When you need to pave something such as your driveway or a private road on your property, you typically have two choices. You can use asphalt, which also is called blacktop, or you can use concrete. There are advantages and disadvantages to each method, and the one you choose will likely come down to a personal choice and what your needs are.
One of the big issues to consider when looking at what material to use for a driveway repair or other paving project is cost. One of the big advantages of asphalt is the cost. It is much cheaper than concrete, which is likely why it is used on more than 90% of the parking lots in the U.S. and 94% of the paved roads. When considering the cost of a driveway, keep in mind that a one-car driveway typically is about 8 to 9 feet wide while a two-car driveway typically will be 15 to 18 feet wide. Using concrete can mean you spend hundreds or even thousands of extra dollars.
One of the reasons asphalt paving is cheaper than concrete is that it is much easier to install. It typically just involves having the material dumped on the road surface and then spread out evenly, whereas concrete is much more complicated.
Durability is an issue you will want to take into consideration when looking at paving materials. A concrete driveway or road that is installed correctly and maintained the way it should be will last a minimum of 25 years and as many as 50. Asphalt paving usually has a maximum lifespan of about 20 years. Asphalt also typically needs more maintenance than concrete but it also is much easier to repair if it gets damaged.
Concrete has a definite advantage when it comes to look. Concrete looks more high end and professional and also can be customized in dozens of different colors if you don’t mind spending extra. With asphalt, you typically get black or a dark gray as your color choices. It is a surface that is meant to be utilitarian and does not have a high-end look.
When choosing your paving materials, you have to consider all the potential factors. Asphalt is cheaper and easier to install than concrete, but it likely won’t last as long and will require more maintenance.