An asphalt road and a concrete walkway

What Is the Difference Between Asphalt and Concrete?

Maintaining your property’s exterior is essential and can make or break first impressions of your business. Among the critical decisions you must make when improving your building’s appearance is whether or not you will use asphalt or concrete for paving. While these materials are two of the world’s most commonly used paving materials, asphalt and concrete have unique properties and advantages that might make one more suitable for your property.

Understanding the differences between asphalt and concrete is crucial to make choices that align with your specific needs. This article will explore the traits, benefits, and drawbacks of both materials to provide you with the knowledge necessary to make the best decision. Let’s dive in!

What Is Asphalt Pavement?

Asphalt is a paving material that combines stone and sand with an adhesive base. Asphalt pavement can become a durable and solid structure for driveways, parking lots, and commercial properties when done correctly.

What Is Concrete Pavement?

Concrete is a paving material that mixes sand, cement, and gravel to create a long-lasting surface in high-traffic areas. Concrete is incredibly popular among residential and non-residential properties worldwide for its durability.

Advantages of Asphalt and Concrete

Asphalt and concrete have unique properties and advantages contributing to their popularity. Let’s break down the biggest benefits of these materials and explore what they have in common.

Benefits of Asphalt

You might choose asphalt over concrete for some of the following benefits.

  • Cost-effective: Asphalt is generally more affordable than concrete, making it preferable for property owners looking to save money on their paving projects. This material is cost-effective in terms of initial installation costs, and its lower material and labor costs make it an attractive choice for large-scale projects.
  • Recyclable: Asphalt is a frequently recycled material and an incredibly eco-friendly pavement solution. Unlike other materials, old, reclaimed asphalt is used in new mixtures to create new pavements, significantly reducing the environmental impact found in other pavement options.
  • Maintenance: Asphalt doesn’t require as much maintenance as concrete because it is naturally darker than concrete, hiding the appearance of stains and damages. This feature also means that repairs and routine maintenance for asphalt are straightforward and practical for individuals that don’t want to worry about frequent cleaning.
  • Faster drying time: Asphalt is perfect for high-priority projects that need to adhere to a tight schedule. Asphalt pavement is usable immediately after it is poured. While it dries for a couple of days after the initial pouring, you can still safely use the material instantly rather than waiting several days like you would with concrete.

Benefits of Concrete

Though asphalt is an excellent pavement option, concrete boasts several benefits that make it preferable for some individuals. The following are the main advantages of choosing concrete for your paving needs.

  • Long-lasting: Concrete is perfect for property owners looking for a long-lasting pavement solution. Concrete can last up to 40 to 50 years when properly installed and maintained, making it one of the most durable paving materials available.
  • Simple cleaning process: Though concrete driveways require more cleaning than asphalt, the process is straightforward. Property owners can sweep their pavement to remove any debris and use water and soap to eliminate dirt and other debris that can’t be removed through sweeping. Pressure washing is also an efficient and effective way of cleaning concrete surfaces.
  • Low-maintenance: The initial cost of concrete is more expensive than asphalt; however, concrete is often worth it in the long run because it has low-cost maintenance requirements, meaning that you won’t have to spend big on frequent maintenance and repairs.
  • Eco-friendly: Similar to asphalt, concrete is a highly recyclable material. Additionally, because of how long-lasting concrete is, the material has a low environmental impact and minimizes waste.

Drawbacks of Asphalt and Concrete

Now that we’ve explored the advantages of asphalt and concrete, let’s delve into the drawbacks of these materials that might contribute to your final decision.

Drawbacks of Asphalt

The biggest drawbacks of asphalt include the following.

  • Shorter lifespan: Compared to concrete, asphalt has a short lifespan and can last between 20 and 30 years. Though asphalt’s lifespan can be extended by proper maintenance and sealcoating, this can be an issue for people that plan on staying with a property long-term.
  • Requires more repairs: While asphalt is easy to repair, there is a higher likelihood of requiring repairs with asphalt than with concrete. When considering the additional costs of repairs due to cracking and other potential issues, asphalt can reach or exceed the price of concrete.
  • Poor heat management: Asphalt doesn’t bode too well in the heat, and if you live in an area that reaches high temperatures in the summer, you might experience issues with your asphalt pavement. Asphalt can become gooey and lose its hardness when temperatures rise, making it more prone to cracking. Additionally, asphalt gets incredibly hot in the summer and can burn your feet if you’re walking on it barefoot.

Drawbacks of Concrete

Despite its numerous advantages, concrete has some drawbacks, including the following.

  • Hard to repair: Concrete generally requires fewer repairs than asphalt. However, when concrete needs to be repaired, the process can get complicated quickly. Though minor damages require resurfacing, highly damaged areas will require replacement. You might also encounter issues with matching the color of the original concrete during repairs, impacting your property’s appearance.
  • Costly installation: While you might save costs over time with concrete compared to asphalt, the initial installation cost is more expensive than asphalt and requires a significant investment in your property. Concrete can reach between $3-10 per square foot, and the cost to cover larger properties adds up quickly.
  • Long installation time: Unlike asphalt, which can be used immediately after installation, the time frame for installing concrete is much longer. Concrete must dry for at least two days before it can be walked across and at least a week until people can drive across it safely. Concrete pavement might take too long to complete for high-priority fixes and projects.

Contact South Central for Asphalt and Concrete Paving Services

Ultimately, asphalt and concrete have unique advantages and drawbacks that you should consider before choosing one over the other. Either way, South Central Sealing & Paving has you covered! We offer comprehensive paving, maintenance, sealing, and installation services for both concrete and asphalt. Reach out to us to find out more about our services!

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