Concrete or asphalt, what’s the best surface for your driveway? Although concrete and asphalt are very similar in many ways, one key ingredient is different. We will explore the similarities and differences so that you can make an informed decision as to which one is best for you.
WHAT IS IT?
In 1553 asphalt was used in the Republic of Ragusa to tar ships, and is now used on roads and driveways worldwide. It is the most popular choice for public roads.
Asphalt is a mixture of rock, sand,7 and tar, creating a thick black sludge laid over a base and then rolled over with a 44,000-pound roller. After that, it is left to cure for a few hours until it is ready to drive on.
Let’s start with cost. Regarding price, asphalt is about half the cost of concrete. Instead of buying a whole new driveway, it can be resurfaced when it needs a facelift. It only takes a few hours to cure and be ready for use and will last from 12 to 35 years, depending on how well it is cared for. Although asphalt cracks more than concrete, the repairs are simple and aren’t overly noticeable. Cleaning snow and ice off asphalt is easy; shovels and snow blowers glide effortlessly over the surface. Although it does not come in as many colors as concrete, asphalt does have a few color options depending on the look you are trying to achieve. Most people like the consistent flow of color from the asphalt road to their driveway, and with its classic look, it goes well with any style of home.
Asphalt may be less expensive to install, but it requires sealing every two to five years. Although cracks are easier and less costly to repair, they happen more frequently. Asphalt shrinks and expands with temperature changes, causing cracks in the surface. In the summertime, the tar in asphalt can soften and even melt, which can cause disfiguration in your driveway. Also, be sure to wear shoes when walking across it on your way to the pool, or your feet may get a little hot!
If you want that clean and sleek look, asphalt may not be for you as the edges of asphalt can be rough and uneven.
WHAT IS IT?
Concrete is made of rock, sand and cement and has been around for thousands of years. In 700 BC, civilizations in southern Syria used concrete for floors and underground waterproof cisterns. Some of these structures are still there today.
Concrete may be your best choice if the aesthetic design is critical to you. There are lots of color options and even more choices for finishes. It can also be stamped on the surface with a wide variety of patterns.. In addition, with its clean, straight edges, it will satisfy the perfectionist in everyone.
Longevity is another factor. Concrete can last up to 30 years and requires less frequent maintenance than asphalt. Unlike asphalt, which can crack with weather changes, concrete will only crack with immense pressure or surface movement.
Also, when concrete is a lighter color you can forget your shoes as it stays cool in the summer heat.
Though concrete will last much longer than an asphalt driveway, some downsides do exist. Your new concrete driveway will take 28 days to cure completely and about two before you can drive on it.
Even though they are more infrequent, cracks and repairs to a concrete driveway are more expensive and will be more noticeable. When parking cars or mowers on your concrete driveway, beware of stains from oil and gas as they are more visually prominent on concrete as compared to asphalt. Along with oil and gas, salt can also l damage your concrete surface and should not be used to melt ice in the winter. When cracks and stains multiply, your concrete drive cannot be resurfaced as easily as asphalt. Instead, you will have to replace the entire driveway.
Deciding between asphalt and concrete can be challenging. Hopefully, these facts will help point you in the right direction. Both are great for different reasons and in different situations, and with the proper application, you’ll have a quality product. Just be sure to hire a reputable professional with experience, and your project will be a solid success.