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Which is better: Concrete or asphalt driveways?

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Are you thinking of adding a new driveway to your home or making changes to your existing one? Asphalt and concrete are both common materials used for driveways, roads and paving but what are the differences between them? We evaluate the two to help you determine which one is more suited to your driveway requirements.

Appearance

Whilst concrete and asphalt are both made using a mix of aggregates, concrete is bound using liquid cement whilst asphalt is bound using bitumen, which gives it its dark colour. Concrete is more flexible when it comes to workability, design and colour, as concrete can be cut into blocks to form patterns and can be stained to change its colouring.

However, asphalt has a naturally textured appearance and is darker, which means that any cracking is usually less noticeable than on a concrete surface. When it comes to appearance, you should choose whichever most suits your style.

Cost & Lifespan

Whilst an asphalt driveway is usually cheaper than concrete to install, its lifespan is much shorter and often requires more frequent maintenance. It therefore makes up the cost difference in the long run.

This is because asphalt requires re-sealing 6 months to a year after installation and then every 3 years or so in order to preserve the surface for as long as possible, whilst concrete does not require sealing at all (though doing so can help preserve the finish).

An asphalt driveway, on average, has a lifespan of up to 20 years, whilst a concrete driveway can last up to 40 years when properly maintained. This usually make concrete the more cost-effective option overall.

Resistence to weather

Typically, asphalt driveways react poorly to hot weather whilst concrete driveways react worse during bad frosts. You may think that you don’t have to worry with an asphalt driveway in this country, as it has a melting point of around 50 degrees whilst temperatures rarely reach over 30 degrees. 

However, due to its dark colour, asphalt absorbs a lot of heat and surface temperatures in direct sunlight reach a lot higher than air temperatures, which means that your asphalt is still at risk of melting. Not only does this damage the structure and unbearable to stand on barefoot, the surface can also become oily and you can track this through your home, causing potential stains if you don’t remove your shoes.

Alternatively, concrete driveways are susceptible to frost heave, which is where the moisture in the soil underneath expands when it freezes, pushing your concrete slabs up or causing cracks in the surface. However, good prep work to the ground underneath your driveway can greatly reduce this risk.
 


Does a concrete driveway sound like the right choice for your home? We supply DIY ready mix concrete straight to your door so that you can get started as soon as possible! Check out the areas we cover to see if you're legible for our concrete delivery service and don't hesitate to contact us!