Asphalt Paved Driveways versus Concrete
A Comparison of Asphalt Paved Driveways and
By: Mark J. Donovan
|The two most popular types of driveway materials are
asphalt and concrete. Asphalt driveways and concrete driveways each
have their own unique pros and cons. Asphalt driveways are better
suited for cooler climates and concrete driveways are best for hotter
ones. With both, however, a solid foundation base is critical for
ensuring a long lasting driveway. The base should be comprised of a
thick layer of stone and gravel that has been thoroughly compacted
down prior to pouring the asphalt or concrete over it. Without a thick
and compacted base the driveway will end up cracking and/or settling
from the weight of vehicles constantly driving and sitting on it.
Concrete Driveway Advantages and Disadvantages
Concrete driveways are ideal for hotter climates because they do no soften
under intense heat and sunlight. They also require minimal maintenance.
However, concrete driveways can show oil stains much easier than asphalt
driveways and they are more susceptible to salt damage. Salt is frequently
used on roads in colder climates to mitigate road ice. As a result, concrete
driveways are infrequently installed in colder climate areas.
Concrete driveways are also not easy to repair. If a crack forms there is
not much you can do about it, other than to replace the section of driveway
or the entire driveway. Also, concrete driveways can shear off of the
foundation they are poured on over time, which can lead to unwanted cracks.
Asphalt Paved Driveway Advantages and Disadvantages
Asphalt driveways typically cost less to install and thus why they are so
popular. However asphalt driveways need more maintenance. Every few years they
should be sealed, which takes some time and money. Sealing a driveway is an easy
DIY project, however it does require some heavy lifting of asphalt sealer
buckets, and depending the size of your driveway, can take upwards of several
hours to complete. In addition, the driveway can not be walked or driven on for
2 to 3 days after it has been sealed.
It should be noted, however, that a new asphalt driveway should not be
sealed for at least 6 to 9 months after it has been installed. The
reason for this is that time is required for the light oils in the
asphalt to evaporate out of the asphalt driveway. If you seal a driveway
prior to the light oils evaporating out of the asphalt, forever more the
driveway will be soft, and thus more susceptible to damage.
Asphalt paved driveways also soften up under intense summer heat. As a
result, they are susceptible to damage from heavy vehicles driving and
sitting on them for too long. Ruts can form in the driveway over time
due to driving on them in intense heat. Similarly, depressions in the
driveway can form where the wheels typically sit when the vehicle is at
rest. Also, if the edges of the driveway are run over on a very hot day
they are susceptible to compression and cracking.
Asphalt driveways are also easier to repair than concrete driveways.
There are asphalt crack fillers that can be used to fill any cracks that
form in the driveway over time.
Asphalt and Concrete Driveway Options
Asphalt driveways do not necessarily need to come in black only. They
can be mixed with dies to color or tint the asphalt. It is a similar
story with concrete driveways. Dies can be mixed with the concrete to
give your driveway a different color other than standard cement white.
So make sure to check with your asphalt or concrete driveway contractor
to see what they can offer you for different color tints for your
Asphalt versus Concrete Lifespan
If an asphalt driveway is properly installed on a solid base and
maintained regularly it can last 25 to 30 years. Concrete driveways can
last even longer, but again a solid foundation base is critical for the
driveways longevity. Otherwise the concrete will crack over the years of
use and weather.
Lastly, it is vital that the driveway be sloped properly when installing
a driveway, regardless if it is concrete or asphalt. The slope will
ensure water runs easily off of it.
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