Asphalt Paving

Deciding Between Asphalt Paving and Concrete?

If you’re thinking about paving a parking lot, driveway or road, and can’t decide between asphalt paving and concrete paving, this article is for you!

Where concrete was once the preferred method for paving roads and parking lots, today, asphalt paving is the preferred choice.

Let’s take a look at how concrete and asphalt are made to compare and contrast the features and benefits of each type of paving.

Concrete is made using crushed rock and sand aggregate, cement and water. As the mixture dries, the cement binds the concrete and holds the aggregate together. Once set, concrete is a stiff and unforgiving solid substance. However, if the surface beneath the concrete has not been made perfectly smooth, concrete is prone to cracking and breaking.

Asphalt is also made using aggregate. However, instead of using cement as a binder, bitumen, a dark, sticky substance derived from crude oil is used. To build a parking lot or driveway, hot asphalt is poured onto a layer of heavier aggregate and then pressed into it with a steamroller. Once cooled, asphalt is strong enough to withstand automobile traffic. While asphalt is extremely hard and durable, it offers enough flexibility to accommodate imperfections in underlying surfaces, a feature that concrete does not have.

The other advantages of asphalt paving over concrete or cement paving are numerous. One advantage over concrete is that removal and replacement of damaged asphalt is a relatively easy process in comparison to that of concrete. Asphalt is also completely recyclable. Due to the large demand of asphalt for recycling purposes, it is rare that this material will be sent to the landfill.

Another benefit to asphalt construction projects is that they can be finished and the roadways opened for traffic much faster and with a lot less expense than concrete construction projects. Additionally, maintenance and repair of asphalt pavement is quicker, easier and less expensive than that of cement pavement. In fact, repairing minor cracks in asphalt driveways and walkways can be so easy that, with the know-how, one person, by them self, can complete a minor asphalt repair project in just one afternoon. A benefit in making the simple, inexpensive asphalt repair can increase the longevity of an asphalt surface significantly.

When more than just asphalt crack repair is needed, the solution still requires less time and money repairing asphalt paving over cement paving. Unlike concrete, which needs to be removed and replaced when significant cracks appear, asphalt can be resurfaced in much less time, and at a fraction of the cost.(By: M McHale)

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