Asphalt vs Concrete

Concrete and Asphalt are the two most common materials used in making pavements and driveways. A lot of people get confused as to which is the best for them and some end up choosing the wrong one. Although these two are the most common construction material, these two have a lot of differences that may or may not benefit the user. You should consider a few key factors such as the budget, lifespan, repair or maintenance, climate and weather, and the aesthetics or design. Concrete and asphalt have a huge difference and you can choose your perfect match only if you know what to look for.

First of all, concrete uses a substance called cement to bind the mixture of sand and aggregate. The role of the cement is to set and harden the other materials together. On the other hand, asphalt, a complex organic material uses a black petroleum-based substance. Asphalt is a product obtained through a process called fractional distillation of crude oil. 

Considering the budget on picking construction materials, the difference in cost between the two is light and day. An asphalt driveway is way cheaper to install than a concrete one. Although the price of asphalt tends to fluctuate depending on the price of crude oil, the cost of installation of concrete is still relatively higher. If you were to customize your concrete platform and add some decorative elements such as patterns and hue then its cost will increase drastically. 

With its pricey installation, the concrete has a greater lifespan when compared to asphalt. Concrete can last up to thirty to forty years. If the concrete flatwork is properly kept along with the correct maintenance and sealing every 5 years, it will even last longer. Although it won’t be the same as a newly installed one, it will still be in good condition. On the other hand, asphalt has a lifespan of up to twenty to twenty-five years which is almost half of the concrete’s lifespan. It also requires maintenance every three to five years and it will ruin the asphalt if not maintained. Asphalt is indeed cheaper to install but concrete is a much greater investment. If the concrete or asphalt cracks, they can still be repaired. Asphalt is much easier to blend and repair while concrete cracks are more obvious because of weathering.

In terms of the climate and weather, the change in temperature also affects both asphalt and concrete. Places with extreme weather that are either very cold or very warm can damage concrete and asphalt flat works. Asphalt is not recommended in places that experience intense heat. Due to the petroleum substance that is contained in asphalt mixtures, the asphalt ground tends to get soft and sticky under hotter climate. Sometimes the softening of the ground causes it to deform and be unusable. On the contrary, concrete experience damage in extremely cold weather. The concrete ground tends to crack down and suffer freeze and thaw damage. But using a quality concrete sealer can lessen the freeze and thaw damage.

When it comes to the aesthetic sense, a lot of people may prefer concrete over asphalt. The color of asphalt is darker and may appear blackish while concrete is on a graying tone. You can also add textures to your concrete such as stamping, broom finish, stencil, salt finish, and exposed aggregates. For a more visually stunning effect, you can also add a splash of color to the bland and monotonous looking concrete. There is a variety of finished concrete that will give you the desired look of your flatwork. Asphalt, however, has a much more limited tint or coloring option. During installation, asphalt is rolled and pressed so finishes and stamping are not advisable. The asphalt will only turn out deformed or messy. In conclusion, concrete material is much easier to work with if you have a desired unique design for your driveway or pavement. Asphalt, although limited, may work well with a simple, modern setting.

These two construction materials are widely popular and have their own unique characteristics and charm. If you are to choose from both of them, you should first weigh the most perfect match for you and your location.

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