Concrete VS Asphalt: Why Pavement Material Matters
Most people are aware that all roads are not created equally. Some are designed with asphalt, while others are constructed with concrete, like most highways and interstates. This might leave you wondering how we determine which materials to use and whether it even matters. Honestly, the materials used do make a difference. Each material has properties and qualities that make it an excellent choice for roadway paving. Our experts on paving and sealcoating in Austin, TX, want you to know more about these products.
Why asphalt makes sense
Asphalt is an excellent option for creating a robust driving surface. In addition, various qualities make it valuable for roadways:
- Safety- Asphalt provides excellent traction for tires and has a high level of skid resistance. As a result, you are less likely to experience an accident on asphalt roads than on their concrete counterparts.
- Easy maintenance- Asphalt roads are super easy to maintain. When asphalt needs repairs, you can simply fix the broken portion of the structure, unlike concrete.
- Environmentally friendly- Asphalt is an attractive option when you are concerned about environmental sustainability because it is the most recycled material in the United States. Once it is removed, asphalt can be melted down and reused for a new project to reduce pollution and waste.
- Cost-effective- Asphalt is a budget-friendly paving option for companies concerned with cost. It is less costly than concrete and can be installed in a shorter timeframe.
Asphalt may seem like the perfect choice for every road, but it does have some faults. For example, it is not the most durable paving material and can be damaged easily by heavy rain or snow. In addition, asphalt production releases a considerable level of greenhouse gases. While asphalt does not have many disadvantages, they should still be considered when choosing the best paving material for a project.
Why concrete is a good choice
Concrete has several advantages over asphalt, making it an excellent choice for roadway paving. These advantages are why concrete is used for paving most highways.
- Environmentally sustainable- Concrete does not require many resources because it is created from limestone. On the other hand, asphalt uses many natural resources and burns fossil fuels for production.
- Weather-resistant- Concrete roadways are known for their resiliency. Weather conditions or harsh chemicals like oil and gasoline do not easily break down concrete surfaces. This makes concrete an excellent material for roads openly exposed to accidents and weather elements, like highways.
- Fuel-efficient- Cars use less fuel on concrete roadways. You will use between 15 and 20% less fuel on a concrete road than on asphalt because concrete is not deflected under your vehicle’s wheels.
- Easy maintenance- Concrete is also easy to maintain. Concrete roadways will last around 40 years and require minimal repaving or resurfacing during their life. On the other hand, asphalt roads typically last about a decade and require frequent attention.
Concrete sounds like an excellent product for paving, but it does have some disadvantages. For example, it is more expensive to use for roadway paving than asphalt is. In addition, wet concrete allows vehicles to slip and slide easily, leading to more accidents than asphalt roads. Also, even though it is rare, when concrete needs to be replaced, you must substitute the entire slab instead of just a portion of the pavement. These problems make concrete paving a difficult choice for many highway operators.
Both concrete and asphalt have pros and cons, and it is not easy to determine which material is better. The best choice for your paving project will depend on your pavement needs and budget.
When you need paving or sealcoating in Austin, TX, call M. Carroll Black Top Service. We are here to get the job done right.