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Asphalt vs. Concrete for Driveways

Asphalt vs. Concrete for Driveways

Installing a new driveway for your home can make your home look even more appealing. Asphalt and concrete are among the most common surfaces to use but some choose simple and cheap gravel or even brick driveways. We won’t be going so much into the piecemeal types of driveways here but instead, give you the information that you need in order to make an informed decision on what to build around your property.

Concrete

Concrete has long been the number one choice for home buyers and builders when it comes to driveways. It’s light off white colors and general lack of maintenance needs have both an aesthetic and workload appeal which is why most residential properties have concrete driveways. 

Concrete is a widely appreciated aesthetic. However, it has its drawbacks as well. Concrete is prone to oil stains from grease, and gasoline. It can also crack under extreme weight or during extreme cold that affects the aesthetic value of the concrete over its lifetime, which can be as long as 40 or more years. 

The good news is that removing stains on concrete is easy. It can be as simple as applying a degreaser and power washing every couple of years to maintain it. There are also sealants that can extend the life of your driveway.

Asphalt

Asphalt functions similarly to concrete as the two of them are made from roughly the same material on top of a hard-packed foundation. The difference between the two is the adhesive used to create the material. In the case of concrete, cement is used which creates a hard, rigid surface. But asphalt uses tar that gives it its black color and makes it more flexible.

Asphalt is cheaper to install but requires maintenance and resurfacing every so often. 

When it’s properly taken care of, it can last for over 20 years long which is pretty good for a product that can often come at half the concrete driveway cost to install. Still, asphalt’s tar-based adhesive makes it vulnerable to high heat which can make the surface sticky and, in the most extreme climates, can cause the asphalt to warp what should be a flat driving surface.

Concrete Vs Asphalt

So is there a ‘concrete’ answer as to which is better? Not really, but when it comes to certain regions it’s advised to be mindful of concrete’s sensitivity to the cold and that the surface can be damaged by common deicers used to keep the driveway snow and ice-free. Similar to asphalt, concrete does have a weakness to extreme heat. 

The other major deciding factor between the two for many customers is their price points. 

Asphalt installation will cost you roughly $2.50/sq foot to $4.00/sq foot while concrete’s lower end of the price starts at $4.00/sq foot. The money you’d save by choosing asphalt can fluctuate quite a bit as the tar is an oil product and is subject to fluctuating oil prices. So if you want an asphalt driveway, you may want to choose a time where the price per barrel is low and just use a temporary gravel driveway while you wait. 

Another final thing you will need to research if you live in an area with an HOA or under local building codes that may limit your driveway options and force you to go one way or the other. Most HOA’s will opt to make concrete the default but it may not be an actual rule where you live.

How To Choose The Right Contractor For The Job?

Due to the usual uniformity of the job, there is little difference in the visuals in the end products produced by veterans and experienced workers. 

You still want to be sure that the contractors you are working with do have some experience, but when shopping between contractors you’ll definitely be comparing quotes to find the right price for you. 

In the case of Concrete driveway contractors, you may also be shopping for coloration, stamping options or other aesthetics that the competition may not offer. 

If you’re in the New Orleans area though, Big Easy Landscaping is an affordable contractor for your customizable concrete driveways. We also offer pavestone driveways if you’re interested in completely bucking the common trend and standing out from the neighborhood. Contact us today!

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