Asphalt or Concrete Driveway?

Sub-Surface Preparation

Whether you choose concrete or asphalt for your new driveway, either choice must be constructed over a well compacted base of gravel. Each project has a unique requirement in this area, so please ensure that your concrete or asphalt (or blacktop) paving contractor has done a proper site inspection and understands the differences each material will require when it comes to paving the area you’ve requested.

With Bortolo and Sons motto being “It’s what’s underneath that counts!”, we take pride in ensuring that the base of your paving project is as solid as can be to ensure that your new driveway will last as long as possible.

Concrete Vs. Asphalt

While asphalt and concrete are similar, there are some unique differences between them. See the chart to the right to get a better idea of which surface is best suited to your project. The tabs below the before and after pictures go into more detail about the differences mentioned in the comparison chart.

Asphalt vs. Concrete Driveway

Asphalt DrivewayConcrete Driveway
CostLowerHigher
DurabilityLess durableMore durable
WeatheringSoftens in high heatCracks in freezing temperatures
Longevity20+ years40+ years
MaintenanceResealing every 2-3 yearsSealing optional, but encouraged
FinishesPatternedMany
ColorsLimitedMultiple
ResurfacingYesNo
RepairsEasyDifficult

 

To see what an asphalt or concrete driveway will cost you, please either give us a call at: 604-298-8775 or use our quote request form.

Appearance

Just as each home is unique, so are your choices when it comes to driveways. An asphalt driveway can offer the same appearance as the roadway you drove into it from. Where a concrete driveway can literally offer a black and white difference between the roadway and your property. Each product offers a different appearance and finishing characteristics.
Concrete provides many more options when it comes to different finishes. Staining or tinting in a vast array of colors is possible, as well as being able to create patterns using different colours within the same driveway. In addition to colouring, concrete can be stamped, etched or engraved into different patterns to create a unique look. But it doesn’t end there. You can customize the texture with brushing, aggregates or even polishing to a smooth finish. By using a combination of these finishes, you have a virtually unlimited number of options to create a paved surface as unique as you and your home.
Asphalt (aka blacktop) is much more limited in finishing options. Asphalt must be rolled and compressed, so there isn’t much available in the way of unique finishes. If you’re looking for a custom pattern or texture, it can’t provide the same finishes as concrete can, but lately there have been some options available when it comes to colouring and patterns that can be applied, even to an already existing surface.
To get a better idea of different finishing options please see our Custom Colours, Patterns & Textures page for more information.

 

Weatherability

Cold Canadian winters and warm hot summers each provide a unique challenge to a paved surface. Climate is always an important consideration.
Concrete has a tendency to crack and can suffer from frost heaving in cold, freezing conditions. Also, salt can create a pitted surface in the concrete which can leave marks or a blotchy appearance in your driveway.
Asphalt, on the other hand, has issues in hotter climates. The high heat of a hot summer day can cause the tar in blacktop to soften and even deform under extreme heat. It’s naturally darker colour doesn’t do itself any favours when it comes to heat absorption either. Items that are heavy and don’t have enough surface area to spread the weight (such as a motorcycle kickstand) can dig into and damage the surface under these conditions.
Your professional paving contractor should understand the local climate be able to make the right recommendations to ensure the right material for your application.

 

Maintenance

Asphalt driveways should be sealed after they have had 6 months to a year to fully cure. After the initial sealing, it should be reapplied every 2-3 years. Many products are available for this at your local hardware store, and no special machinery is required, so this task can be accomplished by almost any home owner. With a good base, proper sealing and regular maintenance a blacktop driveway can last up to 30 years.
Read more on Asphalt Care – Do’s and Dont’s
While concrete driveways do not necessarily need to be sealed to ensure a long lifespan, sealing a concrete driveway can prevent stains and discolouration. Concrete driveways stain easier than blacktop and require a degreaser to remove oil based stains. We highly recommend sealing a concrete driveway every few years, especially if you have a custom colour, finish or texture in order to preserve it’s best appearance.
Learn more about Driveway Maintenance – Asphalt and Concrete.

 

Cost

Asphalt is generally much cheaper to install than concrete. On average, the cost per square foot for blacktop will be considerably cheaper than concrete. However price fluctuation due to the cost of crude oil can affect an asphalt driveway’s price. Maintenance costs for blacktop can be higher than a concrete driveway due to it requiring a sealant be applied more often.
Concrete has many factors that can increase it’s cost. The different custom colours, patterns & textures can all increase the cost of a concrete driveway over a plain concrete surface. Even a basic concrete driveway will be more expensive due to the required forms, rebar and construction & curing time. However the plethora of different finishing options make it an attractive choice and can add enough value and curb appeal to your home to offset the initial higher cost.

 

Repairs

Cracks in both asphalt and concrete driveways can be repaired.
Asphalt cracks are much easier to repair and blend into the original surface. The very nature of asphalt’s tar base and flexibility offer an easy to repair surface that concrete simply cannot match.
Concrete repairs meanwhile, are more obvious due to discolouration, fading and weathering. While they can be repaired to ensure a long useful life span, asphalt repairs appear more like the original paved surface than concrete does after being repaired.

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Bortolo and Sons serves the following areas in the Greater Vancouver Area:

VancouverNorth VancouverWest VancouverRichmondBurnaby
CoquitlamPort CoquitlamPitt MeadowsPort MoodyLangley
New WestminsterSurreyWhite RockDeltaTsawwassen