Whether you are building a new home, doing up an older property, or installing a driveway for the first time, there is one important choice – more important than all others – that sits at the center of the issue: should you go with a concrete or an asphalt driveway.
For sure, both have their relative advantages and disadvantages, and with the requisite care, both can be winning options for a property. The main difference between the two involves the look, resilience to degradation, environmental impact, maintenance requirements, and cost. Parking Lot Pros, paving experts out of Texas, advise that these five metrics should be your main considerations when picking one or the other.
To properly understand the difference in fact, it might be worth outlining the differences as they pertain to those looking to install a driveway. Furthermore, before doing that, it’s wise to go over the similarities. To be clear, in the vast majority of circumstances, both a concrete and asphalt paving will serve you well, will look great, and will resist degradation effectively (provided the proper care and maintenance is given). The only real overriding difference is that asphalt is composed of petroleum-based substances – and is colored black – whereas concrete is made with cement and is colored gray or more “stone like”.
Certainly, you do not need to worry about having made a terrible mistake if you have picked one or the other without much thought. Both work very well for driveways.
Differences Between Asphalt and Concrete Driveways
However, for the more discerning home planner looking for the optimal curb appeal for their property, it’s wise to make an informed choice. As mentioned, resilience to weathering, aesthetic appeal, environmental impact, maintenance requirements, and cost are the main things to consider. So, with that in mind, let us look at each in turn:
Resilience to Degradation
Generally speaking, asphalt wins out here. The synthetic material used in asphalt can more effectively fill up all openings where water may invade (causing cracks and potholes) or organic materials may congregate, which leads to weeds. That said, properly maintaining a concrete driveway will protect it against such effects, and concrete is preferable for very hot climates as the black of asphalt will experience the effects of heat more strongly.
Here concrete certainly wins as asphalt is derived from bitumen. Neither the production nor the use of this is considered environmentally friendly. Concrete, on the other hand, is made of natural substances that can be much more easily sourced sustainably.
Generally speaking, asphalt requires less maintenance to keep it looking its best. Moreover, if the asphalt is seal coated (where an extra protective layer is added via a sticky oil derived liquid) then it can last for a long time with minimal maintenance. However, the maintenance required for concrete driveways is hardly taxing if it is done regularly.
Well, this one is naturally a matter of taste. But, of course, there are some general guidelines which depend on the surroundings of the driveway. If it comes straight off a main road, then asphalt can make the driveway look neat and elegant. However, in more natural settings, concrete is generally preferred.
Perhaps the most important consideration. Generally speaking, asphalt is cheaper. However, two factors can meddle with this assumption. Asphalt fluctuates in price with crude oil prices and adding a sealcoating to your asphalt driveway will drive up the price.
It is ultimately down to you which type of driveway you go for, but for those wanting to make an informed choice, these are the things to get informed about.