Asphalt driveways (also referred to as blacktop driveways) are one of the most common driveway types in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.
It’s not uncommon for homeowners with failing poured concrete driveways to consider simply replacing their driveway with another poured concrete driveway. However, that comes with a likelihood that the new driveway may fail for the same reasons their current driveway failed. We thought it would be helpful to provide a comparison of concrete paver driveways vs. asphalt driveways:
- Pavers – concrete pavers come in a broad variety of shapes, hues, installation patterns, providing endless combinations from which to create a driveway that showcases your home—and your personality.
- Asphalt – asphalt driveways initially start out black, but typically fade to a greyish brown over time. Some homeowners prefer this look.
- Pavers – a well-maintained paver driveway will look and perform great for decades. Individual pavers are virtually indestructible and—in the unlikely event they should become damaged—can be easily replaced without impacting the remaining driveway surface.
- Asphalt – rolled asphalt can last a long time—primarily in areas where there is limited temperature variation and few freeze/thaw cycles. However, that is not the case in the Minnesota area. Freeze/thaw cycles can result in cracks appearing within a few years. In addition, asphalt driveways can also be vulnerable to heat for a number of years—on a particularly hot day, a parked car or even a bike kick-stand can leave permanent marks.
- Pavers – the small size of concrete pavers and the way they are installed means they are able to flex and adjust to accommodate the weight of vehicles and varying freeze/thaw expansion/contraction. When temperatures return to above freezing, they return to their prior place.
- Asphalt – during freeze/thaw cycles, the ground beneath the paved area may not expand/contract at the same rate, resulting in stress from below. At sub-zero temperatures asphalt becomes inflexible. This can result in performance issues over time—including cracking. Once formed, cracks permit future penetration of water and widen during future freeze/thaw cycles.
- Pavers – regular sweeping and periodic pressure washing keeps the surface free of debris and build-up of dirt/moss.
- Asphalt – regular sweeping and periodic pressure washing keeps the surface free of debris and build-up of dirt/moss. However, to keep the surface looking nice and to reduce surface degradation, messy sealants need to be applied every couple of years. The cost and effort related to this adds up over time.
- Pavers – whether it’s settling due to unforeseen soil conditions or the stain you just can’t get out a paver driveway offers an unrivaled ease of repair. In the event that a paver needs to be replaced it’s as simple as removing the affected paver(s) and replacing them with same pavers or new ones (if necessary). Furthermore, a repair to a paver driveway leaves no evidence of the repair itself.
- Asphalt – a repair to an asphalt driveway involves either A.) cutting out the affected and laying down new asphalt or, more commonly, B.) filling a crack with a bituminous caulk. In either case, the end result is unsightly patch or clearly evident replaced section.
- Pavers – when you factor in longer driveway life expectancy, reduced maintenance costs/effort over time and upgraded look to your home that concrete paver driveways deliver, many homeowners think the investment more than pays off in the long run.
- Asphalt – the initial cost of a rolled asphalt driveway from a reputable company costs will usually be significantly less than a concrete paver driveway. For homeowners on a tight budget, asphalt driveways are a suitable option.