Asphalt and Concrete: Which Is Better?

Many consider concrete the top choice for commercially paved surfaces; it seems that concrete surfaces are all around us. Many commercial property owners often fall into the misconception that it’s the best choice for parking lots, roads, and walkways around their buildings. However, concrete has drawbacks – even if you can use it interchangeably with asphalt in some situations.

Both asphalt and concrete paving surfaces start with compact gravel bases and require time to cure before vehicles can travel on the surface. Asphalt is used to bind that gravel, create layers of pavement surface, and is ready to drive on in mere hours. Concrete uses cement that can take several days to cure.

How to Decide Between Asphalt and Concrete

One school of thought thinks concrete has the upper hand because of the different finishes and textures available. The fact is that asphalt has the same flexibility for customization. Asphalt is a canvas for painting lines for parking spaces, safety measures, or aesthetic branding. Asphalt can even be tinted for a unique custom look.

We are no strangers to harsh winters here in the Greater St. Louis area that take a toll on the condition of concrete and increase maintenance costs over the lifetime of the surface. Concrete also breaks down quickly when salt is used in de-icing treatments. Asphalt, however, withstands that salt treatment, resists cracking from freezing, absorbs more heat to help melt snow faster, and works to mitigate patches of black ice on the roadways.

Mind the Maintenance

Maintenance may be the most critical factor when choosing asphalt over concrete. Asphalt is quicker to install and is ready for traffic sooner than concrete. When properly maintained by an experienced asphalt contractor, the asphalt surface can last up to 30 years without being replaced.

While you can repair both asphalt and concrete surfaces, it’s much easier to fix asphalt cracks and blend them in with the rest of the paved surface. Concrete repairs are much more expensive, require extensive labor, and are hard to match with the surrounding concrete. It also stains easily and permanently, a disadvantage for high-traffic surfaces around your commercial facility.


From a sustainability perspective, asphalt is far and away the greener choice. It can be recycled and used for future asphalt paving projects. In fact, 93% of asphalt is recycled into new asphalt. While it’s true concrete can be removed and reused as material such as gravel, asphalt is much more often recycled and returned to use as asphalt.

Another byproduct of the sustainability of asphalt is that it requires about 20% less energy during production than other types of pavement, including concrete. Asphalt is also smoother, provides less resistance for vehicle tires, and improves fuel efficiency for the vehicles that travel on it. Lower fuel consumption means fewer emissions are released into the environment.

Milling a parking lot to reuse the asphalt

Work With Asphalt Paving Professionals

When it’s time to think about which surface to choose for your next project, consider the factors that make asphalt a sustainable, cost-effective, and intelligent choice. Our team, equipment, and processes have been fine-tuned to ensure you get a return on your asphalt paving investment. That’s why choosing asphalt over concrete is the best choice for your commercial property, so get in touch today!