It’s easy to take paved roads and driveways for granted, given that they’re everywhere. However, paved roads haven’t around forever. In fact, paved roads date back more than 5,000 years in ancient Mesopotamia.
When it comes to private paved roads or driveways, it’s important to know your options so you can make an informed decision on the driveway of your choice.
Driveways have to stand up to the daily beating that cars can put on them. That’s why we’ll be taking a look at the asphalt vs concrete debate.
Before delving into the intricacies of paved driveways, let’s take a peek at what history has to say.
The Mesopotamians were known for quite a few inventions that were well ahead of their time. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, one such invention was paving of roads. Their precise brick-laying skills brought finesse to their roads with the functionality that paved roads bring to the table.
Centuries later, the Romans began to perfect the paving of roads. Using concrete made from a mixture of volcanic ash and lime, they create interlocking slabs of concrete that facilitated drainage and kept roads straight.
Asphalt vs Concrete: What’s the Difference?
If you’re just the average Joe, then chances are you know how to differentiate between asphalt and concrete by looks. Concrete usually has a more grayish appearance while asphalt usually lies on the darker black side.
Without further ado, let’s dig into the main differences between asphalt and concrete.
Asphalt: Elegant but Fragile
Just like any electronic you’re looking to buy, asphalt has pros and cons. Knowing what you’re getting for your money can avoid a headache down the road.
The biggest factor to consider when looking into getting a new driveway is what your climate is. Asphalt struggles in higher temperatures because of its softer nature. It tends to become gooey and sticky when exposed to high temperatures for long periods of time.
In fact, the year-round cycle heating and cooling can cause asphalt to crack over time. That’s where asphalt seals and repairs come in.
Asphalt seals need to be replaced every few years because the heat wears down the adhesive properties of the seal. Cracks start to show up once the seal weakens and starts to give way.
While cracks plague both asphalt and concrete alike, asphalt tends to crack more quickly because of its softer build. The tradeoff is that it is quite easy to repair asphalt by applying a new topcoat or by filling gaps with new seals.
Once an asphalt driveway has been installed, you can drive on it within 48 hours of installation while with concrete, it takes at least a week before the driveway is ready to be driven on.
Concrete: Old but Gold
As you may have expected, concrete suffers in cold temperatures. That’s why you’ll often find concrete in hot, humid locations. Concrete can buckle or even crack in cold temperatures.
With that said, if you’re thinking of installing concrete at a location where it’s hot year-round, then go for it.
Concrete is also a lot more durable than its asphalt counterpart, lasting upwards of 50 years if properly maintained. Regardless of which driveway you choose to go with, installing an even substrate of gravel will prolong the life of your driveway.
Turns out that the extra durability of concrete comes at a hefty price. For starters, a concrete driveway can be roughly 50 percent more expensive than an asphalt driveway.
Patching It Up
Let’s face it: your driveway won’t last forever, regardless of the material you choose. Knowing exactly what your options are for repairs can save you loads of money in the long run.
Getting in touch with a trusted professional paving company, such as the one in Hanover, VA. These professionals can help you get your driveway in tip-top shape in no time.
When it comes to repairing your asphalt driveway, you’ll want to use asphalt patch product. Remember to clean out the area by removing any large pieces of debris. The hole or crack doesn’t have to be spotless, just tidy.
Use a shovel to scoop out the material into the hole. The secret to a flawless asphalt patch is in the compaction of the patch. The more compact the material is, the better the repair.
You’ll want to apply the patch product in 2-inch increments and compacting it before adding another 2-inch layer. Keep adding layers until the hole or crack is filled.
Before finishing the job off, add a small amount of patch product for extra compaction. This will allow the product to settle enough before it is driven on. Make sure to let the product cure for the amount of time specified on the package.
This is where things can get a bit tricky. But to keep things simple, we’ll take a look at the basics of concrete repair.
Narrow cracks can be repaired by using a masonry crack filler, which usually fits into a caulk gun. You’ll want to clean the surrounding area around the crack by removing any debris with a quick sweep.
Wide cracks can be repaired by using a vinyl patching compound and a trowel to smooth the compound out. It’s sort of like filling in the wide crack with more concrete. Make sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions on the package to get optimal results.
Before You Go…
Remember that no matter what type of driveway you choose to go with, there will be drawbacks as well as advantages. Weight out the pros and cons of asphalt vs concrete for yourself, perhaps by using a list to get a better idea of which driveway suits you.
Maybe your a DIY-person or perhaps you’d rather get some professional help. Regardless of your choice, make sure you get the right driveway for your needs.