Concrete offers myriad solutions for use as a building material. Whether Portland cement or tar asphalt or permeable pavers, the use of concrete for paving streets, parking lots, and driveways is common all around the world. In the south, concrete is a preferable material to use for pouring driveways since the weather is milder and less freezing and thawing occurs on average. While it is more usual in the north for streets to be paved with asphalt, concrete is also very common in the cold country even with the increased risk of spalling.
Spalling is the process of flaking and chipping in concrete when poor finishing and too much moisture creates a weak surface that can not withstand the effects of freezing and thawing. It can also happen when repeated exposure to chemicals such as road ice melt gets built up on the driveway surface after thawing off of vehicles that have driven the major northern highways and locally salt-treated roads. However, since concrete has a significantly longer life cycle than other materials such as asphalt, wood, and steel, not only does the installation cost less, the regular maintenance cost of concrete will be lower than other options.
Concrete ready-mix is routinely used in thicknesses of 4” for pouring concrete in foundations, driveways, patios, RV slabs, and sidewalks. When poured to either base of 2” gravel, sand, or aggregate, it is strong, durable, and weather-resistant. It is also an environmentally-friendly option since it can be recycled. Concrete can last up to 40 years if installed properly, so as a material of longevity, it can hardly be beaten. Its price per square foot is also cheaper than other materials at $3-10 per square foot, so it’s no wonder that it is so popular.
At this point, you might be asking yourself what material might be best for your driveway. Whether you are concerned about the cost, durability, or aesthetics of asphalt or concrete, it’s good to compare the options before making a decision on what material to use for your project. Though concrete seems to hold greater benefits, both concrete and asphalt offer great options. Let’s compare and contrast concrete and asphalt in a simple chart.
Lower Curing Time (hours to days)
Less Expensive Than ConcreteLess Attractive
No Color Options (only black)
Lower Life Span (30 years)
More Absorbent UV Rays (hotter and darker)
Less Environmentally Friendly
Lower Load-Bearing Capacity
More Maintenance Required
Longer Curing Time (days to weeks)
More Expensive To Install
Unlimited Coloring Options
Higher Life Span (50-60 years)
Less Energy Using (reflects light)
More Environmentally-friendly (lower temp to heat)
More Rigid/Higher Weight Capacity
Less Annual Re-Sealing Costs
Though asphalt is widely used for driveway construction, concrete does offer a few more benefits when it comes right down to it. But, either way, your driveway can only be as good as the company that installs it. In order to minimize cracking, spalling, and extra repairs over time, it’s really important to choose the perfect contractor to do the work. From correct preparation of the sub-soil to proper sealing after it has cured, the longevity of your concrete driveway installation is really in the hands of the people you trust to accomplish the task, so be sure to choose a reputable, licensed company to design and install your concrete driveway.
At Nebraska Driveway Services, we have every option available using almost any kind of material you can think of at our disposal. Reach out to us today and we can get started by offering you a no-obligation, on-site consultation. When it comes to creating beautiful, resilient driveways in the Omaha area, you can count on us to go the extra mile paving your way home.