If you’re trying to decide between a Minnesota concrete driveway versus asphalt driveway, you should educate yourself on these materials to make an informed decision. Asphalt driveways consist of a mixture of stones and sand, which make for a rough texture. Concrete driveways are smoother being made from sand and gravel. Here’s some more basic information about concrete and gravel driveways to help you make the right choice.
Asphalt is a common material for driveways. Leftover materials from diesel, gasoline, and kerosene production bind together the stones and sand in asphalt. Often referred to as blacktops, these driveways don’t usually show oil stains because they’re dark in color. They’re also easy to repair when it comes to filling cracks and holes. Unlike concrete, asphalt performs well in cold and snowy weather, and removing snow from asphalt is a simpler task than keeping it off of concrete. In addition, concrete driveways require replacement when they become full of cracks, but professionals can just re-layer asphalt driveways. Asphalt is also less expensive than concrete, being almost half the price in certain cases.
Although asphalt driveways have their advantages, there are also many downsides to them. They require a lot of maintenance to stay free of potholes, and for best performance, property owners should have them re-sealed every three to five years. Property owners who aren’t prepared to deal with this maintenance should go with a concrete driveway. Asphalt also has an oily texture in warm sunlight, and sometimes the material sticks to shoes. It’s also hard to get a straight, clean edge with asphalt due to its rocky nature. Its dark black color also lightens over the years, which some property owners might find undesirable. If you choose asphalt, you should wait eight months to seal it because sealer locks in the softer nature of new asphalt, making the driveway more vulnerable to damage.
Concrete is stronger and more durable than asphalt, and it can last 30-40 years when properly maintained. It requires less maintenance than asphalt though, which many property owners find desirable. It’s also available in more decorative options than asphalt, including stamped designs. Concrete works well in warm climates because it doesn’t soften, and it won’t leave residue on shoes. Although it’s pricey compared to asphalt, its low-maintenance requirement saves property owners money in the long run.
The main downside to concrete driveways is that they’re susceptible to problems in the wintertime, including cracks and freeze-thaw damage. Freeze-thaw damage happens when water penetrates concrete’s porous surface and freezes and expands, which leads to chips and cracks. Tires also drag in salt and de-icers on driveways during wintertime, which are damaging to concrete. Repairing cracks and damage in concrete is a more difficult and costly process than fixing asphalt, which is why preventing these problems is important.
Fortunately, property owners can prevent all these wintertime problems with a good concrete sealer. Concrete sealers preserve concrete driveways in a near-perfect condition even in the face of erosive de-icers and freezing temperatures. Sealers also prevent concrete stains, which is important due to the light color of concrete. Spills sit at the surface of concrete instead of penetrating down into it, and you can easily wipe or hose them off. Sealers also stop mold and bacteria growth, and they serve as a buffer against wear and tear from traffic.
Minnesota Concrete installs concrete driveways throughout the Twin Cities. We’re a locally owned and operated company that provides quality work and punctual service, and we’re accredited by the Better Business Bureau. To speak with one of our highly trained professionals, please contact us.