Asphalt is one of the first materials that come to mind when it comes to driveways and for good reason. Asphalt driveways are great in so many different ways. They’re significantly cheaper to install compared to concrete driveways and they offer a lot of the same advantages, with a few main differences. For example, an asphalt driveway is more flexible than concrete, less susceptible to cracking and can be used immediately after installation whereas a poured concrete one is more expensive and needs to cure for about 7 days before it can be used. When properly maintained, an asphalt driveway can last between 12 to 20 years which is not bad but not as impressive as the 30 years that a concrete driveway typically lasts.
Maintenance is a very important factor to consider before installing an asphalt driveway. It’s one of the major cons that you need to keep in mind because without proper maintenance the driveway will not last nearly as much as it should. It needs to be sealed every 2 to 5 years and any cracks and holes need to be repaired as soon as possible in order for this to be worth the initial investment. Of course, there are also lots of pros to keep in mind. For example, asphalt driveways look nice and are versatile, being suitable for all types of homes. They’re easy to clean and they let water pass through and dink into the ground which means you won’t have any puddles anywhere.
Before installing an asphalt driveway, take a minute to analyze the situation. If you’re living in a hot climate, you should probably consider other options since asphalt doesn’t do well in this situation. Concrete on the other hand would be a suitable choice.
Asphalt driveways are better at hiding stains and spills than other types are. That’s thanks to their dark surface and matte finish which means they can also be cleaned more easily compared to concrete driveways which tend to show every scratch and spill.
Asphalt driveways are very versatile and flexible which allows them to complement just about any build style. Of course, they’re not very customizable which can sometimes be a disadvantage.
Keep in mind that although you can technically use an asphalt driveway immediately after it’s been installed, it actually takes a pretty long time for it to completely cure (anywhere between 3 to 12 months). During that time the surface is softer and easier to damage.
As mentioned before, asphalt driveways are not very customizable. You can’t really paint them or apply patterns to them so you’re stuck with the basic street-like appearance which in some cases can work out perfectly.
Asphalt is not the best choice if you’re living in an area with hot summers. The driveway can start to get sticky if the temperature gets very high which can create all sorts of other issues. In comparison, asphalt tends to be better for cold climates than concrete is because it ice and snow melts faster on it plus it doesn’t crack or stain as easily.
Although an asphalt driveway can look a bit mainstream due to the dark gray to black look that it typically has, that can work out in your favor if the style matches that of your house. A matching roof can really tie the whole area together.
An asphalt driveway can look right at home is placed right next to the street. The transition would be seamless and that can help maintain an organic and harmonious design throughout the property.
Asphalt driveways require regular maintenance and deteriorate faster than concrete driveways. Nevertheless, they’re easy to repair and patched spots don’t stand out that much, eventually blending in quite seamlessly.
Asphalt and concrete driveways are similar in a lot of ways, with a few major differences that we highlighted above. The most important one however is the price. Installing an asphalt driveways is about 50% cheaper than a concrete one and that often makes any inconveniences worth the savings.