Howrey Construction is a strong believer in always using concrete, never asphalt. Asphalt may be a cheap, quick fix, but the longevity and quality of concrete in the long run is always worth the investment. Read more below to see a breakdown explaining why concrete is your best choice financially, functionally, and aesthetically.
Concrete is commonly specified as “rigid” pavement, while asphalt is considered “flexible” pavement. Flexibility sounds like a good thing on a surface level, but in terms of pavement, it means that the driving surface can change with the weather. Especially in warm weather, asphalt becomes softer and more liquid, causing rutting to occur. Concrete remains solid throughout its lifespan regardless of the temperature.
Because of its concrete rigidity, no rock base is required for concrete laying in most situations. Asphalt’s flexibility means it should always be placed on a rock base for structural support, which also means it will require a greater thickness. With asphalt, you will always need to purchase or haul greater quantities of material than you would with a concrete path.
Initial costs will vary between asphalt and concrete year to year, but initial concrete costs have currently never been less expensive compared to asphalt. With the potential for rising petroleum costs as the years go on, the economy for concrete is looking better all the time. Concrete’s longevity and durability also contribute to significant cost savings—you could save up to 100% over a period of 20 or so years when you choose concrete over asphalt.
Studies show the light and white appearance of concrete is more appealing to the eye than asphalt’s dark appearance. Your golf course path or nature trail will appear brighter and more inviting with the addition of smooth new concrete!
White surfaces reflect light while black surfaces absorb them, which means concrete parking lots and parked cars in those lots can be up to 20 degrees cooler than they would on an asphalt surface. The light appearance of concrete in dark locations can also enhance safety and make the most of the surrounding street lighting.
Both concrete and asphalt can be reused or recycled, but asphalt is the largest recycled product in terms of tonnage. The reason for this is not that asphalt is more sustainable; conversely, concrete lasts much longer than asphalt, so it doesn’t need to be recycled as often. Asphalt wears out quickly because UV light from the sun alters its chemical makeup, causing cracking, brittleness, and stripping.
Asphalt requires maintenance, including coatings and overlays, to delay a full replacement or failure. Concrete, when installed properly, should not require maintenance unless it has everyday heavy traffic from heavy trucks and other loading operations. When properly constructed, concrete paths can last indefinitely.