Unless you plan on laying gravel down your driveway, then you’ll probably have to make a decision between a concrete driveway or asphalt driveway. So how do you decide? What are the pros and cons of concrete and asphalt driveways? Will they hold up under cold weather?
In what is surely a coincidence, concrete contractors will tell you the benefits of concrete driveways, while asphalt experts will wax poetic about the advantages of asphalt. For the real scoop, find contractors who work with both asphalt and concrete who can tell you the real story. Each of these common paving materials has a number of pros and cons, and it’s up to the homeowner to decide which is in their best interest.
Let’s start with the benefits of hiring concrete contractors:
- Pros:Concrete usually lasts longer than asphalt, requires less maintenance, and comes in a variety of colors and hues. Concrete can also be pressed or stamped to mimic the appearance of paving stones, allowing it to be more easily matched with your home’s design (at $10 or more per square foot).
- Cons:Many common snow melt mixtures damage concrete. Some compounds in certain kinds of salt mix corrode concrete. Plus, you might have to wait a week or more before it’s ready for use. Also, cracks and damage may require concrete contractors, rather than DIY fixes.
Conclusion: Concrete may cost more, but with the right concrete contractors, you can get a better looking driveway that will last longer than asphalt. But if you do run into trouble, you might need professional concrete repairs.
If concrete is more durable, why do so many people choose asphalt? And if asphalt is so fickle, why are 94% of U.S. roads paved with it?
- Pros: For those strictly concerned with price, asphalt driveways are generally cheaper. Even stamped asphalt in the shape of bricks or stones is cheaper than many concrete work. On average, asphalt costs anywhere from $2 to $9 per square foot. Not only is asphalt cheaper, but it’s much easier to repair than concrete.
- Cons: Asphalt usually won’t last as long as concrete, and will require more maintenance along the way.
Conclusion: For larger projects where cost is a factor, asphalt is probably your best bet.
Ultimately, it won’t matter what kind of paving material you choose if you don’t find the right asphalt or concrete contractors. Always check reviews before hiring a company, and only work with licensed and insured businesses.