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Which is Preferred: Concrete or Asphalt Driveways

Updated on January 14, 2013

Concrete and asphalt are counted among the most favored types of surface material to construct a path or driveway. Each of these materials features their own positive and negative points. Concrete for instance needs to be installed with a heavily laid and compacted base of a gravel type material. If not, the concrete drive has the potential to crack as a result of frost damage. Also, they are susceptible to damage from salt which is often spread on roads in areas likely to experience cold weather. Whereas, with the asphalt based driveways, these can experience damage in extremely hot climates, which is likely to cause the drive surface to become soft and as a consequence vulnerable to holes, cracks or ruts.


Typically an asphalt based driveway costs less to have laid to a professional standard. However over its lifespan it will need more time and effort to maintain when compared to the more resilient concrete driveways. A general rule of thumb is to have the asphalt drives resealed on a regular schedule, which is generally every three to five years. Even though this is a simple DIY project, it will of course take time and money to complete. Also, throughout the sealing application it will be necessary to leave the drive free of vehicles until the paint is completely dry. Also, to allow the oils to evaporate from a freshly laid asphalt driveway, it is important to not give the first sealing until the drive has been down for a good six to nine months.


Concrete driveways needn't be a light gray or off-white color and asphalt driveways needn't be restricted to just black. Irrespective of surface material, most modern driveway materials can now be tinted to give a more desirable color to match the rest of the properties structure. Also, a surface material such as concrete is available in a range of decorative finishes to give a truly bespoke look and finish for any persons drive or pathway.


If you plan on having the asphalt drive laid, then you can expect this to last in the region of twenty-five to thirty years – provided of course that it is sealed and maintained to a high standard. However, driveway concreting is likely to last far beyond this timeframe, with some concrete surfaces lasting forty years or more. In order to achieve the longer lifespan, both of these surface materials will require a solid and compacted foundation. A poor foundation will mean a much shorter lifespan and an ongoing problem of cracks. In general cracks in a concrete based drive is likely to be more difficult to manage and repair then the alternative of asphalt.


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