Concrete or Asphalt Driveway Material Comparisons
Asphalt, also known as blacktop, is made up of sand, tiny bits of gravel, and a hydrocarbon mixture of asphalt cement, which is a petroleum product. Concrete is a combination of aggregates, like crushed limestone, sand, and natural rock, along with a binder or hydraulic cement material
The initial installation cost of an asphalt driveway is usually less expensive than the installation of a concrete driveway but will fluctuate depending upon the current cost of oil. While a concrete driveway can cost more to install, keep in mind that there are maintenance costs required for an asphalt driveway that are not needed with a concrete driveway.
Concrete is naturally lighter in color, making it easier to see in the dark while the color of asphalt is typically comprised of shades of deep charcoal gray and black. However asphalt and concrete can come in a variety of shades and colors. Additional choices in appearance can include overlays, which are decorative stamps that create the look of cobblestone, slate, flagstone, and even brick. Consider the appearance of the exterior of your home as well as your landscaping when making a choice of color and texture for your driveway.
When it comes to the “greener” option, a concrete driveway is superior to an asphalt driveway in several ways. Concrete is predominately made up of limestone, which is the most plentiful mineral on the planet. Concrete driveways tend to last longer than asphalt driveways, which means fewer raw materials are needed for installation and maintenance purposes. Also, a concrete driveway is made up of materials that can be recycled at the end of its life. However, an asphalt driveway performs better when it comes to repairs. For, while you cannot resurface your driveway with cement, if there is a solid base, you can pave right over your old driveway when using asphalt, meaning less resources are needed.
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The amount of time it takes to install an asphalt or concrete driveway depends upon the size of the area and the amount of preparation needed. Hardening of both an asphalt and concrete driveway is dependent upon materials used as well as the temperature. Both processes are relatively quick and painless.
Once every two to five years, an asphalt driveway needs to be resealed. Any holes or cracks should be repaired as soon as possible to prevent the damage from growing. Depending upon the type of sealer used, the maintenance of an asphalt driveway will vary. However, typically sealer reapplication is an easy and inexpensive process. A plus for the concrete driveway is that it is maintenance free, requiring cleaning only for the occasional gasoline or oil spot. With both options, the better you care for your driveway, the longer it will last.
An asphalt driveway can last anywhere between fifteen to thirty years, depending upon how well the driveway is maintained, the climate, as well as the type of use. A concrete driveway can last up to forty years in ideal conditions, the durability subject to environmental conditions and how you are using it. As a rule, an asphalt driveway is more durable in extreme cold weather because it is more flexible, making it less susceptible to cracking while a concrete driveway is often a better choice for consistently extreme higher temperatures because it will remain cooler than asphalt.