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Concrete vs Asphalt Driveway: 5 Benefits of Building with Concrete

If you’re planning to replace or add a driveway to your property, you might be wondering about your options when it comes to materials and design. Concrete and asphalt are two of the most common pavement options for driveways, and each has its upsides.

While you may save a few bucks in the short run with asphalt, concrete requires less maintenance and upkeep, holds up better in the rain and heat, and offers far more design options.

Here are five benefits of choosing concrete for your new driveway:

1. Concrete is durable and lasts way longer

Concrete is the most widely used building material in the world. There are lots of reasons why it’s such a popular choice for so many projects, and chief among them is its durability. Properly designed, poured, finished, and maintained concrete can preserve its original quality and form for decades, unlike asphalt.

Concrete driveway

Durability is one of the most important considerations in any outdoor project, but especially driveways. Chances are, your driveway will regularly be exposed to heavy vehicles, bikes, shoes, heat, rain, and moss over the years, so you need a high-quality, durable surface. With proper care, a concrete driveway can last 30-40 years, while asphalt tends to break down after 12-20 years, even with care and resealing.

2. Asphalt requires resealing every two-to-five years

Many homeowners choose an asphalt driveway because it’s cheaper to install and doesn’t have to cure before you can drive on it. While concrete is more costly to install, it can actually save you money in the long run if you plan to stay in your current home for several years due to lower maintenance costs.

Cracked asphalt

Asphalt driveways need to be cleaned at least twice a year with a powerful hose and a stiff broom. They also require resealing every two-to-five years to maintain their appearance and water resistance. Asphalt can also develop cracks and holes over time, and these need to be repaired as quickly as possible to prevent them from worsening.

Overall, concrete requires much less maintenance than asphalt and will save you money in the long run.

3. Concrete is better suited to rainy weather

Asphalt paving can’t be completed in any rain heavier than occasional light sprinkles (and we get a lot of rain in the Pacific Northwest). This is because asphalt is made from a mixture that contains oils, which separate out when exposed to water and rise to the surface of newly laid asphalt, causing craters to form. Even after it’s laid, rain and snow can get into cracks in asphalt surfaces, slowly degrading the material and widening the cracks in freezing temperatures.

Asphalt can also melt in very hot weather (which can stain your shoes), and sunlight breaks down and dries out the material over time, causing cracking and welcoming rain, moss, and other debris.

Sand finish retaining wall

Concrete performs much better when exposed to the elements, both during installation and over time. While it’s still not advisable to pour concrete in an unprotected area during a downpour, water doesn’t damage concrete the way it damages asphalt. Over time, concrete stands up to the potential damage that could be caused by rain and ultraviolet radiation, especially when it’s properly maintained.

4. Homebuyers prefer a concrete driveway

Although concrete costs a bit more to install, it’s generally worth the investment. Not only will you save money over time due to lower maintenance costs, but a concrete driveway is generally more appealing to potential home buyers because of its durability, limited maintenance, and aesthetic appeal.

Concrete two car driveway

You can maximize the benefits a concrete driveway has on your property value by opting for a customized, decorative design. A stamped, stained, or sand finished driveway can add instant curb appeal, giving potential buyers a great first impression of your home.

5. You have tons of design options with decorative concrete

Asphalt surfaces are commonly referred to as “the blacktop,” and for good reason. Due to the methods used in its application (rolling and compressing), asphalt has limited color options and is difficult to customize. Though some level of color manipulation is possible, asphalt tends to be dark in color — hence the colloquial “blacktop” label.

Brown concrete driveway

Concrete is much easier to personalize. It can be stained, tinted, colored, stamped, etched, scored, brushed, etc. In other words, you can make it your own. You can opt for unique patterns, decorative borders, and personalized designs. Concrete can also be made to look like other materials, such as brick, wood, or stone.

Are you looking to replace, resurface, or otherwise update your driveway?

Our team of dedicated professionals can help you design and install (or resurface) the concrete driveway of your dreams. At GWC Decorative Concrete, we have more than 75 years of combined experience, and we’ll work with you and your budget to give you a beautiful driveway that will last for decades, increase the value of your home, and save you money in the long run!

For a free estimate, call us at (503) 849-0901 or contact us online today.