The two most common options for paving driveway surfaces are asphalt or concrete. There are pros and cons to both asphalt paving and concrete. While both materials have similarities, they are also different in important ways. Deciding which is the best material for your project relates to appearances, maintenance, budget, climate and case-by-case restrictions.
There are other options for materials such as brick pavers or gravel, but asphalt and concrete remain the most popular for commercial and residential purposes.
While concrete tends to last longer, asphalt is less pricey to install but requires more maintenance over time. Asphalt repairs and maintenance tend to be minor and more affordable than concrete repairs. And while concrete requires less frequent repairs, it can become damaged if you accidentally use the incorrect de-icing product during the winter.
Asphalt Vs. Concrete Driveway
Similarities Between Asphalt & Concrete:
-Both require a well-compacted gravel base prior to application.
-Both need the right amount of time to cure before vehicles can drive over surfaces. Concrete takes a few days, while asphalt only takes a few hours.
-Both are made from the same general materials, stone and sand. The main difference is the use of adhesive. The adhesive used in asphalt is tar and the adhesive used in concrete is cement.
Lining Up The Pros & Cons
Asphalt Maintenance: Asphalt requires more maintenance but repairs are generally minor and affordable.
Concrete Maintenance: Concrete requires less frequent maintenance but repairs tend to be more complicated and costly when they arise.
Asphalt Stains: Oil leaks are less noticeable on asphalt, but gasoline leaks will create damage to surfaces.
Concrete Stains: Both gas and oil leave more obvious stains on concrete due to its lighter coloring.
Asphalt Lifeline: Asphalt can last up to 20 years.
Concrete Lifeline: Concrete can last up to 30 years.
Asphalt & Weather: Asphalt shrinks and expands as temperatures fluctuate, leading to the prevalence of cracks in the surface.
Concrete & Weather: Concrete only cracks under immense pressure or due to surface movement.
Asphalt Cracks: Asphalt cracks are pretty common but easy to repair. Cracks can be filled and sealed as part of regular maintenance.
Concrete Cracks: Concrete cracks are not as easy to fix and patching may be more obvious. Repairs may be more expensive as well.
Asphalt Curing: Asphalt takes as little as a couple of hours to completely cure.
Concrete Curing: Concrete takes as long as several days to an entire week before it is fully cured and you can drive on it.
Appearances: Concrete Vs. Asphalt
Concrete and asphalt are equally good looking, so it all boils down to personal preference. Traditional concrete has a bright glow while traditional asphalt is much darker. If you are looking for something less traditional, concrete is an easier material to work with in regards to adding unique finishes. Concrete is available in different stains, finishes or colors and can be stamped with design patterns.
Asphalt must be rolled and compressed, which leaves little room for adding unique finishes. Until recently, black was the only tint asphalt came in, but now there are a few other color options. A tint can be added at the end of the sealant, and coloring can be added during the mixing process.
Climate: Concrete Vs. Asphalt
Living in a cold climate may make you more favorable towards asphalt, and living in a hot climate may make you more favorable towards concrete.
Concrete tends to crack during cold winters. On the other hand, asphalt tends to suffer more in hot weather because the tar can start to melt, becoming soft and even deformed.
Maintenance: Concrete Vs. Asphalt
Asphalt driveways require sealant 6 months to one year after installation. Following that, asphalt driveways should be sealed about once every 3-5 years—depending on usage and other factors. Sealing asphalt extends the life of surfaces, allowing it to last as long as possible.
Concrete driveways do not require sealant, although doing so can help preserve the look and finish. Sealing will also help prevent noticeable stains, although concrete will still stain easier than asphalt. Oil-based stains must be removed as quickly as possible with a degreaser.
Concrete and asphalt are both prone to cracks that require repairs. Asphalt cracks are easier to fix and repairs blend in better with the original surface. You can resurface asphalt, which provides an entirely new top layer. This is an inexpensive way to make old asphalt look like new. Concrete repairs are a bit more extensive and not as easy to blend in, largely due to weathering. Also, you cannot resurface concrete like you can asphalt.
The Importance Of Process
It’s not just the material you select; both asphalt and concrete quality depend largely on how it is mixed and applied. When you work with Kleenco Construction, you’re guaranteed the highest quality craftsmanship at competitive prices. After all, some of the biggest names in America have depended on us for years.