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Asphalt Paving Blog

Asphalt Pavement vs. Concrete - Which One Should You Choose?

asphalt pavement versus concreteIf you are deciding between asphalt pavement and concrete for your next paving project, there are several important factors to consider.

Our team of asphalt paving contractors has pulled together a handy list to help you compare what surface type will meet your unique project needs.

Consider the Climate

The first thing to consider is the climate where the project is located. In colder climates, where there is a hard winter, there is no doubt that asphalt is the better material to use for driveways, roadways and parking lots. Here are a few key reasons why:

  • Concrete is prone to frost heaves, expansion and contraction, which will cause damage and deterioration.
  • Concrete deteriorates with salt use, which is spread on roads to melt snow and ice.
  • Asphalt is not affected by the cold and does not deteriorate from salt use.
  • Asphalt pavement absorbs more heat from the sun causing snow and ice to melt much quicker than concrete.

permeable asphalt pavingWhile there are clear benefits of choosing asphalt pavement in cold climates, the opposite is true for warmer climate areas. Concrete tends to be a better material in these areas. Asphalt pavement tends to soften in extreme heat and become oily. This happens in areas, like the southern United States, where summer time temperatures can exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit, causing the asphalt pavement to become extremely hot.

Consider the Environmental Impact of Paving Materials

Did you know? Asphalt paving material is environmentally friendly. It is considered a green technology because it can be recycled. When asphalt pavement is recycled, the old asphalt is ground up and reused. This is not always the case with concrete, which must be hauled away and disposed of in an environmentally approved facility.

Certain types of asphalt, such as porous or permeable asphalt, also helps with water drainage by allowing the water to percolate through the pavement into the soil below. With concrete, the water must run off the sides into streams and the local water table.

Consider the Ease of Installation and General Maintenance

WOLF_blog_commercial-11-paving-team-road.jpgAsphalt is often considered superior to concrete for certain paving projects because asphalt is much easier to work with than concrete.

  • Asphalt can be installed and used more quickly than concrete.
  • When asphalt needs maintenance or replacement, usually only the top layer is repaved, the base layer and middle layer are considered permanent, which can make it more cost-effective than concrete.
  • Typically, concrete is around 35% more costly than asphalt.

There may be more preventative maintenance with asphalt materials, but this serves to keep the asphalt looking and functioning like new for a longer period of time. Concrete, on the other hand, often loses its new look much more quickly. With proper maintenance, asphalt pavement can last more than twenty years and when it is replaced, the cost is often significantly less than concrete.

Still not sure about the difference?  
Contact Wolf Paving with your questions and receive knowledgeable answers from the experts.

To learn more about caring for asphalt visit our Everything You Need To Know About Asphalt Paving resource page.

To learn more about caring for concrete visit our Concrete 101 resource page.

With 75 years of asphalt paving experience, from highways to driveways, we are your local source for all of your asphalt paving needs.

For more information on Wolf Paving or to request a free estimate for your next paving project contact one of our two offices. If you live or work in the Milwaukee area, call us at 262-965-2121. For the Madison area, call us at 608-249-7931.

Permeable pavement brochure

Topics: Permeable Asphalt, Porous Asphalt, Asphalt Pavement