Concrete or Asphalt Driveway? Which is Best for You?
If you’re thinking about a new hard-surface driveway, you probably want to consider all your options. If you want a hard, smooth surface, concrete and asphalt are your main options. Maintenance, price, and longevity are all important considerations, as are color choices and other customizing options. Our guide should help you decide which surface is better for your drive.
Asphalt is hands down cheaper than concrete—usually by about half. Depending on your location, asphalt can cost between $2.25 and $4.00 per square, whereas concrete is $4.00-$6.00 per square foot foot (for straight concrete pours). Decorative concrete jobs can cost over $15 per foot, depending on the type of embellishment or upgrade. Be sure to measure your drive before getting quotes so you know how to budget and what to expect.
The upfront cost is only a piece of the price calculation, as longevity impacts total price. An asphalt drive, when properly maintained, might serve you for 20 years. Concrete, on the other hand, may last 40-50 years, depending on the climate and other factors, such as traffic. Asphalt can be resurfaced if it isn’t too damaged. Concrete poses more issues for resurfacing. Obviously if you are driving heavy trucks or equipment on it, that will cause more stress and reduce the life. Also, concrete may not be the best option for really cold climates, as extreme temperatures can cause cracking. Concrete is also susceptible to salt damage in the colder climates, whereas, asphalt can get a bit sticky in extreme heat. Your contractor can explain further what issues might arise with both types and steer you in the right direction for your project.
With asphalt, you don’t have color choices; you’re restricted to a blackish color. Concrete, on the other hand, can be colorized using pigments, including a variety of contrasting grays and reds. This may or may not matter depending on your taste.
Other Decorative Options
While it’s possible to line asphalt drives with pavers or other landscaping materials, you are limited in terms of embellishments. Concrete on the other hand can be stamped or poured in a variety of decorative patterns. Adding aggregate is another decorative option for concrete, which adds a nice textural element to your drive.
With asphalt, you’re stuck with black asphalt. Concrete, on the other hand, can be polished or sealed to make it less susceptible to stains (or make them easier to remove), although finishes can interfere with repairs up the road.
Asphalt driveways need to be sealed 6-12 months after installation and every 2-3 years after. The resealing can be done by the average homeowner and may extend the life of the driveway by up to a decade. Concrete driveways do not have to be sealed, but sealing can improve the appearance and prevent stains. Both material types can be repaired if cracked although concrete repairs tend to remain more visible.
A concrete or asphalt drive can improve the curb appeal of your home and, if you currently have gravel, reduce the amount of debris you track into home. Consult with your contractor for more recommendations for your project and find free and easy quotes on our website.