Confused about the material you want to use on your driveway? Worried you won’t make a good decision? Scared to waste your money on a material that won’t fit the theme you are going with. What’s the best option for your driveway? What season is best for getting the driveway installed? What are the differences between concrete driveways and asphalt driveways? These are some of the questions that come to our minds when we think about getting a new driveway installed, and you are about to find out answers to those questions here.

The market is full of a variety of different options. A person having no prior knowledge and experience of planning a new driveway can get easily overwhelmed.

To solve this problem, I did a little deep dive on all questions came to my mind when I planned my first driveway development. This article covers all these questions and much more content to support your decision-making related to driveway installing.

Firstly, let’s define what a driveway is.

What is a Driveway?

Before continuing further, let’s discuss what is really a driveway.

A private road connecting the property with the main road is known as a driveway. A driveway can be either owned by an individual or even by a group of people.

After all, a property which has a well-defined driveway becomes more valuable in the property market. So, we can say that a driveway adds to the resale value of a property.

There are many options for material available in the market for the driveways to choose from. But, when deciding the best choice for your driveway, you must focus on individual needs and challenges of the property and the area.

Tips for Installing Driveways

Here are some suggestions that can really help you when you intend to install a driveway.

  • The Reason – Why You Want a Driveway?

Focus on the reason why you want to install the driveway.

For instance, in suburban areas, there is not typically much load of the traffic. So, you can choose the material according to that. For rural areas, you need to have a sterner material that can hold the load. Because in rural areas, there is typically heavy equipment and sometimes animals could crossover the driveway.

Knowing all the objectives beforehand will really help you in the long-run during the decision-making.

  • Plan Your Budget

I can’t stress enough on how much this can help you. Set the budget.

Knowing your budget beforehand can really help you organise your plan. It will not only help you understand how much you want to spend but also save the issue of overspending.

  • Find the Right Contractor

Finding the right contractor for the job can be very troubling. So, do not hurry. It’s very important that you find the right person for the right job.

Get some quotes (I would take at least 10) and search through the reviews posted on their website. Keep looking until you find the person you can really trust, but with reasonable price/rate.

  • Check With Your Local Council

Sometimes your local council has set some rules regarding the building and the type of material you can use on the driveway. Check with them, before going ahead with your plans.

In Australia, almost in all cases, you will be asked to lodge a development application to seek approval for your construction.

Types of Driveways

1. Brick Driveway Surfaces

This type of material is known for its durability. Bricks also come in many colours and designs.

Well, paved brick driveway can definitely increase the resale value of the property.

It also requires low maintenance.

Drawbacks
  • The installation cost is very high.

2. Pavers Driveways

Pavers are made by concrete slabs or natural stone (or tiles or bricks). They are a famous choice because they are permeable. There are many options and designs available in this type of material.

Cons
  • They can be very expensive when you want a customized design.

3. Basalt Paver Tiles Driveway Surfaces

This type of surface is known for its durability. It requires low maintenance.

Drawbacks
  • It’s very expensive.
  • Requires a special consultation for designing purpose. Of course, that’s an additional cost too.

4. Grass Driveway Surfaces

It’s an environment-friendly option. It’s easily sustainable. Grass driveways look aesthetically appealing as well.

Drawbacks
  • Requires proper maintenance.
  • You need to use different chemicals for maintaining it; otherwise weed can grow out of control.

5. Gravel Driveway Surfaces

The gravel driveway surfaces are made up of an inexpensive material. They are available in many colours and sizes. The installation process is comparably quick. The design allows the water to run through the ground.

Drawbacks
  • This type of material requires ongoing maintenance.
  • This type of driveway option is not suitable for snowy regions.

6. Cobblestone Driveway Surfaces

It’s a type of paving material that is formed by blocks of quarried natural stone. They are also known as Belgium Blocks.

Out of all the options available of paving, this one is most durable. They are available in many colours.

Cobblestone can last up to a century with minimum maintenance. It also looks aesthetically pleasing.

Drawbacks
  • They come with a hefty price tag.
  • They are not suitable for areas with frequent snow.

7. Tar and Chip Driveway Surfaces

The surfaces are pleasing to look at. They are very inexpensive, though.

Drawbacks
  • They need ongoing maintenance.

8. Concrete Driveway Surfaces

I have discussed below concrete driveways more in details.

What are Concrete Driveway Surfaces?

Concrete Driveways are also known as ‘cement’ driveways. Concrete driveway material is a very popular choice.

Tip: Don’t ignore these things before concreting your driveway.

9. Asphalt Driveway Surfaces

I have discussed below Asphalt driveways more in details.

What are Asphalt Driveways?

The Asphalt Driveway is made up of a mixture of sand, petroleum, asphalt cement and rocks.

Differences Between Concrete and Asphalt Driveway Surfaces

Following are some differences between Concrete and Asphalt Driveway surfaces:

1. Installation – Concrete vs. Asphalt

Concrete Surface

It’s a difficult process to install the concrete surface, when compared with an Asphalt driveway. It (comparably) comes to a lot of time to install this surface.

Asphalt Surface

The installation process for the asphalt is very easy compared with concrete and doesn’t consume a lot of time.

2. Cost – Concrete vs. Asphalt

Concrete Surface

Concrete surfaces are initially expensive, but the maintenance cost over the years is very low.

Asphalt Surface

The initial cost is very low as compared to the concrete surface. But the maintenance cost can be very high.

Tip: We already covered how to raise capital for developments.

3. Available Designs – Concrete vs. Asphalt

Concrete Surface

There are many designs and colour available as concrete surfaces. You can even customize the type of design to what you want.

Asphalt Surface

Asphalt is a mixture of sand, petroleum and cement. So, it comes in a standard black colour. There is no option available for any design and colour.

4. Repairing – Concrete vs. Asphalt

Concrete Surface

The repairing of concrete is not easy. If the crack occurs, you may have to take an entire slab out and replace with a new one.

Asphalt Surface

The repairing of Asphalt Surface is very easy. If the cracks appear, you can even repair it yourself.

5. Area Suitability – Concrete vs. Asphalt

Concrete Surface

Concrete surfaces are suitable for the areas with hot weather.

It’s not a practical option for snowy areas because it is difficult to clean the snow from it.

The concrete surface reflects the heat rather than absorbing it. Moreover, in the season of rainfall, the concrete surface can be very slippery.

Asphalt Surface

Asphalt surfaces are a very famous choice in North America. This is because it’s very easy to clean the snow from them.

The black colour of the asphalt absorbs heat, which melts the snow. This surface is not good for hot areas because of the heatness factor.

6. The Time Needed for Healing – Concrete vs. Asphalt

Concrete Surface

After the installation process is done, you cannot walk on concrete for at least five days. It needs time to dry out.

Usually, you are recommended to drive on a concrete driveway after 4-6 weeks.

Asphalt Surface

When the installation of the asphalt surface is completed, you can start using it soon after that. It doesn’t take much time compared to its counterpart.

7. Maintenance – Concrete vs. Asphalt

Concrete Surface

Although the initial installation cost of the concrete surface is very high, the ongoing maintenance cost of the concrete surface is low as compared to asphalt surfaces.

Asphalt Surface

Contrary to the initial cost, the ongoing maintenance cost of the asphalt surface is very high, unlike the concrete surface. So, the long term cost of an asphalt surface is high as compared to the concrete surface.

8. Sealing Factor – Concrete vs. Asphalt

Concrete Surface

The concrete surface needs to be sealed every five years, for its longevity.

Asphalt Surface

The Asphalt needs to be washed professionally two times a year. After every wash, it needs to be resealed.

9. Life Span – Concrete vs. Asphalt

Concrete Surface

With proper maintenance, the concrete surface can easily work for 50 to 60% longer than Asphalt. The keyword here is ‘maintenance’.

Asphalt Surface

The life span of the asphalt surface is 20 to 30 years with proper maintenance.

10. Resale Value – Concrete vs. Asphalt

Concrete Surface

If a property has a concrete driveway, it can benefit its resale value. Think of it as an investment. If you want to sale property after doing its driveway. You can get a good profit with it.

Asphalt Surface

The Asphalt Surface is an ordinary type of surface. It doesn’t add to the resale value of the property. So, you may want to think again if you are opting to sale your property and keen on return on investment.

11. Curb Appeal – Concrete vs. Asphalt

Concrete Surface

With the variety of designs available, an option for customization results in a beautiful driveway. Looking for this type of features? search no more, but a concrete driveway. Concrete surfaces are your answer.

It can easily add to the curb appeal of your property.

Asphalt Surface

There is no room for creativity available in Asphalt surfaces because of its colour. It won’t enhance the curb appeal of your property.

12. Weight-bearing Capacity – Concrete vs. Asphalt

Concrete Surface

The concrete surface is a made up of a very solid material. It has the capacity to hold a lot of weight.

Asphalt Surface

This type of surface has a limited capacity for holding the weight. If the load is more than the material could bear, it will then start chipping away.

13. Characteristics – Concrete vs. Asphalt

Concrete Surface

There is no residue chemical issue in the concrete surface.

Asphalt Surface

Due to the composition of Asphalt surface, oils evaporate from it. It can give a weird smell. It can stick to the shoes as well and result in an oily and sticky mess.

14. Affect on Environment- Concrete vs. Asphalt

Concrete Surface

The energy cost for producing and installing the concrete driveway is low. It doesn’t take a toll on the environment. So, its safe to say that it’s an environmentally friendly option.

Asphalt Surface

A large amount of energy is required to make the solution of the Asphalt Surface. The residue oils in the atmosphere is also a problem. Due to these issues, Asphalt is not considered an environmentally friendly option.

15. Effect of Rain – Concrete vs. Asphalt

Would Rain Hurt a New Concrete Surface?

It depends on the situation. If your concrete surface has dried out, the rain can actually benefit the concrete surface and make it stronger.

Would Rain Hurt a New Asphalt Surface?

The top layer of the Asphalt is made up of hot mixture. If the rain occurs, the cooling effect will contribute to the rapid drying of Asphalt Surface. This can make the cracks appear on the surface, which is not good. So, the rain can really hurt the asphalt surface.

Tip: We earlier cover about paving driveways in the rain.

16. The Best Season for Installing – Concrete vs. Asphalt

Concrete Surface

The temperature is one of the factors that can really play an important role in enhancing the durability of the material. The weather also helps in the drying process of the surface. Therefore, in the case of Concrete Surface, the best time for installing it is in fall.

The warm days and the cool nights of the fall, when there is no humidity in the air. It provides the perfect temperature for the concrete surface.

Asphalt Surface

Unlike concrete, the ideal season for installing the Asphalt surface is spring. The warm temperature of Spring season will really help mix the mixture of the asphalt. The warmness will make the mixture easier to manage. That will then, result in a smoother top.

17. The Ideal Temperature for Installing – Concrete vs. Asphalt

Concrete Surface

The ideal temperature for concrete pouring is 40 – 60 Fahrenheit (about 10 C).

Asphalt Surface

The ideal temperature for the Asphalt is about 60 – 70 Fahrenheit (about 20 C).

The Summary Table

Factor

Concrete Surface

Asphalt Surface

Installation

Comparably difficult. Takes more time.

Comparably easy. Takes less time.

Cost

High initial cost. Low maintenance cost.

Low initial cost. High maintenance cost.

Available Designs

Many designs and colour available

Black only.

Repairing

Difficult to repair

Easy to repair

Area Suitability

Good for hot weather. Not for snowy weather.

Good for snowy weather. Not for hot weather.

The Time Needed for Healing

Few days to weeks

Few hours

Maintenance

Low

High and regular

Sealing Factor

Once every 5 years

Twice a year

Life Span

40 – 50 years

20-30 years

Resale Value

Good

OK

Curb Appeal

Good

OK

Weight-bearing Capacity

Good capacity

Limited capacity

Characteristics

No residue chemical issue

Smelly, oily and sticky

Affect on Environment

Environmentally friendly

Not environmentally friendly

Effect of Rain

Make dried concrete stronger

Can result in cracks

The Best Season for Installing

Fall / Autumn

Spring

The Ideal Temperature for Installing

40 – 60 Farenhiet (about 10 C)

60 – 70 Fahrenheit (about 20 C)

Conclusion

The conclusion that can be drawn from all this information is that it doesn’t matter whether you like concrete more asphalt more. It all comes to the area you are living in, what you hope to achieve and then your budget.

Go for Asphalt if you live in an area with frequent snowfall and can maintain the asphalt or if you live in area with hot weather and willing to pay the extra penny initially and low maintenance later on go with concrete. What goes best with the seasons of your area is really what matters.

Sometimes, just because is to our liking doesn’t mean it has to suit over the property as well. Another important thing is to find a trustworthy contractor.

It’s always best to plan beforehand. Only then, the final result could be according to your liking.

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