Concrete vs Asphalt Driveway

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Written By Sourabh Negi

I cover sustainable building construction and green technology.

The most common solid material available for driveway is concrete and Asphalt. In this post, you will learn the Concrete vs Asphalt Driveway, which is best for you? and choose the best for you.

Despite some differences, there are some similarities between Concrete and Asphalt. Both are laid over the layer of gravel and both are mixed with sand and coarse aggregates. The only difference is the binding material that holds together the sand and aggregates.

Cement is the binding material in the case of concrete and asphalt or tar or bitumen is the binding material in the case of Asphalt driveway. The property of the binding material (cement and Asphalt) affects the property of the driveway.

What to Choose Concrete or Asphalt Driveway

Below are some points through which merits and demerits of the Asphalt and Concrete are pointed out. You will have a clear idea of what to choose in between Concrete vs Asphalt Driveway.

Visual appearance between Asphalt and Concrete

Concrete is light grey in colour and asphalt is dark grey to black. The concrete driveway can be painted to any colour of choice but that is not the case with Asphalt. Choose concrete if you want to match the colour scheme of the house and choose Asphalt if you want a street-like appearance.

Asphalt hides most stains pretty well but the concrete shows every mark and spill and require extensive cleaning.

Concrete Driveway

Effect of temperature in Asphalt and Concrete Driveway

Climate is another criteria through which you can choose between Concrete and asphalt driveway. In a very high-temperature area, the asphalt may melt and becomes soft and sticky. On the other side, the concrete may heave or crack in extremely cold weather. Thus, if you live in a cold climate area go for an Asphalt driveway and if you live in a very hot area go for a Concrete driveway.

Use of driveway after Installation

An asphalt driveway can be used within a couple of days of installation but concrete can take up to 28 days if laid without an accelerator (a material that accelerates the setting process of concrete). This is the major drawback of concrete. The Bitumen Emulsion driveways can be opened to traffic in a couple of hours.

Go for an Asphalt driveway if you want your driveway to be ready within a couple of days. If you can wait for a week or so go for the Concrete driveway.

Concrete vs Asphalt Driveway

Lifespan of Concrete and Asphalt Driveway

If properly maintained and regularly repaired the concrete driveway can last for 30- 40 years and the Asphalt driveway can last for 20-30 years.

Go for a Concrete driveway if you don’t want frequent repairs and want a durable driveway.

Concrete Driveway

Ease of repair in Concrete and Asphalt Driveway

Although both Concrete and Asphalt driveway cracks, the repair to the Asphalt driveway can be easily done. However, the Asphalt driveway deteriorates quickly. The concrete driveway deteriorates less but repair is a lengthy process. Also, the repaired patches are fairly obvious in concrete but not in the Asphalt driveway.

Another difference is that Asphalt requires sealing more frequently ( 3-5 years) to prevent it from damage.

Go for a concrete driveway if frequent repairs bother you. Go for an Asphalt driveway if you want your driveway to be looking uniform even after repairs. Repaired patches in concrete is fairly visible which doesn’t look good.

Cost difference between Concrete and Asphalt Driveway

Concrete costs 50% more than the Asphalt driveway. According to site Costhelper the Asphalt driveway cost $2-$5 per square foot and the Concrete driveway cost $3-$10 per square foot. Thus, the concrete driveway is always more than 50% costly.

Concrete vs Asphalt Driveway

FactorConcreteAsphalt
AppearanceConcrete can be given any colour or texture as you want.Choose Asphalt you want street like the appearance for your driveway
Use after installationConcrete requires at least a week for setting only then it can be used.Asphalt generally needs a couple of days. Bituminous emulsion needs a couple of hours.
DurabilityA concrete driveway can last for 40 years.An asphalt driveway can last for 20 years if maintained properly.
Repair and MaintenanceRepair is costly but requires less frequently.Repair is not costly but frequent.
CostConcrete driveway cost is double than that of Asphalt driveway.An asphalt driveway can be installed at half the price of a Concrete driveway.
Concrete or Asphalt Driveway

Pros and Cons of Concrete Driveway

Pros of Concrete DrivewayCons of Concrete Driveway
A concrete driveway doesn’t require much maintenance but occasional sealing will make the driveway last longer.The initial cost is high i.e. $3-$10 per square foot.
A concrete driveway can last for 40 years or more if properly maintained.It requires a longer time for installation. Thus you have to wait for about a week before vehicular traffic can be opened.
Concrete can be stained, stamped, engraved. It is highly customizable.Although concrete requires less maintenance but, the maintenance cracks are harder to repair and resurface is tough.
The concrete driveway remains cool. It is good for the hot areas and more comfortable to walk.Concrete performs poorly in a cold climate. Alternate freezing and thawing can develop cracks that will be difficult to repair.
Pros and Cons of Concrete Driveway

Pros and Cons of Asphalt Driveway

Pros of Asphalt DrivewayCons of Asphalt Driveway
Cost is $2-$5 which is approximately 50% of the Concrete Driveway.Although the initial cost is low but frequent maintenance makes it costly in the long run.
Installation is easy and you can use your driveway after 2-3 days.An asphalt driveway requires resurfacing and sealing after the first 6 months to 1 year and subsequently after every 3-5 Years.
It last longer i.e. 20-25 Years.In hot areas, the Asphalt driveway melts and becomes gooey. A tire mark can be seen in the driveway if installed in the hot area.
Repaired cracks and potholes in the Asphalt driveway is not noticeableAsphalt is not customizable and cannot be painted or textured. It has a lower aesthetic appeal.
Asphalt is a flexible material thus it doesn’t crack in cold climates.
Pros and Cons of Asphalt Driveway

Which is better Concrete or Asphalt Driveway

It depends on a lot of factors. If your budget is low you can go for an asphalt driveway which is 50% less chapter than Concrete Driveway. If you want your driveway to be fancier, coloured or stamped then you certainly have to go with a Concrete driveway.

If you like a more street-like appearance then you can go for an Asphalt driveway. If you live in a hot country you can choose concrete as the Asphalt can become gooey. If you live in a cold climate area you can choose an Asphalt driveway as concrete can crack in cold climates.

Concrete or Asphalt Driveway Cost

The first question that comes to your mind when thinking about driveway material is – which is cheaper concrete or asphalt driveway? As per the site Costhelper, the Asphalt driveway costs $2-$5 per square foot and the Concrete driveway costs $3-$10 per square foot. Thus Asphalt driveway is 50 % less costly.

Which is better Concrete or Asphalt Driveway

It depends on a lot of factors. If your budget is low you can go for an asphalt driveway which is 50% less chapter than Concrete Driveway. If you want your driveway to be fancier, coloured or stamped then you certainly have to go with a Concrete driveway.

Which is Cheaper Concrete or Asphalt Driveway

Asphalt Driveway is 50% less costly than Concrete Driveway.

Is it better to have an asphalt or concrete driveway?

A concrete driveway is better in terms of longevity. An asphalt driveway is better at cost-effectiveness. A concrete driveway is better in hot areas while an Asphalt driveway is better in cold climates.

Is concrete cheaper than asphalt?

No, Concrete is more expensive than Asphalt. Both are used for making driveways, but the initial cost of an Asphalt driveway is 50% less than a Concrete driveway.

Is it cheaper to Pave or Concrete?

It is always Cheaper to Pave. Concrete Driveways are 50% more expensive.

What type of driveway lasts the longest?

Concrete driveway lasts longer. It can last up to 50 years if properly maintained. An asphalt driveway can last 20 years or more, which is less than half of the life cycle of a Concrete driveway.

Is concrete harder than asphalt?

Yes, concrete is harder than Asphalt. Concrete is rigid material while Asphalt is a flexible material. The Asphalt takes impact really well being a flexible material.

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