What Is The Difference Between Asphalt & Concrete?
Ever been walking in your neighbourhood and noticed the differences between the concrete sidewalk and asphalt driveways and streets? What are the differences, similarities, and advantages of each material? Ultimately they are very similar materials but this their subtle differences are known by just a few people.
This biggest difference between asphalt and concrete is what elements are mixed in to make them. Asphalt is made from sand, stone & tar while concrete is made from sand, stone, and cement. Functionally the difference between tar and cement is its rigidity. Cementitious products will be far stronger and more durable while asphalt more flexible but can be damaged easily.
Some advantages of asphalt roads are that they are recyclable by melting the material down and recasting it for more applications. It is almost always cheaper than concrete depending on the price of crude oil, and it provides better traction than concrete especially in wet conditions. Asphalt can be resurfaced and repaired but concrete cannot. With lower costs and better traction when driving it seems obvious why municipalities use them for road building.
Let’s look at some of the advantages of concrete. Concrete roadways last up to 4 times as long as asphalt roads. Despite having a higher initial investment concrete roads offer more value over time. Concrete roads don’t degrade in the same way asphalt roads do so require far less maintenance and repairs. Concrete cracks can be repaired easily but as a whole, it cannot be resurfaced like asphalt. Concrete in the home has far more visual customization versus the blacktop of asphalt. Concrete can be stamped and dyed to add textures and colour.
The major disadvantages of concrete are the cost but in most other ways it outperforms asphalt. Common complaints in the of asphalt are that becomes soft in hot weather which can leave scars on the surface.
Infographic: Concrete vs. Asphalt