Brewery Lane, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear

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What Lasts Longer, Concrete Or Asphalt?

So you’ve decided on a new driveway, but what surface should you choose? There are lots of options and some last way longer than others.

What lasts longer, concrete or asphalt? – Concrete lasts longer than asphalt, with an average lifespan of over 30 years compared to asphalt’s estimated 20 years. However, a lot depends on how you look after your driveway, the climate you live in and of course the cost of an asphalt driveway compared to concrete.

Both concrete and asphalt are susceptible to damage from the elements and we’ve seen plenty of shabby-looking driveways in our tenure as one of the North East’s leading installers. 

So which of these popular driveway options should you choose? Concrete may have a longer lifespan than asphalt but is it a better choice? 

Does Cement Last Longer Than Asphalt?

Cement has a much longer lifespan than asphalt, between 20 – 40 years or more if properly maintained, which is more than double the time you can expect asphalt to last. So although asphalt may have less initial outlay, it will need replacing or resurfacing sooner. 

Asphalt Life Expectancy 

The average lifespan of asphalt is around 10 – 20 years; however, this depends on a few factors. The good news is there are things you can do to extend the life of asphalt. How often should an asphalt driveway be sealed should be one of your top priorities and there are tips below to ensure a longer life expectancy.

5 ways to make Asphalt last longer 

  • Choose a trusted contractor to install your asphalt surface. The quality of the initial installation has a significant impact on its lifespan. 
  • Seal the asphalt after the required six months of curing time to protect it from damage and re-apply every 2-3 years 
  • Limit access to passenger vehicles asphalt will be easily damaged by continued use from commercial vehicles like removal vans and delivery lorries 
  • Create a maintenance schedule and ensure the asphalt surface is kept clear of heavy objects like gardening tools, debris, leaves and dirt. 
  • Regularly check for stains, cracks, potholes, and crumbling and do repairs as soon as possible as once compromised, the asphalt deteriorates quickly. 

Concrete Life Expectancy.

The average life expectancy of concrete or cement can be upwards of 50 years. Still, there are quite a few issues which could reduce the lifespan, including 

5 things that can reduce Cement lifespan 

  • Not choosing the right installer is perhaps the most significant factor in your concrete not lasting. Having the proper sub-base for your soil, a quality cement mix and correct drainage are all important considerations. A poor installation will not last
  • Not sealing concrete can drastically reduce the surface’s lifespan. Sealers create a barrier which protects the concrete from the elements, preventing water from being absorbed by the concrete, freezing and causing cracks. 
  • Using rock salt or de-icing chemicals can seriously damage concrete. Salt will cause discolouration and corrosion of the rebar in the base, whilst some of the common chemicals found in De-Icers can cause erosion of the cement itself. 
  • Having a tree-lined driveway will decrease the lifespan as the roots will grow into the soil under the drive causing the concrete to lift and crack 
  • Leaving snow on your concrete driveway for prolonged periods can cause damage. The excess moisture will cause the ground underneath to shift, resulting in cracks. So, shovel that snow to make concrete last longer. 

What Lasts The Longest For A Driveway?

Concrete is the longest-lasting option for a driveway, with almost double the lifespan of asphalt if appropriately installed and taken care of correctly. 

This is because no matter how well it is cared for, the bitumen which holds asphalt together will break down over time and the surface will begin to crumble. If you decide on asphalt, find out what are the 3 types of asphalt you can use so that you pick the correct one.

Last Word

So, we’ve discovered that concrete has a longer lifespan than asphalt. However, to maximise the durability of both, you should seal the surface and create a regular maintenance routine, as concrete is much more expensive to repair than standard asphalt. 

That being said, for everyday domestic use, both will give you a good few years before they need replacing