Concrete or Asphalt?

August 29, 2017


If you’re considering repairing or paving your driveway, you may ask yourself which material you should go with – concrete or asphalt? You really can’t go wrong, but there are certain benefits and disadvantages to either material. It’s really just a matter of deciding what will work best for you.

Pros and Cons

Asphalt and concrete have a lot of similarities. For instance, regardless of which one you choose, you will need a good base before getting started. Also, the material makeup of the two products are, surprisingly, virtually the same. The difference lies in the adhesive. Asphalt uses tar and concrete uses cement. The contrast between tar and cement is where the materials differ.

Tar is a cheaper material than cement, obviously making asphalt the cheaper option in the beginning. There are some disputes about which material is more cost-effective in the long run, because concrete typically lasts longer than asphalt.

A typical lifespan of a concrete driveway is around 30 years while an asphalt driveway is around 20. Keep in mind though that the lifespan could vary for either, depending on wear and tear, as well as upkeep. If concrete gets cracks and damage it is possible to seal, but will often need to be replaced. Asphalt, however, can easily be re-sealed in most cases if you get to the damage before the cracks get too deep. And while asphalt is easier to maintain, it usually requires maintenance more often than concrete does.

The weather in the area you live in may be a factor that helps you decide which one to go with. Concrete cracks under extreme cold and freezing temperatures. Concrete also suffers from exposure to salt. On the other hand, asphalt becomes soft in high heat and may split. If you live in an area that will have both extremes, asphalt tends to be the more flexible of the two.

Personal Preferences

Another consideration is that while asphalt is not as durable and needs to be resealed more often than concrete, asphalt is much easier to repair than concrete.

Ask yourself which you prefer – a material that needs less maintenance altogether, or a material that is easier to uphold with regular maintenance?

Aesthetics

Whether you prefer the basic look of concrete, or asphalt, most likely depends on your own taste and personal preferences. However, if you want a unique look, concrete has a wide variety of options as far as color and pattern. Asphalt has some options, but is pretty limited in comparison.

Regulations

If you live in a community that has a Home Owner’s Association, you may be required to choose one material or the other. There may also be other restrictions and permits required depending where you live. Be sure to find out before making a final decision. For more information, or to request a quote, consult a professional.