Asphalt or Concrete Paving: Which Is Right for You?

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When it comes to paving materials, asphalt and concrete are by far the two most popular options.

For years, paving contractors have used these materials for parking lots, driveways, and sidewalks all over the world. If your business or residence needs paving services, you’ve got a tough decision on your hands—asphalt or concrete?

Of course, each material has its own advantages. Let’s take a look at some of the main factors you should consider before making your decision!

Cost

From a pricing perspective, there is no competition—asphalt is almost always the more affordable option in terms of both material costs and installation costs.

While asphalt may cost anywhere between $2 and $4 per square foot to install, concrete typically costs upwards of $4 per square foot.

Installation

Ease of installation is a factor you may want to consider if you are worried about downtime to your business.

New asphalt dries within 48 – 72 hours of paving, while concrete can take up to 7 days to fully cure.

Consistency

While both asphalt and concrete are very stable materials, there are noticeable differences between their consistencies.

Asphalt’s petroleum-based mixture has a softer and spongier consistency overall, allowing the material to flex over time—especially under significant pressure. Concrete’s cement-based mixture, on the other hand, has a much harder consistency and doesn’t tend to shift in the same way that asphalt does.

Durability

One of concrete’s greatest advantages is its durability. While asphalt is already quite durable and has an average lifespan of 20 years, concrete is rated to last between 30 and 40 years.

However, both materials can start to break down under extreme temperatures. Asphalt is particularly susceptible to hot weather, while concrete can become brittle in colder conditions.

Maintenance

The lifespan of both materials can be extended through proper maintenance.

Sealcoating is an essential preventative maintenance technique that is required for asphalt. Your paving contractor will apply the first sealcoat six months after the surface has been paved, and additional layers should be applied every couple of years.

Concrete does not require sealing—although doing so can help prevent stains. However, concrete does require frequent power washing.

Asphalt repairs are fairly common, as the material is more likely to develop cracks, potholes, and other blemishes. Concrete repairs, though less frequent, tend to be more expensive.

Appearance

With asphalt pavement, small pieces of aggregate are visible—especially on surfaces that have used the tar-and-chip method. This gives asphalt a slightly rougher appearance, although the material itself is still relatively smooth. Concrete, on the other hand, has a much more smooth look and texture.

As for colour, asphalt is known for its signature blacktop finish, and colour options are few are far between. Concrete, on the other hand, is available in a variety of shades.

Whether you need asphalt or concrete, Empire Paving has extensive experience on both types of projects and is considered one of the top Toronto paving companies. Contact our team today to receive a free quote!

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