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How are Concrete and Asphalt Driveways Different?

If you're tired of your stained, cracked, and rutted driveway and want to install a new one, concrete and asphalt are your two main choices. While both types of driveways are laid over gravel substrates, and both are composed of stone and sand, they use different adhesives. Asphalt driveways are held together with tar, and concrete driveways use cement. These adhesives' qualities create the biggest differences between the two options.

Concrete and asphalt both create attractive, durable driveways, but there's more to the process than choosing the least expensive option.

That's why we're performing an in-depth comparison of asphalt and concrete in Vancouver BC, and we invite you to read on to learn which may be better for your home!

The Basics of Concrete

The concrete used in driveway installation is a blend of three ingredients: water, aggregate, and Portland cement, which is made of limestone and clay. The components mixed with the cement are called aggregate, which comes in a range of sizes. Sand is considered a fine aggregate, while crushed stone and gravel are larger aggregates. The concrete used in driveway construction may be up to 75% aggregate.

Asphalt: What Is It?

It only takes two ingredients to make an asphalt driveway: aggregate and liquid asphalt. Much like concrete, stone and sand are used as coarse and fine aggregates when making asphalt. However, asphalt has a higher percentage of aggregate than concrete does, with up to 95% of an asphalt driveway being made of the material.

It's Easier to Add Visual Interest to Concrete

In their purest forms, asphalt is almost black, and concrete is a shade of pale gray. Unlike asphalt, however, concrete can be tinted or stained to almost any color. It's also easy to brush or stamp concrete to create a textured look. If you're looking to mimic the look of stone or brick, match your home's aesthetics, or create visual interest, concrete is the best choice. If you're in an area with a homeowner's association or other restrictions, asphalt may be preferable.

Different Materials for Various Climates

Your area's weather is a primary consideration when choosing between concrete and asphalt driveway materials. Asphalt may melt in high heat, while concrete driveways tend to crack in cold climates if they're not winterized. Road salt may blotch, stain, or pit concrete, leaving unsightly marks. Furthermore, it takes less time for snow to melt on asphalt than on concrete.

Asphalt Driveways Need More Maintenance

After a few months have passed and an asphalt driveway has fully cured, it must be sealed to protect its surface and extend its lifespan. Then, you'll need to reseal the driveway every few years thereafter. The job is simple enough; just pour the sealer onto the driveway and use a special tool to spread it over the surface. While sealing isn't required for concrete, it does reduce fading, which makes it a crucial step for tinted driveways.

Stain Resistance

When it comes to rust, gas, motor oil, and the other things that typically end up on a driveway, the matte finish and dark surface of asphalt hides wear and stains effectively. Concrete, on the other hand, typically shows every spill and stain, so more stringent degreasing and cleaning are required to maintain its appearance.

Repair Requirements

While it's possible to crack concrete and asphalt, the latter option's softer consistency makes it deteriorate faster. Thankfully, it's easy to repair damaged asphalt, and repaired areas typically blend in with the rest of the surface. An aging asphalt surface can be revived with a simple topcoat. Concrete is harder to repair, and it's tough to make patches blend in unless you're resurfacing the entire driveway.

Longevity

Generally, if they're installed well, are maintained properly, and are in the appropriate climate, concrete driveways last up to 40 years, while asphalt driveways may last about 30 years at the most. If they're not installed on a level, stable gravel substrate, or if they're not maintained, either type may fail within just a few years.

Post-Installation Usability

Homeowners can use asphalt driveways within just a couple of days after installation. With concrete, though, you'll need to wait about a week before it's dry enough to drive on. If street parking is scarce in your area, consider choosing asphalt over concrete for your driveway project.

Cost

As a rule, concrete driveways cost approximately 50% more than asphalt driveways. Prices often fluctuate based on factors such as location, driveway size, and job complexity. Count on concrete companies in Vancouver to help you get the job done quickly and cost-effectively.

Sustainability

It may be surprising to some of the area's homeowners, but asphalt is an eco-friendly construction material. It's easy to recycle; simply grind it up and reuse it. That's not always true with concrete, which is broken down and hauled away before it's disposed of in a safe facility.

Certain kinds of asphalt, such as permeable or porous asphalt, also improve drainage by allowing water to drip through the driveway into the underlying soil. With a concrete driveway, however, water must run off into lakes, rivers, streams, and the water table. If you're looking to reduce your home's carbon footprint, asphalt is the best choice, but it's important to keep in mind that asphalt is partially made with petroleum products.

In Closing

Driveway installation is a sizable expense, no matter which option you choose. There's no clear winner in the asphalt vs. concrete debate, and the choice will depend on your climate, budget, and maintenance capabilities. We hope the information we've provided in this guide will help you make a more informed decision when it's time to replace your home's driveway.

There are numerous concrete installation companies in the area, but not all of them offer our high level of customer service. We pride ourselves on our responsiveness, our dependability, and our commitment to customer satisfaction.

When you're looking for reliable, fast, and professional installation of concrete in Vancouver, we hope you'll think of Top Concrete first.

Request additional information online or call today to schedule a consultation.

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