Asphalt or Concrete: Which is the best choice for your paving project?

Asphalt or concrete—which should you choose for your driveway, sidewalk or parking lot? How do they compare on price? Which will give you the best results? Which will last longer? Does one option require less maintenance?

Well, the answer is … (drum roll please) … it depends. You choice of concrete or asphalt will depend on various factors including how the pavement will be used, the climate where it will be laid, your budget, and more.

We’ve put together this handy guide to help you figure out whether asphalt or concrete will be best material for your driveway or other residential paving project.

Paving choice considerations

There is a lot to consider when deciding on a paving material:

  • Is your pavement private or for public use?
  • How much traffic will be on your pavement each day?
  • Will you be able to keep traffic off the newly paved area for a while?
  • Will you be storing heavy loads on your pavement?
  • Is the climate where you live on the cold side or hot?
  • Do you get freezing temperatures in the winter?
  • How big is the area you need to pave?
  • Which is more important to you – upfront cost or how long the pavement lasts

Once you have answered these questions, you in a good position to make a sound decision

Does the weather affect asphalt and concrete differently?

The first thing to consider when choosing between a concrete or asphalt driveway is your climate.

If you live in a colder area where the winters are harsh and temperatures drop below freezing point then asphalt may be the best choice for your project.

Extreme cold climate

  • Asphalt isn’t affected by colder temperatures and it isn’t harmed by contact with road salt.
  • Asphalt absorbs heat from the sun which will cause snow and ice to melt faster than it would on a concrete driveway.
  • Concrete is prone to frost heaves, expansion, and contraction – which may lead to damage over time.
  • Concrete deteriorates with salt use, which is spread on roads to melt snow and ice.

Extreme hot climate

  • Concrete is the preferred pavement material for areas that get a lot of heat or sun.
  • Asphalt pavement softens in extreme heat – it can become oily or sticky to drive on.
  • Asphalt will re-harden as soon as things cool down at night. This constant cycle of softening and hardening can cause it to crack and sag.

What is the installation and maintenance like for concrete and asphalt?

Although asphalt can be installed a lot cheaper and faster then concrete there is a lot of maintenance work needed to keep the asphalt up to standard.

The maintenance and repair work is quite frequent with asphalt but it’s easy to do and it won’t cost much out of your pocket.

With asphalt maintenance, you might not even need to call in a professional and there are plenty of DIY guides online to help you out – just check out some of our other blog posts!

Concrete on the other hand costs more to install but it doesn’t need to be maintained as often as asphalt. However, if your concrete does need to be repaired it’s often more difficult and more expensive to take care of then asphalt.

Which lasts longer: concrete or asphalt?

If installed properly, in a moderate climate, and maintained on a regular basis, both options will last for decades.

A concrete driveway should last anywhere between 30 to 40 years.
An asphalt driveway should last around 20 to 30 years.

Asphalt paving may last less time, but it costs less to replace than concrete pavement.

However, if you neglect your driveway and ignore any necessary maintenance then both types of driveway will crumble away and fail within a few years.

Can you drive on asphalt or concrete sooner?

If you need to drive on your new paving quickly, asphalt is probably the way to go. You can drive on an asphalt driveway within a couple of days of installing it.

With concrete, you’ll need to wait a week or so until it is fully cured and safe to drive on.

This is an important factor to keep in mind if your local area doesn’t have a lot of street parking or if you can’t wait a week for concrete to cure.

Does asphalt or concrete need to be sealed?

Your asphalt will need to be resealed every three to five years after the initial seal. This task is easy to do by yourself if you want to, and it’s an absolute necessity if you want to prolong the life of your driveway.

You don’t have to seal concrete driveways every couple of years, but it does cut down on the amount of fading that occurs to the surface layer of your concrete. So, you can use sealing to give your concrete that freshly-laid look.

Does concrete or asphalt stain?

When it comes to spills like engine oil, gas drips, or even rust marks asphalt is a dark surface and can hide stains and wear really well.

Concrete on the other hand tends to show every spill and stain on its surface. If you choose to go with a concrete pavement then you’re going to have to endure a more aggressive cleaning regime to maintain a fresh-looking driveway.

Still not sure on what paving option is right for you? Call us! We can help you with unbiased advice and guidance in your quest for the perfect pavement.

At Murphree Paving, we provide high-quality asphalt paving, asphalt repair, and asphalt maintenance to residential, commercial, municipal, and industrial clients.

Call (662) 844-2331 during business hours and get a guaranteed same-day response.

Get in touch with us today to request your free quote.

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