$3,600 – $6,000
(600 sq.ft. concrete driveway installed)
Current price to put in a concrete driveway is between $6 and $10 per square foot, but can cost as much as $15 per square foot if the concrete is stained and stamps are used.
$3,600 – $6,000
(600 sq.ft. concrete driveway installed)
Get free estimates from driveway contractors in your city.
If you’ve read through our driveway cost guides then you will already know that asphalt and concrete are the two mid-priced driveway options between expensive driveway pavers and gravel, the cheapest driveway option. This factor alone makes them the two most popular driveway materials…but how do you choose between the two? Is asphalt cheaper than concrete? Yes, but that’s just one factor to consider along with the appearance you prefer, your climate and driveway durability.
In this RenoCompare report we layout the differences between an asphalt and a concrete driveway, comparing the two so you can decide which is the right fit for you.
Asphalt is a popular choice for driveways all over the US. It is made from a mixture of aggregate stone and sand and a petroleum-based material. It is easy to repair and more cost-effective than concrete. Most roads in the US are asphalt.
Concrete is a composite material. The mix is water, aggregate (rock, sand, or gravel) and Portland cement. The water and aggregate bind with powdered cement to create concrete. Concrete driveways can be tinted with color or acid-stained to produce the look of granite. The surface can be textured or stamped to create the look of pavers. In short, a wide range of appealing “looks” are possible with concrete.
Here are the top considerations when deciding between these two popular driveway types.
Professional installation: Here are brief overviews for the process of installing standard concrete and asphalt drives.
How long does driveway installation take? For either type, expect the work to take 1-3 days depending on the size of the driveway, it’s complexity and weather conditions.
Concrete driveways should be given 7 days before they are driven on with a passenger vehicle, though you can walk on it after a couple days. The full curing process takes about a month – give your concrete driveway 30 days before heavy trucks or equipment are allowed on it.
Asphalt driveways can be driven on after 3 days. But here’s a pro tip – Don’t park on the asphalt for 14 days, enough time for it to fully harden.
Driveway cost – concrete vs asphalt: The difference between asphalt and concrete driveway cost is around $3 per square foot.
These summary driveway costs allow you compare prices. Costs vary based on a few common factors. Prices are higher when the property is wooded vs open, a new aggregate base is required, a large amount of aggregate is used because of poor soil conditions and the source of materials is distant vs near to the home. Costs are per square foot.
Here are the types of driveways we’ve discussed with an overview of common repairs and their costs.
Concrete can’t be resurfaced; the only option is to remove it at a cost of $6 to $8 per square foot before installing a new 4 inches of reinforced concrete for $1.85-$2.25 per square foot.
One of the benefits of asphalt, both standard and recycled, is that it can be resurfaced at least once. Minor cracks in the existing surface are repaired, and settled areas are replaced or filled. Then, a fresh surface 1-1.5 inches thick is installed. Asphalt resurfacing cost is $2.00-$3.40 per square foot.
When you get driveway estimates, choose an installer with these traits:
Concrete requires less maintenance than asphalt. Asphalt driveways need to be resealed every 3 to 5 years. This will prolong the longevity of your asphalt driveway. Asphalt hides oil and gas stains pretty well. But they are almost impossible to totally remove because the oil and gas seep into the material.
Concrete can be sealed, but it is not required and often is not done by homeowners. If there is an oil stain or gas spot on the driveway, then a degreaser should be used on the concrete. Stains are easier to remove if the concrete has been sealed.
The average lifespan of an asphalt driveway is 20 to 40 years. The better it is maintained, the longer it will last. In contrast, a concrete driveway can be expected to last up to 50 with proper maintenance.
Concrete and asphalt can both be constructed of recycled materials, so that makes them relatively good for our environment. Neither are very green, but concrete has a slight edge. After all, asphalt is a petroleum-based material. And when the climate is hot and sunny, oil evaporates out of the material and into the air.
The good news is that both can be recycled. The material is crushed and mainly used in new road construction.
Asphalt driveways have pros and cons here. The material can become hot and soft in warm climates. Problems include tire marks, holes from bike kickstands and a really hot surface if walked on barefoot.
The plus side is that asphalt handles the freeze and thaw conditions of cold climates better than concrete.
Concrete driveways do not get nearly as hot as asphalt driveways, so they tend to be a better option in warm climates.
In cold climates, concrete is susceptible to damage from salt and other ice melters. Also, concrete driveways can crack due to moisture freezing in the concrete. Water penetrates the concrete surface.
In winter, it freezes and expands, causing tiny cracks in the material. Then it thaws, freezes again, and produces more cracks. This is called spalling. Asphalt does not have the same cracking issues as concrete.
Your climate is the first factor to consider when choosing an asphalt vs concrete driveway.
Where you have either option, then consider your budget. Asphalt costs less than concrete.
What about appearance? An asphalt drive is very handsome when maintained and sealed, but over time, low spots caused by settling and scaling of the coating reduce its good looks.
Concrete will crack with time, but even with a few minor cracks, it has a more robust and pricey appearance.
Additionally, with concrete coloring, staining and stamping, you have many more appearance options.