Home » Asphalt VS Concrete Driveway: Which is Better?

Asphalt VS Concrete Driveway: Which is Better?

After completing your new home, you are now contemplating on which driveway surface to go for. So, you ask yourself, which one is better – asphalt or concrete? With no experience, you start wondering which one will be ideal for your home. Read this Asphalt VS Concrete Driveway article to know the difference.

Asphalt and concrete surfaces have both similar and differing features. Thus, you need to understand these two in-depth before making the final decision. Some of the factors to consider include climate, cost, aesthetics, maintenance, finishes, and durability.

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These two surfaces are similar in that they are both made from the same material which is stone and sand. In addition, asphalt and concrete are required to have compacted bases of gravel before being installed. Also, they take time to cure with concrete taking several days, while asphalt just a few hours.

Comparison Chart: Asphalt vs Concrete Driveway

Factor Asphalt Concrete
Cost $2.50 – $4.00 /sq.ft. $4.00 – $6.00+ /sq. ft.
Weather Issues Softens in high heat Cracks in freezing temperatures
Drying Time Can drive on immediately Needs to cure for a week
Finishes None Multiple types
Climate
  • Shrinks and expands with temperature fluctuations
  • Heat can cause crumbling
  • Cracks in extreme cold
  • Salt/de-icer can damage
Maintenance and Repairs
  • Requires resealing six months after installation and then every three-to-five years
  • Can patch repair
  • Sealing not required, but done every five years can prolong life
  • Repairs are costly
Longevity 20-25 years 30-40 years
Aesthetic Appeal Not as easy to personalize

Rough edges

Easier to stamp, score, color or stain
Colors Primarily black Multiple color options
Wear and Tear
  • Hides oil stains
  • Gasoline can damage
  • Deteriorates quicker
  • Shows oil stains
  • Subject to cracks, even in warm climates
Resurfacing Yes No
Durability Less durable More durable
Weather Issues Softens in high heat Cracks in freezing temperatures

Detail Feature Comparison: Asphalt VS Concrete Driveway

However, the major difference comes in their adhesive. Asphalt uses tar while concrete uses cement. Tar and cement give asphalt and concrete their peculiar features. Moreover, these substrates affect their cost, maintenance, and durability. Of the two, tar is cheaper and degrades faster than cement. But this can be altered if it is well-maintained.

Things you’ll learn in this post are:

  • The vital things to consider before installing either asphalt or concrete
  • The cost, maintenance, and durability of the two sealers
  • Features of asphalt and concrete
  • In which area you need to install either asphalt or concrete surfaces

Aesthetics

Since everyone’s view of beauty is different, some may have their driveway installed with asphalt while others may prefer to have concrete. Asphalt surface has limited options while concrete driveways have unlimited options when it comes to design, color, and finishes.

Cost

It is important that you compare the costs of these two surfaces before setting them up. Generally, asphalt is cheaper to install when compared to concrete. It is estimated that the cost per square foot for asphalt will go for around $2.50 to $4.00. On the other hand, the cost of concrete per sq. ft. is around $4.00 to $6.00. These prices are not fixed as in some situations they may cost more.

Maintenance

To begin with, asphalt surfaces should be sealed between 6 months and 1 year after being installed. Afterward, it should be sealed after every 3 years. When the driveway is properly sealed, it can last more than 20 years.

When it comes to concrete, these don’t need to be sealed yearly to last for more than 40 years. Nevertheless, sealing a concrete driveway will maintain the appearance and finish of the concrete surface. Concrete driveways get stained easily and you will need a degreaser to get rid of oils before sealing.

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Cracks in both asphalt and concrete surfaces can be repaired. But asphalt cracks are easier to repair when compared to concrete. Also, asphalt can be resurfaced at a very small cost leaving a brand new top coat, while this is not possible for concrete. Concrete repairs are normal as a result of weathering.

Color and finishes

As a matter of fact, concrete is very easy to work with in order to get different designs, finishes, and colors. Concrete can be stained or tinted in a wide range of colors and can be stained differently in a single driveway to attain peculiar patterns. In addition, concrete can be stamped, etched, or even engraved to acquire various looks and it can possess different finishes like exposed aggregate or brushed.

On the other hand, asphalt is more limited. This is because it has to be rolled and compressed, so it is almost impossible to get a unique finish. So, you won’t have multiple colors or designs when you sue asphalt.

Climate

The climate of your area plays a huge role in the type of surface that you install. If you live in very cold areas, installing an asphalt driveway will be a great idea. This is because concrete tends to crack and suffer from cold. Alternatively, asphalt dos function well in hot climates as tar becomes soft and it deforms easily. That’s why you need to speak to a professional contractor before deciding to install the driveway in your home.

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Durability

If you want a surface that will last for many years, then concrete is the most ideal choice. Concrete driveways can last for more than 30 years if well maintained, while asphalt driveways can last for at least 20 years. But proper maintenance such as sealing them is key for their longevity.

Conclusion:

We have tried to explain everything in this Asphalt VS Concrete Driveway article that you need to know.

FAQ

Q. What’s the difference between Asphalt and Concrete Seal coating?
Ans. Asphalt sealers should be used on an Asphalt driveway while concrete sealants should be applied on concrete surfaces. Asphalt sealers function by providing a coat that protects the asphalt driveway from the sun and weather, while concrete sealers work by absorbing sealants into the porous surface.

Q. How long does it take for a Driveway sealer to dry?
Ans. This varies from one sealer to another. Some types dry very fast within 1 hour while others take more than 24 hours to dry.