What’s the Difference Between Asphalt and Concrete?

Paved surfaces take up thousands of square miles across the United States. If you need a way to get from your street to your driveway or need a place to park while you go shopping, you used a paved surface. While there are a few different options for paving, two stand above the rest – asphalt and concrete.
If you’re building a new driveway or trying to pick a material for your parking lot, you’ll need to choose between asphalt and concrete – so which one is better? Let’s look at the individual pros and cons of asphalt and concrete as a paving surface so you know what’s right for your project.

Concrete Drieway

Concrete Advantages

  • Strength – Concrete is among the strongest choices for residential paving projects. It can handle heavy loads without issue and won’t mind if you have to park the RV on it for several months.

  • Longevity – A professionally laid concrete driveway can last upwards of forty to fifty years if properly maintained.

  • Aesthetic Variety – Concrete can be stamped, rolled with patterns, and even tinted for your aesthetic preferences. Asphalt cannot be customized.

  • Low-Maintenance – Concrete requires little maintenance over its lifespan. Homeowners will need to fix any evident damage before it spreads and occasionally degrease their concrete.

Concrete Disadvantages

  • Cost – Concrete is among the most expensive residential paving materials. Individual costs vary by region and material choices, but a concrete driveway or sidewalk can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars.

  • Stains More EvidentOil stains and other marks  are much more evident on concrete than they are asphalt.

  • Expensive to Repair – Even smaller concrete repairs are expensive while larger repairs may cost thousands.

Asphalt Advantages

  • Affordable – Asphalt is so popular in part to its affordability. An asphalt project can cost hundreds and possibly thousands less than that same project in concrete.

  • Beauty – It’s hard to deny the aesthetic appeal of a fresh, gleaming blacktop.

  • Bends but Doesn’t Break – Asphalt swells and shrinks with the weather. In other words, it bends in extreme weather where concrete may break.

  • Repairs – Asphalt is much less expensive to repair than concrete. Many homeowners can complete simple asphalt repairs.

  • Long Lifespan – Asphalt doesn’t normally last as long as concrete but with proper installation and maintenance can last upwards of twenty to thirty years.

Asphalt Disadvantages

  • Sensitive to Extreme Temperatures – Asphalt can handle most temperatures thanks to its ability to shrink and expand but might struggle with extreme cold or heat. Extreme cold makes the asphalt more susceptible to physical damage like chips and cracks while extreme heat can cause the asphalt to become susceptible to pitting and other surface damage.

  • Maintenance – Asphalt needs proper maintenance to last its longest. Proper asphalt maintenance includes taking care of small cracks before they become big issues and regularly sealing your asphalt.

Overall Winner – Asphalt

The perfect paving choice will always come down to the individual project, but overall asphalt is our number one choice for all the reasons listed above, especially affordability. For most homeowners, the value of asphalt along with its benefits makes sense for most residential projects.

Choosing Between Asphalt and Concrete

In the end, whether you choose concrete or asphalt depends on your needs, budget, and several other factors. For expert help, give us a call to discuss materials, needs, and budget to help make your choice. Both concrete and asphalt are great when they’re the best choice for your project. Colorado Pavement Solutions can help you decide whether asphalt or concrete is the right choice for your commercial or residential project.