Concrete vs Asphalt

Concrete versus Asphalt
When it is time to install a driveway, short roadway, or parking lot, property owners can choose from either concrete or asphalt. Both types of materials have their own advantages and significant drawbacks that are based on a variety of factors.

The Cost
To initially look at the installation of either an asphalt roadway, or one fabricated out of concrete, asphalt tends to cost about 40% less to install. Because of this, many people select asphalt as their chosen roadway material. However, it is essential to factor in the longevity and durability of both products. While the installation process for asphalt is quicker, it has a significantly reduced lifespan when compared to concrete.

Sealing Requirements
Asphalt material is required to be completely re-sealed at least every four or five years. This petroleum-based product was originally extremely elastic when it was first installed. However, over time the petroleum oils become oxidized and eventually all the moisture in the product is lost. In addition, the asphalt color of deep rich black will transform to a light gray, meaning that the interior structure of the asphalt has become significantly more brittle. Should the asphalt not be sealed immediately upon installation, it can quickly become hardened with an increased potential of breaking.

Alternatively, when properly installed, concrete offers a durable long-lasting solution for driveways, parking lots and roadways. It too can be sealed as a way to minimize moisture penetration through the surface, which will reduce spalling and cracking while minimizing the potential for rebar corrosion.

Installed asphalt provides a single aesthetically pleasing solution. The surface is dark black, which will over time turn into a light unattractive gray when not properly sealed. Alternatively, concrete offers a valuable solution in a huge array of decorative choices. The concrete can be stamped or stained to add distinctive curb appeal to the residential home or commercial property. Over time, it costs significantly less to maintain compared to asphalt.

Climate Conditions
Dealing with extreme temperatures of very cold and very warm seasons can play a significant factor in considering the best type of material used for a driveway, parking lot or roadway. Concrete has more of a tendency to heave during freezing winters due to the constant freeze/thaw cycle. Additionally, de-icing used on unsealed concrete can allow it to develop pits on the surface.

Alternatively, using asphalt as a solution for a driveway, roadway or parking lot has its own issues in extreme hot climates. The tar used to create asphalt tends to become extremely soft in the summer’s high heat. This produces a tacky sensation and can quickly deform the surface structure, allowing it to develop ruts, along with high and low areas.

Apples for apples, installing an asphalt driveway usually has lower installation costs. However, for homeowners and commercial property owners looking for low maintenance costs and extreme durability, choosing concrete offers a more definitive economical solution over time.