Types of Asphalt Driveways: Benefits & Issues
Are you planning to install a new driveway or replace the old one? Have you considered asphalt as an option? Asphalt driveways are cheaper than concrete ones but offer the same performance and durability. It is a petroleum product, meaning more flexibility and longevity. Depending on how well they are taken care of, Asphalt driveways can last for up to 20 years! On the contrary, you have limited design options, and asphalt has to be maintained properly. You have to clean the driveways twice a year! Deciding between concrete and asphalt is a difficult decision. One has to consider the pros and cons of both options. Even if you go with asphalt, there are many types of the asphalt itself. Here are the benefits and the issues of the types of asphalt driveways.
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The Benefits of Asphalt Driveways
Asphalt and concrete are famous monolithic materials used for driveway construction. Asphalt driveways have certain advantages over concrete.
Asphalt is less susceptible to cracking as compared to concrete. However, there is no doubt this material will also crack, but it is more flexible. And when it does crack, it’s not like those humongous edge-to-edge cracks like in concrete.
One of the benefits of asphalt is that it is 100% recyclable. Removed asphalt from the job sites and construction places is recycled, making it a better eco-friendly construction material. The recyclable asphalt material has stronger rut resistance and more longevity.
As compared to concrete, asphalt is more cost-efficient to install. A new asphalt driveway’s installation costs about $3 to $4 per square foot, while new concrete driveways cost $5 to $7 per square foot. The cost adds up with decorative embellishments. Crude oil is one of the main components of the asphalt mix, so its price can fluctuate depending on market conditions.
Sources: FIXR & The Spruce
Asphalt driveways are installed quickly and efficiently, thus saving a lot of time.
Durable and Long Lasting
Asphalt driveways are durable and can last about 15-20 years if properly installed. In fact, if you properly maintain the material, its estimated lifespan can increase a few more years. It is still less compared to concrete, but considering other advantages, it is a good option. Asphalt is also highly suitable for areas with harsh winters.
Good for Water Drainage
All types of asphalt are good for water drainage. Porous asphalt allows water to seep into the ground through a gravel base. Other types of asphalt redirect water to the places where it can be well managed.
The Issues That Come With Asphalt Driveways
The issues and problems that come with asphalt are:
Very Limited Design Options
When going with asphalt, you will have minimal design options. Concrete brings a wide range of designs, styles, color options, while asphalt only comes in smooth, flat, and black design.
During hot weather, the black tar-like component of asphalt can become sticky and soften. On the contrary, concrete doesn’t overheat in hot weather. It stays cooler due to its lighter color.
If asphalt is installed without border treatment, the edges of an asphalt driveway will give an unfinished look.
Asphalt requires proper exterior maintenance and periodical sealing to extend its longevity and prevent the development of cracks.
Asphalt driveway has less resale value, and concrete driveway has a cut above it.
Cracks can develop in asphalt driveways if they are not properly maintained and installed.
Concrete Vs. Asphalt Driveways
The most common solid materials used for driveways are concrete and asphalt. While you are debating between the two, both of them are laid over a gravel substrate and are a mixture of sand and stone. However, the adhesives used to hold the components together are different—tar for asphalt and cement for concrete.
Both are durable and make driveways look attractive. There are few different points of both that you should consider and decide the winner for your driveway.
- Concrete offers more designs and visual options, while asphalt has limited designs.
- Concrete is not considered suitable for extremely cold weather conditions, while asphalt performs badly in high heat.
- Concrete stains easily, while asphalt requires sealing once in three years.
- Asphalt is easy to repair and needs constant maintenance, while concrete does not require frequent repairing.
- Concrete driveways last longer as compared to asphalt ones.
- Asphalt costs less, while concrete costs a lot more.
The Types of Asphalt Paving
Out of all paving materials available, asphalt is the most popular one. Choosing the right type of asphalt paving for your driveway is not an easy task. Variety lies in asphalt paving materials, and some of them are:
If you are looking for something robust and durable, stone-matrix asphalt should be on top of your list. It is a mixture of stone aggregate, asphalt cement, and stabilizing agents. It is designed to keep the structure firm under pressure and overburden. The roadways that have a lot of traffic during the day require stone-matrix asphalt to prevent them from cracking and breaking. It is perfect for industrial parking driveways and garages.
Multiple layers of asphalt are laid down to create a perpetual pavement. They are stronger and can hold a huge load of traffic. The base layer is flexible and absorbs most of the wear and tear, while the middle layer is laid for stability. The top layer is of asphalt mix, which is smoother and bears the traffic. The perpetual pavement is smooth, durable, and long-lasting. Another plus point of it is that it is quick and easy to maintain.
Porous asphalt is considered best for residential homes and properties. A thin layer of asphalt is laid over aggregate material and allows moisture to be absorbed into the surface. It has excellent drainage properties, and if that is what you are looking for, porous asphalt is the best option.
Did you get any hints from the name? If not, well, this pavement is for noisy areas with huge traffic. A lot of traffic causes noise pollution in the commercial area and for the people living in residential properties. You might think it is not best for driveways, but just wonder how noisy the business parking and apartment building entrance would be without quiet pavement.
Thin Asphalt Overlays
If you have a driveway already, you can apply a thin asphalt overlay on top of it to protect its structural integrity. It also restores the smoothness of the driveways while hiding minor cracks. Thin asphalt overlays are usually 1.5 inches or less in height, so you can also maintain the slope of the driveway with minimal drainage impact.
The Cost to Asphalt a Driveway
The cost of an asphalt driveway can fluctuate based on certain factors. Here are some of them:
- Quality of base
A new asphalt driveway’s installation costs about $3 to $5 per square foot. Asphalt sealing costs between $436 to $740 for a flat 20 x 20-foot flat driveway in fair condition.
FAQ - The Most Frequently Asked Questions About Asphalt Driveways
Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about asphalt driveways.
How long do you have to stay off an asphalt driveway after sealing it?
The time it takes for sealing to settle depends on the weather conditions. Normally, they dry in just a few hours. However, you must stay off the asphalt driveway for 12 hours for it to be fully cured. In summer, 24 hours will be plenty of time and in spring and fall, let it take up to 48 hours to fully seal.
How long should an asphalt driveway last?
Normally, a properly maintained and well-installed asphalt can last for about 20 years. The lifetime depends on your maintenance, quality of installation, and usage.
What is the normal thickness of an asphalt driveway?
Usually, the driveways need a minimum thickness of 2 inches of asphalt mix. For heavy traffic and busy driveways, a compacted asphalt thickness of 4 inches or more is required.
How do you clean an asphalt driveway?
For the asphalt driveways to be cleaned, you have to first dampen the area with water and apply baking soda to the dirty area. Use a bristle brush to rub it, and let it sit for 30 minutes. Then, rinse the asphalt driveway with water.
Do I need to seal my asphalt driveway?
Sealing protects driveways from cracks and oil damage. It helps to maintain the overall appeal of the asphalt driveway. You should reseal your driveway once every three years.
If you want an affordable yet durable driveway, asphalt is your best bet. With better flexibility and cost efficiency, it is definitely a good alternative to concrete. As you read through the article, there are many types of the asphalt itself. It comes down to what your preference is. Perpetual pavement is an excellent option if you’re looking for something that can withstand damage while providing a smooth surface. And if you want noise suppression, quiet pavement is better.
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