The Great Debate: Should You Get an Asphalt or Concrete Driveway?
So you have an ugly old, cracked driveway. After being pestered to get it fixed, it’s time to replace the whole thing. You love the look of concrete, but you’ve heard it’s too expensive, and not the right choice for your location.
What do you do? What provides the best look and durability for the money? Asphalt or concrete?
Let’s Start with Durability
The downside of asphalt. If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow, you could be in for a problem. Asphalt surfaces often develop sinks holes every winter. Some asphalt driveways have to be slurried about every summer if you experience a mild winter perhaps you can get away with two seasons.
What is slurried you ask? Good question. It when a seal made of a mixture of water, asphalt emulsion, aggregate (very small crushed rock), and additives are smoothed on top of an existing asphalt pavement surface.
The idea is to help preserve and protect the underlying pavement structure and provide a new driving surface. You’ll often see this happening on your streets where road crews are covering a surface that has developed significant cracking and potholes.
What about concrete? The big problem with concrete driveways is cracks. The reason why concrete becomes uneven and broken is not the concrete itself. In most cases, it is the shoddy preparation work done before the concrete was ever installed.
These are sometimes called frost heaves. The “ground” below the concrete expands when it freezes. This process lifts the driveway and the concrete gets smaller or bigger cracks. When it’s getting warmer, the “ice” underneath the concrete melt’s and the concrete reverts to its “normal” position. But the problem is that the concrete has now cracked where the water seeps inside.
How Does Weather Affect Your Choices?
Asphalt driveways are the best choice if you live in a colder climate. Here’s why. Continuous exposure to high temperatures makes the asphalt soft. That’s when cracks and grooves may appear on the driveway, and as we saw above, it is much easier and less costly to fix cracks in asphalt than in concrete.
Concrete driveways are a great choice for hotter climates. So if you live in a cold climate but still prefer concrete, the base of the driveway must be filled with compact gravel. It is essential to building the ‘concrete-bed” properly so that the frost can’t freeze the ground below the concrete and lift the driveway up.
What About Cost?
If you are considering asphalt, you are looking at about $2 to $5 per square foot. For a standard-size driveway, you are somewhere in the range of $700 to $1,800.
If you want to go for something more eye-pleasing, a stamped asphalt pattern will run you about $3 to $9 per square foot.
Concrete, on the other hand, runs about $3 to $10 per square foot for a plain driveway. Where a customized driveway will run the costs from $15 to $25 per square foot.
Call Limitless Paving and Concrete
We can accommodate any asphalt and/or concrete repair needs or new jobs you may have. Whether you have a parking lot, driveway, roadway, sidewalk or anything else, we want it to properly reflect the pride and hard work you put into your business every day.
Limitless Paving and Concrete is a full-service asphalt and concrete paving contractor proudly serving the Baltimore MD, Rockville MD, Gaithersburg MD, and Frederick MD areas.