Which Costs More: Asphalt or Concrete?

We know everyone’s tired of slogging through 15 minutes of clickbait just to get to a simple answer online. So, we’ll come right out and give you what you’re looking for: concrete usually costs more than asphalt. But that’s the simplified answer…the only way to understand the entire financial equation is to get a better sense of the big picture—which we helpfully spell out in this very article. Read on!

Concrete Usually Costs More

(Yes, we just said that…let us elaborate.) For the completion of the initial project, concrete can cost about 50% more than asphalt. That’s a rule of thumb, but it’s helpful to know that the upfront cost can be substantial.

Concrete Lasts Longer

We made sure to mention that concrete is more expensive for the completion of the initial project. But that’s not your only financial consideration. For example, concrete has a longer life cycle. So, in exchange for paying more, you’ll usually get more use out of it.  Typically, concrete can last 40-50 years (or more) depending on the exposure to the elements and the type of concrete used.  

Asphalt Requires Sealing Every Few Years

Our specialists can talk you through the benefits of sealing concrete. But with asphalt, you’ll definitely need to seal it every few years. That’s just a normal part of preventive maintenance and, obviously, another cost. This process prolongs the life of your asphalt by protecting it from water, gasoline, oils, and UV damage.

Your Climate Informs the Cost

Hot climates can be tougher on asphalt, which can lose structural integrity in extreme heat. While a great asphalt job will definitely hold up, all of that softening and hardening adds a little more wear and tear. On the other side of the coin, cold weather is harder on concrete. The constant freezing and thawing expands and contracts the pavement and leads to all sorts of cracking. So, it’s important to factor in the costs that come with climate-induced challenges.      

Asphalt Repairs are Easier

Degradation is normal and happens over time. And when that time comes, asphalt is easier and cheaper to repair. We also find that a patch job on asphalt matches the original surface better and looks more subtle than a patch on concrete. And while we are experts at repairing concrete as well, it’ll usually cost more, and the repairs will be more noticeable. You also might consider that it’s harder to keep concrete looking clean. Things like oil stains, tire marks, and spills can be far more obvious on concrete surfaces versus asphalt.      

Need More Guidance?

Industry-wide, you’ll usually find that concrete costs more than asphalt, but that’s far from your only financial variable. So, be sure to account for the life span of your surface, the cost of sealing, repairs, cleaning, and climate-induced wear and tear. Take all of that into account, and you’ll be sure to make the most informed decision possible. Or you can just reach out to Black Diamond Paving for an assessment and some sage advice.