Pros and cons of concrete vs asphalt driveways

The cost should be based upon a material's durability when paving your driveway. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Kenneth B.)

The cost should be based upon a material's durability when paving your driveway. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Kenneth B.)

When the time comes to install a new driveway, the biggest decision is whether to go with concrete or asphalt.

True, there are other choices -- gravel at the low end and brick pavers at the high end -- but asphalt and concrete are the most common driveway materials, and each has its advantages and disadvantages.

  ASPHALT CONCRETE
Cost

Costs less (average cost is $3 to $5 per square foot).

More expensive (average cost is $10 to $15 per square foot).

Curing

Can drive on asphalt almost immediately.

Wait seven days before driving on it. 

Upkeep

More maintenance, but it's easier to do.

Less maintenance, but repairs more difficult.

Cracking

Easier to repair. Cracks and holes can be filled and sealed.

Patching more obvious; may need expensive repairs.

Weather

Shrinks and expands with temperature changes.

Cracks under extreme pressure or surface movement.

Oil & gas

Oil leaks not as noticable, but gasoline will cause damage.

Gas and oil spills leave more obvious stains than on asphalt.

Longevity

Up to 20 years

Up to 30 years

Asphalt driveways are less expensive to install, but concrete lasts longer. Asphalt needs more maintenance, but is generally easer to repair.  In winter, concrete driveways can be damaged if the wrong de-icing product is used.

Both asphalt and concrete driveways need solid foundations prepared by experts.

“A driveway is only as good as what’s underneath,” says Mike Taylor of Taylor Made Contracting in Weymouth, Massachusetts. Asphalt, he says, can handle the extreme temperature fluctuations in the Northeast better than concrete because it flexes.

Choosing the driveway surface that’s best for you depends on where you live, how much money you’re willing to spend and other personal preferences.

Angie’s List interviewed three Georgia-based experts for their professional opinions.

Which surface is best - concrete or asphalt?

A-1 Drive Replacement Company in Tucker, Georgia, manager Mary Scott, says concrete is best for driveways because “it’s maintenance-free and lasts longer than asphalt.” 

Sudlow Concrete, Atlanta, owner Bill Sudlow agrees. “Concrete is more durable and needs less maintenance.”

Benny Stanley Paving in Acworth, owner Benny Stanley says “If you put it down right, asphalt holds up as good as concrete and it’s cheaper.” Especially if you have a bigger job. 

What do you charge for driveway installation?

A-1 Driveway: Asphalt costs roughly $3 to $4 per square foot, depending on site conditions and required preparation.
Sudlow Concrete: My concrete range is $4.50 to $5.50 per square foot.
Stanley Paving: We have a $750 minimum for asphalt, the average is $1 to $1.50 a square foot.   

Which driveway surface lasts longer?

A-1 Driveway: Between 10 to 30 years, depending on how it’s used.
Sudlow Concrete: Under ideal conditions, concrete lasts 40 years or more.
Stanley Paving: Asphalt can last 20 to 25 years.

How soon can I use my driveway after paving?

A-1 Driveway: You can walk on concrete after waiting one day. After five days you can drive on it. 
Sudlow Concrete: Concrete driveways can be used three days later.
Stanley Paving: You can use your asphalt driveway the same day in most cases.

Can my concrete driveway be resurfaced?

A-1 Driveway: The existing surface needs to be removed to insure the new concrete adheres.
Sudlow Concrete: Concrete resurfacing doesn’t perform well.
Stanley Paving: Asphalt can be paved over concrete if the existing base is solid.

Can you repair cracks?

A-1 Driveway: Concrete should be replaced. Most customers think crack repairs are unsightly.
Sudlow Concrete: Replacing the driveway is the only way to avoid seeing concrete repairs.
Stanley Paving: For asphalt, minor surfaces can be sealed. Major sections can be cut out and replaced. 

How do I extend the life of my new driveway?

A-1 Driveway: Pressure wash a concrete surface every few years.
Sudlow Concrete: Just keep concrete clean.
Stanley Paving: For asphalt, get it resealed every three years.


Editor's Note: This is an updated version of a story originally published on June 15, 2010.


Comments

My asphalt driveway is only one and a half years old on a new construction house. I do believe that the builders laid it when it was too cold because it was in November and November 15th is when companies around here close for the winter...the first spring there is a large dip when you back out of the garage there's several cracks in it. it is wavy in appearance and my daughter who weighs 100 pounds drippin wet sat on a lawn chair and made marks in it. HELP!!! it looks horrible!

Wow. After reading these comments I am more undecided.

Can hot water be run under asphalt driveways to aid in snow melt? I live in the northeast, and my driveway is shaded (north facing) much of the day. I was thinking about running hot water under my driveway in a completely shaded area to help melt snow.

Something no-one has yet discussed here is the potential benefits to be had from painting concrete decks and driveways. I have an in-ground pool with a concrete deck surrounding it. Only a few years after the deck had been poured, much of the concrete had been stained dark brown by the iron-containing salts dissolved in the groundwater that had fallen onto it from the lawn sprinklers. Even when the concrete was new, standing on it barefoot on a hot day (i.e. in temperatures above circa 85 deg. F) was bad enough, but once it was stained with iron, and in temperatures of over 100 F, standing on a single spot for more than a few seconds was intolerable. Eventually I got so fed up with this that I decided to paint the concrete deck with a light-colored water-based exterior-grade latex paint. I prepared the surface by 1) pressure-washing it, 2) brushing it with diluted hydrochloric (a.k.a. muriatic) acid, followed by more pressure-washing to remove all traces of the acid, 3) painting it with a primer designed to be used with concrete, and finally 4) painting on a topcoat of slightly off-white exterior-grade satin-finish concrete paint. The color was chosen with the aim of providing high reflectivity, but without it being so bright that the glare on a sunny day would be excessive. The result has exceeded my most optimistic expectations. Even on the hottest days (up to 110 F here in south central KS), it is possible to stand barefoot on the concrete without the slightest discomfort. The paint is impervious to staining from groundwater salts, and about five years later it is still in very good condition. Only round the outer edges of the deck, where the weedwhacker has repeatedly come into contact with the paint, has the finish been damaged -- but that is very easily and quickly fixed once a year by running over the scars with a paintbrush. The painted surface is slightly more slippery than bare concrete, but unless you are foolish enough to run on it with wet feet or in the rain, this is of no importance. On another (though related) subject, I have found that minor surface defects in concrete can be successfully patched with fiberglass paste (a.k.a. Bondo). I have made several such repairs to the deck, both before and after painting, and all of them are still intact several years later, possibly thanks to good surface preparation (but I would recommend painting any fiberglass repairs rather than leaving them exposed to the elements, as the material does absorb water and swell if is left in contact with it for an extended period). Following the successful outcome of my experiment with painting the pool deck, I applied a similar treatment to the concrete paths around the house, with equally good results. This spring I intend to use a light-beige paint to refinish the concrete driveway, which is rather stained and unsightly from many years of being exposed to water from the sprinklers. It will be interesting to see whether the rubber from the tires of vehicles driven over the painted surface will cause permanent marking; but I would assume that if any marks are left, they too can be painted over again periodically. Another advantage with paint is that it will be an effective barrier against the corrosive effects of any salts the driveway is exposed to in the wintertime. A further experiment I plan to undertake this year is to use expanded polystyrene (like the packing materials used to cushion electrical appliances for shipping) to fill the expansion joints in the driveway, which are repeatedly colonized by weeds. Expanded polystyrene has the multiple advantages of being: 1) readily available at little or no cost, 2) quick and easy to install and renew, 3) paintable, and 4) capable of absorbing the forces applied by the thermal expansion of the concrete slabs, and thus not diminishing the effectiveness of the expansion joints. Its main disadvantages are probably the fact that it is susceptible to being marked by anything that presses into it, and not chemically resistant to motor oil (though if first painted with latex paint, it will be much less affected by oil). A final thought regarding the importance of using light-colored finishes on exterior surfaces: the difference in heat absorption between a light-colored surface and a dark one is absolutely enormous. I wish I had appreciated just how great that difference is when we renewed the asphalt shingles on the roof eight years ago. I'm sure the dark-brown shingles we chose are costing us several hundred dollars a year in extra AC cooling costs compared with something like a light grey. The best tool when trying to decide which shade of paint is best for your concrete is probably a vehicle mechanic's thermometer -- one of those that you point at the surface whose temperature you are measuring. My suggestion would be to select an area that is known to be exposed to the sun for most of the day, and to paint the surface of the concrete with smallish squares (around 6 x 6 inches) of the colors you are considering -- perhaps the evening before a day that is forecast to be hot and sunny. Wait till the hottest part of the day (typically the late afternoon), then compare the surface temperatures of each of the squares, both with each other and with the concrete you are planning to paint on a larger scale. The thermometer reading will be a much more reliable guide than your eye regarding the heat-reflectiveness of the various colors.

IF ASPHALT IN CORRECTLY SEALED USUNG PROPER MIX FORMULATION OF COAL TAR SEALER, SAND , AND ADMIXTURE OF TARMAX, GS10, ETC. A QUALITY BARRIER TO THR ELEMENTS OF OXIDATION,SUN RAIN,SALT ETC. CAN BE ACHIEVED. MOST CONTRACTORS DONT UNDERSTAND MIX FORMULATIONG GIVING CONSUMERS A CHEAP WATERED DOWN MIX WHICH IS PRACTIALLY WORTHLESS.

their will always be a debate on this subject ,Let the customer decide what they want ..do the job and be happy you have one!

The debate helps to inform the consumer. Most customers can't make that decision without the information from this debate.

I know that many (most) asphalt mechanics refuse to re-pave over existing black top claiming it won't adhere. But I see cities and states doing it every year somewhere, with satisfactory results. Who's stroking whom?

Old asphalt can be paved over so long as it is in adequate conditions, however if the existing pavement is very cracked then the new pavement will crack directly over those existing cracks. If the old asphalt is in fair condition, then a contractor would opt to either seal the existing cracks with crack-fill, or possibly "shim" (lay a thin coat over the cracked area and compact) prior to repaving. Generally, cities can repave over their existing pavement since they make sure to repave before the conditions become non-repairable.

Other considerations between concrete and asphalt exist when utilization is beyond the sole purpose of vehicle transport. Concrete, for example will cause more rapid wear of basketballs and tires/tire chains of snow removal machinery. Asphalt may promote a more slippery surface for basketball purposes, expecially when wet. Concrete is very susceptible to deterioration with standing water containing salts which may be worsened when vehicles are parked on the surface with melt of the road cheese. Asphalt is less desirable when heavy vehicles/equipment is going to be parked often in the same spot as sub surface will eventually compact further and the resulting sheer forces will crack the concrete eventually, while asphalt will dip and retain water/ice with subsequently enhanced conditions leading to deterioration.

Been a concrete contractor for 35 years and most of the information I see posted is correct but some, I believe is incorrect. Yes, the base prep is probably the most important factor in a long lasting driveway with concrete or asphalt. Some have explained the reasons why concrete cracks but no one explains the main reason concrete cracks and that is shrinkage. In an example provided by the American Concrete Institute, an un reinforced side walk 100' long x 3' wide with proper mix design and water ratio, when fully cured, will shrink Approx. An inch in length. This does not mean it will be less than 100' feet long. There will be numerous cracks throughout the length of the walkway and if you add up the thickness of each crack it will add up to the inch. If you were to place #5 rebar 12" on center down the length of the walkway, you will likely have less cracks but they will be wider, uglier cracks because the thickness of the cracks will still add up to 1 inch. Shrinkage can not be controlled by reinforcement. The higher the water ratio the more shrinkage will occur. Also the higher the water ratio the lower the psi strength, air pockets form in the capillaries of the concrete allowing for easier moisture migration which promotes efflorescence and higher rate of deterioration from freeze thaw. Some have suggested a higher psi or cement ratio which is good to a point. The more cement, the more hydration equals more shrinkage. The bottom line for a consumer is to make sure whoever places your concrete keeps the water ratio at the proper level. The benefits of a 4000 psi mix will be diluted by too much water added. Other factors not mentioned here are expansive soil, soil high in alkaline content and the effects of ground freeze. All have an adverse effect on concrete. I sell concrete but in some conditions asphalt can make more sense. Asphalt is more pliable and allows for movement better than concrete. It is agreed that proper thickness, application and maintenance is necessary for duration.

Decent coments by TP. In addition to his comments; concrete freeze/thaw elements increase with the wrong tools being used to finish the concrete in cold weather environments. Finishers should not use steel trowels to seal the surface during final finishing of external concrete. This will seal the top layer of the exterior concrete and not allow sufficient evaporation of the water inside the slab, which increases water retension in the slab, which can freeze in freezing weather, causing the concrete to spall away (pop off). A factor that can influence the cost of asphalt is the cost of the barrel of oil. During times of high oil prices, asphalt is more expensive.

Seems like people will pave just about anything -especially when it comes to the land they own. To better help rainwater drain into the soil, I suggest constructing two strips of gravel, pavers etc. the width of your tires the length you require with grass, moss, ivy etc. between the strips. Thus, not much maintenance, a larger looking yard, and less runoff. Win, win.

Pavers or gravel are very appealing if you live in southern climates. In northern climates it makes it very difficult for snow removal and they (pavers) tend to move around with the frost. I have also found them to sink or move in areas that have occasional heavy rains unless they are "framed" in with some sort of border.

Depending where you live, the City zoning code may prohibit ribbon drives.

I heard some where that if calcium is added to the concrete for temperature reasons on the initial pour, that the concrete will fracture when rock salt is applied in winter.

Rock salt or any Chloride based Ice melt will ruin any type of concrete.

Concrete should not be driven on for at least 2 weeks as it takes at least this length to reach its potential strength u should always use 6.5 bag mix for driveways 4000 psi

I built bridges for many years, I know for a fact that concrete gets harder and harder as it ages, the only damage that could be done to concrete is cracking (all concrete cracks eventually, however if it is "installed" correctly it will crack where you want it too and not anywhere else.) Asphalt is basically dirt that has oil in it, yes it will "harden" but, it will NEVER compare to concrete, asphalt is used on roadways because it is cheaper, if you want something that will last, use concrete, if you still want asphalt, put in concrete first then cover with asphalt (for the look, but be prepared to replace the asphalt part after a few years, however putting it over a concrete base it will last much longer than putting it over packed clay/dirt mixture. Which brings me to my final point, your base, concrete and asphalt both MUST be placed on a solid base if you intend for them to last. It should either be rock (though if your rock is cracked then your concrete, and/or asphalt will crack there also... eventually) or (preferably) a PACKED sand/clay (we like to used Alabama red clay here :) mixture the better the foundation, the longer it will last, this counts for roads, bridges, building foundations and driveways. If your going to spend the money to fix your driveway, then fix it, don't put something there that you'll have to patch later.

Asphalt absorbs heat adding to global warming.

Asphalt does not contribute to global warming one bit. It does absorb heat, but that heat energy is already in the earth's environment prior to being absorbed by anything on the earth's surface, once it passes through the atmosphere. Once the energy of the sun is past the earth's outer atmosphere, it is going to add energy to the environment's inventory of energy in some form. Energy is not created or destroyed either. Once it's here, it's here unless it's transmitted in various forms away from the earth. The conditions of the atmosphere contribute more to global warming. Asphalt actually stores the energy temporarily until it cools and radiates the heat (energy) back out into the environment where it is absorbed by another physical substance such as air, etc.

The issue is not global warming, it's the Urban Heat Island Effect. A very informative site that explains this in detail is the Green Thinkers Network. Google it.

Sorry, Mike, you're totally wrong about asphalt absorbing heat already there. The sun's energy arrives on earth mostly in the form of visible light which is more readily absorbed by the black asphalt. The black tar heats up, as can be felt on any sunny day, and re-radiates that energy into the atmosphere in the form of infra-red heat rays increasing the local temperature and therefore increasing atmospheric temperatures. What about concrete or even green plants? More of the sun's visible light is not absorbed and is reflected back into space (the term is known as higher albedo) and has less effect on Earth's increasing atmospheric temperature. I'm not even considering the effect volatile hydrocarbons that are released into the air as the asphalt cools and hardens when first applied.

Asphalt or Concrete do not contribute to global warming. There is no such thing as global warming. Global warming is a fraud and has been proven so. If anything we are in a cooling phase. The global warming fraud was started as an agenda for the left to try to reduce the population and to charge a carbon tax. The polar ice is not melting, it is increasing. The data is just not there to prove this. Asphalt may be hotter than concrete but only because of the dark color absorbing more heat.

A driveway is a permanent "slab on grade (SOG). 1. There is no such thing as an unreinforced SOG. Portland cement concrete (PCC) has little strength in tension. All its strength is in compression. A driveway is in compression from the center line up and it's in tension from the center line down because of dead weight and live load. The tensile load is carried by the re-bars. 2. Welded wire fabric is not reinforcing steel. It's called temperature steel with discussion for another day. 3. The re-bars need to be in the bottom half of the SOG. The steel needs to be covered with about 3" of concrete to the dirt and to the air. Therefore, a 4" SOG does not exist. Use minimum of 6". W/o going into the engineering, #4's at 12" on center each way will work. I prefer #5's at 16" OC EW so I can walk through the mesh w/o standing on bars. Prop them up with broken bricks. Wire them together at each intersection. Vibrate the mud into the pour and tap the outside of any exposed forms to prevent voids. 4. Ready mix is OK. Use 4" slump @ 3000#. Chopped fiber glass is good admixture for expansion under sun loading. 5. Trowel it hard. Then, trowel it again. This brings the paste to the top. Broom rfinish. 6. Cut control joints about every 8 foot. Say, one right down the middle and transverse at 8 foot apart. If the SOG were to crack it would do so inside the control joint and not crooked like all the driveways in town. 7. PCC is not glue. It's a chemical reaction. Don't let it dry out. Cure it for 7 days. Poly or straw or wet sand will work. The easiest is to spray concrete curing compound which is just mineral oil with a fancy name and price tag. The oil floats on the water and keeps the curing slab wet. 8. A properly poured SOG will last 100 years. If it doesn't something went wrong. Call me then. 9. Oh. Good sub-base, too.

I enjoyed reading the comments about asphalt v. cement. My husband worked for the Portland Cement Association for 38 years. It was a research and development arm of the portland cement industry member companies. As an employee of that company, he did testing of the use, stability, strength and feasibility of that material as used in airport runways, driveways, bridges, expressways and buildings. I also worked for the director of the manufacturing process department at PCA. There is an enormous amount of knowledge of the science of cement technology that is necessary in order to assess the proper methods to be used in any and all construction. Of course, my husband would tell you that there is no comparison between the strength of asphalt and concrete. Hands down one is much more expensive than the other but cement/concrete is preferred especially for the big jobs. All the driveways in my neck of the woods are concrete BUT very few do not have cracks. My husband always said that was because the contractors had no real idea how to put in cement driveways at homes. Our driveway consists of brick pavers instead of concrete, thereby eliminating the cracks so prevalent here in a subtropical climate.

3000#?!! You want at least 3500psi, and 4000psi is MUCH better. Not only are you getting about 14% more compressive strength, you will get a lot more cream on the surface which will allow the finisher to get a better finish on it. Also, you don't want to trowel a driveway or most anything that's going to get a 'broom' finish. You float it until the water that is drawn to the surface evaporates. Then bullfloat it one last time and then broom it.

I had a 3.5 yard driveway to pour and a willing neighbor to help screed it. I wanted to do it by halves (beer break in between) so I ordered the mud in the little trucks. Neighbor didn't show up. Both of the mini-mixes showed up at the same time. That was a memorable day. Ten years on it still looks good, though.

Well i know being young i dont have anywhere near half the experiance as many on here. I do believe it depends on the area. I would go concrete over asphalt anyday though considering u can change the color of the mix, stone size to make stronger and to avoid most cracks in driveways and aprons just add wire. From doing road patches in atlantic city, nj i find that concrete must be stronger and last longer then asphalt otherwise why would just about every street there have a 6" pad of concrete under the pavement. Just do it right with tampers, oil your forms and make the right joints and you will have one amazing driveway you can park anything on. Also the many statements about ice melting better in winter for pavement, what happens to your pavement in summer when its 100 degrees and your trailer jack is on it. You have a nice little hole now.

Any driveway will crack. Many factors to consider before making a decision on what type material you want for a driveway. Soil type, amount of base needed, type of material used for base, what kind of vehicle traffic will park and drive on the driveway, drainage conditions, etc. Since I did this type work for 40 years I know of what I speak. I would go to a reliable contractor, get an estimate, ask for references, speak with other customers ( do your homework ) but know this; any driveway will crack, guaranteed.

Concrete done properly is A lot better than Asphalt if done properly it's a far better product it will crack it won't catch fire RB stolen 6 1/2 bag mix grade it bulfloat Broom walk away The more you mess with concrete The more likely it's going to pop do not use salt on your driveway you should be able to get at least 20 years looking perfect most important is the base

Concrete has greatly improved over the last 50 years so what you did in 1983 should not necessarily be the same as in 2013. While a good contractor has experience he must also show knowledge of improved methods and standards as technology does change the materials we use for construction.

I called for an estimate last year. Asphalt with rip out was $4000. Concrete was $12,500. I opted for the Asphalt. With proper care and seal coating it will look better than concrete after aging. And If I have to did it over in 10 yrs so what. Still cost me less.

You might avoid resealing your asphalt. Our office complex faced this question in 1985. A close friend of mine owned an asphalt company. He told me that sealing is only for appearance, not for maintenance. We elected not to reseal. Our lot is still just fine. Lots on either side resealed and reasphalted several times.

When I had my asphalt driveway put down, the owner of the company told me not to ever seal it if I wanted it to last longer, as the asphalt needs to breathe as the weather changes and the sealer keeps it from breathing and therefore more cracks. I have never sealed and have very few cracks,and they are thin at that neighbors have sealed and have alot more cracks and big ones.

I live in an northeast area where oil & stone is the norm. I rarely see concert unless it's uses as a car pad. Does anyone have an opinion on oil & stone compared to asphalt?

Concrete is the best material because it wears better, looks better etc. There are also some factors that people don't realize. #1) A yard of concrete pours 81 sq feet at 4 inches deep,( this is how it is figured at time of purchase) #2) there are different mixes depending on the weight of different vehicles,2500psi, 3000psi, 3500psi and so on.(example, ever notice the asphalt around dumpsters at stores or restaurants? the asphalt is all torn up where loading or emptying is done repeatedly by large trucks)The higher the strength of the mix(more cement, sand, and rock) the more weight the concrete can support. You can request whatever strength you want. If your biggest vehicle is a car, truck, boat or RV, then 2000 or 2500 psi is good. The thing to remember here is that when you form your driveway, patio, sidewalk, etc. whatever the application, 1x4s or 2x4s will be the forms(2x4s work better because they do not bow as much) you will always have 4 inches of concrete throughout the entire slab if you grade it right.#3) The most important) when an estimate is done on asphalt, in general ,the estimate is figured at 2 inches thick(this is where asphalt will always come up short) because if you want it any thicker, that will be extra. This is one reason that you have to start mowing your asphalt after it gets a crack, because of grass or weeds. LOL. Ultimately it is the homeowners decision, but you will get more bang for your buck with concrete. 2 inches vs 4 inches, 30 years vs 5 to 10 years....

The strengths referred to when grading concrete ts a measure of the compression properties of the material. Concrete has virtually no strength when it comes to resisting tensile loads, which is more in the range of 100 psi.. Unfortunately the failures in slabs are almost always due to a tensile force that is caused by a bending action. Whether the slab is of three or four thousand psi concrete will have little or no effect when it comes to cracking. This property of concrete is the reason steel reinforcing is used to handle the tensile loads when they are present.. The only way to handle durability with slabs is to properly prepare the underlying base, control the cracking by properly grooving, and/or use of reinforcing.

Concrete tension strength is usually from 12% to 15% of the compression strength. So, 2,500 psi concrete in compression would probably be able to resist 250 psi in tension. And 5,000 psi concrete in compression would likely be able to resist 600 psi in tension.

You explination of the 2X4 four for framing (forming) the pour, sound good in print. However, a "real" 2x4 measures 1-1/2", by 3-1/2 inches, which came about around 35 years ago. A true 2x4 probably has't been milled to 2"x4" in about 65 years,in most areas. I am not making any suggestions, but I have yet to see a Four Inch slab on any drive in this area of NC. Concrete done correctly is very good, done poorly, leaves much to be desired, an example is when the original owners move out, their moving vans play havoc with the "Thinset' type of work. Having lived in a 48" Frostline area for 40 years, asphalt always made more sense. Concrete suffers from the January Thaw, around the third week of that month. Asphalt will have sufficien "give" to survive. As with any contracting job, material is important, but craftsmanship is paramount.

All one needs to look at to determine which is best are the Roman aqueducts. They were built in excess of 1,000 years ago using pozzolith - the base material in concrete. They are still standing in Italy. I challenge anyone to say an initial asphalt installation will last that long. When properly designed, installed and maintained concrete will always be a better choice, more durable and far most cost effective especially when doing a life-cycle analysis.

You have to worry about an unexpected oil, gas, or antifreeze leaks too. They will stain concrete but not too bad if you have it sealed properly, Gas can eat up an asphalt driveway if not noticed and taken care of in time. That is why 90% of gas stations have concrete around their gas pumps. Thought I would let you all know,

After reading the various comments, I find I made the right decision about 5 years ago when I replaced my 25 yr old concrete driveway in bad condition with concrete pavers. Did all the work myself. Rented a concrete cutter, compactor and brick cutter as needed. I did put a gravel and sand base underneath the pavers. Some of the gravel I created by busting up concrete slaps. It was hard work and took a long time but the result is rewarding. I got two quotes from the professionals. Both came in at around $12,000. By doing it myself, I spent about $3,500 for materials and rental cost. One drawback, if you have a car or truck that leaks oil, the spots are almost impossible to remove since pavers are more porous than concrete.

Put a clear sealer on the pavers to close up those porous pavers (or even concrete). Clean the surface first, then seal. Then reseal a couple of times a year for the first couple of years to "soak it in". After that at the end of the summer sould be good.

If the paver is stained bad enough you can buy another and replace it. Simple and easy fix.

Good quality pavers are made of dry cast concrete up to 10,000 psi...if sealed they are even less porous

Have you ever thought about a sealer. The technology these days with sealers are amazing. From joint stabilization to sealers with bio fungicides the list goes on. Check out surebond products available from most unilock retailers.

I live in New England. My last driveway was concrete and it was great for jackstands, motorcycles, etc., but in the winter the snow and ice would melt just enough to glaze and re-freeze and this could go on for days. Most ice-melters are very unfriendly to concrete. My asphalt driveway heats up when the sun hits it and after one good sunny afternoon, even in the dead of winter, the driveway is clear of ice and snow.

The only reason the asphalt melts everything clear is because of it's color. Black absorbs a lot of heat even when it's 10 degrees out. I installed a driveway with colored concrete a few years ago and it does the same thing. I went with a reddish color to match the house but it still works just fine.

I'm a Chicago resident. Have had concrete, exposed aggregate, and asphalt. Only the asphalt is spotless in the winter after plowing and 1 day of sunshine. Never any ice buildup. May not last as long as the aqueducts, but who cares.

Pages

Add comment

Deals
Anonymous reviews are Internet graffiti.  Angie's List has real reviews from real people.

What is Angie's List?

Angie’s List is the trusted site where more than 2 million households go to get ratings and reviews on everything from home repair to health care. Stop guessing when it comes to hiring! Check Angie’s List to find out who does the best work in town.

Local Discounts

Daily deals up to 70% off popular home improvement projects from top-rated contractors on Angie’s List!