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Should Your Driveway Be Made Using Concrete Or Asphalt?

Deciding whether your driveway should be made using concrete or asphalt, comes down to a number of different factors. Your budget, where it will be laid, how long you want it to last, and whether you’re looking for low maintenance, are just some of them.

To help you decide what material your driveway should be made using, here are each of those different factors explored in a little more detail:

The weather

Cold temperatures

The climate where your home is situated should be considered carefully before choosing a concrete or asphalt driveway. For anyone living in colder regions that regularly experience harsh winters and extremely low temperatures that dip below freezing point, asphalt may be favored over concrete, and here’s why:

  • Asphalt isn’t damaged by cold temperatures, and isn’t damaged by road salt
  • Because asphalt absorbs the sun’s heat, it causes ice and snow to melt quicker than it would were it on a driveway made using concrete
  • Concrete is prone to expansion and contraction related to frost heaves, which over time, can cause serious damage
  • With salt use – spread on roads to melt ice and snow – concrete deteriorates

Hot temperatures

Those with homes in regions that regularly experience extreme heat, would benefit from using concrete for their driveways, and here’s why:

  • Asphalt is prone to softening in extreme heat, and then become sticky or oily to drive on, which can be dangerous
  • When the temperature cools at night time, asphalt will re-harden, creating a constant cycle that can lead to cracks and sagging

Installation and maintenance

While it is true that asphalt is cheaper and quicker to install than concrete, it requires more maintenance to keep it in good condition. That said, while repairs and maintenance may be frequently needed, they aren’t particularly expensive and are relatively simple to do.

Concrete is more costly to install, but requires a lot less maintenance. But, when concrete does need to be repaired, it can be more expensive and trickier than with asphalt.

Durability

When professionally installed in a region with a moderate climate, maintained properly and regularly, both asphalt and concrete are very durable as materials for a driveway. Generally speaking, driveways made from concrete can last up to 30 or 40 years, while those made from concrete can last between 20 to 30 years.

While asphalt paving doesn’t last as long as concrete, it doesn’t cost as much as concrete to replace. But, should you neglect your driveway, whatever material it’s made from, you’ll find that it starts to crumble and fail within a matter of years.

How quickly can you drive on an asphalt or concrete driveway once installed?

Within a couple of days of your asphalt driveway being installed, you should be able to drive on it, while a concrete driveway needs to settle and cure fully for around a week.

Do asphalt or concrete driveways need to be sealed?

Asphalt driveways must be resealed every three and five years following the first seal, in order to keep them in a good condition, and while concrete driveways don’t need to be sealed so often, it can help reduce fading.

Does either surface stain?

Asphalt is great at disguising oil or gas stains thanks to its darker color, but concrete tends to show every kind of stain, very clearly. A concrete driveway will need to be cleaned more aggressively in order to keep it looking fresh and functional.

Ultimately, the type of material you choose for your driveway will come down to consideration of all the factors listed above, but it’s always best to discuss your options in detail with a local paving professional, before making your final decision.

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