Asphalt and concrete are the two most common materials used in commercial and residential applications, such as streets, parking lots, driveways or sidewalks. A Houston paving contractor would inform you that each compound has advantages and disadvantages. A difference between the two materials exists, but it is slight. Before making a decision, it is wise to consider the following questions.
1. Are you undertaking a new project, or are you replacing or rehabilitating a surface?
3. Does concrete or asphalt last longer?
4. What type of project are you planning?
5. Which solution is the most cost-effective?
Usually, cost is the first consideration a public works manager or property owner will ask a Houston concrete contractor. Concrete costs roughly 35 percent more than asphalt. However, it can be counterproductive to base a decision solely on the price. In some areas, the cost of the raw material can change on a daily basis. An oil shortage can cause the price of asphalt to rise. A shortage of cement can have the same effect on concrete. Plus, repair and replacement considerations may outweigh the initial financial expenditure. Asphalt may require more preventive maintenance, but when it is patched or resurfaced, it will look like new again. Concrete loses its fresh appearance in a few years.
Asphalt can last over two decades, and it is less expensive to replace. However, in a high-traffic area, asphalt can degrade more rapidly than concrete. This is especially true in hotter areas. Under an intense sun, asphalt can begin to melt slightly, which can cause it to rut or get pushed to the side of a road or driveway. On the other hand, ice can cause concrete to buckle and break. Salt erodes concrete. Asphalt performs better and lasts longer in colder climates. In residential applications, asphalt is easy to repair and less costly to replace.
Advances in concrete are making it very attractive for new highways and buildings. Self-illuminating concrete roadways that use solar power are being tested. There is even a new self-healing type of concrete that can fix its own cracks or faults. Sometimes, an asphalt roadway must be excavated for underground repairs. An example of this would be for a broken pipe or the separation of sewer and drainage pipes. In some instances, the original asphalt can be given a concrete overlay to create a “perpetual pavement” with an extended lifespan.
A Houston foundation contractor with experience in both materials can help you decide whether asphalt or concrete is right for your project. The choice will depend on the type of project, the environment and your budget.