For homeowners looking to have a new driveway installed, the two most common - and often debated - options are asphalt and concrete. While asphalt is generally less expensive upfront, it requires more maintenance than concrete. Concrete, on the other hand, has a higher installation cost but requires little maintenance. Of course, cost isn’t the only factor when choosing between asphalt and concrete. Climate, aesthetics, and maintenance are also contributing factors.
Asphalt driveways are generally less expensive than concrete when comparing upfront installation costs. The average asphalt driveway costs $2-$5 per square foot while a concrete driveway can cost $4-$6 per square foot for a basic style. More intricate concrete designs can cost up to $15 per square foot.
Comparing Climate Conditions
Climate plays an important factor in deciding whether to go with asphalt or concrete. Asphalt has a tendency to soften in high temperatures, which can cause a tacky texture and even deformities in the asphalt. Concrete, on the other hand, can survive high temperatures but may crack in freezing temperatures due to its tendency to shrink and expand. This is why more homes in the northern states will have asphalt driveways while homes in the southern states tend to have concrete driveways.
Some homeowners may prefer the simple, classic look of asphalt while others may prefer the variety of designs concrete can offer. In recent years, tinted sealants and mixes have been created to give homeowners more color options when it comes to asphalt. Concrete, on the other hand, can come in a variety of colors and can be stamped or etched to create simple or intricate designs.
Comparing Maintenance and Longevity
Concrete can last up to 40 years with little to no maintenance, while asphalt can last up to 30 years by having it resealed every 3-5 years. The tradeoff, however, is that concrete is much more difficult to repair than asphalt. Damage to concrete driveway usually requires replacing the entire driveway while an asphalt driveway can be repaired or re-layered fairly easily.