If there is new residential construction or a residential restoration in your future, have you considered what kind of Asphalt paving contractor material you will be using for the driveway? For most people, the choice will be between concrete and asphalt, the two most common paving materials. Of those two, asphalt is a frequent choice for one big reason…cost.
Asphalt is significantly less expensive per installed square foot than concrete. That becomes a big consideration for everyone but especially for people who have long driveways, circle drives, or parking aprons by the garage. Cost is important but so is performance and value. Asphalt, like all paving materials, has its pros and cons and before you make a decision, you need to know what they are.
Will an Asphalt Driveway Give You What You’re Looking For?
Asphalt is actually a petroleum product. It is a mix of sand, rock, and asphalt cement which is tar-based. Asphalt, like cement, is made in a controlled environment in a batch plant then transferred to a contractor’s truck to be taken to the worksite. Because it is petroleum-based, asphalt has some distinctive advantages, and one major disadvantage, over concrete which we will discuss in a minute.
Now let’s look at what you can expect from an asphalt driveway.
- Curb Appeal. Your driveway paving company plays an important role in your home’s curb appeal which contributes to its overall value. Asphalt has a sophisticated, slate black appearance that enhances almost any landscape plan. Unlike concrete, even if it has cracks, asphalt retains a uniform look that can’t be easily seen without close inspection.
- Flexibility. Because of its tar-based formula, asphalt accommodates earth movement caused by freezes, thaws and extreme heat during summer. Concrete is much more rigid and susceptible to cracking during seasonal expansion and contraction.
- Durability. How long will your asphalt driveway last? Properly maintained, you can expect an asphalt driveway to last 20 to 30 years or more. Maintenance typically is limited to seal coating every two or three years. If you have a weekend to spare, you can seal your drive on a DIY basis. Otherwise, you can have a professional do it in a couple of hours.
- Speed of Installation. Preparing the base for paving takes about the same effort and time for both concrete and asphalt. However, installing asphalt is a faster process than pouring concrete and more importantly, asphalt will support the weight of a car after 24 hours. Concrete can take up to a week to cure.
- Economic Value. As mentioned earlier, asphalt is significantly less expensive to install than concrete. Concrete, on the other hand, needs minimal maintenance and can last 35 years. That’s not to say concrete never needs repair. It’s more likely to crack and those cracks are repaired with an asphalt-based binder. If you take the cost of your drive over the service life, you’ll find the asphalt driveway to be the better value.
So there you have it. That’s the short version of what you can expect from an asphalt driveway. Like all home improvement projects, who does the work is more important than the work being done. Always ensure you are dealing with an experienced, licensed and insured contractor with a history of qualified customers.