Many homes come with a driveway. Whether it’s leading to a garage, the driveway is a convenient place to park one or more cars. If a driveway is in need of repair or replacement, owners often choose between asphalt or concrete.

There are certain factors that come into play when making a decision. More often than not, cost is a main consideration and frequently the driving force behind any driveway decisions that are made. Until you realize all of the subtleties behind these materials, you may not be able to make an informed decision.

Cost

According to the Do It Yourself Website, generally concrete can cost up to 45 percent more than asphalt to install. But if the price of crude oil is high, and crude oil is a component of asphalt composition, then the asphalt could be more expensive. The best way to compare prices is to get a few estimates for each material.

Depending on climate, both asphalt and concrete can be prone to cracking. In many cases, it is more expensive to mend cracks in a concrete driveway than in one made from asphalt.

Weather compatibility

If you live in a very hot climate, you may want to choose a concrete driveway. Asphalt tends to get soft in the heat, which can contribute to grooves and dents in the surface. Whereas concrete driveways work better in warm climates than cold ones. Salt used on roadways can damage concrete, and cold-weather shrinkage can lead to cracks in the concrete.

Rate of repair

Despite the cost, some people choose concrete driveways because they tend to have a longer life with less maintenance required. A concrete driveway can last as long as 50 years. Asphalt driveways can last around 30 years, but if they’re not properly maintained, may start deteriorating after just a few years. That’s because asphalt is petroleum-based and very elastic. If left to dry out without adequate sealing, the driveway can become brittle and start to wear away. Concrete driveways can be sealed to preserve their quality, but most people associate sealing with asphalt.

This should be done every five years or so to prevent the breakdown of the oils in the asphalt. The first application of sealant should be applied no sooner than eight to 12 months after installation to allow the asphalt to properly cure. Asphalt that is ready for sealing will start to take on a grayish hue.

Staining

A light-colored concrete can be stained easily from fluid leaks from the underside of a car or leaves. It may take powerwashing to remove the stain adequately. However, stains are much less visible on dark asphalt.

But asphalt can do its own type of staining. The oils released from the asphalt can stick to the undersides of shoes and be carried indoors. If you don’t remove your shoes upon entering, these oils may eventually discolor vinyl or tile floors or get imbedded into the carpeting.

Variety

What you see is what you get with asphalt. There really are no decorative options – it’s merely a simple and practical driveway material. On the other hand, concrete can be colored or stamped to provide designs and aesthetic appeal. If you desire a higher-end driveway, then concrete may be right for you.

Both driveway materials will do what they’re supposed to – providing a durable surface on which to park your car. If you’re looking for low installation costs, then you may want to choose asphalt. For the utmost in durability, perhaps concrete is best.

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