Comparing Asphalt and Concrete

asphalt versus concrete

When you need to build a parking lot or a driveway for your commercial construction project, there are usually two directions people choose to go. One option is to use asphalt for the project, which is a common material typically used for roads. The other option is to use concrete, which makes a big difference in your short-term and long-term results.

Asphalt

Asphalt is the material you commonly see when you are driving on roads. Similar to concrete, asphalt uses a mixture of aggregates, such as sand and small stones, to complete the mix. However, asphalt used for roads, driveways, and parking lots uses liquid asphalt, a petroleum-based sticky substance that is sometimes referred to as bitumen. The mix of all these materials is placed at the desired location in liquid form, where it will dry and produce a usable roadway.

People often turn to asphalt because it is cheaper than other materials, but this often results in a short-term savings with additional expenses being needed over time. Although cracks that occur can be fixed relatively easy, asphalt is more susceptible to cracking or breaking due to changes in temperature and the weather. Asphalt often only lasts up to 20 years at best before it will need to be completely replaced.

Concrete

Instead of using liquid asphalt as the binding agent, concrete is mixed with Portland cement (link to Portland cement blog) as the binding agent. Portland cement is made mostly out of limestone and acts as a sturdy adhesive for concrete mixes. Whereas the process of mixing asphalt involves completely dehydrating the aggregates before mixing with the liquid asphalt, concrete is mixed using a precise amount of water based on the specific need of the project. Once the concrete is placed at the right spots at the work site, the water evaporates, allowing the concrete to set into place.

While concrete is more expensive than asphalt, you certainly get what you pay for. You can expect very little maintenance when you use concrete for your parking lot or driveway, meaning you won’t have to worry about many expenses after installation. Concrete is very sturdy and will stay together very well during all types of weather. Concrete can also be customized into value-added mixes based on the specific needs of the work site. Concrete has a longer lifespan than asphalt – you can expect your concrete driveway or parking lot to last over 30 years.

All of these factors result in concrete being a far better investment in the long run. You will also notice some advantages right away when you choose concrete for your construction project. One advantage of concrete over asphalt for your driveway or parking lot is that it is brighter and more reflective than asphalt. This means you can get away with using less lighting, saving you money on your light fixtures and energy bills over time.

When you need quality concrete services you can depend on, turn to Knight’s Redi-Mix for results that will last.