How long does a concrete water tank last

How long does a concrete water tank last

Are you planning on building a water tank and would like to know how long a concrete water tank can last? Or maybe you got one when you bought your current home and now you’re thinking about its life cycle?

Concrete water tanks are used as water storage in places where rainwater might be a problem or where there might be little water available. The first one is a water problem and the second one is out of necessity.

No matter which one is the reason or if there is some other agenda, let us have a look at how long these can last.

Concrete water tank

When we think about a concrete water tank or concrete cistern as these seem to be used as synonyms, we can think about the material that it is made of. Concrete is made out of cement, sand, rough aggregates, and water.

It takes 28 days to cure completely and it can be delivered in various strengths. Concrete water tanks are high-strength concrete.

This being said, the concrete storage tank should have the expected life cycle of concrete and what sets the concrete apart from what is used at your concrete slab, these should have plasticizers added into the mix.

Most of the precast concrete cistern that I’ve looked up seems to come with a 20-year warranty so an educated guess based on that would be that it should be able to last 20-30 years. Maybe even more with modern fixing materials like polymer products that add extra water resistance for the concrete.

If you’re planning on a DIY concrete cistern you should include the plasticizers in your plan or look up how to make more waterproof concrete. You will have to include rebar in your cistern so you don’t want it to rust too easily which would lower its age expectancy.

Water storage tank life expectancy is around 20-30 years

Concrete tank cost

Now we have a rough estimation on age, but to get a better estimate on the investment, let us think about concrete water tank price as well. When I’m investing in this sort of stuff, I always want to know what I get with my money.

Concrete water tank prices should naturally depend on what size of a water tank we’re talking about. The second would be the building process and what materials are included.

If it’s made with polymer concrete it will cost more than regular concrete. Naturally, it will be stronger and might last longer so we could argue that it would be a good investment, but some research on the subject would be needed.

Accessories will raise the cost

There are also accessories like pumps and filters that can affect the cost. Depending on the use the tanks might need to have water filters on them, the ancient concrete cisterns had ones as well so the water that rained would be usable after gathering.

There might also be pipes that are needed, etc. You know the drill, the fancier it gets the more it costs.

Rough estimation

After all of this as I don’t sell these products, if you’re buying a precast concrete water tank, a 500-gallon concrete cistern might cost you from $500 to several thousand. It will depend on where you live and what other expenses are involved.

The bigger cistern you buy, the cheaper it will get per gallon usually. You have to think about how much water your family needs a day and how much it can gather and make some calculations based on that.

Concrete water tank construction costs would depend on your local concrete price and labor cost. If you’re willing to do the work yourself you should get a concrete cistern cheaper if you don’t place any value on your own work.

Underground concrete water tank

Now you might be thinking where would I place such a thing as a 5000-gallon water tank. Underground is a solid option here as it won’t take space in your yard.

Under the driveway, water tanks are one kind of solution for example. Concrete can be placed quite deep as it’s a strong structure.

Now you have to remember that concrete underground water storage tanks are a quite permanent solution. If you dig it under your driveway or if you live in a narrow space with other structures near you, it will be hard to get anything done to it.

When something is hard it will always cost you. Then again, the advantage is that it will be out of your sight and you might invest in a bigger tank if you have a need for one.

Above ground concrete water tanks

Now above ground rainwater collection tanks are easier to access if you need to. If you need to replace the one you can do it easier as well.

Compared to underground water tanks they can freeze a lot easier as there is no ground insulating on top of it. As you know, the only layer of ground freezes during the winter.

Concrete vs plastic water tanks

Now this is the last stop. I wanted to compare concrete to plastic as plastic water tanks are quite common.

How long do plastic water tanks last

When it comes to plastic water storage tank life expectancy, it’s about the same 20 years. It’s little under what concrete promises.

Still, some claimed that plastic lasts longer than concrete so there might be differences between plastic materials as well.

How plastic water tanks handles stress

Plastic water tanks can be buried as well if that is a concern. The thing is that these can’t be built on the side so they would have to have car access to deliver.

This is the same as with a precast concrete water tank. What is different here is the weight, plastic water tanks will be lighter than concrete to install so you won’t need heavy machines to install these.

When you compare concrete with plastic, as a stronger material concrete can handle more stress, but as a hard material, it might crack as well.

While concrete might crack underground, plastic is more vulnerable to weather conditions on top of the ground. Underground roots might cause trouble as well.

You also can’t bury plastic as deep as concrete as more ground pressure will be more harmful for it than it is to concrete.


We got a bit far from how long does a concrete water tank last question, but I think there were a few important points there as well. The cost will depend on size and accessories, but the more you buy the less the price per gallon will be.

Also, the placing has to be considered as underground might seem the best option, but if you have troubles it might be hard to fix them. Then again above ground is more vulnerable to surroundings and takes space.

Finally, when you compare to plastic, both have their pros and cons. I can’t honestly say which one is better as both have to be used wisely. You can get anything to fail if you treat it badly.

I don’t really know if it concerns me or not that the water tank estimated age is only 20-30 years. If you build it underground you would have to place it wisely.

That is why I think under the driveway is a good solution as if you can place it close to the road, there is easy access for excavating machines and such when it comes the time to replace it.

If you plan accordingly, you could have your concrete driveway live the same life cycle as it can last the same age if not longer.

If the tank is under it, of course, it has to be changed at the same time. The good thing is, if you get to live it you will have another chance to decorate your driveway.

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