Learn the benefits and drawbacks of two popular, long-lasting fabrics so you can pick the one that best suits your style, climate, and budget.
If you’ve had it with your current driveway’s ruts, cracks, and stains and want to replace it, you’re probably deciding between the two most prevalent solid materials: concrete and asphalt. While both are put over a gravel bottom and are essentially a mixture of sand and stone, they are held together by different adhesives: tar for asphalt and cement for concrete. The advantages and disadvantages of the two most common driveway surfaces can be summarised by the advantages and disadvantages of the adhesives.
Both asphalt and concrete produce long-lasting, attractive driveways, but there’s more to it than picking the cheapest option. That’s why we pitted them against each other in seven important criteria, comparing concrete and asphalt. So keep reading to find out whether you should go with asphalt or concrete for your property.
Concrete provides additional visual possibilities
Asphalt is dark grey to black in its most basic forms, earning it the nickname “blacktop,” whereas concrete is pale grey. Unlike asphalt, though, concrete may be stained or tinted to almost any colour you want. Concrete can also be stamped with designs or brushed for a textured look. If you want to match your home’s colour scheme, replicate the look of brick or another pattern, or add some interest to your home’s main doorway, concrete is the way to go. If you want a streamlined design that fits the street, asphalt is a good alternative.
Concrete works badly in extreme cold, while asphalt suffers in hot heat
When deciding between asphalt and concrete, the weather is a crucial factor. If you live in a hot climate, you may notice that an asphalt driveway turns gooey or sticky as the temperature rises. Asphalt can fracture or sag because to the cycle of softening in high heat and then hardening once things cool down. Concrete, on the other hand, can buckle, heave, or crack in the severe winters (especially if suitable winterization steps are not taken). Furthermore, frozen melting salt can pit, discolour, or blotch concrete, leaving unsightly traces. Snow and ice also take longer to melt on concrete than asphalt.
Concrete stains more easily than asphalt, which requires sealing every few years
To allow for full drying, your asphalt driveway will need to be sealed a few months following installation. This will safeguard the surface and extend its life. After that, you’ll have to reseal it every three to five years. Most do-it-yourselfers will be able to complete the task: Pour the asphalt sealer over a clean, dry driveway and spread it evenly using a driveway squeegee. While it’s not required for concrete driveways, sealing them helps prevent fading, which is vital for a tinted driveway.
When it comes to engine oil, gas leaks, rust, and the heavy use that driveways are subjected to, asphalt’s black surface and matte finish effectively cover most stains and wear. Concrete, on the other hand, tends to reveal every blemish and spill, necessitating more aggressive washing and degreasing to keep it looking nice.
Asphalt is less expensive to repair than concrete, although it is required more frequently
Although both asphalt and concrete crack, asphalt deteriorates more quickly due to its softer consistency. Asphalt, on the other hand, is rather easy to fix cracks and damage, and the restored portions usually blend in well with the rest of the driveway. If the surface is significantly scarred or showing its age, a fresh coating of asphalt is also reasonably simple to apply. Concrete is more difficult to repair, and unless you wish to resurface the entire driveway, patched areas are usually visible.
Concrete driveways typically outlast asphalt driveways
A concrete driveway should last 30 to 40 years if placed properly in a suitable climate and maintained frequently, whereas an asphalt driveway should last 20 to 30 years. If you build it without a level, stable gravel substrate or neglect to maintain it, either type of driveway will fail within a few years.
Asphalt can be driven on almost immediately, while concrete must cure first
An asphalt driveway can usually be used after a few days of installation. You’ll have to wait at least a week for concrete to fully cure before driving on it—something to keep in mind if street parking is a problem in your neighbourhood!
Concrete is far more expensive than asphalt
Concrete driveways are often 45 to 50% more expensive than asphalt driveways. According to CostHelper, the average cost of a new asphalt driveway is €2.24 per square foot, while a new concrete driveway is €4.36 per square foot. However, rates vary greatly based on where you reside, the difficulty of the task, and the size of the driveway.
Any way you look at it, a new driveway is a significant investment. In the struggle between asphalt and concrete, there is no clear “winner”; it all comes down to which is better for your climate, money, and maintenance tolerance. We also recommend that you visit pavelink.ie and contact them for assistance with your new driveway.