If you're looking to install a new driveway, you're most likely trying to choose between the two most popular materials: asphalt or concrete. Both options are made from similar substances of sand and stone and installed over gravel. Concrete and asphalt have similar advantages and disadvantages, making it hard to decide which one is best.
How can you know if concrete is the best choice for you? Here are the pros and cons of a concrete driveway to help you decide.
The Pros of Concrete Driveways
- Concrete driveways will last up to 50 years when properly installed, and maintenance costs are much lower than asphalt.
- Concrete doesn't shrink and expand with temperature changes as much as asphalt.
- Upkeep for concrete driveways requires pressure washing the surface every few years. It doesn't need the constant application of sealant like asphalt.
- You can stain and stamp concrete in any color or style to match your home's design.
- A concrete driveway can bear the weight of heavy vehicles that can cause asphalt to break down and create ruts.
- Concrete surfaces stay cool in summertime, which is ideal if you enjoy walking barefoot outside. Asphalt can feel sticky and burn your feet when you walk on it in warmer temperatures.
- Concrete reflects light, which can help you save money on your energy bills.
- Concrete is also environmentally friendly because it requires little energy to produce or replace.
The Cons of Concrete Driveways
- Concrete is more expensive to install than asphalt. Plus, you won't be able to use your new concrete driveway for at least a week.
- There are more aesthetically pleasing driveway materials available than concrete, such as brick and stone.
- Concrete is also susceptible to stains from gas and oil spills.
- Repairing and patching concrete can make your driveway look unsightly and can be expensive. Depending on where you live, you may need to make these repairs frequently.
- Concrete isn't an ideal choice for those living in a colder climate. A concrete drive improperly installed over loose gravel is vulnerable to frost heave. The salt used to deice roads during the winter can also significantly damage your concrete driveway's surface. Concrete can even crack under extreme weather conditions. However, you can minimize this damage by taking proper winterization measures like joint sealing to protect it.
The Bottom Line
Choosing to install a concrete driveway will depend on your budget and personal tastes. If you want a driveway that’s easy to maintain and built to last, then concrete is an ideal option for you. With proper care, the advantages of a concrete driveway can far outweigh its disadvantages, even if you live in a colder climate.
Questions? Contact our team for information on contractors in the Washington DC area who specialize in driveway installation.
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