Asphalt vs. Concrete Driveway: Which is Better?

There are many different kinds of paving materials that can be used on driveways, be it residential or commercial. However, the two most popular, and affordable, types are asphalt and concrete. Homeowners who are on a budget often choose from these two. So which one is a better choice? An asphalt driveway or a concrete driveway? Here is a comparison based on several important factors:

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Climate

Concrete is known for its thermal mass. It helps save energy by absorbing and storing heat and then later releasing it in small quantities. It can tolerate extreme heat but may crack due to freeze-thaw cycles during Winter. Asphalt, on the other hand, is quite resistant to snow and freezing temperatures because of its ability to shrink and expand. It, however, does not go well with hot climate as it tends to soften under extreme heat.

Budget

Concrete costs a tad bit more than asphalt. While concrete ranges from $3 to $10, asphalt only costs between $2 to $5. Decorative options, such as stamped concrete or staining, can add to the cost of concrete driveways.

Lifespan

The estimated life expectancy of asphalt is up to 20 years. Concrete goes further at 30 years. This, of course, depends on many factors. Heavy foot and vehicular traffic can make the lifespan shorter. Extreme climate and weather can also affect longevity. If properly installed, these two can stay appealing and functional for a couple of decades or more.

Upkeep

Asphalt needs to be maintained tremendously. However, if it acquires holes or cracks, damaged areas can easily be patched with a fresh layer of asphalt. Concrete requires minimal maintenance. Although repairs on concrete are quite costly, it can go through a driveway resurfacing using a range of different materials, such as concrete overlays, polyurea polyaspartic, and concrete stain.

Aesthetics

Asphalt looks the same no matter which asphalt driveway you are looking at. Concrete offers more decorative options. There is stamped concrete overlay, which can feature different patterns and designs. Concrete staining adds color to plain concrete. Using both methods, concrete can be made to look like other, more high-end materials such as natural stone, brick, tile, and more.

Environment

Asphalt and concrete both have minimal environmental impact. While asphalt originally releases smoke and fumes while being prepared, manufacturing plants have already found a way to reduce emission. Concrete’s ability to be resurfaced helps restore old concrete slabs, thus, minimizing the need for cement production which increases carbon footprint.

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