Should You Pave with Asphalt or Concrete?

When paving your driveway, it pays off to use the best materials possible. Whether you’re installing a new driveway, conducting driveway repair or are resituating your front yard’s layout, you should know the differences between asphalt and concrete installations.

If you don’t want to use low-end gravel or brick pavers, asphalt and concrete are your best bet. Each has advantages, but each is particular to different housing, driveway, traffic and lifestyle situations. Before picking a material, check out the differences below.

 

Concrete

When paving with concrete, you’ll have the benefit of a quick dry time. While both concrete and asphalt need to ‘cure’ before they’re driven on, concrete may take longer to dry. Concrete driveways utilize cement as a main building material.

The Positives

In general, cement driveways last longer than tar driveways. Tar is softer than cement, and it degrades quicker. With proper maintenance, a cement driveway can last ages. Additionally, a concrete drive is aesthetically pleasing if a homeowner wants a natural-looking home extension. Plus, concrete delivery is normally quick.

Concrete is an easy material to work with, and it can be manipulated to exist in a number of different finishes. Concrete can be tinted, stained and revised to display a number of colors. It can also be colored on a section-by-section basis, giving a driveway unique patterns. Concrete is a fantastic mold, too. Homeowners can etch, engrave and stamp various designs into concrete, making their driveway incredibly unique.

The Negatives

While cement is incredibly flexible, it’s frequently expensive to use as a material. Concrete takes much longer than cement to dry, so it isn’t a great option for homeowners in need of a quick sidewalk repair, driveway repair or installation.

Because concrete is comprised of sand and minerals, it’s more susceptible to cracking. It doesn’t expand well, and it can break if the temperature rises, or falls, rapidly. Salt, used for melting ice, is a good investment if you live in a cold area.

 

Asphalt

Like concrete, asphalt does take time to dry before it can be driven over. A lot of homeowners in high-temperature climates use asphalt for its temperature resistance. While asphalt may get hotter than cement, it’s a great choice for homeowners seeking long-lasting options while being practical.

The Positives

Asphalt is easily poured, so it’s a great option in terms of installation flexibility. Tar is generally cheaper than cement, and it offers a great bang-for-your-buck experience. Because tar expands and contracts with heat contact, it’s an excellent installation option if you live in a hot area.

A lot of homeowners use asphalt to create a seamless driveway-to-road look. Asphalt, for many, offers a more “classic” design than typical asphalt installations.

The Negatives

Asphalt is a more limited than concrete. Because it needs to be rolled and compressed, unique finishes are difficult to maintain. Until recently, asphalt color variations were limited. Still, some homeowners may not like the lack of design diversity with asphalt.

Asphalt needs to be resealed every three to five years, too. It also needs to be resurfaced. Fortunately, asphalt repairs are generally easier to conduct than concrete repairs.

 

So, Which Should You Choose?

While both materials are viable installation options, you should select the material most conducive to your area’s environment. If your driveway experiences rapid temperature shifts often, stick with asphalt. If you live in a cold area, consider installing a cement driveway.

An asphalt driveway can cost between four and seven times as much as a concrete driveway. While a concrete street needs little maintenance over 20 to 30 years, an asphalt driveway may need to be resurfaced in as little as 15 years. Paving with concrete means you’ll face less maintenance. However, concrete may not last as long.

At the end of the day, measure the costs. Then, pick the driveway repair, installation or replacement option healthiest for your wallet—and for your family.

Mastic One Crack Sealing

Looking for a More Effective Crack Sealing Option?

Superior Aggregates is now offering Mastic One Hot-Applied Sealants

Have an asphalt crack that’s too big for regular crack sealing? Don’t worry, we have the solution. The Crafco Mastic One has been specifically designed for cracks too large for crack sealing and distressed surfaces that are too small for re-paving. It is a versatile hot-applied, pourable, self-adhesive polymer modified asphalt binder containing selected aggregate to ensure good load bearing and skid resistant characteristics.

Some benefits to the Crafco Mastic One are:

  • Cost effective
  • Easy to apply
  • Permanent repair
  • Lightweight
  • Load bearing
  • Flexible
  • Prevents moisture penetration
  • Used in all seasons
  • Versatile applications

The Condition of Your Asphalt Material  

The condition of your asphalt is important, and it’s directly related to the materials used during installation. Superior offers the best asphalt materials around, prioritizing an installation’s base material, drainage, depth protection and compaction.

 

We have decades of experience, and we intend to serve our customers via time-tested-and-true installation methods. We feel homeowners and business owners should understand a little more about asphalt itself, however. The condition of asphalt can determine how long it lasts. It can also determine its day-to-day durability. Let’s cover the basics.

 

Aggregates

Aggregate is the material which makes asphalt. It’s made from gravel, sand and crushed stone. Normally, these materials are “stuck” together with a binding medium, like bitumen, water or lime. Asphalt, itself, is a compound material. It’s made of many smaller materials which make up the aggregate. The materials used in aggregate are important, too, because low-quality materials can result in chipped, broken concrete. The condition of an asphalt section’s aggregate is incredibly important.

 

Mineral Filler

Mineral filler contributes to asphalt’s condition, too. Superior asphalt contains high-quality mineral filler, remaining consistent and durable during any hot-mix asphalt mixture application. Asphalt can be measured by its content, toughness index, indirect tensile and tensile strength ratio. Typically, asphalt in good condition has a high-quality mineral filler in it. If it doesn’t, it might sustain damages over time.

 

Asphalt Cement

Asphalt cement isn’t “tar.” Rather, it’s a natural substance which keeps asphalt composite together. Good asphalt cement is very sticky. It’s also elastic. It can stretch, flex and bend without breaking. A good asphalt application will feature asphalt cement which is incredibly adaptable. Bad asphalt, meanwhile, might be too stiff to be mixed in with aggregates. The result, normally, is an asphalt application which might wear down, or crack, with years of use.

 

Mix Design

Your asphalt’s condition can also be determined by its mix design. A good mix design makes flexible pavements. Many concrete companies design mixes with volumetric analysis, assuring every asphalt application can expand and contracting without breaking. The fundamentals of mix design have been adopted by a lot of providers, but Superior offers the best designs around. Every Superior design is the result of years of experience, assuring a high degree of sustainability, reliability and safety.

 

Moisture

Asphalt is moisture-sensitive. Over time, asphalt surfaces can sustain moisture damage, stripping or cracking. Moisture damage shows itself in different forms. Sometimes, there will be adhesion failure between the asphalt and its aggregate. Other times, moisture-induced cohesion can fail. When this happens, water is trapped. The asphalt, itself, can weaken over time. High-quality asphalt is made with a high moisture resistance, protecting the material from damages. Normally, a mixture’s physical properties can resist moisture.

 

Mix Temperature

Hot-mixed asphalt is manufactured between 270 and 325 degrees, Fahrenheit. Depending on the time of asphalt transportation, the surrounding atmosphere and installation practices, however, an asphalt layer’s temperature can vary greatly. Superior takes great care in maintaining consistent asphalt temperatures, making sure asphalt applications never cool too quickly—or too slowly.

The composition, temperature and installation of asphalt matters quite a lot. It’s important to take care when choosing an asphalt installation. Here at Superior, only the best materials, pouring methods and installation practices are used. Your asphalt is our priority, and we want to make sure every concrete delivery, asphalt driveway restoration and installation goes smoothly.

We believe concrete contractors should serve all homeowners equally, and we’ve taken the time to assure every mix has the best design, composite, cement and mineral filler available. Asphalt was created to protect, secure and adapt—and we intend to keep it that way.