Whether you’re a new homeowner or not — and whether you’re buying a brand new home, building one from spec, or buying a used home — the state of the driveway is something you’ll have to consider. You may have a lot of other things higher on your list of priorities, but sooner or later, the decisions you make (or don’t make) concerning your driveway and walkways will catch up with you.
Specifically, a lot of people want to know whether asphalt or concrete is a better option for driveways. In addition to the obvious differences in appearance, are there structural reasons to choose one over the other? What about price, longevity and other concerns? Can a clear case really be made for asphalt or concrete, or is it really just a toss-up?
The reality is, both concrete and asphalt are remarkably resilient materials, and when they’re mixed and installed by a reputable pro, you can expect a very long lifespan and minimal maintenance out of both.
If we break down the average lifespan of each material, however, we see that concrete lasts longer. Asphalt surfaces (again, assuming the mixture and installation are good) typically hold together in good condition for a decade or two, with twenty years representing the outside edge. Concrete, on the other hand, typically lasts about a decade longer. 20-30 years on average is a good estimate for the lifespan of a correctly mixed and installed concrete surface.
Asphalt generally needs more maintenance, with periodic sealcoating and other repairs (cracks, etc.) occasionally becoming necessary. But repairing asphalt is generally easier and cheaper to repair than concrete. If something does go wrong with your ultra-durable concrete installation, specialists are more limited in what they can do to rectify the problem. Repairs are generally more involved and come at higher costs. This services to highlight the importance of working with a highly reputable and experienced specialist, no matter which kind of material you choose.
Cost of installation
Now that we understand a bit more about the structural and maintenance, let’s look at the costs. The greater longevity and lower maintenance of concrete means that concrete comes at a higher cost than asphalt. According to national averages, homeowners pay between $2 -$6 per square foot for asphalt installations, which translates to anywhere between $700 and $2000 for the average-sized driveway. By contrast, concrete will run anywhere from $3 – $10 per square foot on average, which means an average total cost of $1,000- $3,600, depending on the size of your driveway. The quality of the materials and skill of the installation company are also factors that affect that cost of installation.
Finding the right solution for you home
Concrete and asphalt are both great options for your driveway. They do come with differences in cost and performance, as well as appearance, so every homeowner has to decide which factors matter most to them. Whatever your questions may be, finding a highly qualified and well-known specialist in your area is the key to getting answers. Whether you make a bigger upfront investment in concrete, or go with the amazing value of asphalt, being able to trust your installation specialist makes all the difference.