What Material is Best for Your Driveway?

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asphalt or concrete

Concrete or Asphalt…what’s the best surface for your driveway? Concrete and Asphalt are very similar in many ways. They are made up of some of the same things, but one key ingredient is different. This causes them to have a few differences that you will want to consider before deciding which one is best for you. 

Asphalt

WHAT IS IT?

    In 1553 asphalt was used in the Republic of Ragusa to tar ships, and now it is used on roads and driveways all over the world. It’s been used for hundreds of years and is the most popular choice for public roads.

    Asphalt is a mixture of rock, sand, and tar mixed to create a thick black sludge that is laid over a base and rolled over with a 44,000-pound roller. Then it is left to cure for a few hours until it is ready to drive on. 

Asphalt Driveway

PROS

    Let’s start with what everyone wants to know…..cost. When it comes to price asphalt is about half the cost of concrete. It can also be resurfaced when it needs a facelift, instead of buying a whole new driveway. It only takes a few hours to cure and be ready for use and will last from 12 to 35 years depending on how well it is cared for. Although asphalt cracks more than concrete the repairs are simple and aren’t extremely noticeable. Cleaning snow and ice off asphalt is easy as well, shovels and snow blowers glide effortlessly over the surface. Though it does not come in as many colors as concrete, asphalt does have a few color options depending on the look you are trying to achieve. Most people, though, merely love the flow of color from the asphalt road to their driveway. Also, with its classic look, it goes well with any style home.

CONS

    Asphalt may be less expensive to install, but it does require sealing about every two to five years. Although cracks are easier and less expensive to repair, they do happen more often. Asphalt shrinks and expands with temperature changes, and this can cause cracks in the surface. In the summertime, the tar in asphalt can get soft, and even melt, which can cause disfiguration in your driveway. Be sure to wear shoes when walking across it on your way to the pool, or your feet may get a little hot! 

    If you want that clean and sleek look, asphalt may not be for you as the edges of asphalt can be a little rough and uneven. 

Concrete

WHAT IS IT?

    Concrete has been around for thousands of years. In 700 BC civilizations in southern Syria used concrete for floors and underground waterproof cisterns. Some of these structures are still there today. Concrete has come a long way since then, and is made up of rock, sand, and cement. 

Concrete Driveway

PROS

    If aesthetic design is critical to you, concrete may be your best fit. There are lots of color options and even more options for finishes. It can also be stamped with a wide variety of patterns in the surface, and with its clean, straight edges, it will satisfy the perfectionist in everyone. 

    Concrete lasts up to 30 years! It requires less frequent maintenance than asphalt to keep it looking great. Unlike asphalt, that can crack with weather changes, concrete will only crack with immense pressure or surface movement.

    When concrete is a lighter color, you can forget your shoes! Because of concretes lighter color, it stays cool in the summer heat. 

CONS

    Though concrete will last much longer than any asphalt driveway, there are some downsides. When you get your new concrete driveway it will take 28 days for it to completely cure, and about two before you can drive on it.

    Even if they do not often happen, cracks and repairs to a concrete driveway are more expensive and will be much more noticeable. When parking cars or mowers on your concrete driveway, beware of stains from oil and gas that can be very prominent on concrete compared to asphalt. Along with oil and gas, salt will damage your concrete surface as well, and should not be used to melt ice in the winter. When the cracks and stains multiply over time, making your driveway look tired, it cannot be resurfaced as easily as asphalt, and you will have to replace the whole thing to make it new again.

    Deciding between asphalt and concrete can be tough, and hopefully, these facts will help point you in the right direction for what is right for you. Both are great for different reasons, and in different situations, and in the right application you’ll get a great product. Just be sure to hire a professional with a lot of experience, and your project will be a solid success.  

SMART PEOPLE MAKE SMART CHOICES

Our goal with these pieces is to help you get the information you need to make educated choices for your home and family. If you’ve found this helpful, share it with others. If you have questions or would like to request other topics to be covered, please use the comment section below and we’ll make sure you get you the answers you need.