Comparing Concrete and Asphalt Driveways

Putting in a new driveway or replacing an old one adds significant value to your home. When making a materials decision, be sure to weigh the pros and cons of each option to ensure you get the most for your money. Where you live, what style of home you have and how much you want to spend all have a bearing on the type of driveway you select, but if you are like the majority of American homeowners, you will ultimately find yourself choosing between concrete and asphalt.

Concrete Versus Asphalt

Concrete is a mixture of cement, sand and gravel. It is odorless when wet or dry. Asphalt is also known as blacktop. It is a combination of stone and sand in a petroleum base. During application and in hot weather, asphalt emits a tarry smell. Typically, concrete costs significantly more than asphalt per square foot, and many people find it to be superior in appearance and quality.

The Life Expectancy of Concrete and Asphalt Driveways

Concrete driveways will provide up to 30 years of use. However, if you live in a climate with severe winter weather, your concrete is susceptible to cracks during cold snaps. Repairing a concrete driveway can be costly.

In contrast, asphalt driveways last up to 20 years. Also susceptible to weather, this material softens in high temperatures and shrinks in cold weather. A quick patch takes care of holes or dents in asphalt.


Concrete normally requires minimum care. Cleaning it with a pressure washer every few years will keep it in good condition. Asphalt, on the other hand, needs to be resealed as often as every three years, so it is more expensive to maintain.

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