Asphalt and concrete are popular materials used to pave roads and driveways. Roads and driveways paved with these materials can last for several years if properly maintained. Asphalt and concrete are strong, durable and perform well in the rain and cold. In terms of cost and required maintenance, both materials have advantages and disadvantages.
Asphalt is undoubtedly one of the most inexpensive materials to pave roads and driveways with. Concrete on the other hand, is one of the more expensive materials used to pave roads and driveways with. Concrete can cost between $3 to $10 per square foot installed. Asphalt can cost anywhere from $1 to $5 per square foot installed.
Maintenance is an issue that must be considered when discussing “cost.” An asphalt driveway will require more regular maintenance than a concrete driveway. Asphalt requires re-sealing every three years or so. Low-end sealants cost around $5 for a five-gallon bucket and cover around 400 square feet of asphalt. High-end sealants can cost upwards of $20 per bucket. Concrete driveways are harder to fix when they crack. Repairing a crack in concrete can cost anywhere from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars to fix depending on the size of the crack.
Size is a huge factor in determining the cost of an asphalt or concrete length of pavement. The bigger the asphalt or concrete project, the more it is going to cost in the long run. Longer stretches of road or driveways require more material, more equipment and more manpower to complete. Driveways or stretches of road that are in remote, rural areas cost more to get maintenance to.
In terms of initial cost, asphalt is a cheaper surface to use than concrete but the maintenance involved raises the overall cost. Asphalt roads and driveways can last for anywhere from 10 to 30 years if well-maintained. Concrete roads and driveways can last for 20 to 60 years if maintained properly.
Asphalt pavement is made from crude oil. Asphalt material usually contains 80 percent carbon and 20 percent gravel or sand. An advantage that asphalt has over concrete is that snow will melt faster on it because the surface is darker in color. Concrete is created from a mixture of gravel, sand, pebbles, cement, stones and water.
- Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Casey Serin