The two most popular options for driveways are concrete and asphalt. In terms of looks, concrete has a more attractive, finished appearance than asphalt. Concrete is stamped or stained to mimic materials like brick, flagstone, or slate. There are numerous color options when staining concrete, allowing for personalization. Asphalt comes in more limited color choices and has a utilitarian, industrial look. It also fades to an unattractive gray over time in extreme UV exposure. Concrete offers a classic, polished look.
Asphalt requires more ongoing maintenance than concrete. Sealing the asphalt every 2-3 years is recommended to protect the surface. This sealing must be repeated consistently. Concrete needs periodic sealing as well but on a less frequent basis of every 5-7 years. Control joint cutting and crack repairs are part of regular concrete maintenance. Proper cleaning is important for both materials to prevent the buildup of oils and deicing salts.
In general, asphalt is less expensive upfront than concrete. However, concrete’s longer lifespan avoids the need for frequent replacement, bringing down long-term costs. Most estimates show concrete costing 10-25% more for initial installation. Maintenance and repair fees add to the expense of both materials over their lifespans. Consider lifetime costs when evaluating the budget for each material.
Drainage & grading
Concrete’s rigidity allows it to be poured with precise slope and pitch to facilitate optimal drainage. Creating a crown in the middle is a common technique. Flexible asphalt can settle into low spots and depressions more easily over time. Modern asphalt-based construction methods create effective slopes and drainage. Edge restraints also help maintain shape.
The textured surface of concrete Sutherland Shire provides good traction and skid resistance, even when wet. Broom finishing creates further grip. Smooth asphalt becomes slippery, especially when wet, potentially unsafe for walking or driving. The aggregate used when mixing asphalt improves traction. Asphalt tends to get more slick over time. Careful sanding and re-sealing help restore skid resistance.
From elaborate patterns and borders to custom coloring, concrete lends itself to design enhancements that can turn a basic driveway into a decorative focal point. Asphalt options for aesthetics mostly involve color choice from standard options. Concrete’s moldability offers infinite possibilities for creating a unique, artistic driveway. Permeable paving options for both asphalt and concrete allow stormwater absorption, helping minimize runoff issues. Concrete mix design innovations reduce required cement amounts for improved sustainability. Production of cement does incur high CO2 emissions. Asphalt production also emits greenhouse gases, albeit less than concrete. It may have a slight edge environmentally due to lower production impacts.
Home value considerations
Concrete driveways typically add more value to a home compared to asphalt. The attractive, premium look of concrete is favored by many buyers. A well-maintained asphalt driveway can also boost curb appeal. Regional homebuyer preferences may inform which material has the edge value-wise in a given real estate market. Asphalt is viewed as easier to work with during installation compared to concrete, which requires forming, precise pour timing, and proper curing procedures. Modern preformed concrete pads and advanced mixing and pumping equipment have simplified the process. Proper base prep is crucial with both materials for a durable finished driveway.