Saving money on a big project is a risky venture. Especially if you want the project done right. Driveway installation is one of those projects. You want to save money where you can, but you also want quality and durability.
Maybe you ever heard the phrase, “the cheap comes out expensive.” And maybe you believe that the lower costing product is always in fact the inferior one. Like so many, you’ve probably experienced something costing less in the beginning. But these items actually cost way more in the long run. Once you include maintenance fees. In the case of driveways, though, these things just aren’t true. While initially less expensive to install, asphalt driveways are more durable in cold climates, and cost much less to repair if any damages do occur later on.
Asphalt Flexes, Concrete Does Not
Asphalt driveways are far more “flexible” than concrete driveways. During the winter the ground contracts and in the summer it expands. Asphalt can do this in sync with the weather while incurring minimal or no damages, unlike concrete, which is too hard to do this.
Having a driveway that adapts to its environment is important. Concrete is on the other hand stubborn, cracking and breaking apart, especially when you sprinkle salt on it to melt ice during the winter. Asphalt will not incur any damage from salt. Speaking of winter, ice isn’t the only thing that ends up on your driveway; there’s snow too. An asphalt driveway is superior here particularly when it comes to removal. Since asphalt is black it retains heat from the sun , and hence causes snow to melt quickly and naturally on its own.
Asphalt Repairs are Easy
When asphalt is damaged, unlike concrete, the repairs are inexpensive. Once it’s damaged you can easily buy the materials needed to patch the driveway and to even do it yourself. Since you don’t have to pay anyone to fix your driveway, the cost of repair is obviously significantly cheaper than repairing a concrete one. Once a driveway is poured there are far fewer maintenance fees for an asphalt driveway than a concrete one.
The time it takes for an asphalt driveway to be poured and set is far less than than that of one made of concrete. Concrete can take up to four days to lay, and about two weeks to set, whereas asphalt only takes only about two days to both pour and set.
So if asphalt has all of these benefits over concrete, how come concrete is more expensive? Well, concrete is available in a number of different of grades. And since you can then manipulate concrete into different designs too, it tends to be more expensive. If you are looking however for easy practicality, in this case, and considering the benefits of asphalt driveways, it is clearly the better choice.
Andria Kelzenberg is from JW Asphalt, which is a Minneapolis based asphalt service installer. JW Asphalt is a family-owned business, around since 1976. They are experts in the paving industry.
For a comprehensive look at the pros and cons of both Asphalt and Concrete Driveways, here is an article from Angie’s List – Pros and Cons: Asphalt vs. Concrete Driveway.
Image with permission from Kyle Johnson Photography (http://kylejohnsonphotography.com/).