Asphalt Paved Driveways versus Concrete Driveways

A Comparison of Asphalt Paved Driveways and Concrete Driveways

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 driveways have a number of advantages.

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 driveway.

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.

For more help on Asphalt Driveway Paving, see’s Asphalt Driveway Paving Bid sheet. The Asphalt Driveway Paving Bid Sheet will help ensure that your hire the right contractor so that your driveway is paved correctly and you get the finished driveway you are looking for.

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