Asphalt and concrete are usually the top two materials used to build (or simply fix) driveways, and they both create very similar surfaces. That’s because they’re both made from from stone and sand, and have a gravel base. However, they are indeed different materials! Some of the things to consider their differences are climate factors, cost and maintenance, but what’s the main difference between these two construction materials? Read on to find out!
Art is not what you see, but what you make others see. - Edgar Degas
Asphalt vs. Concrete
So, what’s the difference between asphalt and concrete?
It’s actually simpler than you’d think:
The main difference is that asphalt is made with tar adhesive as for concrete is made of cement! This detail is what ends up bringing all the other differences between these two.
This is what you need to know:
- Concrete is better in hotter climates
- Asphalt is better in colder climates
- Concrete has a tendency to crack during freezing winters, and it’s very likely the salt used to melt snow on driveways will leave your pavement full of blotches
- Asphalt is made out of tar, and during hot days, that material can become very soft and tacky thus deforming your driveway
If you ever wondered “is concrete or asphalt cheaper?” this is your answer:
Since tar is less expensive than cement, that’s a starter to asphalt being less expensive than concrete! Asphalt is going to cost your something between $2.50 and $4.00 per square foot. Meanwhile, if you want to work with concrete, it’ll cost you something around $4.00 and $6.00 per square foot.
Both types will require some maintenance - and since they’re usually used for driveway projects, it’s important to know the asphalt vs concrete driveway pros and cons!
Here’s what you need to consider:
- Asphalt needs to be sealed after about six months to one year, and you should keep a three-year sealing project on your agenda. Maintaining it will make it last up to 30 years. In addition to that, cracks can be easily fixed because asphalt will blend into the original and you won’t even noticed the difference.
- Concrete doesn’t require sealing to last that long, but it’s good to keep that project either way because it will help preserve the look (since concrete easily stains). You may need to use a degreaser to remove oil stains at times. The downside to concrete is that even though you can repair cracks, they’ll be pretty obvious.
So which one is right for you?
Choosing whether you should get a concrete driveway or an asphalt driveway depends on a number of factors. The climate of your location is a major factor and price is another major factor. If you’re still unsure of which type of driveway you should get, you can talk to a professional and get all of your questions answered.
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