Why Choose Asphalt Over Concrete?

You may be walking or driving around your neighborhood and see a mix of houses with different types of driveways. The most common of these types of driveways are asphalt and concrete. If you’re in the position that you will be replacing your driveway soon you might be wondering, “Which one you should go with?”.

Here are some things to consider when trying to decide between concrete and asphalt:

Climate

If you’re reading our blog there is a good chance you’re in the North East and near New York or Pennsylvania. If that is the case you likely know that the weather here can get a bit cold. When it comes to holding up to cold weather, asphalt is your best bet.  Road salt and the constant freezing and thawing are enemies of concrete whereas asphalt holds up to these elements very well. The thing about asphalt is that it is black in color with the sun beating down on the asphalt in the wintertime it will heat up quickly and melt away snow or ice. Alternatively, if you are in a Southern state you will want to look into concrete rather than asphalt as it will hold up to the heat much better.

Durability

There is a notable difference between asphalt and concrete in how long it lasts. With both asphalt and concrete you need to start the durability process with a stable foundation. Just like in building a house, stability starts with the foundation.  Adding a proper subbase is important because that is the foundation of your driveway.  With a proper subbase, proper thicknesses of asphalt, and the type of asphalt and proper maintenance all these factors create a stable and durable asphalt driveway. And if it is installed by a knowledgeable professional (like Spencer Paving), asphalt can last 30 years and concrete can last 50+ years.

Design

The thing about asphalt is that it comes in one color, black (hence the name blacktop). This is not a bad thing because no matter what material you decide to use a new driveway will always increase your curb appeal. But, if you’re looking for something a little more unique you can stain/color and/or stamp/imprint both asphalt & concrete to create more visual interest. Streetprint is asphalt stamping and Stampcrete is for concrete stamping; both options of stamping come in many design patterns and many color options. You can also use different patterns and colors at the same time on either asphalt or concrete. After stamping, the driveway can be colored to give effects of stone or brick.  The best part of applying the coloring is that the color also acts as a sealer to an asphalt driveway.  So every 3 to 5 years you would re-color your driveway to seal it and also it will look like a brand new driveway.  Of course, this will come at an added cost, so that is something else to keep in mind

Cost

Speaking of cost, pricing tends to be an important deciding factor for any homeowner. There is a noticeable difference in price when it comes to asphalt vs concrete. Typically, asphalt is less expensive, coming in at usually half the cost of concrete depending on the price of crude oil. If you add in staining and stamping this will increase the cost to five times the price if not more.

Maintenance

When considering the cost, you can’t just add in the initial cost and not take into account on-going maintenance costs. Approximately one year after your asphalt driveway install, it should be sealed. You will then need to seal it again once every three to five years. This is not something you have to hire out to do (unless you want to) so you will just need to consider the cost for supplies.

Although concrete doesn’t require sealing, but it comes recommended. Degreasers may need to be used to keep your concrete driveway looking its best. Since concrete is lighter in color it will tend to show stains easier which may become an eyesore over time.

Both concrete and asphalt can crack. Asphalt cracks are usually easier to fix and the repair doesn’t stand out since it is black material on a black surface. Concrete cracks are much harder to repair and resurfacing is difficult to near impossible.

There are pros and cons for both products but depending on your area and other factors you may likely be leaning toward asphalt at this point. We didn’t do that on purpose but if you happen to be in the market we know some professionals you might want to contact. Oh wait, that’s us. 😉

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