Concrete vs. Asphalt When choosing a material for your driveway you’ll have two traditional options to pick from; asphalt or concrete. Although they are similar you will find they have several key differences. Aesthetics, maintenance, climate, and cost all need to be considered. What are the major differences between concrete and asphalt paving? Both of these use well compacted bases made of gravel, and both need time to cure. Concrete may need several days before you can drive on it while asphalt is ready within hours. Each one is created from the same stone and sand, but each uses a different adhesive. Concrete uses cement, and asphalt relies on tar. This affects the price and durability as well as maintenance. Aesthetics is the most obvious difference. Asphalt is black and looks like an extension of the paved road. Concrete will have an off-white coloring. Concrete does allow for some creativity. It can be tinted or stained in a variety of colors. It can also be stamped to give the look of stone. Concrete comes in different finishes as well such as exposed or brushed aggregate. What situations are ideal for concrete? Concrete works best in hotter climates. The tar used in asphalt paving as an adhesive becomes quite soft in the high heat. The surface of asphalt will become tacky. After exposure to extended periods of high heat it can actually deform. If maintenance is an issue, concrete is easier to maintain. Asphalt requires routine sealant applications to extend its life. Concrete driveways can last as many as 50 years without sealing, but sealants will preserve the finish and look of the paving. What situations are ideal for asphalt? Asphalt works well in areas that experience a mix of very warm summers and extremely cold winters. Frost caused by freezing winter temperatures can cause concrete to crack. Salt used to control ice on the roads in these climates can create pitting and blotches in a concrete driveway. Asphalt is less expensive to install if money is a concern. Concrete can run as high as double the cost of asphalt, especially if details and special finishes are used. Regardless of which paving you have us install, be sure to check your local building codes first. We can help you determine if you’re in a development with specific regulations and restrictions when it comes to the finish and color of your driveway. Call Mcfarlane Asphalt at (201) 327-5258 for beautiful parking lots, sidewalks, pathways, and driveways in the Ramsey area today!