Lifestyle

Asphalt vs. Concrete Driveways

A proper driveway adds value to your home and creates the first impression of your home by passers-by and visitors. The two paving materials most commonly used in driveway construction are asphalt and concrete. So how do you choose which material is best for your home?

 

Both asphalt and concrete contain stone and sand. The difference between the two is the binding agent; asphalt utilizes a petroleum product known as liquid asphalt and concrete utilizes cement as the binder. The characteristics of these binding agents are the difference between an asphalt driveway and a concrete driveway.

 

If cost is your main concern, concrete is more expensive than asphalt. The price of asphalt may have small fluctuations, depending on the cost of crude oil, but many companies recycle old asphalt into new product which helps keep the price lower. The cement binder for concrete requires a great deal of energy and resources to be produced, causing the price to be higher than asphalt.

 

If appearance is most important to you when choosing, concrete is the best choice. Asphalt, by nature of its ingredients, appears dark gray to black and there is little chance to alter its appearance. However, due to its dark color, most stains and spills that occur will remain hidden. Concrete is pale gray. But concrete can be stained or tinted to an infinite number of colors, allowing you to match your driveway to your home’s exterior and surroundings. Unfortunately, the lighter colors also mean most marks, stains and spills will be obvious. Concrete can also be stamped or brushed, finished or etched to give the appearance of anything from rock to brick and beyond – your imagination and the skill of the installer is the only limit.

 

If maintenance is your worry, both materials will deteriorate over time and both materials may crack. This type of damage can be minimized by ensuring the subsurface is properly prepared with appropriate material. Asphalt will require sealing every 3-5 years to refresh its appearance, strengthen it and lengthen its lifespan. Should crack and damage occur, there is cold patch materials available that are easily installed and blended to match the surrounding driveway. Concrete can also be sealed or have a top coat added to refresh the appearance. However, any damage that occurs is harder to repair and the patched spots will be obvious.

 

An attractive driveway distinguishes your home from others while creating a welcoming pathway. Choosing between asphalt and concrete is a decision that should be well researched and the pros and cons of both materials considered before you choose the material that is best for you.