Asphalt vs Concrete Driveway: Costs, Differences, Lifespan

Last Updated on January 25, 2023 by Heenan

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, depending on your budget.

That said, at the end of the day, it depends entirely on your preference.

Asphalt vs Concrete Driveway: Costs, Differences, Lifespan

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 with pros and cons.

Let’s get started.

Asphalt Vs. Concrete Driveway

concrete vs asphalt driveway

Asphalt Vs. Concrete Driveway Cost/price

Regarding concrete asphalt driveway material, installing an asphalt driveway costs less than installing a concrete driveway.

In most cases, it’s about half the price.

Installing an asphalt driveway will generally cost about $2-$5 per square foot.

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.

Asphalt Vs. Concrete Driveway: Maintenance and Repairs

Regarding proper maintenance and repairs of asphalt and concrete driveways, 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.

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 challenging, most house owners love to seal the driveway with any top-notch concrete driveway sealer to increase 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 driveways is removing oil, grease, and other chemical stains, mainly if it’s a concrete driveway.

Let’s compare these two types of driveways’ maintenance costs and repair ease.

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 cold asphalt patches to accomplish different steps in fixing crumbling asphalt driveways.

Fixing asphalt driveways involves filling the cracks, and potholes, repairing, resurfacing, and 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.

Asphalt Vs. Concrete Driveway: Lifespan and Durability

Both asphalt and concrete driveways last a considerably long period.

But if you compare asphalt or concrete, the concrete driveway lasts longer than its 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 yearly, and you don’t have to do it.

That said, resurfacing and resealing every three to four years will ensure the desired lifespan.

Repairing cracks and degreasing oil stains are essential maintenance tasks you have to do when required to ensure durability.

Asphalt Vs. Concrete Driveway: Aesthetic and Design

Whether a driveway is aesthetically appealing 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 house owners prefer the concrete surface to the asphalt surface.

So, if you plan to seal the house soon, you better install a concrete driveway to increase its curb appeal.

When it’s about customizing the driveway, it’s easier to customize a concrete driveway than an asphalt driveway.

Staining, stamping, and coloring a concrete surface is relatively easy.

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, and some semi-gloss, and some don’t offer any gloss at all and keep the original color.

Asphalt Vs. Concrete Driveway: Climate and Weather

The climate and weather of your area should directly impact you while deciding the type of driveway you want to install.

If you live in an area facing 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 that is too hot in the summer, you should get your eye on the concrete.

Why? Because excessive heat tends to make the asphalt crumble 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 are 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, and resurfacing are straightforward processes.
  • Resealing the asphalt surface is inexpensive and easy to do.
  • It can withstand pretty well in winter.
  • Asphalt lasts considerably longer and is easier to repair.
  • It can last 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 Driveways Features and Benefits

Now, let’s list down some of the core benefits of using concrete for your concrete driveways –

  • The concrete is easily customizable.
  • You can easily stamp, color, stain, and score a concrete surface.
  • Multiple color options and glass 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 curb appeal to your house, making it more valuable when selling.
  • Concrete driveways require less maintenance.
  • Concrete driveways don’t get soft in excessive heat like asphalt driveways.

Best Concrete Driveway Sealer

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.

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 or 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 an absorbent cloth to make the wiping easy. Applying only soap water should do the trick if it’s a new spot.
  • If soap water is insufficient, use 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 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.

Installation of 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 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 a few inches far from the sealant.

Finally, you can follow up with a top sealant. It’s optional, though.

Whether fixing a small or a large crack, wash the area to remove any debris and other loose driveway material.

It’s better if you pressure wash if it’s a large crack or at least use 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?

Answer: If the crack is smaller (between 1/32″ to 1/4″), arrange the following tools – caulk gun, sealant, 4″ scraper, backer rod, or silica sand.

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 top coat 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 suitable tool.

#5. How much does a concrete driveway cost?

Answer: Installing a concrete driveway costs more than installing asphalt.

The average price is from $3 to $6 per square foot.

Like installing asphalt, concrete installation costs will vary depending on the contractors you 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 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.

Final Words

In a nutshell, asphalt and concrete have their own highs and lows.

If minimizing the cost and getting a durable solution is your topmost priority, go for asphalt.

If you are looking for an aesthetically pleasing solution that lasts long, driveway concrete is the one you should get your eye on.

Meet the Authors

Heenan, Cannon, Mack, and Theodore are four outdoor enthusiasts. Each of them is a handyman and off-road adventurers. Dealing with different tools, automotive accessories, products related to home like sealers are some of their day-to-day tasks. They run this website to share their thoughts on various items they think are good or bad for others. Learn how they started as The Handyman Guru, and why they decided to start this blog..

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