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Concrete vs. Asphalt for my Driveway

February 20, 2021

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What do you prefer for your driveway, asphalt vs. concrete? As the age-old debate continues between these two surfaces of the driveway, you can wonder which one is better for your house. Even though both materials serve a similar role, before you choose between the two, there are a few variations that you should remember.

Asphalt Driveways:

Asphalt is an economical driveway surface option that’s cost-effective and low-maintenance.

What Is Asphalt?

Producing asphalt requires two main ingredients:

  • Liquid asphalt
  • Aggregate

Sand and stone are widely used as fine and coarse aggregates for asphalt, much like concrete. However, compared with concrete, a higher proportion of the material of asphalt is composite. As much as 95 percent of asphalt consists of sand, stone, or other aggregate materials.

Asphalt Benefits

1. Lower Cost: Concrete can cost, on average, 50 percent more than asphalt, making asphalt a better value for your money, despite having a shorter life than concrete.

2. Smoother Surface: With asphalt, there are no noticeable seams between parts, making it easier to shovel your driveway and safer for children’s sports such as skateboarding, surfing, basketball, etc. Driveway resurfacing is also much simpler, faster, and more successful.

3. Better in winter: The black color absorbs the heat and encourages the melting of snow and ice. It’s safe to add salt/de-icer if the sun can’t hit the surface, so it won’t damage the asphalt. In cold climates like Minnesota, asphalt is widely preferred; as it spreads with the changing temperatures, it can retain its integrity through the cold and icy winters, as well as during summer storms.

4. Less likely to Crack than Concrete: The asphalt is less vulnerable to cracking, especially in the winter. The explanation is that its surface is not as rigid, allowing it, depending on the environment, to expand and contract. If it does break, the hot rubber crack filler can be fixed reasonably quickly.

5. Quick Curing Time: You will be able to drive over your new asphalt surface in three to four days after your asphalt driveway is laid, and park on it within a week.

Cons of Asphalt:

1) Maintenance Requirements

2) Shorter Lifespan

3) Less Upscale

Concrete Driveways:

Concrete usually lasts longer than asphalt as a combination of sand and gravel but carries a greater price tag. To help you decide if it’s the best surface for you, here are the pros and cons of a concrete driveway.

What Is Concrete?

Concrete is a mixture of three main ingredients:

● Water

● Portland cement

● Aggregate / Sand

The pieces that are mixed with this paste are known as aggregate. Concrete usually involves both small and large aggregate, also known as fine and coarse aggregate. Sand is an example of a fine aggregate. Larger aggregates include gravel, crushed shells, and crushed stone. The aggregate makes up as much as 75 percent of the content of concrete.

Benefits of Concrete:

concrete driveway

1) Longer Lifespan: Concrete can last 40 years or longer before it needs to be replaced. This makes it ideal for those homeowners that are planning on staying in their house for a long time.

2) Better in Warm Climates: Because it doesn’t soften, concrete is normally better than asphalt in warmer climates.

3) Stylish: Even in its most basic form, concrete can add a lot of curb appeal to your home. You can also choose many custom patterns and colors.

Cons of Concrete:

1) Not Easy to Repair: 

2) The Effects of Salt will Cause Damage

3) Easily Stained

4) Higher Costs

Asphalt vs. Concrete: Which is best for you?

As the debate between the two fits of rage on, the pros and cons of asphalt and concrete are both presents. So which one are you going to choose? When making your decision, remember these factors:

●    even though concrete lasts much longer, asphalt costs far less and provides your money with more value.

●    Concrete can break any time in its life cycle, even though you are located in a warm environment. You can be left with a huge bill to replace an entire concrete surface, particularly if it has not been properly maintained or has noticeable damage since it cannot be easily fixed.

●    although concrete provides more options than asphalt when it comes to design and color tinting; it comes at a higher price.

●    Asphalt does not show stains as bad as concrete, is easier to patch cracks, and can be resealed reasonably quickly, making it a choice for low maintenance.

●    Asphalt is more resilient and simpler to navigate in cold climates that experience many blizzards and freezing temperatures.

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