If you are in the process of replacing your driveway, you are probably trying to decide between asphalt and concrete. Both paving materials have their pros and cons, which is why it’s important to do your research. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between asphalt and concrete, as well as which is better for a driveway.
What Are Asphalt and Concrete Made Of?
Before going into the advantages and disadvantages of concrete and asphalt, it is important to understand how they are made.
Asphalt uses a mixture of aggregates (various minerals), binder, and filler to create a flexible yet durable paving substance. On the other hand, concrete combines a paste of cement and water with various aggregates. Typically, concrete is paved with fine lines to provide a better grip for shoes and wheels.
Pros and Cons of Asphalt
Advantages of asphalt include the following.
Lower Installation Cost
One of the primary benefits of asphalt vs. concrete is that it is more affordable to purchase and install.
While repairing broken concrete is difficult and expensive work, repairing asphalt is as easy as investing in the right products. Potholes, crumbling, and cracks occasionally occur where the sealcoating has weakened, but either you or a professional can make the repairs easily.
Asphalt’s natural durability stems from a strong blend of aggregates, often including sand, gravel, and slag.
Additionally, asphalt is naturally flexible, which allows it to support the weight of people and vehicles without becoming so brittle that it breaks.
Like everything else in life, asphalt does have a few disadvantages.
Although asphalt is cheaper to install and plenty durable, it does require more maintenance than concrete. Concrete usually lasts a long time on its own unless ruined with a bad product. Asphalt requires a few repairs along the way, as well as the occasional resurfacing.
Shorter Lifespan than Concrete
Left unmaintained, concrete lasts longer than asphalt. However, with maintenance, asphalt is not only cheaper, it lasts just as long as concrete.
Pros and Cons of Concrete
Advantages of concrete include the following.
Left on its own, concrete has a fairly long lifespan without an overwhelming need for repairs.
Wider Choice of Color
Concrete stains much better than asphalt, making it possible to match your driveway’s color or style to your home. Typically, asphalt is dark gray or black and matches the street rather than the home.
You might experience the following disadvantages if you go with a concrete driveway.
Higher Installation Cost
Generally speaking, concrete driveways cost around $5-$10 per square foot. The cost goes up if you choose to invest in a special style or color.
Tough to Repair
While concrete driveways might not need as many repairs as another type, the repairs are tougher to complete. This drives up the repair cost.
Possible Product Damage
Be careful to use the proper cleaning and de-icing products on your concrete driveway, or it may cause expensive damage.
Easy to Stain
One major disadvantage of concrete is that it stains easily. Oil drips, product spills, etc. cause dark stains, which is something you don’t have to worry about as much with asphalt.
Which One is Right for You?
Ultimately, you should consider your needs and desires as a homeowner. However, as long as you properly care for and maintain your asphalt driveway, it provides an affordable alternative to concrete. With the help of sealcoating and preventive maintenance, asphalt is durable and long-lasting, saving you money in the long run.
How Can Walt’s Paving Help?
You can count on Walt’s Paving to complete your residential or commercial paving project in an efficient and timely manner. We have over 40 years of experience paving asphalt driveways, making asphalt repairs, and sealcoating asphalt. We are located in Osceola IN and service homeowners and businesses within 50 miles of Elkhart, IN. Call us today.