How to Choose the Perfect Driveway for Your Home: Asphalt vs. Concrete
Driveways compliments the overall appeal and appearance of your home. No property is ever complete without a well-paved driveway ready to invite and welcome guests. Moreover, driveways have been an essential part of every residential property, not only is it necessary for parking your cars, but it also adds an extra “curb appeal” which also increases your home’s value.
We know that there are a lot of driveway ideas out there and you must have been wondering and doing your own research on what kind of driveway would best suit your home. The answer to that is to first assess and recognize what your needs are and what your working budget is. From there, you’d be able to weigh what factors are you leaning towards to. Is it the style or aesthetic appeal? Or are you more concerned about the cost and the type of material?
You might want a fancy design for your driveway to evoke a more sophisticated look, but the cost of installing one might drive you nuts! Do know that sometimes a clean and straightforward driveway would do the trick. In fact, proper maintenance is the key to making your driveway more attractive in eliciting the beauty of a classic American home.
Among all types of driveways, the most commonly used are asphalt and cement. And this is not only because they’re affordable, but they’re also long-lasting. Although the designs and patterns available are limited for these kinds of material, know that just by keeping it spotless and in excellent condition would significantly boost your home’s attractiveness and aesthetic appeal.
So if you are planning to take the more practical route with either asphalt or concrete, let us help you decide by giving you a quick guide, so you’ll know which type best matches your needs and preferences.
Asphalt consists of aggregates of stones and sand combined together with asphalt. It is known for its affordability, stability, traction, and easy maintenance. Usually, an asphalt driveway would cost you from $2 to $5 per square foot. It’s one of the cheapest options in the market but offers great stability and functionality.
If asphalt is well-maintained, it can last you for as long as 12 to even 25 years, but that also depends on the climate where you are located. Colder regions tend to have a shorter asphalt driveway lifespan because asphalt is so susceptible to severe and water damage. Low temperatures tend to speed up the freeze and thaw cycle, thereby causing the asphalt underneath to contract and expand at a much faster rate, which then results in premature deterioration. Ironically though, asphalt is apparently excellent at melting snow and ice better than concrete.
On the other hand, if you’re in a state where the climate is okay and permitting for asphalt use, the good news is that asphalt is relatively easy to maintain if you ensure to follow regular maintenance such as seal coating it every 2 to 3 years which as a matter of fact, you can even do on your own. Patching potholes on asphalt driveway is also doable as a DIY, but if you’re inexperienced, we recommend having an expert to do the repairs and resurfacing for you.
However, the only downside to using asphalt is that there are not a lot of customization options available as compared to concrete. Asphalt is typically black or grey, although nowadays there are a few color variations to choose from–chocolate brown, brown brick, sandy sand, pure white, red rose, smokey grey, pale terracotta, and slate green. But of course with colored ones comes additional maintenance care because these can wear out more quickly with heavy foot traffic.
Nonetheless, if you are looking at something that is clean-looking, easy to install yet durable and within your budget, your go-to material would definitely be asphalt.
On the contrary, if you got more budget to spend on your driveway but at the same time you’d like to be conservative at spending it, you might want to consider opting for concrete. In general, the same aggregates are used for both concrete and asphalt; the only difference is the type of binding agent used. Obviously, instead of asphalt, concrete is used to create the mixture.
The cost of installing a concrete range from $3 to $10 per square foot. Although it is quite a bit more expensive than asphalt, concrete has twice the lifespan than that of asphalt. Concrete can last you from 25 to 50 years, given proper care and maintenance. Unlike asphalt, once the concrete is installed, sealing can be done periodically in a few years. You don’t need to seal it every 2 to 3 years like asphalt; concrete only requires very minimal maintenance.
Also Read: 4 Types of Modern Concrete Homes
As for customization options, you have a lot more to work with with a concrete driveway. You can choose to add color variations through color-etching or add some patterns with stamping. But of course, the more intricate the design is, the more costly it gets.
Nevertheless, the downside to using concrete is that repairs can be much more challenging to do as compared to asphalt. Furthermore, repairing a concrete driveway can also get really expensive and more often than not, it would be much wiser to have it replaced than trying to patch up a fractured concrete driveway. In addition, concrete tends to be more prone to oil stains so better clean it up as soon as you see a stain because once it dries out, it would be more difficult to remove afterward.
Here’s a short table we’ve made for you so you can easily compare and contrast asphalt to concrete:
|Asphalt Driveway||Concrete Driveway|
|Cost||$2 to $5||$3 to $10|
|Lifespan||12 – 25 years||25 – 50 years|
|Maintenance||Requires sealing 6 months after installation and then every 2 – 3 years after that||Less year to year maintenance, sealing is not required but it can be done periodically every 5 years|
|Repairs||Relatively easy repairs that can be DIY||Costly repairs|
|Customization||Limited customization options||Can be personalized through color-etching or stamping|
Driveways are an integral area of our home; it highlights the beauty of our homes and increases our property’s real estate value. However, remember that whether you choose to opt for asphalt or concrete, a driveway is only useful if it is maintained well. Otherwise, a driveway falling into disrepair is an eyesore that can even hurt your property’s perceived value.
Driveway paving is a home investment that should be well thought of before proceeding. We call it an “investment” because the cost to install a driveway can be expensive and as such, you would want to make sure that you are spending it on a premium quality driveway that will last you for years. To help you do that, we highly advise that you leave this work to professional paving contractors. You can have your driveway installed, resurfaced or repaired by Driveway repair in Columbia MD if you are near Columbia, MD.