Pouring concrete aisle - can I run water line underneath?

So I posted previously about re-doing a dirt aisle with stonedust and mats. With the size of the aisle (10x120), it’s a lot of mats to level. For a bit more, we can pour concrete.

However, part of my earlier plan was to run a pex water line the length of aisle and install hydrants so I don’t have to drag my 100 foot hose out each time to fill water troughs on each side of the aisle.

Putting pex under stonedust is fine, but I’m not sure about putting it under concrete. Do people do this? Where do people run their water lines. I have stalls/tack room on each side of the aisle. Pasture on outside of one longside of stalls and indoor on the other.

Last question - aisle is slightly sloped and contractor want to do brush swirl concrete finish (instead of straight finish) to avoid pouring concrete on separate days. Anyone have this finish?

Any advice would be appreciated.

You can run pex under concrete with no issues. I would make sure to design the water lines for appropriate cut off valves in case you have to go in and repair them. That way if one has issues you aren’t cutting off water to all of them.

Might be worth leaving space around in case you ever need to dig hydrants up. I couldn’t imagine going through concrete.


In home construction in my area, pex water lines are either run in the attic or in the concrete. Both have pros and cons.

My most recent boarding facility had water lines run under the concrete aisle. There were spigots placed at intervals down the aisle. The spigots were in small “boxes” and no concrete was poured at their base.

Living in the land of no winter, I’d be more inclined to run PEX overhead.

Jackhammering concrete to fix a busted water line when the concrete shifts SUCKS.

ETA: i did several years as an office manager for a plumbing company so I’ve been exposed to quite a few water line issues.


We definitely have winter, so overhead does not seem viable for running water. I would like to have a few hydrants spaced down the aisle. Plan is to frame the base and surround with gravel, so they won’t be set in concrete.

However, the line itself will be under concrete and the thought of having to tear it up to fix a water line is worrisome.

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the water lines should be run under the base of the concrete, not in the concrete

Still gotta jackhammer the concrete to get to the lines when they break


My waterlines are under the concrete aisle. I didn’t build the barn, not sure what other options there were.

You hope they don’t break. Plastic lines buried at an appropriate depth probably have a low occurrence of failure. Tearing up any part of the barn–be it the concrete aisle or the carefully leveled, tamped and matted stalls–is a gawd awful chore. (Frankly, I’d rather tear up the concrete aisle than the stalls!)

Do give yourself non concreted access around your spigots. You can even use pavers in that area for a nicely polished look.

When you do run the lines, take a picture and draw a diagram of where they run. Maybe even mark it with something at ground level. We were quite surprised when redoing some fencing recently. Really did NOT expect to find them there…

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You can but you don’t want to, because of the issue that you will have to remove the concrete to repair. BTDT in my old barn and it was HORRID. I ran mine through the stalls in my new barn.


If it is as simple as a line down the length of the aisle, just run the pex in a conduit that you can pull it back out of should you need to. If you’ve got connections all the way down though, this won’t work.

We have pex in our barn here in Southern Ontario. The barn is well insulated, and with six horses, always is above freezing. Our lines are run overhead in the stalls and have had zero issues with freezing or horses chewing them, plus gives super easy access should we need it. We did put them on the aisle-facing walls though, instead of the outside-facing wall.


I only have water on one end of the barn & our water lines are outside. Mostly because if there’s a problem I didn’t want to rip up concrete. My barn is only 36 x 36 but everything besides the stalls are concrete floors.

In an earlier thread about running water lines, someone offered the great advice to always install two lines. One line will get hooked up and the other line will be capped off at both ends. The second capped off line is a backup, so in case there is a leak or problem with the main line, rather than dig it up, you can just abandon it and use the other line.


There are water lines under floor slabs in buildings all over the place, so of course it is doable.

Remember that you have to bury it to a depth that it will not freeze.

As was said above, fixing that line will be more work since you will have to break up your concrete to get to it.

Following are some average lifespans from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development for the different types of metals used for main water lines:

  • Brass – 40-70 years
  • Copper – 50 years
  • Galvanized steel – 20-50 years
  • Cast iron – 70-100 years
  • PVC (polyvinyl chloride) – indefinite

Lol except the OP and I are discussing pex. And PVC ain’t pex.

Are you a master plumber?

And PVC breaks all the time when the earth or concrete shifts.

What is your “winter” like? How deep will you be able to lay the PEX?

If you have a mild winter and a shallow freeze zone, laying PEX just below the concrete might work.

Another option, with appropriate shut off and drains, run the PEX above ground (along the ceiling or stall fronts) with drops and valves at each location. During the winter, open main valve, fill water buckets, turn off main valve, open individual valves at buckets to drain the line.

There is a PEX kind that is made to withstand freezing.
Not sure it may work for your place, ask your plumbers?

We were worried when the plumber recommended that for our tack room to washroom lines, but it seemed to work for us when it was -13F here last winter.
We have regular PVC lines buried in the dirt, about 2’+ under the concrete slab.

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Pex cannot deal with UV light or chlorine.

A friend of mine laid a line from the house to their boathouse so they could have running water at the dock for cleaning fish and such. They meant to bury the line, but other projects got in the way. 10 years later the PEX finally cracked during a cold spell. 10 years of being exposed to the elements in an area that has a regular freeze thaw cycle (pipes are usually buried 3’ deep here). I think it performed pretty well.