Concrete, asphalt great driveway options for D.C. area

Concrete, asphalt great driveway options for D.C. area

Homeowners wanting to replace an existing driveway or construct a new one may be torn between the curb appeal of concrete versus the ease of asphalt.

Here are seven issues to consider before committing to concrete or asphalt:

  1. Initial usage: Concrete needs to be cured and can’t be driven on for seven days after pouring. However, asphalt does not need to be cured and can be driven on almost immediately.
  2. Environmental considerations: Both concrete and asphalt can be recycled. In fact, asphalt, which has been in use for thousands of years, is considered the most recycled product in the United States.
  3. Weather considerations: Concrete can be poured even in cold weather. However, you won’t be able to drive on it for at least seven days. Asphalt, which must be placed and compacted when it’s hot, is engineered to withstand the heat and cold weather extremes of D.C. because it flexes.
  4. Ice and snow: Frequent snowstorms may tempt property owners to use deicing products. Those containing ammonium sulphate or ammonium nitrate shouldn’t be used on concrete because they can deteriorate the surface. Unlike concrete, hot mix asphalt remains unaffected by the use of salt in winter.
  5. Maintenance: Though some concrete treatments require sealing every two years, more recent technologies allow for maintenance-free applications.
  6. Durability: Whether concrete or asphalt, a properly constructed and maintained driveway can last as long as 30 years. The durability of concrete and asphalt depends on the proper proportions of the mixture and the proper planning of the driveway.
  7. Cost: Concrete costs between $3 and $10 per square foot, according to Special treatments like coloring and stamping can raise the price to $5 to $20 per square foot. Asphalt averages between $1 and $5 per square foot.

The National Asphalt Pavement Association warns consumers to reject unsolicited offers from companies saying they have asphalt left over from a nearby paving job. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Leftover pavement, the organization said, is usually too cool to be reused effectively.

Pavement scams are particularly prevalent in residential areas. Always get three estimates; check references, insurance and bonding, and licensure before hiring a contractor.

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