Concrete and asphalt are two of the most common options for driveway material, so how can you choose between the two? Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you distinguish one choice over the other.
Are You Willing to Do Maintenance?
Although both of these options are prized partly for their low maintenance status, concrete is more low maintenance than asphalt. Concrete can stand its own ground for many years, while asphalt owners will need to hire a contractor every few years to reseal the surface of the driveway. At the same time, asphalt needs to be cleaned less often. Its dark surface holds up well to oil spills and other stains.
How Much Is Cost an Issue?
If you are looking for the cheapest material for your new driveway, then asphalt is usually the best choice. Even the cheaper options for concrete are likely to be more expensive than asphalt, and concrete options can quickly get more expensive if you choose custom options for the color or texture.
Do You Want to Change the Appearance?
Those custom concrete options can be great for some homeowners who want to customize the look of their driveway, however. Concrete can easily be textured or tinted, and it can also be shaped and installed as pavers. You'll have the benefits of a durable and fairly affordable material, but the look of a more expensive option.
What Conditions Will it Be Subject to?
Your climate may matter in the option you choose. While both concrete and asphalt can be useful in all climates, asphalt has the slight edge when it comes to Northern, snowy climates. This is because the black material of the asphalt will reflect sun back through the snow and help the surface melt more quickly. The structure of asphalt is also suited to this climate because it can easily contract and expand; when the surface freezes, it isn't likely to do damage to the driveway. By contrast, concrete may sometimes develop cracks after many successive cycles of freezing and thawing.
As you can see, it's not often a clear-cut choice between asphalt and concrete. The user friendliness of asphalt is in competition with the durability and customizability of concrete. Sometimes it helps to speak with an asphalt or concrete contractor, such as those at Pumptex Concrete Pumping, when you're undecided about which material to go after; this way, you can learn about the total cost of each option and the particular constraints of your project.