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. 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 its 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 and takes 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. A porous, quick mix and perpetual asphalt are just a few types to consider based on the kind of project and the use of the paved surfaces. Asphalt is also a canvas for painting lines for parking spaces, safety measures, or aesthetic branding. Asphalt can even be tinted to match the look of surrounding commercial properties.

We’re no strangers to harsh winters here in the Greater St. Louis area, and it ends up taking a toll on the condition of concrete and increases maintenance costs over the lifetime of the concrete surface. Concrete also breaks down quickly when salt is used in de-icing treatments. Asphalt, on the other hand, withstands that treatment resists cracking from freezing and absorbs more heat to help melt snow faster and work 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 sooner than concrete and requires sealcoating six months after the job is completed. That healing process should happen every three to five years to prevent water damage, cracks, and deterioration from vehicle wear and tear. When done correctly by a group of experienced asphalt contractors, the asphalt surface can last up to 30 years without being repaired.

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 specialized 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.

Sustainability

If your organization supports sustainability initiatives, asphalt is far and away the greener choice. It can be recycled and used for future asphalt paving projects, and porous asphalt works for better water drainage. This keeps the soil below that surface healthy, keeps water supplies clean, and helps mitigate erosion. Concrete is not porous and cannot be recycled.

A 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 smoother, provides less resistance for vehicle tires, and improves fuel efficiency in and around your municipality. Lower fuel consumption means fewer emissions are going out into the environment.

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 investments. That’s why choosing asphalt over concrete is the best choice for your commercial property, so get in touch today!