When it comes to hard surfaces like roads, airport runways, parking lots and other pavements, concrete and asphalt are your two main choices. While the optimum material type is dependent upon your application, it’s important to consider the pros and cons of each. The question of concrete vs. asphalt has been a hot topic of debate for decades, with factors such as short-term and long-term cost, climate, service time, strength, design, and more to consider. Each has unique environmental advantages and can be wholly or partially recycled, along with other benefits. Which is right for you? This blog post will outline the uses of each and present an infographic highlighting their advantages.
Asphalt is made up of a mixture of aggregates, binder and filler. Aggregates used for asphalt mixtures consist of crushed rock, sand, gravel or slags. A binder, typically petroleum-based bitumen, is used to bind the aggregates into a cohesive mixture.
Why We Love Asphalt:
- Short-term cost is relatively inexpensive but long-term cost trends higher with more frequent maintenance and re-sealing needed due to shorter service life
- Flexible pavement mix designs can be tailored to suit heavier or lighter traffic areas
- Great option for areas with good subgrade conditions and moderate loading
- Ability to be put into service almost immediately with minimal handling, forming and curing required
- Low-maintenance and promotes easy snow removal
- Smooth, quiet pavement for modern high-speed roadways
Concrete consists of water, aggregate and Portland cement and is normally used in a wide variety of paving and structural applications.
Why We Love Concrete:
- Short-term cost is more expensive but long-term cost decreases over time with minimal maintenance required and longer service life
- Highly rigid pavement gains 10% additional strength during its lifecycle and reduces the need for deep strength base materials
- Ideal choice for areas with difficult subgrade conditions and heavy loading
- Depending on mix design, can be put into service in several hours to several days or more
- Long lifespan, lasting up to 40 years
- Stable and predictable estimates for material costs
For a visual breakdown of concrete vs. asphalt, check out our infographic below!