Is it Cheaper to Pave or Concrete a Driveway?

Is it Cheaper to Pave or Concrete a Driveway?

Price difference between asphalt and concrete driveways

The two most common materials used for driveway installation are asphalt and concrete. The debate between these two materials is shown all over the internet. What is the difference between the two? What is the better option for driveways? Which material lasts longer? Between asphalt or concrete, which is the strongest? And the most sought after question, is it cheaper to pave or concrete a driveway?

It’s important to know that the initial cost isn’t the only factor when it comes to the prices of these driveways. You need to take into consideration the costs it takes to maintain them year after year.

Cost Differences Between Asphalt and Concrete Driveways

Asphalt driveways are typically less expensive than concrete driveways, ranging from $2.00 to $4.00 per square foot. Asphalt prices tend to change with fluctuations in crude oil prices. On the other hand, a concrete driveway costs between $4.00 and $6.00 per square foot for a standard installation. Finishes, details, and stains can raise the price per square foot to as much as $15.00.

Maintenance and Repairs on Asphalt and Concrete Driveways

When considering an asphalt driveway, you should be aware of the maintenance and repairs that accompany it. An asphalt driveway should be sealed six months to a year after installation, and then every three to five years. Sealants will help to extend the life of the driveway. Applying a sealant doesn’t need to be done by a professional, it can be DIY.

In comparison, concrete driveways do not require as much sealing. Many homeowners choose to seal their concrete driveways to improve the appearance and preserve the finish, however it’s not needed. Degreasers raise the cost of concrete driveway maintenance, but they are commonly required to remove oil, fuel, and chemical stains that accumulate over time.

Cracks in asphalt and concrete driveways must always be repaired. Asphalt cracks are easier to repair and result in more aesthetically pleasing repairs for homeowners. Concrete cracks are more difficult to repair and cannot be resurfaced.

Asphalt vs. Concrete Differences in Lifespan and Durability

The main difference between asphalt and concrete driveways is that asphalt is less durable. It lasts for 30 years if properly maintained. In contrast, concrete is a strong, long-lasting option that can last homeowners 50 years or more with minor repairs and degreasing.

Aesthetic and Design of Asphalt vs. Concrete Driveways

A concrete driveway can be stained, tinted, etched, or stamped to achieve the desired look. Finishes add colour or hue to the natural off-white, greyish colour of concrete.

However, asphalt must be rolled and compressed during installation. It is not suitable for finishing, stamping, or etching. Some sealants contain tints or colouring, but the majority are black.

Asphalt vs. Concrete Differences When It Comes to Climate and Weather

Homeowners that live in extreme cold or extreme heat should consider how climate and weather patterns influence their pavement decisions between asphalt and concrete driveways. Concrete can crack in cold winters due to constant freezing and thawing, and road salt eats away at concrete surfaces. Hot climates will have a negative impact on asphalt driveways. In the hot sun, asphalt softens and can adhere to shoes, clothing, and car tires.

Characteristics of an Asphalt Driveway

  • Asphalt is less expensive
  • Asphalt is a softer material, leading it to deteriorate faster and easier than concrete repairs
  • With proper maintenance, expensive repairs can be avoided
  • It does not have the creative design aspect that concrete does, but recent developments now allow asphalt to be mixed with colouring or be sealed with colour tints
  • Asphalt lasts up to 30 years with proper maintenance
  • It needs occasional resurfacing and resealing every three to five years
  • Although it requires more maintenance, asphalt repairs are easier than concrete

Characteristics of a Concrete Driveway

  • Concrete is more durable than asphalt
  • Because it is a less flexible material, it cracks in freezing temperatures, and many people turn to concrete patching products
  • Concrete lasts 50+ years with little repairs or maintenance required
  • The only maintenance needed is occasional degreasing
  • Concrete driveways can be resurfaced and offer more opportunities for creative appearance. It can be stamped with patterns, tinted to different colors, given different finishes, or engraved with designs
  • Although it’ more durable overall, when damages do occur, concrete repair is harder and more expensive than asphalt repair

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