When you are choosing the material for your driveway, asphalt is one of the top two options. The second one is usually concrete. Many homeowners opt for asphalt due to its numerous benefits. However, such paving comes with a few downsides.
To understand whether asphalt is right for you, you need to dig a little deeper into the subject to learn why this option may not work for some homeowners.
In this article, we’ll share all the pros and cons of the asphalt driveways as well as hidden problems and benefits an average homeowner may overlook.
What is Asphalt?
When opting for an asphalt driveway, you should have at least a brief idea of what you are choosing. Asphalt is a combination of asphalt cement, rocks, and sand. Before laying it out on your driveway, the contractor puts crushed rocks and a filler to strengthen the base for the asphalt pavement.
Then the company lays a thick layer of melted asphalt on the foundation. After that, it is steamrolled for compact settling. In the end, you get a smooth and aesthetically appealing surface, which is ready for use immediately.
The average cost of paving an asphalt driveway, including the removal of the old pavement, is $4,000.
Benefits of an Asphalt Driveway
Why do the majority of homeowners choose asphalt driveways? Because it comes with many impressive advantages.
1. Aesthetic Appeal
Asphalt driveways are aesthetically appealing. The asphalt has a nice color, which suits the overall appearance of any home. Since the shade is neutral, it doesn’t drive the attention away from your home or landscape. Meanwhile, it matches the road near your home, keeping you from experiencing bumpy riding.
While the aesthetic appeal may not seem important when you look at how mismatched concrete driveways seem to appear, you can understand the popularity of asphalt driveways.
2. Low Cost
When you compare the asphalt driveway paving to other options, such as concrete, you get much nicer amounts. For example, a concrete driveway costs about 25% more than an asphalt driveway does.
Price is usually the deciding factor for homeowners. By saving on the driveway, you can invest more money in its maintenance, thus helping the pavement lasts for years. According to asphalt repair workers at ABC Paving & Sealcoating, driveway maintenance has an extremely high ROI.
3. Easy Maintenance
If laid correctly, asphalt has an even surface. That makes maintenance fairly easy. Shoveling snow, cleaning fallen leaves, removing puddles, and the like don’t take up too much time.
Overall, asphalt maintenance includes regular inspections of the surface for cracks and keeping the pavement clean. Since the surface is even, it’s easy to notice imperfections before they turn into a serious problem.
4. Less Noise
Asphalt does an excellent job absorbing noises your vehicle’s make when you drive over it. This is especially beneficial for people who come home late. The noise absorption property of the asphalt can improve the overall quality of life at home.
Meanwhile, asphalt is comfortable to drive over. It doesn’t cause any damage to the vehicle and helps reduce tire wear and tear.
5. Quick Repairs
Repairs are reasonably priced as well. Even though such pavement is prone to cracks and other damage, fixing it is much simpler. In fact, many homeowners can eliminate small asphalt driveway problems on their own without asking for professional assistance.
It’s also easy to prevent asphalt damage by seal coating it regularly. You can put a new layer of asphalt over the old one to fix the numerous cracks. This is not an option for such surface materials as concrete.
Disadvantages of Asphalt Driveways
Even though an asphalt driveway seems to be the best choice for many homes, it comes with several important downsides. Make sure to consider them thoroughly before making the final choice.
1. Environmental Impact
Asphalt is based on petroleum. It’s considered to be a volatile organic compound (VOC) substance. When the asphalt is made, harmful gasses are released into the atmosphere. However, the rest of the common driveway materials, such as concrete, are also harmful to the environment.
The alternatives are permeable concrete pavers, porous concrete, gravel, and sand. Unfortunately, none of them is as durable and aesthetically appealing as asphalt. Their maintenance is more expensive.
Asphalt is hardly the most durable pavement option you can come up with. The material is soft and highly prone to different damage. It’s important to inspect asphalt regularly to avoid repair and replacement.
The weakest part of the asphalt is its edges. So you have to invest in protecting them. Even though asphalt maintenance isn’t expensive, you have to do it frequently.
3. Grey Color
As the appealing black shade of the new asphalt fades, the surface turns grey. Many homeowners dislike the appearance of old asphalt. Meanwhile, you can’t add any color to it as you could to concrete. Some homeowners call asphalt dull and boring.
4. Sensitivity to Heat
Asphalt can melt when the temperatures are high. When the surface becomes soft, driving over it may leave tire marks. This could ruin the overall appearance of the pavement and lead to asphalt repair and replacement.
Asphalt is an excellent choice of material for driveways as long as you are ready for frequent and careful maintenance. It’s cheaper than the majority of other options, looks appealing, offers excellent noise absorption properties, and is ready for use immediately.