Concrete Vs. Asphalt Driveways: Which Is the Better Option?
When a driveway starts showing cracks, stains, and ruts, a homeowner might consider getting a new one installed. Here, most homeowners will usually consider choosing between concrete and asphalt as these are the two most common types of material used on driveways. Because of the way both of these materials are mixed and installed, you might end up with vastly different driveways when you choose one over the other. Appeal and the way the finished driveway looks are not the only considerations to make when choosing between these two materials, though.
Concrete Gives You More Visual Options
Concrete driveways can take on just about any color you wish, depending on the finish you choose. If you do not want to do this, you can leave the concrete in its original gray color and that is enough for most people. As for asphalt, you do not have any other option other than leaving it in its black form.
Concrete also comes out on top in another area; you can add patterns to it. You can add textures and ask the contractor to use a finish that matches your home’s exterior. This way, the driveway will blend better with the home overall.
If you prefer your driveway to match the street, however, asphalt is the better option in that case.
When comparing the cost of using concrete to the cost of using asphalt and vice versa, you have to look at it through different lenses. One of these is short-term cost vs. long term cost. Concrete lasts longer, but asphalt driveways are less expensive to install according to Dan from Erickson Asphalt. This means that in the short-term, asphalt will be cheaper because of its low installation costs. However, concrete will be cheaper in the long-term because it needs fewer repairs than asphalt which needs repairs every five years or so. It is also important to remember that a concrete driveway could last as long as 40 years, while an asphalt one will normally last for up to 30 years.
Effect of Weather on the Surface
Because asphalt and concrete are very different materials, obviously, they behave differently in different weather conditions. Asphalt does not do too well in hotter areas. As the temperature rises, asphalt can melt, becoming sticky, which makes it hard to drive on in these conditions. As asphalt heats up and cools down, that can cause cracks on its surface.
Concrete, on the other hand, does not do too well in colder environments. Low temperatures can cause concrete to heave, buckle, or crack, especially in cases where homeowners do not take the time to prepare their driveways for winter.
Asphalt Is Usable Faster
You can start driving on an asphalt driveway in as little as two days after the installation is done. For concrete driveways, you might have to wait for about two weeks for it to completely cure. This is something you should think about if you do not have street parking in your neighborhood.
Concrete and asphalt are such different materials that careful consideration has to be made when choosing between them for your driveways. To make the right option, consider their inherent qualities, their cost as well as how long they will last.