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Both asphalt and concrete are made of a mixture of sand and crushed stone. This mixture is called “aggregate.” If they’re both made of aggregate, though, why do they look so different?

The answer is in what binds the aggregate together. Asphalt uses a black, petroleum-based binding agent that’s poured hot in one continuous slab and smoothed over with a steamroller. The end result is a long black slab that’s often referred to as “blacktop” or “pavement.”

Concrete, on the other hand, binds its aggregate with cement. This allows it to be poured cold, and it’s usually poured in sections rather than as a single slab. It takes longer to set, as you’ll usually have to wait several days for it to be finished (whereas asphalt can be ready in 24 hours or less).

Is Asphalt Cheaper Than Concrete For A Driveway?


So you’re in the market for a new driveway or perhaps you’re building a new home and need to decide how to pave your driveway. Either way, you’ll almost certainly have two traditional options to choose from- Concrete or Asphalt.

They are similar but have key differences you should consider before making a decision. These considerations include aesthetics, climate, maintenance, cost, and restrictions.

Both concrete and asphalt must have well-compressed bases of gravel before application. Both take time ‘cure’ before they can be driven on, although concrete takes several days while asphalt takes several hours.

In addition, both are made from the same general materials-stone and sand. However, the difference comes from the adhesive. Here asphalt the adhesive is tar and in concrete its cement.

These two substrates give their unique characteristic. They also affect costs, durability, and maintenance.

In this blog, we’ll discuss a few takeaways to remember as you continue to make the best decision for your needs and budget.

Characteristics Of An Asphalt Driveway

  • Asphalt is less expensive.
  • Asphalt is a softer material, leading it to deteriorate faster and easier than concrete repairs.
  • With proper maintenance, expensive repairs can be avoided.
  • It does not have the creative design asphalt than concrete does, but recent developments now allow asphalt to be mixed with coloring or be sealed with color tints.
  • The material offers 30+ years of use.
  • It requires occasional resurfacing and resealing every three to five years.
  • Although it requires more maintenance, asphalt repair is easier than concrete.

For these reasons, asphalt driveways aren’t best for busy families that will have a lot of driveway traffic and heavy use. But, for those of you looking for a cost-effective option with a clean and sleek look, asphalt is the right choice.

Choose asphalt paving company to solve your asphalt related issues.

Asphalt or Concrete: Which Is Better For You?

This simple variance leads to a variety of differences between the materials.

Here are four ways both the driveway material differ.

1. Maintenance

Asphalt demands regular attention to keep it looking presentable, while concrete preserves its appearance and quality without the need for frequent maintenance. To keep asphalt performing at its best, it needs resealing around every 2-3 years, whereas concrete can last longer without this attention

2. Lifespan and Durability

Overall, asphalt is less durable than concrete. With proper maintenance, it can last 30 years. Alternatively, concrete provides a sturdy, long-lasting option, and can last homeowners 50+ years with occasional repairs and degreasing.

3. Climate and Water

Homeowners living in very cold regions should consider how climate and weather patterns affect their pavement decisions.

In cold winters, concrete may crack from constant freezing and thawing, while road salt eats away at concrete surfaces. Hot climates have an effect on asphalt driveways in negative ways, as well. Asphalt softens in the hot sun and can stick to shoes, clothing, and car tires.

4. Aesthetic and Design

When it comes to the look of your driveway, pavement material plays an important role. You can stain, tint, etch, or stamp a concrete driveway to get the desired look. Finishes provide alternative colors or hues to the natural off-white, grayish color of concrete.

Asphalt, however, be required to be rolled and compressed during installation. It does not lend itself well to finishes, stamping, or etching. Some sealants contain tints or coloring, but options are generally limited to black.

Is Asphalt Less Expensive Than Concrete?

Although asphalt paving isn’t as likely to suffer from cracking as is concrete, even a very thickly-laid asphalt driveway can still experience cracks when the frost from a harsh winter penetrates it again and again.

So, what’s the good news?

Asphalt tends to be cheaper to repair than concrete, for the simple reason that asphalt itself is cheaper to purchase.

You’ll also find the process of seal coating to be cheaper if your driveway is paved with asphalt. Even winter maintenance tends to be easier and less expensive with an asphalt-paved driveway.

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