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 vs 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), binders, and fillers 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 and disadvantages 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. Asphalt driveways clock in at around $4,000, whereas concrete can be as expensive as $6,000.
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. Because of this, it is able to withstand a lot in the way of force. Standard ones are able to handle around 8,000 pounds.
Additionally, asphalt is naturally flexible, which allows it to support the weight of people and vehicles without becoming so brittle that it breaks. This means that there will be instances in which it can handle its weight more efficiently than concrete.
Like everything else in life, asphalt does have a few disadvantages.
Although asphalt is cheaper to install and plenty more durable, it does require more maintenance than concrete. Concrete usually lasts a long time on its own unless ruined by a bad product. Asphalt requires a few repairs along the way, as well as the occasional resurfacing. Fortunately, asphalt is both quicker and cheaper to repair than its alternative.
Shorter Lifespan Than Concrete
Left unmaintained, concrete lasts longer than asphalt. However, with maintenance, asphalt is not only cheaper, but it can also last just as long as concrete. You can expect asphalt to stick around at least 25 years.
Pros And Cons Of Concrete
The advantages and disadvantages of concrete include the following:
Left on its own, concrete has a fairly long lifespan. It lasts 25-30 years which may sound like a minuscule difference; however, you should keep in mind that this is with next to no resources put into its upkeep. Of course, deterioration is still bound to happen, but not to the same degree as what asphalt experiences.
Wider Choice Of Color
Concrete stains are 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. If you are someone who puts an emphasis on your driveway look as opposed to its feel, then concrete may be the way to go.
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. This cost goes up if you choose to invest in a special style or color. Because of this, pricing leans on the larger side. If you are paving on a budget, then a concrete driveway might not be doable.
Tough To Repair
While concrete driveways might not need as many repairs as asphalt, the repairs are tougher to complete. This drives up the repair cost meaning that you will need to put in extra time and money to address cracks and potholes.
Possible Product Damage
Be careful to use the proper cleaning and de-icing products on your concrete driveway, or it may cause expensive damage. Although asphalt can experience this, too, it is important to note that concrete is more susceptible to the on-the-market options. With that being said, this is an easily avoidable issue if you take the time to handle everything with care.
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 due to its natural color.
Asphalt vs Concrete: 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. Because of this, asphalt is a safe and popular choice for many homes.
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