Asphalt vs. Concrete: Does Pavement Material Matter?

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How To Choose Between Asphalt Or Concrete Paving

You’ve probably noticed that not all roads are built the same. Some streets are made of concrete, such as highways and interstates, while others are made of asphalt.

But what exactly determines the material used? Does it actually matter whether you choose asphalt or concrete paving?

The truth is, it does make a difference. Both Materials have their own qualities and properties that make them a good choice for roadways.

Why Concrete Makes Sense

using concrete can be a great choice

Concrete has several advantages over asphalt that make it an excellent choice for paving roadways. In fact, a lot of these tie into the reason most highways are made of concrete.

Easy to Maintain

Concrete is very easy to maintain. They last for approximately 40 years and during that time don’t require a lot of resurfacing or repaving. In contrast, asphalt usually only lasts for about ten years and needs frequent attention.

Fuel Efficiency

Did you know that when you drive on a concrete roadway, your car uses less fuel? That’s right! Concrete does not get deflected under the wheels of your vehicle, meaning you use 15-20% less fuel than you do when you drive on asphalt roads.

Weather Proof

Concrete roadways are very resilient. Harsh chemicals, like those that may be emitted during oil spills, and weather do not break down the road easily. Because of this, it’s great for highways where roads are open to the elements and accidents.

Environmentally Friendly

When producing asphalt, a lot of fossil fuels are burned, and natural resources are used up to create the paving material. In contrast, concrete uses very few resources because it is made out of limestone.

The Problems With Concrete

So, concrete seems pretty great, right? Well, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Despite its many good points, concrete has its downsides too:

  • Concrete is more expensive to pave with than asphalt
  • Vehicles slip and slide more easily on wet concrete, making it more conducive to accidents
  • If the concrete does need replacing, though this is rare, the entire slab must be replaced rather than a small part being filled.

All these issues make concrete a decision that not all highway operators are willing to risk.

What Makes Asphalt A Good Choice

When concrete doesn’t make sense for a paving job, asphalt is another great option to get a surface that works for you. There are a few key qualities that make it a great choice.

Asphalt Is Cost Effective

Companies looking to cut costs can turn to asphalt as a budget-friendly option. It’s less expensive than concrete is, and takes a shorter amount of time to create a roadway for that price too.

Green Mindset

If you’re thinking about the planet, asphalt is a good option because the material can be recycled. Once it’s ready to throw away, asphalt is melted down and rebuilt into something new. This reduces waste and pollution of the environment.

Easy to Maintain

It’s very easy to maintain asphalt roads. Unlike concrete, when you need to repair the asphalt, you can just fix whichever part of the road was broken.

Safety First

Asphalt is very skid resistant and has great traction for your tires. This means accidents are far less likely on asphalt roads than they are on concrete roadways.

Asphalt’s Downsides

Asphalt seems as though it would be a great choice for any road, but just like concrete, it has its own faults.

  • Asphalt is not very durable and is easily damaged by snow or heavy rains
  • Asphalt releases a lot of greenhouse gases when it’s produced

While there aren’t a huge number of downsides to asphalt, these still need to be taken into account when choosing it as a paving material.

What’s The Verdict?

So, we know that concrete and asphalt have their good and bad points, but which one’s better? It turns out that it depends. Before you get to work on your paving project, you should think carefully about your budget and your purposes for the paved area.

Ready to get to work? Give Limitless Paving and Concrete a call now!

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