Should I Use Asphalt or Concrete for My Driveway? | Lewis and Tibbitts, Inc.

Should I Use Asphalt or Concrete for My Driveway?

Whether you’re building a new home from the ground up or need to replace the driveway at your current one, you might be wondering which is better for driveways: concrete or asphalt? Both materials are ideal for creating long-lasting, attractive driveways, but you should weigh these options carefully so you’re completely happy once your paving contractors have done their work. Read on to learn about the pros and cons of asphalt vs. concrete driveways so you can make the best decision for your home.

Climate considerations

Since you want your new driveway to look and function well for as long as possible, the first thing you should consider when deciding between asphalt vs. concrete driveways is the climate where you live. Asphalt performs poorly in high heat, so it’s not ideal if you live in an area that regularly sees high temperatures throughout the year. The constant cycle of softening in the heat and re-hardening in cooler temperatures causes cracks and sags in a driveway.

On the other hand, concrete is not ideal for areas that typically experience cold temperatures throughout the year, since it breaks down in colder temperatures if it hasn’t been properly winterized. In short, you should use the general climate of your area to choose the best paving option for you.

Maintenance considerations

While both asphalt and concrete driveways stand up well to the elements—including rain, snow, ice and the harsh rays of the sun—both options require some regular maintenance in order to maintain a good appearance. Generally, you can expect a concrete driveway to last 30 to 40 years when installed in favorable climate conditions. Asphalt driveways, meanwhile, typically last between 30 and 40 years. Maintenance considerations to keep in mind include:

  • Sealing: Asphalt driveways will need resealing every few years to maintain their appearance. This is a job that can be done yourself, but it’s usually best left to the professionals to protect the surface of your driveway.
  • Stains: Concrete shows stains much worse than asphalt. From engine oil and gas drips to rust, you’ll see it all on a concrete driveway. You’ll need to be proactive with aggressive cleaning and degreasing to keep concrete in good condition.
  • Repairs: While asphalt is much easier to repair than concrete, it needs attention more frequently. Cracks and other damage to asphalt can usually be fixed with a simple crack filler or a new topcoat, while concrete requires more substantial intervention, including patching.

Visual considerations

If you want to give your driveway some unique touches, whether through interesting texture or color staining, concrete is your best option. There’s a great variety of finishes you can choose for concrete driveways, whereas asphalt won’t take textural stamping or staining. If you want a slick, streamlined look that matches the street, asphalt is a great choice.

There’s a lot to keep in mind when deciding which material is better for driveways, concrete or asphalt. Talk to your local paving contractors at Lewis and Tibbitts, Inc. to discover the option that’s best for your property.