Pros and Cons of Concrete vs. Asphalt Driveway
Consider cost and durability when choosing the best material for 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 install concrete or asphalt.
Costs less (average cost is $3 to $5 per square foot).
More expensive (average cost is $10 to $15 per square foot).
Can drive on asphalt almost immediately.
Wait seven days before driving on it.
More maintenance, but it's easier to do.
Less maintenance, but repairs more difficult.
Easier to repair. Cracks and holes can be filled and sealed.
Patching more obvious; may need expensive repairs.
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.
Up to 20 years
Up to 30 years
Concrete lasts longer, but asphalt driveways are less expensive to install. Asphalt needs more maintenance, but is generally easier to repair. In winter, concrete driveways can suffer damage if you use the wrong de-icing product.
Both concrete and asphalt 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 your property depends on where you live, how much money you’re willing to spend and other personal preferences.
Angie’s List interviewed three Georgia-based driveway experts for their professional opinions.
Benny Stanley, owner
Benny Stanley Paving
4288 New Hope Church Road SE
Which surface is best — concrete or asphalt?
Mary Scott, manager at A-1 Drive Replacement Company says concrete is best for driveways because “it’s maintenance-free and lasts longer than asphalt.”
Sudlow Concrete owner Bill Sudlow agrees. “Concrete is more durable and needs less maintenance.”
Benny Stanley Paving owner Benny Stanley says, “If you put it down right, asphalt holds up as good as concrete and it’s cheaper.” That's especially true if you have a larger 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 cost 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.
RELATED: Are Heated Driveways Worth the Cost?
How long does each driveway surface last?
A-1 Driveway: Asphalt lasts 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 ensure 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 in concrete or asphalt?
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.