Concrete Thinking Three Reasons to Install a Concrete Driveway
American roads and driveways are largely paved with asphalt. This material first become prominent in the U.S. in the late 19th century and has gone on to cover over 94% of the paved U.S. roads today, which span approximately 2.6 million miles. The reason for asphalt’s prevalence is that it is relatively durable, recyclable, and easy to manufacture. However, with our increasingly turbulent climate, growing population, and large vehicles, can asphalt still hold up?
Like roads, most American driveways are paved with asphalt, but there is a growing number of people opting for concrete driveways instead. Here are three reasons why concrete driveways are growing in popularity and provide a solid alternative to traditional asphalt:
1) Long Live the Driveway
Properly installed and well maintained asphalt driveways can endure for about 25 years. Concrete driveways, however, can last twice as long (up to 50 years). Everyone wants to avoid sunken driveways, which can be caused by water damage, heat, weight, and animal burrowing, and concrete is somewhat less susceptible to sinking than asphalt. The tradeoff for this more durable material is that it costs more to manufacture and to install. The installation of a concrete driveway on average ends up costing about twice as much as that of an asphalt driveway.
2) Staying Cool
One major disadvantage of asphalt is that it typically comes in black. This causes asphalt to absorb incredible amounts of heat, especially in warmer seasons when the sun is fiercer and lingers for more of the day. Too much heat can warp and crack the asphalt, allowing moisture to enter in and cause further damage (see: sunken driveways). While colored asphalt exists, most homeowners stick with traditional plan black to follow suit with the rest of the neighborhood.
What’s cool about concrete driveways is they are lighter, typically beige or a lighter brown, meaning they absorb less heat than asphalt driveways. As a result, less maintenance is needed to repair concrete driveways. This is part of the reason this material lasts longer.
3) Aesthetic over Asphalt
Concrete driveways aren’t merely functional and durable, they also catch the eye. If you plan on some day putting your house on the market, having a concrete driveway installed can be a good investment. Many potential buyers are drawn to the light, elegant appearance of concrete driveways. This holds especially true if the driveway is patterned or uniquely colored.
Since colored concrete comes in over 250 shades and hues, more creativity can come from concrete driveways. A simple online search of unique concrete driveways can show off what can be done with the proper effort. Curb appeal is incredibly important in today’s market, so even a mere driveway can be a selling point.
In the end, the decision to have an asphalt or concrete driveway installed depends on individual taste, budget, and environment. Sunken driveways can occur regardless of concrete or asphalt, so more important than the material itself is the foundation beneath it, as well as proper installation and periodic maintenance.