C&H Asphalt


An asphalt driveway stretches towards a rustic country home flanked by lush green trees. A stop sign on the right indicates diverging roads.

Asphalt and concrete are two prevalent choices, each with distinct advantages and considerations. For homeowners, choosing between these two driveway materials is a big decision that requires careful consideration of longevity, utility, affordability, and beauty. A detailed grasp of these materials can assist homeowners in selecting the one that will look best on their driveway and property and function best in different environmental settings.

The Differences Between Asphalt and Concrete Driveways

Understanding the fundamental differences between asphalt and concrete driveways is essential for homeowners to make informed decisions that best align with their needs and environmental conditions. Each option offers unique advantages and challenges that significantly influence the driveway’s functionality and long-term value.

Composition and Climate Suitability

Asphalt is composed of a mixture of aggregates and bitumen, a sticky, petroleum-based binder that gives the surface its characteristic black color. This composition lends asphalt flexibility that is advantageous in environments with fluctuating temperatures, allowing it to expand and contract without cracking. It’s particularly well-suited to colder climates where freeze-thaw cycles are standard, as it absorbs impacts and adjusts to ground shifts more effectively than concrete. 

Conversely, concrete is made from cement, water, and aggregates like sand and gravel. It cures into a rigid, durable surface capable of withstanding heavier loads and providing long-term durability. Concrete is ideal for areas with stable temperatures, as its rigidity makes it more susceptible to cracking under frequent temperature changes.

Installation Process

Asphalt installation is generally quicker and less disruptive than concrete installation. Asphalt driveways can be laid down and ready for use within as little as 24 to 48 hours, involving the preparation of the base, laying of the hot asphalt mixture, and proper compaction to ensure a smooth surface. It makes asphalt a practical choice for projects requiring rapid completion. 

Concrete installation is more labor-intensive and time-consuming. It involves site preparation, form building, and several days of curing before the driveway is ready. The lengthy curing time might be inconvenient, but it is a trade-off for a more permanent and low-maintenance solution.

Aesthetic and Design Flexibility

When it comes to aesthetics, concrete offers significantly more options than asphalt. While asphalt’s smooth, black surface can provide a sharp contrast to lawn and garden areas, enhancing the property’s overall appearance, it is typically limited in color and finish. However, its edges can be customized with pavers or stones for added style. 

Concrete, in contrast, boasts a wide range of customization options, including different colors, textures, and finishes. Techniques such as stamping, staining, and polishing allow homeowners to align the driveway’s appearance with their home’s architectural style, making it possible to enhance curb appeal and increase property value.

Economic Considerations and Longevity

Asphalt generally offers lower initial costs but requires periodic maintenance, such as seal coating and resurfacing, to maintain its condition and appearance. These maintenance activities can add up, potentially making asphalt more costly over the long term. 

Although concrete is more expensive up front, it tends to be more economical over time due to its durability and lower maintenance requirements. It does not require frequent resurfacing or sealing, contributing to long-term savings. The longevity and robustness of concrete often provide a better return on investment, especially when considering the potential impact on resale value.

Aerial view of a concrete cul-de-sac at a neighborhood street dead end, showing tightly packed homes arranged in a close-knit community layout.

Maintenance and Upkeep

Asphalt driveways require regular sealing every two to five years to maintain their integrity and appearance. This maintenance is crucial to prevent water penetration and weather damage, which can significantly shorten the asphalt’s lifespan. Concrete driveways require less frequent but often more intensive repairs when damaged, such as cracking and discoloration from oil and other chemical stains. Concrete is more challenging to repair aesthetically, as patches are usually visible and might not match the original surface.

Material Durability

Concrete driveways are celebrated for their strength and durability, often lasting 30 years or more with proper care. Their rigidity helps them resist vehicle-related stress and general wear, making them an excellent choice for heavier use. However, concrete is susceptible to cracking due to weather extremes and requires the precise installation to minimize this risk. 

Asphalt, while more vulnerable to wear, such as rutting and degradation from oil spills, offers a lifespan of around 20 years with proper maintenance. It is more forgiving of extreme weather changes, particularly in cold climates, due to its flexibility, which allows for natural expansion and contraction without cracking.

Climate Considerations

Asphalt is inherently more flexible, making it better suited for colder climates with frequent freeze-thaw cycles. It can absorb heat, which helps melt snow and ice more quickly during winter. However, asphalt can become soft and sticky in scorching climates, which may lead to surface deformities under extreme heat. Concrete performs well in various climates but can crack in extreme cold if not correctly installed with the right mix and joint placements to allow for expansion and contraction.

Resale Value and Return on Investment

Concrete driveways generally offer a higher resale value due to their long life span and low maintenance requirements. They are perceived as high-end additions, especially when customized with decorative finishes. Asphalt provides a more cost-effective solution but might add less to the resale value. The decision between asphalt and concrete should consider the immediate budget and long-term financial benefits, including maintenance costs and potential impact on property value.

Environmental Impact

Asphalt is recyclable. Old asphalt can be ground up and reused, which helps reduce quarrying, mining, and oil consumption. However, its production emits more greenhouse gasses due to the petroleum in bitumen. Concrete, while resource-intensive to produce, offers longevity that reduces its environmental footprint. Newer eco-friendly concrete options, including previous concrete, help address issues like stormwater runoff, making concrete a viable option for environmentally conscious homeowners.

Maintenance Tips for Asphalt Driveways

Ensuring an asphalt driveway’s longevity and visual appeal requires routine care and timely repairs. Regular maintenance prevents structural damage and maintains the driveway’s aesthetic quality, making it welcoming and appealing. Adequate upkeep enhances safety, reducing the risk of slips and falls due to uneven surfaces or large cracks.

Regular Cleaning

 Clean the driveway from debris, dirt, and stains. Use a stiff broom or a leaf blower for regular cleaning. For oil stains, use a degreaser or detergent designed for asphalt. It prevents build-up that can erode the asphalt over time.


Apply a seal coat every two to five years to protect the asphalt from water penetration, oil spills, and UV damage. Sealcoating also refreshes the driveway’s look by restoring its original black color. This protective layer is essential for extending the surface’s life by preventing oxidation and erosion.

Crack Filling

Address cracks as soon as they appear. Use a rubberized asphalt crack filler or sealant to prevent water from entering and causing more significant damage, especially in freeze-thaw cycles. An early repair can save substantial repair costs later.

Avoid Spills

 Asphalt is susceptible to oil, gasoline, and chemical damage. Clean spills promptly to prevent the asphalt from softening and deteriorating. Place a drip pan or absorbent material under vehicles if leaks are suspected.


Keep grass and roots away from the edges of the asphalt to prevent them from causing cracks and erosion. Use a physical barrier like metal or plastic edging for added protection. This method also helps maintain the structural integrity of the driveway edges.

A close-up of a construction worker pouring reinforced concrete for the garage and sidewalk of a new home, with a white car and other vehicles parked in soft focus across the street.

Concrete Driveway Maintenance

Maintaining a concrete driveway requires a proactive approach to preserve its structural integrity and ensure its visual appeal remains high over the years. Consistent maintenance can significantly extend the lifespan of the concrete, avoiding the need for frequent, costly repairs or total replacements.

Regular Cleaning

Sweep the driveway regularly to prevent dirt and debris from settling. Periodic pressure washing keeps the surface clean and minimizes the build-up of stains. Keeping the surface clean prevents deterioration and maintains aesthetic appeal.


Apply a high-quality concrete sealer every two to three years to protect the surface from moisture absorption, chemical corrosion, and stain penetration. Sealing also enhances the color of decorative concrete. This layer acts as a barrier against various damaging elements.

Crack Repair

Fill any cracks or chips in the concrete as soon as possible to prevent them from widening or deepening. Use a concrete repair caulk or a vinyl concrete patching compound. Prompt repairs help avoid more significant structural issues.

Remove Stains Immediately

Concrete is porous and can absorb stains quickly. Use a proper cleaning agent for specific stains like oil or grease, and consider using a poultice for tough stains to draw them out of the concrete. Regular stain removal maintains the driveway’s pristine appearance.

Avoid Deicing Chemicals

Avoid using ammonium nitrate or sulfate deicers in winter. These chemicals can damage the concrete surface. Instead, use sand for traction or a concrete-safe ice melt product. These alternatives provide safety without damaging the concrete.

General Tips for Both Driveway Types

Proper care and maintenance are essential for both asphalt and concrete driveway. Regular monitoring and maintenance can prevent minor issues from becoming major expenses. Following general maintenance tips ensures the driveway remains functional and attractive, enhancing the overall property value.

Scheduled Inspections

Conduct a thorough driveway inspection seasonally for any signs of wear and tear. Addressing issues early can prevent costly repairs later. This routine check helps identify potential problems before they escalate.

Weight Limitations

To prevent structural damage, avoid heavy loads on the driveway. This includes large vehicles like trucks or equipment that can stress the material beyond its intended capacity. This practice helps maintain the driveway’s structural integrity.

Tree Placement

Be mindful of tree placement near driveways. Tree roots can grow underneath the driveway, causing uplift and cracking. Plant trees at a safe distance to prevent root interference, avoid root-related damages, and maintain a smooth driveway surface.

These comprehensive maintenance tips are designed to help homeowners manage their asphalt or concrete driveways effectively, ensuring durability and enhancing curb appeal. By adhering to these guidelines, homeowners can maximize the lifespan and functionality of their driveways.

Choosing Between Asphalt and Concrete for Your Driveway

Selecting the suitable material for your driveway impacts not only the curb appeal of your property but also its functionality and maintenance requirements. Whether you opt for the flexibility and cost-effectiveness of asphalt or concrete’s durability and low maintenance, each material has advantages tailored to different needs and environments. 

To ensure the best results, consulting with asphalt and concrete solution experts is advisable. 

These specialists can provide detailed assessments based on your local climate, usage patterns, and aesthetic preferences, ensuring that your investment suits your specific conditions. With expert installation and guidance, your new driveway will not only meet your current needs but also stand the test of time, enhancing the value and appeal of your property for years to come.

Uncover detailed insights on the C&H Asphalt blog and learn how to elevate your driveway project with expert solutions. Check out our articles today.

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