Asphalt vs. Concrete: Which is Best for Your Driveway?
The two most popular building materials in the world are asphalt and concrete. The United States annually produces 500 million tons of concrete and 420 million tons of asphalt. Over 90% of all roads in the United States are asphalt, and all levels of construction utilize concrete.
This begs the question when you compare the two, which do you need? Let’s take a deeper look at asphalt vs. concrete.
Asphalt and Concrete
On the surface, asphalt and concrete are almost the same thing. Both are poured over gravel and made up of sand and rocks. They are both used for construction and can be used to pave driveways and roads. That’s where the similarities end.
The major difference between the two, in terms of materials, is the adhesive used to make them. You make asphalt by mixing sand and gravel with tar, while concrete is made with cement. While it might seem slightly different, the real-world impacts are significant.
When it comes to which choice is better, a lot of it will depend on the environment. Asphalt doesn’t work as well in high-heat areas as concrete. On the other hand, concrete does not perform well in places where it gets frigid.
Asphalt suffers from heat. It can turn gooey or soft. Once it cools off, it will reharden, leading to cracking and damage to the asphalt surface. Once cracks appear, you’ll have to repair the asphalt, which can be expensive if it occurs every summer.
For concrete, the problem is the opposite. If the winters get extremely cold, you can expect to see cracked and buckled sections. Another problem is that ice melt and other salt-based products can stain concrete.
Shape and Look
Concrete is the clear winner regarding what type of shapes and patterns you can do. Asphalt can pour out in various forms, but it doesn’t possess enough rigidity to accommodate artistic flair. Asphalt does have a dark, matte finish which hides most stains and discolorations.
That isn’t the only advantage concrete has when it comes to looks. Concrete, unlike asphalt, can be stained or painted in different colors. The myriad of colors possible with concrete provides more options to fit in with your landscape or aesthetic.
When it comes to general upkeep, asphalt requires more work than concrete. It has to be sealed every few years as part of routine maintenance. Concrete will become stained and discolored as it ages, though it can be cleaned. Concrete can also be sealed, just like asphalt.
In general, you can expect that you will have to repair asphalt more often than concrete. Asphalt is softer and often begins showing signs of wear and tear earlier than concrete. Concrete does suffer from buckling and cracking as well, but that can take years or even decades to appear.
No discussion of asphalt vs. concrete is complete without looking at the cost. By the national average, concrete is nearly double the cost of asphalt pouring. In most places, it is over $4 per square foot. Asphalt is often down around $2 per square foot.
Asphalt is cheaper to repair, but you can expect that repairs will be more frequent. Concrete will cost more to repair, but the repairs will need to be done less frequently.
Asphalt versus Concrete
When you are comparing the two, the reality is that they are both great choices. The best choice for your situation is going to come down to specific environmental and budgetary concerns. If you live in an extremely hot place, asphalt may not be the best choice.
Your financial considerations will also play a large part. Asphalt is cheaper to repair, and it will cost less to pour. Concrete will cost more to pour, but it will last longer. The final component is how you want the driveway to look and if you want to stain it.
If you want to have a driveway poured, look no further than Coastal Paving and Excavating. We have the experience and equipment to get the job done for you. Don’t try to pour your own concrete or asphalt. It is easy to make costly mistakes that could significantly dent your budget.
If you want to have a consultation or start the process of having your driveway poured, contact us today!