Driveway - concrete or asphalt

andryMarch 31, 2014

Hello! I haven't posted much but am finishing my project and will post pictures soon. I've relied on you all more than you know.

I'm putting in a circular drive and need to decide asphalt or concrete. I'm getting bids for both, but builder seems to think that over the long run, the cost will be about the same.

My concerns with concrete (other than cost) is 1) if it gets damaged, its harder to nicely fix ( I live near chicago, rather extreme temps I know can affect the concrete) 2) curing time - I have to go to the police station daily to get a pass to park on the street! 3) my kids think they will get hurt more on concrete (harder, rougher)

My concerns with asphalt is 1) looks 2) durability 3) maintenance.

I'd appreciate any thoughts on the matter!

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I've lived in the Chicago area previously. I would go with concrete. Asphalt needs to be maintained every year or so by resealing it. It's a messy, stinky job.

Concrete drives can last for decades, even in Chicago, with minor repairs, sealing cracks.

I had both in Chicago. In the same period of time we never did a thing to the concrete drive.

As far as falls, the asphalt is actually a little more painful and prone to cause scrapes because it's more of an uneven surface.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 3:13PM
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I'm not aware of anyone having a concrete driveway saying they wished they had asphalt. (There are, no doubt, some people who would say it!) I am aware of people with asphalt driveways who have said "I wanted concrete, but couldn't afford it."

I live in the Chicago area. If the bed is properly prepared, there should be no problem with concrete in an extreme winter area. What can be a problem is parking cars on concrete in winter where salted snow from the street comes in contact with the driveway. Salt and concrete don't work together very well.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 9:45PM
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I wanted asphalt for the look. DH and builder said concrete was a better wearing surface at the garage and turn around. We ended up doing an all concrete, all tinted driveway. Black at the street so far up (per Covenants) and the rest is a buff color. We haven't had any cracking or issues and it's been over seven years (in the south). One word of advice we learned from our builder: while the driveway is curing, keep it damp (hose it) and cover with plastic so that it dries slower. This will help it not to crack and makes it stronger.

This post was edited by allison0704 on Tue, Apr 1, 14 at 8:36

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 8:26AM
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I am building in Chicago also - do concrete if you can , it will last much longer . Asphalt will need to be refinished in a few years. You also need to seal it pretty regularly, and when it gets old it looks real bad.

Concrete can last 50 years and there is not much to do . It can crack if tree roots get under it - but cold weather should be fine. Don't use Salt on it in the winter - this can cause little pits to form on the surface .

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 10:07AM
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Circular-- often means a larger area. Asphalt typically involves several different pieces of equipment which cost as much to transport for a small job as for a larger one. So a 10 x 40 drive (small) might be lower cost in concrete.
I like the concrete better here in the South.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 11:27AM
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RNmomof2 zone 5

Do you have any vinyl floors? Don't do asphalt as it can discolor vinyl floors. A asphalt drive only looks nice when it has been freshly sealed. Go concrete, you won't regret it.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 1:23PM
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Thanks all! Waiting on the bids (as you know, the unexpected building expenses add right up!) so that may decide it, but now leaning much more towards concrete.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 5:34PM
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I'm in Colorado, cold climate here. I used colored concrete, with a higher PSI(less gravel in it), fiber mesh and rebar mats in it, 4" thick. It's now been in for about 15 years. We've done nothing to it, no maintenance....and it looks new.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 9:17PM
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Also in Chgo and have an asphalt driveway (wish I had the concrete one in my old house).

The black asphalt looks so dark - black and reminds me of a parking lot. I like the lighter color of concrete.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 7:37PM
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Old house we had concrete and only one neighbor had asphalt. The only time I was envious was in winter when the sun would come out it seemed it melted off a lot faster. Otherwise it's HOT to walk on in summer and they had to seal it quite a bit it seemed. As MDLN said, it does stand out a lot as well.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 9:38PM
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