When you look around at the pavement in every day life, the majority of what you see is asphalt. There’s no question about it: This material is an astonishing value, and the for the money it costs to install asphalt, the lifespan and durability you get is difficult to beat. In fact, there is really only one other material that holds a candle to asphalt, and that’s concrete. It comes at a higher price point, so people are naturally skeptical about why they should consider it. Here are four reasons why you might want to choose concrete over asphalt.
1. It lasts longer
Asphalt lasts a long time. That long lifespan, along with its friendlier price point, is why it’s still the top choice for residential and commercial pavement applications. But the fact is, concrete lasts longer still. While an expertly installed asphalt surface can often last for twenty years before any significant repair or replacement is needed, concrete (also assuming it’s been expertly installed) can go another decade or more on top of that. Concrete is an altogether durable and tough material.
2. It’s easier to control the color
A lot of people don’t know that concrete can be tinted and colored. Where asphalt is concerned, this is much more difficult, and alterations in color are much more difficult to achieve. This is a big deal for homeowners and business owners who want greater aesthetic control over their pavement installations. Because concrete is naturally lighter in color, alterations to its color are achieved by mixing particles of iron oxide into the cement. These iron oxides occur in many different colors. The actual process is detailed, and requires a number of specific steps, including carefully ratios and curing after the installation is complete. A good professional will have experience with coloring concrete per the client’s specifications, and will be able to provide the best possible advise. Don’t trust your concrete coloring job to a contractor with no experience.
3. It naturally looks better
This is obviously a matter of taste, but many people prefer the clean, light-gray appearance of concrete over the dark gray or black appearance of asphalt. One of the advantages of asphalt is that stains and other imperfections tend to be hidden by its darker color. However, the lighter color of concrete is sometimes a far better accent to specific homes and properties.
4. It’s less susceptible to temperature damage
When temperatures fluctuate from warm to freezing (as they often do in New Jersey, among many other states), the expansion and contraction of asphalt will eventually undermine its structural integrity and begin to weaken it. Concrete is stronger in this respect, and is more resistant to damage caused by temperature swings.
Which choice should I make?
There are a whole list of pros and cons for both concrete and asphalt. Choosing the right material will depend on your goals, tastes, planned usage of the pavement, and budget. A skilled contractor will collect the right information from you, and give you sound advice on which material represents the best choice based on your needs.