Concrete vs Asphalt Paving

March 1, 2019
There are many road construction materials that are durable and long-lasting. When it comes to choosing the right one, you want to consider the different characteristics. The performance value correlates to the individual properties. The materials that rank high on the list is asphalt and concrete. They tend to outlast and outperform gravel and other driving elements. Each one presents a unique opportunity. We’ve broken it down to help you consider which one is best for you.

THE COMPOSITE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CEMENT AND ASPHALT

When comparing the two construction materials, you need to start at the beginning. The makeup. Asphalt is a combination of aggregate (loose stone/gravel) and a binding agent. The two materials are mixed at very high heats. It’s often combined and poured in one slab which is helpful for the property owner. Asphalt goes by many names and can be referred to as tarmac, tar, blacktop, and pavement. Concrete is made from a combination of materials as well, but they look and act a little differently. Concrete is a mixture of stone, sand, and cement as the binding agent. Cement is powdered rock, clay, and water. When laid it’s often done in a series of slabs rather than one long piece which might add a little time before the project is complete.

ADDING CURB APPEAL

Asphalt’s unique binding agent is what gives it the rich black hue. Removing the binder would not make it asphalt, so there isn’t much wiggle room if you want to customize the material. Concrete, on the other hand, can be dyed, stained, or tinted to almost any color. Take it to the next level and add patterns by using stamps. Both options enhance curb appeal. The vibrant color of the asphalt is quite luxurious and is an added improvement to both commercial and residential properties. The look is streamlined and blends well with the roads.

PERFORMANCE IN TEMPERATURES

Choosing the right material revolves around the weather. High heats and low temperatures affect performance. Choose your material wisely. In Tennessee we have all four seasons, so you want to choose something that has universal appeal. If asphalt is going to falter it’s going to be in the summer. The soaring temperatures will soften the binder. You need to be careful of tire marks and turning sharply to avoid divots. Concrete is excellent in the summertime but doesn’t work well when it starts to hover around freezing. It can become brittle and crack. Preventative steps that include salt to de-ice the roads, driveway, or parking lot would stain the concrete and leave behind marks that aren’t removable. It will also take the ice a little longer to melt in the winter.

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MAINTENANCE OF ASPHALT AND CONCRETE

Property owners will be interested to know which material will present better maintenance steps. In this respect, asphalt would come out on top. Once a blacktop is poured, it will need a few months to elapse before you put on a seal coating. The coating is a maintenance and a preventative step that will improve durability. It will need to be seal coated every three to five years after. Because of the darker color, the asphalt will hide engine oil, rust, and gas drips common from interacting with vehicles. Concrete not so much. You’ll need to de-grease and clean more regularly to keep it looking new. Asphalt maintenance is very easy.

REPAIRING CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS

You’ll be hard pressed to find something that will hold up against mother nature. Both materials will crack and split over time. Concrete won’t crack as readily as asphalt. Asphalt is naturally a softer composite. The only difference is the ability to repair. Repairing concrete is significantly harder than pavement. If a crack appears on a blacktop, there are fillers available to keep them from expanding. Curb appeal won’t suffer from repair jobs because they blend well. When it’s time for a major repair, you can have a new layer added to the top without having to have the entire thing replaced. Not something you can do with concrete.

CURING EACH MATERIAL

One aspect some homeowners don’t consider is the need to cure each product. Curing requires time for each to solidify and harden enough to allow heavy vehicles to drive and park. When it comes to timing, you can’t do better than asphalt. Most asphalt needs at least 24-hours before anything can be driven on it. Concrete will otherwise take a few days. If you don’t have the downtime to wait for concrete, asphalt is a superior choice.

ASPHALT PAVING FOR RESIDENTIAL AND COMMERCIAL PROPERTIES

Asphalt and concrete transcend both residential and commercial properties. Each provides characteristics that are beneficial to owners regarding durability and longevity. Not sure which one to choose? Ask a trusted paver like Roadbuilders. We’ve been helping property owners establish the right foundation for years and can help you determine which one is best for your application.

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