Hiring a professional local concreter or asphalt contractor can be expensive so it is a good idea to make sure that you have weighed up all the different aspects and choose the options that best meets your needs. Here are some of the different aspects between asphalt and concrete that you should consider before hiring a contractor. 

Improving your home and garden can make it a great place to live and add value to your property. However, for many home improvement activities, you need to find a tradesman to undertake the task as they need to be licensed (like a plumber) or they will just do a better more professional job than a DIYer. 

Asphalt VS Concrete Driveways

Attraction

Sometimes driveways are viewed as extensions of the street, hence why it makes sense to have them have a similar aesthetic; such as asphalt. There are quite a few differences between concrete and asphalt, however.

That said, there are options and ways to get around having either a concrete or asphalt driveway and still enabling it to be visually appealing, and more than the traditional black or off-white colors that we are accustomed to. Generally speaking, concrete is easier to work with as it relates to versatility and being able to pull off different finishing touches.

Concrete is versatile as it relates to aesthetics, and due to its porous nature, it can easily be stained or tinted. It can also take on different looks by methods such as stamping, etching, and engraving.

Asphalt, however, is more restrictive by nature. Due to how asphalt has to be laid and compressed, there is not much room for creativity or uniqueness. Further, until recent years, there was not even an option for other than color; it was always black. Now at least it is possible to add tinting, or even some coloring. 

Oil Leaks

As relates to the overall appearance and upkeep of your driveway, you will be happy to know that oil leaks are far less obvious on asphalt driveways. This is because asphalt in its default state is black, and that makes any oil spill or leaks from your car fluid’s that much less noticeable.

Asphalt is susceptible to damage from gasoline spills, and extra effort should be taken to ensure that this does not happen for the durability of your driveway.

Curing Time

The overall installation time (from when it is layed to when it is ready for use) is far less for asphalt as compared to concrete; which is why they are favored among construction sites. It is also highly durable, making it easy to contend with high traffic areas.

After the drying process is complete, asphalt driveways are safe to be used, whereas concrete will take several days to finish setting up.

Climate

Where temperature isn’t moderate year-round, such as areas where it can get very hot or very cold, the climate can be an important aspect that you should take into account.

Concrete has been shown to have issues with cracking and not holding up correctly in colder climates, and because of the tar and components in asphalt, it does not hold up well in extremely hot temperatures. In some cases, if the asphalt is subjected to hot temperatures for extended periods, it can begin to become pliable and even start to deform.

Maintenance

Asphalt does take a little more maintenance to continue to look its best as opposed to concrete. After the first 6 months of its life, asphalt driveways will need to be sealed, and every 3-5 years after. This is not expensive, or require any special tools, and can be completed yourself if you desire.

This will extend the life of your asphalt driveway, and if done as needed, will help your driveway to last for decades. Concrete driveways, on the other hand, do not need to be sealed, but doing so can ensure the look and finish remains intact. They will stain easier than asphalt; even with sealing, and will require a degreasing product to be applied for any stains.

Cracks in either concrete or asphalt driveways can be fixed, but due to their nature, asphalt driveways are easier to repair. The cracks that are fixed in concrete driveways will be more obvious, due to their color and the appearance that weathering can have.

Cost

With the amount of work and the type of materials used, asphalt costs much less than concrete. Concrete is created by using aggregates, cement, and water to form a hard surface that can be molded into what we use for pavements and driveways. Asphalt is a combination of both aggregates and bitumen; bitumen being made from crude oil that makes it possible to bind together aggregate into what we drive one, and what is often used as an asphalt driveway.

Because of the cost of the materials alone as relates to what is used in concrete vs asphalt, you can expect to spend up to 45% less on asphalt driveways then their concrete counterparts.

Summing up

After reading the above guide you should be well equipped to decide if you will use asphalt or concrete. Next step is to find and get quotes for a professional concreter or asphalt contractor. 

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