When you are building a driveway for your home, you have two main choices — asphalt or concrete. Though you can do gravel or get fancy and do brick pavers, the vast majority of driveways are either asphalt driveways or concrete driveways. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, so you need to make sure you weigh the pros and cons of each before making a decision.
When it comes to cost, asphalt is much cheaper to install than concrete. Asphalt costs can fluctuate based on oil prices, but it generally costs less than $5 a square foot. When you figure that the average two-car driveway is about 15-18 feet wide and about 20 feet long, you are looking at $1,500-$1,800 max for an asphalt driveway. A standard concrete driveway can be as much as twice that cost, and a custom concrete driveway can run three to five times as much.
Though asphalt is cheaper initially, it can cost a lot more to maintain over time. Concrete driveways that are installed correctly can last 25-50 years, whereas asphalt needs more maintenance and will not last nearly as long. On the other hand, asphalt is more hardy than concrete when it comes to certain conditions. For example, concrete can crack due to extreme hot and cold conditions and also can be damaged by de-icing projects. Asphalt typically is not damaged by these things, and it also is easier to repair. It’s durability and low cost to install are the main reasons asphalt is used in about 90 percent of the parking lots in the U.S.
If cost is not an issue for you and you are more concerned about appearance, then concrete is definitely the best choice. Concrete has a higher-end look and can be customized with patterns in it and with different colors. With asphalt, you are pretty much going to get a black or gray driveway.
Whether asphalt driveways or concrete driveways are the way to go for you can largely come down to personal choice, but you should keep these other factors in mind in order to make an educated choice.