If you’re thinking of installing or replacing a driveway, asphalt is probably one of the options you’re considering. If it’s properly installed, an asphalt driveway performs nearly as well as concrete (which is more durable) but costs much less.

The advantage to concrete is that it doesn’t require sealing, while asphalt does every few years. Asphalt is made from petroleum, meaning it’s more flexible than concrete and less likely to crack. When making the decision about what material to use for your driveway, asphalt is a great option that you should consider.

Cost 

An average asphalt driveway measuring 600 square feet costs around $4,000 nationally. Below I will explain how different geographical locations, the size of your project area, grading of site land, labor and asphalt type can increase or decrease this price. Keep in mind that flat land is much easier to work with and therefore less expensive.

If you’re looking to pave your driveway on a budget, asphalt is typically the most cost-effective option. For reference, concrete usually runs around $15 per square foot for a basic gray slab. However, if you want concrete with color or other decorative features, it often costs more than $20 per square foot.

Maintenance and Repair 

An asphalt driveway is not a lifetime investment, but with proper care, it can last for many years. To maintain an asphalt driveway and get the most use out of it, seal it every three to five years and clean it at least twice a year. Use a strong hose spray to remove any dirt or debris that has accumulated on the surface. If there are any cracks or fissures in the surface, patch them up immediately so they do not have time to worsen.

Design 

The most commonly used driveway material in the U.S. is asphalt, however many are unaware that it only comes in one style: smooth, flat and black. Another potential issue with an asphalt driveway is its unfinished appearance at the edges, which can be resolved by adding a border treatment like concrete curb. Additionally, people often use asphalt for pathways as well

If you want more ornate features or design, concrete is the best driveway material for you. It’s generally seen as a step up from asphalt and is most popular in areas with high population density.

Installation 

Asphalt is a popular choice for driveways because it can be installed quickly and relatively cheaply. The main components of the blacktop used on asphalt driveways are rock, sand, and asphalt cement, a tar-like petroleum product. Asphalt is easy to install for professionals, and depending on the size of the driveway, they might even be able to do it one day.

A new driveway should have a 4-8 inch layer of compacted granular fill for an secure, well-draining base. This is then topped with 2-3 inches of fresh hot asphalt, which will be quickly compressed by a rolling machine. New asphalt driveways can usually be driven on straight after installation in contrast to poured concrete driveways that must cure over seven days before being used.

Asphalt Driveway Pros

  • Less vulnerable to cracking than concrete
  • Half the cost of concrete
  • Less likely to be damaged by salt and ice melt
  • Ready to use immediately vs. seven days for concrete

Asphalt Driveway Cons

  • Only comes in one style
  • Has unfinished edges
  • Surface can soften, get tarry, and scorching hot when sunny
  • Only lasts 15 to 20 years
  • It needs resealing every 3 to 5 years
  • Tree roots can break up asphalt

At Productive Asphalt, we offer custom design layouts as well as finish details, and only use the highest quality products for your paving project. Contact us today to learn more about the services we offer and receive your free quote!