Concrete vs Asphalt Driveways: A Comparison

Concrete and asphalt are the two most frequently used materials for paving driveways and pathways. Although despite their regular appearance, they both offer a greater variety of finishes than many people realise. An asphalt drive doesn’t necessarily always have to be black and, similarly, a concrete drive doesn’t have to be off white or grey. Both concrete and asphalt surfaces can be coloured and tinted in a range of colors. To find our what your options are, you should get in touch with your paving contractor and see what sort of color options they can offer you for your path or driveway.

This is perhaps one similarity between the two materials, but both concrete and asphalt driveways have distinct advantages which set them each apart. This article was written as a brief outline of the advantages and disadvantages of both:

The Pros and Cons of Concrete Driveways

Concrete can become damaged in cold climates if proper attention is not given to its foundation: a concrete driveway requires a foundation which is heavily laid with gravel, that has been well compacted first. Without such a base, the concrete is at risk of cracking due to frost in cold weather. A second difficulty with concrete in cold climates is ice and snow prevention: concrete is susceptible to becoming damaged by the salt that is frequently spread on roads and pathways as prevention against snow and ice.

There is also a potential problem with concrete driveways that are constructed on a slope. Over a period of time, if there is any weakness in the foundation, a concrete driveway may shear away from the foundation it was poured on, and cause cracks in the surface and other potential problems with stability.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Asphalt Driveways

Typically, asphalt paved driveways are cheaper to install than concrete paved driveways. However, asphalt paved driveways will require significant more care over time to protect them. An asphalt driveway need to be sealed at least once every 3 to 5 years. Each sealing, although easily enough completed by a do it yourself homeowner, costs time and money. In addition, the sealer will typically require 2 to 3 days to dry before you can park a vehicle on it again.

Alternatively, for those of you who live in a hot or warmer climate and are thinking about installing a asphalt driveway or path, you need to be aware that asphalt softens in the heat, which makes it vulnerable to becoming indented and developing ruts. Despite being much easier to repair than concrete, asphalt can become no less unsightly or inconvenient when it comes to repairing.

As an aside, it is worth considering that new asphalt driveways need to ‘breath’ for at least 6 to 9 months, and should not be sealed during this time: the oils in asphalt must be allowed to evaporate fully before any sealant is applied. If a sealer is applied too soon, it will inhibit the oils from fully releasing, and the asphalt will remain soft and susceptible to damage as a result.

Asphalt vs Concrete: in Conclusion

If properly maintained, an asphalt driveway can typically last from 25 to 30 years. Concrete driveways can last even longer than that. However, both surfaces require a solid foundation to be laid upon to reach their life expectancy. If either material is not laid on a solid foundation, then both are susceptible to cracking over time, especially in cold weather climates.

Want to find out more about Asphalt Driveway Repair, then visit Joseph Jonson’s site on how to choose the best Asphalt Sealers for your needs.

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