Asphalt vs Concrete – Who Wins?

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Last time on the blog we talked a whole bunch about driveways, from paving to repair. When it comes to driveways, there are two main materials people use – asphalt and concrete. Now, what’s the difference between the two? Which is better? In the war of asphalt vs concrete, the rivalry extends far past the driveway! This time on the Sunrise Asphalt blog, Asphalt vs Concrete – Who Wins?

You might be thinking, ‘Come on, you guys are Sunrise Asphalt,’ and you’d be right. We are big fans of asphalt as a material and in our eyes it’s the clear winner! But we’re not going to sit here and pretend like concrete doesn’t exist, that’d be crazy! No, we’ll give you a clear understanding of what makes asphalt and concrete different.

Asphalt vs Concrete

First, a Closer Look at Asphalt 

Asphalt, specifically our kind of asphalt is the mixture of aggregate and the sticky, black, highly viscous liquid or semi-solid form of petroleum (which is also called asphalt confusingly enough!). Together the mixture is paved over a subsurface made up of gravel to create a solid hard foundation for vehicles to travel over.

What makes asphalt great? A few things!

Asphalt is Safe

Asphalt pavements are a great surface for driving on for a few reasons. One, they provide a high skid resistance surface making it easier for tires to grip the roadway. Two, the high contrast of the paint and black asphalt creates better visibility of the road surface. Three, asphalt is made in such a way as to minimize the amount of spraying during rainstorms. All of this comes together to make for a safer surface. Another feature that plays into safety? The smoothness…

Asphalt is Smooth

When it comes to rides, you want it smooth. Smooth roads provide a bunch of different positives to driving. They are safer than rough roads which can make controlling your vehicle more difficult as well as increase driver fatigue. Smoother roads will also reduce the friction between the pavement and the tires which makes for better fuel economy and allow for the tires to have a better grip on the road. All this together makes a better (safer – and more enjoyable) ride.

Asphalt is Cost-Effective!

Asphalt is a more cost effective solution, and not just because of the fuel economy! Smoothers roads will reduce the wear and tear on vehicles, decreasing the costs of repairs over their lifespan. Asphalt roads can also be installed faster than other pavements, making for a more cost effective construction.

Asphalt is Quiet

Like smoothness, quiet roads are best for a number of reasons! Decreasing road noise keeps the driver distraction free. Asphalt also makes for a quieter road for those around, not just those driving on them. Asphalt roads reduce highway noise by something like seven decibels! This quieter road also means the need for costly sound barriers alongside the roadway are reduced too.

At this point you’re probably seeing how these all feed into each other. Asphalt is quieter, less need for sound barriers, which in turn means they are a more cost effective surface solution.

Asphalt is Green

One of our favorite things to mention here on the Sunrise Asphalt blog is that asphalt is so environmentally friendly! Asphalt is 100% recyclable, and the asphalt industry recycles millions of tons of pavement every year. This makes asphalt cost less energy to produce and reuse compared to other pavement materials, with little of it ever ending up in a landfill.

Asphalt is Durable

And of course, asphalt is durable. They have a bit of flex to them which allows them withstand the occasional heavy load without serious damage and they can be designed to suit whatever conditions are present, whether they’re traffic, materials, or ground conditions. Asphalt needs only occasional maintenance and repair for it to remain in decent shape for it’s lifetime. 

Something like 90% of roads are paved with asphalt in America, with numbers like that, it’s clear asphalt is doing something right!

So, if those are the benefits of asphalt, how does it stack up in the asphalt vs concrete conversation?

 

Asphalt Is…

  • Less expensive to install!
  • Will last 15-20 years with proper care
  • Faster to cure and get ready for use.
  • Resilient! Stands up to the wear and tear thrown at it and can be easily repaired when necessary.

 

Concrete…

  • Costs more to install. 
  • Can last up to 40 years with proper care.
  • Concrete is louder, producing more road noise than asphalt.
  • Can take days to set, depending on the mixture. 
  • Concrete can be made in various color options but may also stain depending on colors and textures.
  • Not as recyclable as asphalt.

When it comes down to it, the choice is clear, the winner of asphalt vs concrete is the surface that is more cost effective, better for the environment, is easy, and fast to install – it’s asphalt!

That’s why Sunrise Asphalt has committed ourselves to working with this material for decades. If you’re in the Tucson area and need a driveway paved, a lot covered, or some asphalt cared for – call the best in the biz, call Sunrise Asphalt today!