The construction material to be used for home driveways is a very important decision to make. The most popular driveway construction materials available to many people are concrete and asphalt. Of course there are other choices such as bricks and gravel.
The decision will depend on several factors such as location of the house, home owners’ budget and personal preferences. However, concrete is the more preferred construction material for driveways. Below are several of the reasons why concrete wins in the asphalt vs concrete debate.
- CONCRETE IS BUDGET FRIENDLY IN THE LONG RUN.
Due to advancements in concrete technology, the cost of concrete paving has been significantly reduced while the performance has improved. According to data from the Transportation Research Board, concrete has considerably lower life cycle paving cost than both warm-mix asphalt (WMA) and hot-mix asphalt (HMA).
While WMA is cheaper compared to HMA, concrete remains the most cost effective option for many driveways. It may be slightly more expensive to install but this is counteracted by the minimal need for concrete maintenance.
- CONCRETE IS DURABLE REQUIRING MINIMAL MAINTENANCE.
Concrete pavements stay smoother for longer when compared to asphalt pavements. According to a report by Mn/Dot, the average life expectancy of their concrete pavements is 27.5 years without needing concrete repair while asphalt pavements have an average life expectancy of 15.5 years before repair. Studies also indicate that concrete interstate highways around the United States last about two and a half years longer on average than asphalt interstate highways.
- CONCRETE IS GENERALLY SAFER.
Concrete provides a superior and longer lasting skid resistance than asphalt. It also suffers less rutting and potholes that may prove hazardous to drivers.
During wet weather concrete pavements are generally less slippery as compared to their asphalt counterparts. Additionally, concrete offers better visibility on rainy nights.
- CONCRETE IS ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY.
More people today are opting to a adopt eco-friendly lifestyles due to the reality of global warming. As such, concrete is a better construction material than asphalt in environmental terms. Concrete can be completely recycled and it does not release petroleum products into the atmosphere.
It can also help in the conservation of oil, which is used in the production and laying of asphalt. Additionally, a concrete pad can help lower ground temperatures as it reflects energy rather than absorb it. This property can be useful in the prevention of the heating-island effect commonly witness in urban areas with asphalt pavements.
It is important to note that installing concrete driveways is best left to professionals. They require a strong solid foundation specially prepared by experts. Improperly installed DIY concrete driveways are prone to cracks and their lifespan will be greatly reduced. However, before hiring a contractor for this job there are several considerations to be made.
The most important is that the concrete contractor has to be professional and licensed. A professional contractor will first examine the home before offering a basic quote. Contractors who operate on verbal agreements should be avoided. The contractor should also be experienced in the trade and must provide a comprehensive cost breakdown of the entire project.