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Asphalt or Concrete: Choosing the Best Surface For your parking Lot

Both asphalt and concrete make for great parking lots, roads, and driveways. One material is not necessarily better than the other, it just boils down to the type of use, budget, and ongoing maintenance. Ultimately, it is up to what will work best for your project. Answer these questions below to determine which material is best for you.

Amount of Usage

What type of vehicles will be used on this surface, and how many vehicles will be using this on a regular basis?

The number of vehicles and weight can make a huge difference in what type of material to use. If you are looking to use your surface as a loading dock or for heavy vehicles to rest on for long periods of time, concrete may be the better option for you. While asphalt is durable, it can become flexible under heavy loads, which can, in turn, create indentations in the surface as heavyweights can be too much. Asphalt is typically the better option for parking lots and roads that have lower volumes of traffic. 

Total Cost

What’s your budget?  

Concrete will generally cost more than asphalt as the installation is more expensive. Asphalt is faster to install and can be used the same day that it is laid. These factors lend to a less expensive cost, but one must also consider maintenance costs.  


How often do you want to maintain your surface?

Ongoing maintenance is needed for both asphalt and concrete. However, asphalt requires more ongoing maintenance as it should be resealed every 3-6 years. While asphalt may require more maintenance, it is typically less expensive than concrete repair. With concrete repairs, one must replace an entire slab as opposed to just patching cracks or holes. 

Pavement Lifecycle

How long do you want your pavement to last?

Each surface will last a long time provided routine maintenance is done. A concrete driveway for example can last from about 30-40 years while an asphalt driveway can last 20-30 years. While a concrete driveway has a longer lifespan, it will be more expensive to replace than the asphalt. 


Do you live in a warm or cool climate? 

If you live in an area with a warmer climate, you might want to consider choosing a surface that accounts for this. Asphalt retains heat more than concrete, so asphalt surfaces can get hotter than concrete. Concrete does not absorb as much UV radiation and can be easier to walk on in the heat compared to asphalt. Another thing to consider is living in a cooler climate. If it snows a lot, it is good to know that concrete cannot have salt on it or it will be damaged. In general, concrete does not perform as well in cold weather as it can be subject to cracking from the cold. Since asphalt is able to absorb more heat from the sun, it allows snow to melt faster on its surface. Both surfaces react differently to weather conditions, so it is important to consider your climate before making a decision.


What do you want your surface to look like? 

Some people tend to prefer concrete as it can be colored to change the look while asphalt does not have that ability. While this is the case, it is important to note that oil stains are much more noticeable on concrete than asphalt.

Site of Project

Does the parking lot, road, and or driveway have the proper drainage and slope?

Whether concrete or asphalt, one must consider the amount of slope and drainage your project has. If water is able to collect and pool, this can damage the surface. Certain types of asphalt can help with water drainage, which can not only benefit you but also help the environment.

Now that you have read through the different factors to consider, which do you prefer: asphalt or concrete? Whichever pavement you choose, Byrne & Jones Construction is ready to help. Contact us now for a free consultation at (314) 254-9766.