabric. I would not go with the stable comfort setup as you really would have the same situation with the geotextile fabric if it doesn’t’ drain. Both situations require more shavings and more clean up. Until something better comes out I will stick with the geotextile…. Great Blog!

    1. Thanks for checking out the post and filling us in on your experiences with stall liners. I always love hearing about the set-ups that other people have tested out.

  2. Thank you!!!

  3. Really good information here! I have a run-in for my two mini donkeys and am dealing with wasting straw, ammonia smell, etc. I LOVE the idea of the rubber underneath and using the sawdust material. I think everything will be so much cleaner, easier to clean, and smell better. Thanks very much!!

    1. Your welcome, I love mini donkeys they a so entertaining. I think you’ll be really happy with the ease and comfort with swapping to mats and shavings.

  4. Hi Becky!
    Thanks for the detailed review! I am building two stalls under my bedroom – gasp – and don’t want o mess up on choosing the right floors, for the older horses’ sake and preserve my sense of smell, lol. Right now there is concrete lining the area. I am tempted of doing a slight pitch toward the center of each stall and adding a stone-filled put as per your suggestion. Then treat it with odor neutralizer daily. The area floods a couple of times a year, so I am afraid that the Comfort Stall system would become moldy. Not sure… do you have any suggestions? Thank you so much!!!!

    1. Hello Anne, Living above the horses sounds like such a fun adventure, I love it! I don’t think the stall skin route would be the way to go with concrete as I’d be afraid even with a leech pit in the center it would still be tough getting it to drain properly so the skins have enough airflow around them to dry out between pees. I do know of others that have used the comfort stall system and been very happy with how they perform over concrete but not sure how they would stand up to mold in flood conditions. If I were in your shoes I would lean toward comfort system and look at rerouting the water issues to avoid the stall area if possible.

  5. Woԝ that was odd. Ijust rote ann гeally long comment butt after I ⅽlickeⅾ subvmit my
    comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Regarɗless,
    just wanted to say wonderful blog!

    1. Thanks for checking it out. Hopefully, you’ve found it helpful in getting further ideas for ways of helping horses stay well with geotextiles.

  6. Hi there! I found your blog as I have installed the geotextile stall liners in my two stalls and can’t seem to figure out why I’m having problems. My horses stall liner gets soaked from urine and stays that way! It never dries out!! I have gone the route of getting New liners shipped to me, and beefing up the drainage under his stall with 5 more inches of well draining stone! My other horse is a Shetland pony and his liner doesn’t seem to have this problem as much. Do you experience this? I muck his stall and try to find the pee spots, and unearth a urine soaked liner every day. I’m at my wits end and am ready to try a new stall flooring like mats 🙁

    1. One thing that we have found that helps with drainage is to stick with using large flake shavings. Using the smaller flake bedding can sort of get clogged against the mats making it so that the liquid can’t go through well enough. Drainage also gets a bit off if the horses track in a lot of dirt on their feet that settles at the bottom of the mat and causes clogging. Another thing that can happen if there are stone screenings under them is the bigger horses compact the screenings causing drainage to decrease over time. The stalls that we have put in deeper (4+ feet deep) pea gravel pits definitely drain the best, having very sandy soil also helps a ton. Hopefully, this helps and you are able to find an option that works well for your horse.

  7. Such a detailed review–will be super helpful to anyone trying to decide which way to go! We put the Stable Comfort system (it uses mattresses under the liner) in our barn last year and really love it! It is more expensive but our horses are much more comfortable in their stalls and both lay down every night now to sleep. I also agree that it saves on shavings as I’m using only enough to soak up the “stuff” and not as a cushion. Thanks for all your great posts!

    1. Thanks for checking out the post. The Stable Comfort set up looks fantastic. As we look at replacing mats in the future I may have to keep them in mind especially as my horse ages.

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