The long debate over asphalt versus concrete continues. West Contracting is both an Asphalt Contractor and Concrete Paver so it’s hard for us to discriminate. We wanted to address several questions/statements we are often asked by potential customers. Hopefully this will be beneficial to all. If you have questions or comments please let us know. we are here to help!
Asphalt is a by Product of Oil so Concrete is “Greener”
This statement is a win/win for both asphalt and concrete. That is correct. Asphalt is a byproduct of oil. When refineries are making diesel and gasoline to fuel our vehicles the “liquid asphalt” that is left over is used to make Asphalt in Asphalt Plants. While asphalt is an oil product Asphalt is 100% recyclable. Old Asphalt from parking lots, driveways and roadways can be removed and replaced (often my milling) back into new asphalt at asphalt plants. There is no limit on how many times asphalt can be reused and recycled. Concrete, while not made of oil cannot be recycled back into concrete. It can be crushed and used as a rock base below new concrete or asphalt in a parking lot, driveway, or roadway or used as a fill material.
Concrete Lasts Longer than Asphalt
This is tricky. The length of how long Concrete or Asphalt lasts truly depends on how it is built, what sort of traffic/wear it will receive, and the climate in which it is built. A typical answer would be asphalt on average lasts 15-30 years and concrete 20-40. During these time periods however cracking on both asphalt and concrete will occur and repairs should be completed. When getting your next asphalt or concrete driveway, roadway, or parking lot installed the key to longevity is making it sure is built correctly. DO IT RIGHT THE 1st TIME!
When Getting Estimates Talk to Potential Asphalt Contractors and Concrete Pavers About The Following:
1) Traffic Type on the Surface
What type of traffic will be on the surface? Cars, trash trucks, tractor trailers, delivery trucks, construction vehicles? Will anything be stored on the surface? Boats, RV’s, PODS? Etc.
2) A Solid Rock Base
Make sure there is a solid subbase of rock (6 -12 inches typical) in the area that will be paved. This depth depends on what the area will be used for, and who will be driving on it.
3) Depth of Asphalt or Concrete
Make sure the depth of asphalt or concrete is correct for the volume of traffic and type of traffic discussed in #1.
Make sure to discuss these items with potential asphalt or concrete pavers when receiving bids. This is important information the contractors estimating the project need to know. Remember you want to build it correctly the 1st time!
Asphalt is Cheaper Than Concrete
It depends! What is the size of your project? If its very small, then typically concrete is more cost effective. This is due in part by the equipment and mobilization of a concrete crew vs. an asphalt crew. If it’s a larger driveway, parking lot, or roadway asphalt will usually be more cost effective.
These are the 3 main questions we hear continually and we hope we have helped answer some of your questions. All in all we recommend getting pricing on both, evaluating your bids and choosing between cost and what you like.