The majority of commercial and residential driveways are finished with one of the two most cost-effective materials on the market: asphalt or concrete. If you're paving a new driveway or refinishing an existing one and you're wondering about the relative benefits of these common options, asphalt has many benefits beyond its price--which is typically 30 to 40 percent less than concrete.
Speed and Usability
An asphalt driveway can usually be laid in one or two days, depending on the size of the project. Concrete, on the other hand, typically takes twice as long to lay and even longer to set. Depending on the season, asphalt driveways can be ready for use in as little as two days after completion, whereas concrete can take up to a week.
Unlike concrete, asphalt is not subject to surface flaking caused by poor installation, incorrect preparations of the mixture and the application of salts to melt ice and snow. Known as "spalling," this surface flaking is an ongoing problem with many concrete driveways, especially those that were hastily installed. Given its flexibility, asphalt is also considerably less likely than pavement to crack.
Lower Maintenance Costs
If your asphalt driveway does start to show some lineal cracking, you can repair these easily and inexpensively. The crack sealant products you need are widely available through home improvement retailers, don't cost very much and can easily be applied on your own, even if you have absolutely no previous paving expertise.
An additional benefit of asphalt is that its black color helps it draw and retain more of the sun's heat; in the winter, this means that snow will melt faster on an asphalt driveway than it will on a concrete driveway. This makes commercial property maintenance easier and improves safety in residential settings.