Asphalt and concrete are the traditional (and most common) choices for homeowners’ driveways. Asphalt and concrete are both functional, and less costly than brick or stone pavers (practicality and function ability depending on where you live and the climate conditions of course). With the right foundation, installation, and maintenance, asphalt and concrete are durable and dependable; and homeowners have been using them for decades. Asphalt and concrete must be doing something right… But maintenance and care are the keys to a long lasting and “good looking” asphalt/concrete driveway.
Asphalt is “traditionally” less costly than concrete. Foundation and installation are keys to a good performing driveway because without it you may encounter cracks and drainage issues in the future.
Washing your driveway will be important to keep stains and leaks from permanently staining the pavement. Even though asphalt isblack and oil leaks may not be as visible as it would be with concrete, oil/chemicals that sit for long periods of time will stain.
To protect your asphalt from the damaging effects of the sun, wind, and water, homeowners are recommended to seal/sealcoat the driveway every 2-3 years. These natural occurrences cause the asphalt to harden due to oxidization. Even though oxidation will occur regardless, sealing will help slowing down the process. You can do this your self by purchasing buckets and sealing it on your own, or by hiring professionals that specialize in this and will do it right. A popular company is Jet Black; but there are numerous others. We recommend not to trust the random guy that shows up at your door one day asking if you want them to sealcoat your driveway.
But as mentioned before, the most important thing is that the asphalt driveway was installed with the right foundation, and constructed with the proper materials, grading, and requirements for your environment. With a poor or improper foundation, no sealcoat will prevent the potential damages.
If cracks and other damage does appear there are varies options that can be taken. There are crack repair materials, patch work can be done, resurfacing etc. However, you may want to contact an asphalt contractor or other professional to properly access the issue and direct you in the right course of action.
On hot days you may feel that the asphalt driveway is a little “softer”. This is the nature of asphalt because it flexes unlike concrete. You can also put salt and de-icing chemicals on asphalt unlike concrete.
Asphalt is functional and practical.
Concrete is a durable and strong substance that can last for decades if installed and treated correctly. Proper maintenance is the key to a concrete driveway.
Concrete Driveway Photo by: Geek Tonic
It is recommended that a new concrete driveway be sealed after construction. A sealant should be applied every year or so depending on the type of sealant used. Before any sealant is applied however, you should wash the surface of debris or chemicals. Concrete sealants are available in a clear or tinted solution.
Concrete driveways, like asphalt driveways can be stained due to oil and gasoline. In addition, salts and de-icing chemicals can severely damage concrete and is not recommended. Instead, sand is preferable for concrete driveways. Even if homeowners are not directly putting de-icing chemicals on the concrete driveway, car tires still drag it in from the streets. This will eventually eat away at the concrete.
Winters can also cause potential harm to concrete. Unlike asphalt, concrete does not flex. It is rigid in nature; which is why expansion joints are used in order to lessen the impact. Because of this rigid nature, freezing and thawing cycles can cause severe cracks.
Heavy weight should also be avoided. The average concrete driveway is built to handle the everyday automobile or van. It is not however, made to handle large dump trucks, construction vehicles, and other heavy equipment. This may cause possible cracking as well.
Like with asphalt, a concrete professional will be able to better access any damage and issues.
Concrete is known for its strength and durability, and with proper maintenance and care you can help it live up its full potential.
Both asphalt and concrete (when installed correctly) will do the job of providing a functional and working driveway. Depending on where you live and the look you prefer, you can determine the best fit for you. Both are the traditional and most cost effective options for homeowners’ driveways. But proper care and maintenance is needed for it to reach its full potential. BUT, of course you can always get a driveway with our decorative/protective coatings and have no maintenance altogether 😉
If you have any additional questions/comments, please feel free to ask us below!
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