When contracting for a new driveway, you have a major decision to make when it comes to the material. Most residential driveways are made from either concrete or asphalt. Both materials provide a durable and long lasting surface, which can make it hard to make a final decision. The following guide can help.
When it comes to installation cost, asphalt is typically much less expensive than concrete. This isn't the only cost to consider, though. Maintenance costs are also a factor. Asphalt will need periodic sealing to protect it from weather damage. It may also require resurfacing if cracks appear. Concrete can last for many years with nothing more than a single coat of sealer.
The type of climate also affects your choice, and it can also impact the cost. As a general rule, asphalt is better suited to cooler climates or areas with freezing winter temperatures. This is because asphalt is less prone to cracking due to freeze expansion. A concrete driveway may need more frequent repairs or replacement in a cold climate, thus raising the cost. Concrete tends to perform better in hot climates, because asphalt tends to become soft and more prone to damage when the temperature soars. This means more asphalt repairs in the long run.
Beyond cost, there is also a time investment when it comes to driveway maintenance. Asphalt drives are typically sealed by the installer a few months after installation, after they have fully cured. You will then apply a new sealant coat every few years, once the old coat has worn down and the driveway begins to absorb water. This can prolong the life of the drive over many decades. Concrete can be sealed, although it isn't typically necessary. The purpose of concrete sealing is to protect against stains. For this reason, concrete typically requires less maintenance.
The ability to repair your driveway can increase its value over time. This is where asphalt is a better choice. Cracks in asphalt are easily filled, and then the application of the sealcoating camouflages the repair. Major issues can be fixed and then a new layer of asphalt can be applied to provide a new surface for a fraction of the cost of replacement. Any repairs on concrete, on the other hand, are highly visible. You will have to replace the entire driveway if you don't like the look of the repairs.
Talk with a residential paving contractor for more help.