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Pros and Cons of Asphalt Paving For Your Driveway

Apr 15 2011 - Posted by
Pros and Cons of Asphalt Paving For Your Driveway

One of the most commonly seen finishes on a driveway, asphalt paving provides a smooth surface for vehicle parking and foot traffic. The many benefits of this product are what make it so popular, but many homeowners are opting instead for alternatives like concrete or interlocking stone. Should you choose to have your driveway paced with asphalt? Why or why not? Putting a little thought into this decision will result in a long lasting, better looking landscape for your front yard.

Pros of Asphalt Paving

Asphalt is dark black when freshly paved and fades to a charcoal color. This neutral tone matches well with any home. It's not busy in any way, as small paving stones can be, and does not distract from other features on the fa ade of your home.

But more than the unassuming appearance, homeowners like the inexpensive cost of paving with asphalt. Cheaper than pouring a simple concrete driveway, asphalt is much less expensive than stamped concrete and custom made interlock stone drives. Even if the finish is not as durable, replacement will cost less.

Asphalt is considered a good choice for your driveway, but it may not have the same level of durability that other, heavier driveway finishes have. However, if the surface does get damaged the repairs are quick and generally come at a low cost. Concrete, by comparison, cannot be covered in a new layer as asphalt can, resulting in a freshly paved flat surface that's as good as new.

When the snow falls you will find that shoveling is a breeze (although it may depend on how much snow falls). Your shovel, snow blower or plow will move easily across the flat surface provided by the paving materials. Concrete can provide a similar condition, although the seals will catch and could be a source of trouble if the frost heaves the driveway out of place. Interlocking paving stones are difficult to shovel until there is a layer of packed snow and then present a problem in the early spring again, while the snow melts.

Besides being easy to shovel, asphalt is naturally flexible which helps to prevent the cracking and heaving that occurs during the winter months. Frost will do a number on your driveway every year and asphalt surfaces are able to withstand damage better than the other alternatives.

Cons of Asphalt

As noted, it is easier to damage the surface of asphalt. In the heat of summer the black surface absorbs the sun's rays making it more flexible and malleable. If the wheels of your vehicle are turned on hot pavement it will more than likely leave a mark. Heavy items can also leave a dent when left too long on asphalt that has grown hot in the sun.

Asphalt does require regular maintenance. While concrete and pavers can generally be left alone, pavement needs to be sealed to reduce cracking and to maintain an attractive look. These costs will add up over the years and most homeowners do not look forward to the job.

Paved driveways provide a strong flat surface that is simple to shovel in winter and convenient to park on all year round. Think about the pros and cons of asphalt paving before you make a decision about which material to use. Inexpensive, easy to repair and simple to shovel, asphalt is a good choice for many. The maintenance required is a drawback, as is asphalt's tendency to get damaged in the summertime. Weigh your options and make an informed decision that's best for your home.

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