How long does concrete last underground? As precast concrete practitioners within the buried infrastructure industry, this question is paramount. The answer depends on a number of factors, but it’s generally accepted that concrete underground can last up to a century or more.
Now, about those factors.
The world is made of one concrete jungle after the next. When it comes to using precast concrete underground, it is important to remember that it could be exposed to a variety of different environmental conditions that could impact its lifespan.
If it is not made of the most durable material, the concrete product could disintegrate faster than its average lifespan of 50 to 100 years.
What makes concrete durable?
Permeability in concrete is an important factor in making the concrete last as long as possible.
For example, concrete with high permeability will allow fluids to pass into the structure and impact it. If water and excessive moisture reach the reinforced steel, corrosion could happen and over time, the concrete will become damaged.
In addition, if the concrete absorbs water and then freezes, the concrete could start to crack, weakening the overall structure.
However, if the concrete is made with low permeability, it will be able to resist moisture and fluid, ultimately being more durable.
What are the most common causes of deteriorating concrete?
Embedded metals are the primary cause of concrete deterioration.
Chemicals, in addition to freezing and thawing of concrete, also cause concrete to break down over time.
Concrete that is mixed correctly, applied, and installed the right way, has the capability to last up to 100 years. Most of the time when you see a building demolished, it’s not because the underground concrete is deteriorating. It’s usually because the building’s functionality has changed or is not up to standard.
Working on a project that requires underground concrete? Contact our team at Columbia Precast today to learn more about our products and services. Or, if you notice that one of your buildings or other structures has significant cracking in the concrete, it is important not to ignore that.
We recognize the importance of using concrete that is built to stand the test of time. Contact our experienced team today to learn more about how precast concrete could work for you.