Choosing Asphalt Over Concrete

It’s easy to fall into the trap that all paved surfaces are the same, however, they’re not. The fact is that decision-makers have options when it comes to paved surface application and it’s important to understand how they differ from asphalt, and why asphalt may be the best choice.

One of these options is concrete. A ubiquitous surface, it’s easy to look around and see concrete on surfaces all around us. However, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be what you need for your commercial paving project.

There are some characteristics concrete and asphalt pavement have in common. Both methods of pavement start with compact gravel bases and require time to cure before vehicles can travel on the surface. That’s where the similarity ends. Asphalt is used to bind that gravel and creates layers of pavement surface while concrete uses cement. Concrete takes days to cure while asphalt is ready to drive on in mere hours.

There is one school of thought that thinks concrete has the upper hand because of the different finishes and textures available. The fact of the matter is that asphalt has the same flexibility for customization. Porous, quick mix and perpetual asphalt are just a few types to consider based on the type of project and the use of the paved surfaces. Asphalt is also a canvas for painting lines for parking spaces, safety measures, or simply aesthetic branding. Asphalt can even be tinted to match the look of surrounding commercial properties.

We’re no strangers to harsh winters here in St. Louis, 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 with the use of salt in de-icing treatments that are commonly used here in Missouri during the winter. 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.

When it comes to choosing asphalt over concrete, maintenance may be the most important factor to consider. 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 wear and tear from vehicles. When done correctly by a group of experienced asphalt contractors, the asphalt surface can last for up to 30 years without being repaired.

That said, while both asphalt and concrete surfaces can be repaired, it’s much easier to fix asphalt cracks and blend them in with the rest of the asphalt 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.

If your organization supports sustainability initiatives, asphalt is the greener choice hands-down. 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 with mitigating 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 and other types of pavement, including concrete. Asphalt is smoother and provides less resistance for vehicle tires, and improves fuel efficiency in and around your municipality. Lower fuel consumption means fewer emissions going out into the environment.

When it’s time to consider which surface to choose for your next project, think about the factors that make asphalt a sustainable, cost-effective, and smart choice. Our team, equipment, and processes have been fine-tuned to ensure you’re getting 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!