Concrete Vs. Asphalt Driveway Which is Best For My Home?

Concrete Vs. Asphalt Driveway Which is Best For My Home?


 

If you have just built a home or are doing some upgrades, you want to ensure that you use the right material for your driveway. The most common materials homeowners choose are concrete and asphalt paving. Often, you will find homeowners torn between these two options, since they are both great choices. But as much as they are both made of stone and stand, they also have several differences. If you are trying to renovate your driveways and are looking for the material to go with, read on to find which is the better alternative for you.

Asphalt Driveway

Asphalt is a mixture of sand, stone, asphalt cement, and petroleum products that are used as an adhesive base. Asphalt driveway contractors use high temperatures to soften the mixture then roll it on a surface before it cools down, becoming a solid driveway.

Pros of Asphalt Driveway

Cost

The first thing you will want to consider when installing asphalt is the cost. Generally, the initial cost is affordable, ranging between $2 to $5 per square foot.

Flexibility

With continuous use, at one point, asphalt will crack. However, because the material is flexible, it is less vulnerable to significant cracks.

Installation

Immediately after pouring asphalt, you can drive on it almost immediately. It also takes less time to dry completely. 2 to 3 days are enough.

Curb Appeal

An asphalt driveway is a sure way to add curb appeal to your property. If you are looking for a material that matches the street, this is also the material to go for. Also, its attractive appearance can help increase the value of your home when you decide to sell.

Durability

Asphalt is durable, lasting an average of 15 to 20 years. If you maintain it properly, it can last longer than that.

Maintenance

Repairing asphalt driveway potholes or cracks is not that difficult. Also, because the repairs can easily blend in with the rest of your driveway, it is hard to notice any difference. On top of that, it does not show any oil stains or rust due to its natural dark color.

Climate

Asphalt is made of porous material, which makes it good at draining rainwater. And because it is flexible, it does not crack easily, especially during cold months.

Eco-friendliness

Asphalt is recyclable, meaning you can reuse it. This makes it a good eco-friendly option, particularly for people choosing to live an eco-friendly lifestyle.

Cons of Asphalt

Cost

While the initial cost is affordable, asphalt needs constant maintenance such as sealcoating and fixing cracks, which means its life cycle is a bit expensive.

Design

As much as asphalt is attractive, it is also available in one style, which is flat, smooth, and black. That means you have limited options. However, recently manufacturers are mixing asphalt with recycled glass and naturally colored rocks, plus using colored sealers for a more diverse look.

Unfinished Edges

An asphalt driveway can have this unfinished look on the edges, which does not look attractive. That means you have to spend some cash installing a border treatment like a concrete curb.

Overheating

During extremely hot weather, the black tar-like component can become soft, which makes it easy for the driveway to chip, crack, or scruff.

Maintenance

After asphalt pavers are done with the installation, it will need a sealant every six months as part of maintenance. Also, it requires constant resurfacing and sealing every 3 to 5 years to extend its lifespan. You can get in touch with the local sealing pros for this.

Climate

Asphalt is not that ideal for areas with extremely hot temperatures as it absorbs heat quickly. Avoid touching asphalt or stepping on it with your bare feet as you risk burning yourself. Also, at temperatures of about 120 degrees Fahrenheit, the asphalt can become gooey and stick on your tires or shoes.

Concrete Driveway

Concrete is a mixture of cement, sand and gravel poured and remains for about seven days to cure. This helps create a sturdy and durable material.

Advantages of Concrete

Cost

While the initial cost of installing concrete is higher, it is generally low maintenance, which lowers its overall cost.

Durability

With proper maintenance and weather conditions, concrete can last up to 50 years. Also, concrete driveways are strong as long they have been installed with the right base and reinforcement. They can handle heavy weights, making them the ideal choice for RVs and trucks on the driveway.

Maintenance

Concrete requires little maintenance. However, you may want to consider sealing as it adds some appeal to your driveway. With regular cleaning and degreasing, your driveway will last you a long time.

Design

Concrete can be customized according to the design you want. If you want to match the concrete with the color palette of your home or are looking to create a specific pattern, a concrete company can help you with that. Concrete manufacturers can stamp, stain, engrave or tint it using different colors, allowing one to get the finish they desire. Just keep in mind that customized designs come with a higher price tag.

Curb Appeal

Concrete is aesthetically pleasing and can match most home styles.

Eco-friendliness

Concrete is recyclable and can last for a long time, reducing waste and the number of resources being used.

Climate

Concrete does not absorb heat as much. Therefore, during summer, you can still walk on it barefoot, making it great for hot regions.

Cons

Cost

The initial cost of installing a concrete driveway is higher.

Maintenance

As much as concrete is durable, replacing, repairing, and resurfacing is costly and harder to repair. Also, because of its light color, it stains quickly and will require regular cleaning and degreasing to maintain its appeal. The more decorative elements concrete has, the more maintenance it will require.

Installing

The installation process is longer, taking about seven days to cure. After installation, you have to wait for several days before using it.

Climate

Concrete does not do well in freezing temperatures. Due to freezing and thawing, it can easily crack, which can form dangerous gaps in your driveway. Also, the concrete surface is sensitive to road salt and snowplows, which causes the driveway to stain. This reduces its appearance and lifespan, making concrete ideal for hot climates.

Not DIY-Friendly

Pouring concrete on a large driveway requires hard labor, and so you will need to reach out to concrete companies for the job to be done well.

Comparing Concrete and Asphalt

The choice between installing concrete or asphalt depends on your preference. However, before you order either, here are a few things to consider.

Cost and Long-Term Investment

How much money are you willing to spend on a driveway even as you start looking? Both these materials will cost you. However, some of the factors affecting cost include.

  • Material availability: Contractors calculate the price of supplies based on how easy it is to order or manufacture them. Both these materials are readily available since they are the most common driveways installed, which makes both affordable.
  • Your home’s size: Installation is measured in square footage. That means the bigger the driveways, the more you will spend, whether it is asphalt or concrete.
  • Design: Concrete with extra design elements is more costly than plain concrete.
  • Drainage features: When it rains, you will need your driveway to drain water properly to avoid flooding. When installing a driveway, the contractor will also include the cost of creating a drainage system for your home.

As much as the initial investment is a factor to consider, you should also look at the long-term investment. That includes installation, maintenance, repair, etc. It is better to invest in a high-quality driveway that will allow you to save money and time on future repairs and maintenance.

Installation

Asphalt installation is faster than concrete, taking a short time to cure before you can start driving on it. The concrete installation will take longer, especially if you are installing a suspended concrete slab. It is recommended that you wait till a week before you can start using your concrete driveways. After all, you do not want any tire marks on your new driveway.

Aesthetics and Design

A properly installed driveway is great for enhancing curb appeal. As you choose between these two, you also want a driveway that complements your home and makes it stand out. When it comes to aesthetics, here are things to consider:

  • Complements your home design: Your home’s architectural style and color will influence how the driveway will look against the overall property. Stand outside and picture what designs, shades, and features make your house look attractive. That will help you figure out whether you need asphalt or concrete services.
  • Your neighborhood’s style: As much as you are going for a distinct look, it is also good to choose a look that blends with other properties in the block. Walk around the neighborhood, checking which materials have been used on the driveways. If you choose a driveway that does not complement the block, no matter how clean or bold it is, it can reduce the value of your property.
  • Resale value: If you are not seeing yourself being in that home forever, it is good to consider buyers. Tastes are different, and so it is better to choose something unique but simple.

Durability and Lifespan

 

A quality driveway will last you decades to come as long as you maintain it well. Common issues that you have to address whether you have an asphalt or concrete driveway include:

  • Cracks: During winter, if water seeps through the cracks, it will freeze and expand, causing the driveway to crack. If the cracks are too large, you may be forced to replace the whole driveway. Either way, it is better to go with a material that is less prone to cracks during cold temperatures,
  • Potholes: Repairing potholes in an asphalt driveway is easy. And when the potholes are few, you can DIY. If there are many, consider calling asphalt paving services.
  • Sunken areas: If the land below your driveway starts sinking or shifting, the driveways will develop cracks, necessitating repair.

When choosing between the two, consider durability, especially if you do not want to deal with replacement anytime soon.

Maintenance

After installing a new driveway, you will have to take good care of it to prolong its lifespan. When your asphalt driveway gets damaged and needs to be repaired or replaced, only the top layer will need servicing or repaving. The layer at the bottom is permanent, which eliminates your worry of replacing the whole thing. When it comes to a concrete driveway, it requires a lot of work, and sometimes you have to start from scratch. This will cost you time and money. Also, the weather contributes to how long a driveway will last before you repair or replace it. For people in warm regions, a concrete driveway is a better alternative. If you live in colder areas, consider asphalt. It causes ice to melt faster, hence reducing the risk of cracks.

Eco-Friendliness

In a society where environmental conservation is being emphasized daily, it is good to factor in the eco-friendliness of a material. To promote a better environment, some of the qualities to look for in a material include:

  • Less carbon emissions and lower energy consumption during the manufacturing process
  • Use of renewable resources.
  • Responsible use of waste resources
  • Recyclability

If you are considering the environmental impact of these two, both are environmentally friendly. Asphalt paving is considered a green technology as it can be recycled. That means old pavement can be reused. Also, certain types of asphalt help with water drainage by allowing it to seep through the pavement and into the soil. On the other hand, the creation of concrete relies on available resources like limestone and water. This makes both materials eco-friendly.

When it comes down to it, it is about you as the homeowner and what you want. Both materials are attractive, relatively durable, require maintenance, and will cost you. Another factor to keep in mind is the weather conditions of where you stay. This can also guide you with the right material to use.

 

 

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