Asphalt or Concrete Driveway?

Your driveway is cracked, the edges are breaking away and you can see obvious wear from your parked vehicles. It’s so uneven you jam up your snow shovel all winter and now weeds are starting to grow in its cracks. A new driveway will improve your home’s appearance, provide more parking for cars or recreational vehicles, increase property value and extend your outdoor living space.

The most typical options for homeowners are asphalt and concrete driveways. They are both durable materials that require little maintenance and come at a reasonable cost. Here are some pros and cons for each.

Benefits of an Asphalt Driveway

asphalt drivewayAsphalt pavement is a mix of aggregate (stones and sand) with liquid asphalt cement made of petroleum. The aggregates are heated, mixed with the asphalt cement and applied to your prepared driveway base while it’s hot. As soon as it cools it will harden, giving you a sleek, attractive and usable driveway within hours.

Asphalt driveways are strong, durable and less expensive than concrete driveways. According to Driveway Guide’s asphalt cost, maintenance and repair guide, asphalt driveways cost an about $3.00-$4.00/square foot. They perform well in northern climates since they’re able to flex with frost heave and can withstand freezing and thawing. Homeowners can salt their driveways in the winter as asphalt is generally not affected by it. In extreme heat, however, asphalt can become soft, tacky and even deform in some cases.

To extend the life of your asphalt driveway it should be sealed within a year of installation and every three to five years afterwards. This is easy to do, does not require special tools and asphalt sealing products can be purchased at your local hardware store.

Because asphalt is more porous in nature, it allows water to drain through it more easily into a sub-grade reservoir. Should damage occur, asphalt driveways are easier and less expensive to repair in many cases. Do-it-yourselfers can easily repair cracks using products available at your local hardware store.

Benefits of a Concrete Driveway

concrete drivewayAlthough it takes several days to cure, concrete is easy to work with and more versatile in regards to aesthetics, design and finishes. Concrete can be installed with the standard white broom finish, an exposed aggregate that gives it a pebble-like finish or you can get creative with stained, tinted or stamped concrete finishes. Concrete gives you a wide array of unique options when designing your driveway.

Concrete driveways are generally more expensive than asphalt driveways in both installation and repair. According to the Driveway Guide’s concrete cost, maintenance and repair guide concrete will cost around $6.00-$9.00/square foot plus additional costs for specific finishes and detailing.

Concrete driveways are known to crack and can be affected by frost heaving in cold Canadian winters. Homeowners must beware of using salt to deice their concrete as it could create pits or blotches on the driveway. It is easier to shovel in the winter, as concrete provides a smoother surface than asphalt. Because of concrete’s hardness it retains its shape in hot weather, shows less wear and tear over time from vehicles and edges are less likely to deteriorate.

Concrete driveways are more easily stained, especially by oil dripping out of a vehicle. A simple degreaser will remove the stains. Sealing is optional and not necessary but could preserve the look and finish of your concrete, especially if you have a custom designed and tinted driveway.

Newer neighbourhoods and developments that have building or appearance regulations are more likely to accept concrete driveways over asphalt. Make sure you check before choosing your driveway material.

Breaking It Down

Asphalt Driveway

Concrete Driveway

Cost $3-4/square foot $6-9/square foot + special finishes and detail
Time to Install Cures in several hours Cures in several days
Climate Issues Softens in high temperatures Cracks in freezing temperatures
Durability & Longevity 20+ years, less durable 40+ years, more durable
Maintenance Resealing every 3-5 years Sealing optional, could require degreasing to remove stains
Finishes None Multiple options
Colors & Design Black Multiple options
Repairs Easy and inexpensive Difficult and expensive

 Install a New Driveway this Summer!

Whether you decide to install and asphalt or concrete driveway you will find an Edmonton concrete contractor, equipment rental or concrete repair, sealing and restoration company you can trust on  They will help you from concept and design to installation complete with maintenance services and expert advice.

Create a beautiful entry to your home, improve curb appeal and functionality with a new driveway.  Get started today!


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  3. Thank you for a wonderful article on the comparisons with concrete driveways! We are in the Landscaping business in the Vancouver area (where the weather is a factor) and encounter this type of question and comparison fairly regularly when someone is looking for a driveway as a part of their overall landscaping. You have provided some excellent information and comparisons.

    Because Vancouver receives so much rain and freezing temperatures, we typically consider a sealed concrete driveway, but every circumstance is different.

    Wonderful article! Thank you!

    West Coast Modernscape

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  5. Great writeup. Each approach has its pros and cons. We’ve begun using pressed concrete to better direct water flow and reduce cracking associated with typical concrete drives.

  6. You shared very informative tips to repair concrete driveways here. I was looking for good information about concrete for stylish home design. Thanks for telling us reason to consider concrete. This blog is going to help to everyone who dreams for beautiful house.

  7. That is cool that asphalt cures in just a few hours. I was thinking it would take several days to set up. Would this be a great project to start early in the morning and let it harden throughout the day.

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