Plastic Vs Concrete Septic Tanks: Pros, Cons & Buying Guide

Installing a septic tank involves a whole lot of procedures including deciding on component types. One of the major parts of the system is the septic tank. Different types include steel, plastic, concrete, and fiberglass.

These are designed to serve different purposes as homeowners may have varying preferences.

Here, we’ll be focusing on two of these septic tanks; plastic and concrete. Our discussion will largely dwell on comparisons between the two.

In other words, we’ll be looking at matters relating to durability, pros & cons as well as other related features. So, without further ado, let’s commence our discussion.

The Basic Things to Consider before Buying a Septic Tank

To have a septic tank installed, the right considerations will have to be made. Considerations here refer to factors impacting the type of tank to be installed.

Basically, septic tank installation would depend on durability, cost, and the right size for your home.

  • Durability

One of the primary concerns for homeowners when it comes to the choice of a septic tank is the issue of durability.

Durability plays a key role as it directly impacts the tank’s lifespan. In other words, homeowners will want to have durable tanks installed to serve for as long as possible.

  • Cost

Cost is an important factor as well. Homeowners will mostly go for septic tanks that are priced within their budget. Some types of septic tanks say plastic, maybe cheaper than concrete tanks.

In this case, a homeowner seeking cheaper septic tank alternatives will go for such tanks.

  • Adequately Sized

The size of a septic tank is very crucial as regards its waste-carrying capacity. Smaller-sized septic tanks will be the perfect fit for small unit households.

This correlation can be drawn for medium-sized tanks for medium-sized households and so on.

Plastic Vs Concrete Septic Tanks

Having provided the key considerations made before purchasing a septic tank, we’ll now focus on the main topic of discussion. Plastic and concrete septic tanks are among the most popular types being used.

Let’s take a look at each of these.

  1. Plastic Septic Tanks

Plastic septic tanks are quite simple in design with heavily ribbed sides to provide support.

These tanks are mostly oblong-shaped. Basically, plastic septic tanks are built to withstand the outward and inward pressures exerted by soil and water as well as wastewater (contained within) respectively.

Because significant external force acts on septic tanks, the ribbed sides help with grabbing. In other words, ribbed plastic tanks can be held in place much better than one having a smooth side.

  • Plastic Septic Tank Lifespan

The lifespan of plastic septic tanks ranges from 30 to 40 years based on the manufacturer.

However, such lifespan depends on maintenance. A poorly maintained plastic septic tank won’t last for much longer. Such tanks may only remain functional for about 15 to 20 years. The opposite applies to well-maintained septic tanks.

  • Pros

This is a critical area for most homeowners as they get to weigh the potential benefits.

One of the easiest features to notice is the fact that plastic septic tanks are much lighter than concrete. Plus, the cost factor is much lower compared to concrete tanks.

Lighter tanks mean the ability to have them transported yourself to the destination without the need to pay more. It costs more to have heavy machinery or equipment moving your septic tanks. Cracking is a real issue with septic tanks. However, this doesn’t apply to those made of plastic.

Climatic conditions such as winter cause cracks on septic tanks made of concrete among others. With a plastic tank, you’re safe from experiencing such.

  • Cons

Is your home located in a wet area? If it is, some chances may experience a disruption in your tank’s normal functioning. Sometimes, the action of groundwater may result in a tank shift or even cause the tank to pop out. When this happens, it totally disrupts the system, meaning it can’t be used until fixed.

Plastic tanks aren’t as durable as their concrete counterparts.

As such, driving over the ground surface it’s buried under may lead to a collapse of the tank. In some cases, plastic septic tanks may be unable to withstand external pressures. This may result in the distortion of its shape.

2. Concrete Septic Tanks

These are also known as precast concrete septic tanks. Some other types of concrete tanks are built on site. Like plastic tanks, concrete septic tanks come in a variety of sizes.

To cut down on transportation costs, you may want to have your concrete septic tank built on site.

  • Concrete Septic Tank Lifespan

The lifespan of a septic tank largely depends on how well it’s maintained.

Due to the material, they’re made of, concrete septic tanks tend to have a longer lifespan than their plastic counterparts. The home you’re purchasing may have one that can still serve or needs or may require replacement.

A concrete septic tank is only due for replacement at the expiration of its lifespan. Note that well-maintained concrete tanks tend to exceed their lifespan of 40 years.

  • Pros

When it comes to durability, concrete septic tanks come out tops.

Additional benefits include being resistant to corrosion, disintegration, and rust. The internal and external pressures acting on a tank from within and without are better controlled by a concrete septic tank due to its rigidity.

Without a doubt, concrete septic tanks are known to be heavy. This is a plus when it comes to ground action. In other words, such a tank can hardly be shifted from its position.

  • Cons

Concrete septic tanks are not without their disadvantages. First, these tanks are likely to crack. Plus, moving them will require the use of heavy machinery. This factor adds to its total installation costs.

Which is better?

When it comes to choosing the better option, it all boils down to homeowner preferences.

In terms of durability, we’ve seen that concrete septic tanks are more durable. This is a significant area quite a lot of homeowners will strongly consider. A little discussion with a septic technician should be greatly beneficial.

The basic points of comparison between plastic and concrete septic tanks have been provided above. Such knowledge gives you the opportunity of making informed choices.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *