Both concrete and asphalt contain stones. However, the other materials inside each of them vary.
Asphalt contains tar-like petroleum as the adhesive. On the other hand, concrete contains cement as the adhesive and small pieces of rocks to provide aesthetic appeal.
As a result, the appearance, cost, behavior in different climates, durability, repairing process, etc., vary too.
When you choose between concrete vs. asphalt, knowing the differences between these two types will help you go for the best bet.
As the cost is not the same in installing an asphalt and concrete driveway, you should go for either one depending on your budget.
With that said, at the end of the day, it depends entirely on your personal preference.
In this article, I will discuss the differences between these two types of driveways and will try to answer some of the most frequently asked questions.
Let’s get started.
Asphalt Vs Concrete Driveway
Asphalt Vs Concrete Driveway Cost/price
Regarding materials, installing an asphalt driveway costs less than installing a concrete driveway. In most cases, it’s about half the price.
It will generally cost about $2-$5 per square foot to install an asphalt driveway.
The concrete driveway costs about $3-$6 per square foot, excluding the decorative elements. If you seal, stain, or use any other decoratives, it will add up to the cost of close to $15 per square foot.
Like the cost, professionals installing an asphalt driveway will cost less than installing a concrete driveway. Professionals charge about $2 per square foot for asphalt installation and about $5 per square foot for concrete installation.
Maintenance and Repairs
Regarding maintenance and repairs, asphalt installation makes your life more comfortable than a concrete installation. Nonetheless, a concrete driveway has its sake too.
Let me explain.
An asphalt driveway requires sealing after six to twelve months of installation. The sealing is not an uphill task, though. Any homeowner can do it without hiring any professionals whatsoever. Just make sure you are not going cheap in buying the best asphalt driveway sealer.
A concrete driveway doesn’t necessarily require sealing. However, as sealing is not a challenging task, most of the house owners love to seal the driveway with any top-notch concrete driveway sealer to increase the aesthetic appeal and longevity.
When it’s about resealing, you will want to reseal both asphalt and concrete every three to four years to increase its lifespan.
One of the must-do maintenance steps for both the driveways is removing oil, grease, and other chemical stains, mainly if it’s a concrete driveway.
Let’s compare the maintenance costs and ease of repairing between these two types of driveways.
Repairing an asphalt driveway costs lower than its concrete counterpart.
The process of repairing asphalt cracks is easy in this case. You will find many crack fillers, pothole patches, and asphalt cold-patches to accomplish different steps in fixing crumbling asphalt driveways. Fixing asphalt driveways involves filling the cracks, potholes repairing, resurfacing, fixing crumbling edges.
Concrete driveways require almost similar types of fixing like concrete crack filling. However, the process is more challenging, and the maintenance cost is higher than doing the same for asphalt.
Lifespan and Durability
Both asphalt and concrete driveway last a considerably long period.
But if you compare these two, the concrete driveway lasts longer than its asphalt counterpart.
For asphalt, the average lifespan is about 20-25 years, and for concrete, it’s about 30-40 years.
You don’t want to repave the surface every year, and you don’t have to do it. With that said, resurfacing, resealing every three to four years will ensure the desired lifespan for sure.
Repairing cracks and degreasing oil stains are essential maintenance tasks you have to do when required to ensure durability.
Aesthetic and Design
Whether a driveway is aesthetically appealing or not varies from house owner to house owner.
If you like black more than anything else, then asphalt is the one that has all the potential to steal your heart.
The majority of the house owners prefer the concrete surface to the asphalt surface. So, if you plan to sell the house soon, better install a concrete driveway to increase its curb appeal.
When it’s about customizing the driveway, it’s easier to customize concrete than asphalt.
It’s relatively easy to stain, stamp, color a concrete surface. Moreover, the asphalt surface contains rough edges, but the concrete doesn’t have that.
On top of that, some sealants provide high gloss, some low gloss, semi-gloss, some don’t offer any gloss at all and keep the original color.
Climate and Weather
The climate and weather of the area you live in should directly impact you while deciding the type of driveway you want to install.
If you live in an area where you face the extreme cold in the winter, you may want to consider installing asphalt. It’s because constant freezing and thawing affect the concrete surface negatively. Salt and de-icer can be a reason for substantial damage too.
On the contrary, if you live in an area where you face too hot in the summer, you should get your eye into the concrete. Why? Because excessive heat tends to make, the asphalt crumbles over time and can end up being sticky to the shoes. Asphalt shrinks and expands with the temperature changes too.
Asphalt Driveway Features and Benefits
Let me summarize some of the features and benefits of using asphalt for your driveway –
- Asphalt costs low to install.
- Installing the driveway is an easy process that any DIYer can do effortlessly.
- The curing time is quite fast. You can use the driveway almost immediately after the installation.
- Although asphalt requires more maintenance, it’s easy to do.
- Repairing cracks, potholes, crumbling edges, resurfacing are some straightforward processes.
- Resealing the asphalt surface is inexpensive and easy to do.
- It can withstand pretty well in winter.
- Asphalt lasts considerably longer. It can last up to 20-30 years if you do the maintenance and repair right.
- You don’t have to resurface the driveway frequently. Resurfacing every three to five years will get the job done.
- Asphalt doesn’t show the stain as it boasts black color.
- Doesn’t get affected in cold climates.
Best Asphalt Driveway Sealer
Concrete Driveway Features and Benefits
Now, let’s list down some of the core benefits of using concrete for your driveways –
- The concrete is easily customizable. You can stamp, color, stain, score a concrete surface with ease.
- Multiple color options and gloss types are available for the concrete sealants.
- It can withstand excessive heat better than its asphalt counterpart.
- Although it’s easy to seal concrete surfaces, it’s not a compulsory job. Even without sealing, it can last for years.
- It offers longer durability than its asphalt surfaces.
- Concrete adds up the curb appeal to your house, hence makes it more valuable when selling.
- It requires less maintenance.
- Concrete doesn’t get soft in excessive heat like asphalt driveways.
Best Concrete Driveway Sealer
- 100% pure acrylic, high performance lower odor solvent sealer
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- Non-yellowing formula (Doesn't yellow the surface in time)
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
#1. How to remove oil stains from an asphalt driveway?
Answer: Removing oil stains from asphalt is not a labor-intensive task by any means. The level of work depends on the level of stain, though. Here is the list of tasks in brief –
- First, clean the surface and remove as much debris and other loose materials as possible. Don’t use a pressure washer, a simple hose to do this. Using a pressure washer with a high-pressure nozzle may lead the oil to spread further into the surface.
- Now, it’s time to mop up the surface oil or excess oil. Use a simple absorbent cloth to wipe up the excess oil.
- You can use several elements with the absorbent cloth to make the wiping easy. If it’s a new spot, applying only soap water should do the trick.
- If soap water is not sufficient, use some other products like kitty litter, soda, coca-cola, laundry detergent, sawdust, etc.
- If the oil spot is old, and you haven’t been able to remove it yet by applying the above elements, try applying a commercial degreaser or scrub the area with a wire brush using some cleaning detergent.
#2. How much does an asphalt driveway cost?
Answer: Homeowners pay per square foot for driveways. The cost of installing an asphalt driveway ranges from $2 to $5 per square foot.
So, the final costs depend on the total area you live in.
On top of that, it costs more if you hire professionals instead of doing it yourself.
#3. How to fix cracks in the asphalt driveway?
Answer: Fixing small cracks doesn’t require anything fancy. Filling up the cracks with a useful crack filler will get the job done.
However, filling up large cracks involves some extra work. It would help if you bought rubberized sealant to fill up the large cracks.
Force the rubberized sealant inside the crack using a tool like a screwdriver to help its way quickly into the crack.
Put on gloves and lit a propane torch to melt the rubberized sealant. Hold the torch from a few inches far from the sealant.
Finally, you can follow up with a top sealant. It’s optional, though.
No matter if you are fixing a small crack or a large crack, wash the area to remove any debris and other loose materials. It’s better if you pressure wash if it’s a large crack or at least uses a wire brush to scrub inside the crack.
Also, do the fixing on a dry day. There shouldn’t be any rain or mist in the air.
#4. How to repair cracks in a concrete driveway?
Before you start repairing the cracks, clean the surface, and give it enough time to dry.
Now, let’s move to the repairing steps. First, marginally overfill the cracks with the sealant.
Allow the sealant to cure for about one or two hours.
Next, remove the access part of the sealant with the scraper.
If the cracked area is more than a half-inch in-depth, you should use a backer rod or silica sand to fill the depth a bit. It’s because the depth shouldn’t be more than half an inch.
If you plan to topcoat the driveway after repairing the crack, then you should underfill the crack instead of overfilling it. Before the sealant dries out, put some silica sand on the cracks to get better bonding.
If the crack is bigger (more than 1/4″ to 1/2″ wide), use a chase saw to clean the gap. Then blow out the loose materials, and next, apply the sealant, then level the sealant with a tool you find suitable.
#5. How much does a concrete driveway cost?
Answer: Installing a concrete driveway costs more than installing asphalt. On average, the price from $3-$6 per square foot.
Like installing asphalt, the cost of installing concrete will vary depending on the contractors you are going to hire. It will save a lot if you do the installation yourself.
#6. How to remove oil stains from the concrete driveway?
Answer: Removing oil stains from concrete is pretty similar to removing stains from asphalt.
- Use strong detergent and a brush to wash away the oil. Alternatively, you can use a sponge and detergent.
- Next, apply an appropriate degreaser or concrete cleaner to remove oils.
- To break down the oil and soak it from the surface, apply a poultice.
These simple steps should remove oil stains from concrete surfaces.
#7. How to fix a crumbling concrete driveway?
Answer: First, remove all the crumbling materials using a chisel. Using a wire brush is better than using a chisel to remove the loose materials and make the surface ready for fixing.
Remove any oil, grease, or paint (if there is any) from the area you will deal with.
Clean the area with water and give it enough time to dry before applying the bonding agent or primer. You can use a brush or roller to apply the bonding agent efficiently. Give it the required drying time as per the manufacturer’s recommendation.
In a nutshell, both asphalt and concrete have their own set of highs and lows.
If minimizing the cost and getting a considerably durable solution is your top-most priority, go for asphalt.
If you are looking for an aesthetically pleasing solution and lasts long, a concrete driveway is the one you should get your eye on.