If you are planning a paving project, maybe you're looking for a contractor for something like a new commercial parking lot or a company with the experience required to replace the roads in your municipality. Either way, you'll need to choose between concrete and asphalt — not an easy determination unless you have the information you need to understand the difference.
As with any commercial construction project, there are several factors you should consider when deciding to pave with asphalt or concrete. Our professionals on paving and sealcoating in Austin, TX, offer this comprehensive guide to help you make the right choice.
Both asphalt and concrete have some things in common. For one, each paving method starts with compacted gravel bases, which take some time to cure before you can travel on them. However, that's where the similarities end; asphalt uses tar to help that gravel stick while concrete uses cement. In addition, concrete can require days to cure, while asphalt is ready in hours. From there, the distinctions between the two are black and white.
Some people think concrete has more options for finishes and texture, but you may be shocked to discover that asphalt has the same customization ability. Perpetual, porous, and quick-mix are a few kinds to consider. Asphalt is also a perfect canvas for painting, whether a logo or parking space. Pavers can even add color during the sealing process or add pigments during the paving process.
We're not complete strangers to rough winter weather here in Austin, so keep that in mind. Concrete is prone to frost heaves, expansion, and contraction in colder climates. This takes a toll on the concrete condition and increases overall maintenance costs. The state of concrete also degrades with salt and de-icing treatments. Asphalt resists breaking down under ice treatment, opposes cracks from freezing, and absorbs more heat which can help melt snow faster.
This may be the most crucial benefit of using asphalt over concrete. As mentioned earlier, asphalt is much faster to install and is ready much sooner than concrete. About six months after your asphalt is laid, you should seal it for longevity and repeat the process every two to three years. The pros should do sealing, but maintaining your asphalt is a quick, cost-efficient step. When done right, your asphalt surface can last up to 30 years!
While you can repair both asphalt and concrete surfaces, asphalt cracks are much simpler to fix and can blend in with the rest of the structure. On the other hand, concrete repairs often require much more labor and can be pretty noticeable. Another drawback of concrete is that it stains easily and permanently in many cases.
Maintenance costs aside, it's much less expensive to install asphalt surfaces than it is to pave with concrete. The average price for asphalt can be $2.50 to $4 per square foot, while concrete is in the $4-$6 range. If you want specialized finishes or coloring, that price can increase even more. Can you believe some concrete installers charge up to $15 a square foot? For big projects, choosing asphalt can offer significant savings.
These are some of the differences between concrete and asphalt paving. Contact us today for paving and sealcoating in Austin, TX. We are here for you!