How Long Concrete Lasts [Factors Affecting Lifespan Of Concrete & Tips To Extend]

Blog, Construction

Concrete is a man-made construction material that has been and is being used extensively in buildings, dams, bridges, sidewalks, roads, etc. Many believe concrete lasts forever, or it is basically indestructible, but it isn’t. So, how long does concrete last?

Putting an exact time frame on how long concrete lasts would be a very difficult task. This is because not all concrete is the same; they vary due to the features of the concrete and its intended use. Additionally, different factors can affect the lifespan of concrete.

In this article, I will discuss concrete, its durability, factors affecting its lifespan, and tips for increasing its longevity.

How long does concrete last, on average?

Concrete is said to have a lifespan of between 50 to 100 years on average. This time range is not fixed as certain factors may affect how long it lasts. As you read on, you will be well-apprised of these factors.

Factors that affect how long concrete lasts

1. The nature of the project it is used for

The nature of the project can affect how long concrete will last. Concrete used for building structures or homes will last longer than the concrete used for a sidewalk. This is because the sidewalk faces more traffic, and the concrete weakens due to steady usage. Those building structures are bound to last longer as they face less wear and tear.

2. The type of concrete

Different types of concrete are made to meet different needs. Some are made to dry faster, and others are designed to be as strong as possible. Each type of concrete is built differently and has different lifespans.

3. Weather

Another important factor worth noting is the weather. If the concrete project is done in a place that experiences extreme temperatures, the lifespan will likely be shorter. One done in a more temperate environment will likely last longer.

4. The maintenance

Naturally, it is advisable to maintain concrete if you want it to last longer. Most people simply use TLC from time to time. This is like applying an extra coating to the concrete.

5. The nature of the mix

The concrete mixture used for the project can also play a huge role in how long it will last. Most people tend to mix concrete with more water than recommended, and this can affect its lifespan.

When excess water is used in a concrete mixture, the capillary cavities found in it can cause permeability. This can negatively affect the lifespan of the concrete.

Is it possible to make concrete buildings and structures last longer?

Concrete can’t last forever, sadly. However, it can last you for decades if certain steps are taken. Some of these steps include the following.

1. Use the right amount of water

Using the right amount of water in the mixture is very important. It allows the crystals in the concrete to expand fully and come out stronger. The stronger the concrete, the more the chance of it lasting longer. For the best results, the rule of thumb is to stick to the instruction that comes with it.

2. Consult a professional

Although some concrete projects are DIY projects, consulting a professional can be helpful. As I highlighted earlier, different types of concrete are built for certain projects. A professional will be able to advise you on the best type of concrete for your project.

3. Maintain your concrete

This is a step that many people ignore, and it plays a huge role in the lifespan of concrete. For concrete to last longer, it may need some TLC from time to time. This is simply reapplying the coating every few years and making sure it is kept clean and clear of any debris.


Can concrete last a thousand years?

Most modern concrete does not. Typically, concrete lasts around 50 to 100 years and not 1000 years.

Why do cracks appear on concrete?

Concrete cracks are common and mostly occur when stresses in the concrete exceed their strength. It can also be caused by normal shrinkage of the concrete when hardening and drying.

How long does precast concrete last?

Precast concrete is designed to last as long as 50 years.

In summary – How Long Concrete Lasts

Concrete is not designed to be indestructible. At a point, it starts to weaken as it experiences wear and tear. However, it can last longer if you use the right concrete type for the right project, use the right amount of water, and maintain it after the project is completed.

But in general, concrete is expected to last you between 50 – 100 years. For large-scale projects like buildings, concrete should last around 100 years. Meanwhile, for small-scale projects like sidewalks and driveways, concrete should last around 50 years.

But basically, the lifetime of your concrete project is in your hands. Simply follow the steps highlighted in this article or contact a professional to have your concrete project done appropriately.

Thanks for reading this article. Do you know that concrete poisoning is real? Read this article on Concrete Poisoning to know how one can get concrete poisoning, the symptoms, and the treatment.

About Samkins

Samkins Construction Inc specializes in custom home building, general contracting, design-build, architectural design, construction management, and real estate services.


Sign up to receive the latest news and updates from our company.

More questions? Get in touch