OT: Blacktop vs Concrete

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Greetings,
We are looking into getting our driveway paved - it is currently chat (it runs to our house and connects with my shop - so there is my woodworking tie-in ;-)), and I was wondering what the pros and cons are of blacktop-vs-concrete. I have a few quotes for blacktop, and it ranges from about $4900 for 2" of material vs $6100 for 3" of material (this includes all prep, grading, underlayment material, waste removal, etc. on ~ 4500 sq ft of surface). In the past, I believe it was true that concrete had an initial higher up-front cost, but involved less maintenance over the long run, however I am not sure if this is still true. I am waiting for the concrete guy to stop by and give a quote - but thought I would pose the question here as to the benefits of either for those of you that may have had this done recently.
Thanks in advance.
George
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No matter how you cook it, blacktop will grow ruts and holes from where you park or drive.
I've had both and concrete is better even if it is 2-3 times more expensive.
Preparation is key:
1. 6-8 inches of compacted "B" gravel. 2. 6 inches of class "B" well aerated concrete 3. Rebar to keep sections from riding up/down with the weather. 4. Fencing (cannot remember the correct appellation) for strength.
Properly laid, it will not even spall.
--
PDQ --
| Greetings, | | We are looking into getting our driveway paved - it is currently chat (it | runs to our house and connects with my shop - so there is my woodworking | tie-in ;-)), and I was wondering what the pros and cons are of | blacktop-vs-concrete. I have a few quotes for blacktop, and it ranges from | about $4900 for 2" of material vs $6100 for 3" of material (this includes | all prep, grading, underlayment material, waste removal, etc. on ~ 4500 sq | ft of surface). In the past, I believe it was true that concrete had an | initial higher up-front cost, but involved less maintenance over the long | run, however I am not sure if this is still true. I am waiting for the | concrete guy to stop by and give a quote - but thought I would pose the | question here as to the benefits of either for those of you that may have | had this done recently. | | Thanks in advance. | | George | |
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I did paving stones. I had a contractor do the prep work of excavating and putting in the gravel foundation, and had several palettes of 6" x 9" pavers (about 700 sq ft worth) delivered to my yard. I laid the pavers myself in a herringbone pattern, edged with 6" x 6" blocks on the edges. The fun part was cutting miters in the edging blocks at the corners, and where the sidewalk meets the driveway at an oblique angle; did all that with a diamond blade in one of those $99 Makita portable table-top saws.
It was a lot of work, and cost a bit more than asphalt, but it really looks beautiful.
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Well done concrete will last a hundred years or more with no maintenance.
My blacktop driveway was put in when the house was built 27 years ago. While still in good shape, I've had to fill a couple of cracks. It is a softer material and one summer day I drove the car up on ramps and it left indents on it. People say you should apply sealer, but I've never bothered as it seems to do little but add a black color and makes you sweat a lot putting it on. There are houses built just after mine and they used a cheap contractor. About half the houses have already replaced their blacktop. Prep and material is important based on the differences I see.
IMO, concrete is much nicer looking. It is not as hot in the summer
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wrote:

Unless you live in an area where you need to use ice-melt on it. All the sidewalks around our church are spalling badly thanks to the action of the ice-melt, but I don't really see any good option to remove the ice before all the little old ladies get there on Sunday morning. I'm certainly not going to stand out there and try to chip it off of 5-6 hundred feet of 4' sidewalk before church!
Under the conditions here, with the use of ice-melt, I would say that concrete will last anywhere from 10-50 years. Asphalt may actually last longer if you have to use a lot of ice-melt. This summer I'm going to look into some sort of sealer that will hopefully keep the concrete in better condition.
-- "We need to make a sacrifice to the gods, find me a young virgin... oh, and bring something to kill"
Tim Douglass
http://www.DouglassClan.com
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George, Been thru this loop with in the last year. There is no good answer. But here are some points. 1. Concrete will be more level (if poured properly). 2. Concrete will be stronger if poured proper. 3. Asphalt almost always will be less expensive. 4. Concrete will require a sealing coat every two years or so for maximum life. 5. Asphalt will require a sealcoat for durability and good looks every one to two years. 6. A good quality base will be almost indentical for either. 7. If you are on a steep hill like me, and the asphalt is laid in hot weather, it may thin out (even with the best of contractors) and require a second layer to be blended in to maintain proper thickness. 8. If on a steep hill in any weather, the concrete men will work themselves to death to get a good job. 9. If a vehicle leaks a little oil.........the blacktop show it less than concrete. 10. If a water or cable line has to be installed later....the asphalt cuts a little easier than a thick concrete slab. I could bore you to death with things I considered but, there is no right or wrong answer. Your budget and imagination and abilitiy to to obtain that "right" contractor , or to do it yourself are the only limits you will encounter.
P.S. If you must know...........I stubbed in several utilties myself around our house, then hired a concrete contractor to pour exposed aggregate turnaround area @the house (I couldn't get enough friends together to ensure it was poured proper). I then hired a paving contrator to do the driveway and sideroad to workshop. I elected to do the tearout of dirt and building of base myself as I have a tractor and access to dump truck and a guy that wanted the dirt. All this was just sheer luck and a window of opportunity. It all looks nice and I am satisfied with all of it. I have both and still can't tell you which I like best. The concrete looks nicer but the paving is more cost effective. New Albany, IN area. Good luck Lyndell

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What???????? In my 59 years, I've yet to see anyone seal their sidewalk or drive and some go back to 50 years before my time.
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Agreed - What??????? In our town the guys who poured the sidewalks often impressed symbols and the year of pouring. In front of my house is "1918" and others nearby are "1912". I've never seen anyone out there doing anything other than pressure washing the mold and moss off after our rainy winters. These walks look great and certainly don't appear to have suffered from neglect.
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Owen Lowe
The Fly-by-Night Copper Company
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Sorry if I misled you all here. I was talking about exposed aggregate in Southern In. If you don't coat it with CURE-N-SEAL or equivalent.......you will walk out one morning and have a gravel drive.;-). They load the roads down with salt for the two or three big snows we get and it all falls off the vehicle onto the drive. Forget about washing said vehicle cuz I am on call 24 hours and it will get dirty again in a few hours. I like some of the rest did not know the whereabouts of the OP. Cheers, Wish him/her the best of luck Lyndell
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Thanks for the reminder that my egocentricity got the best of me in my reply as well. They don't use salt in my part of Oregon - mainly because we don't get much if any snow - gravel as traction device but no salt. I can certainly see the shortened longevity to concrete when salt is used regularly.
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Owen Lowe
The Fly-by-Night Copper Company
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I did an asphalt drive in Colorado about 5 years ago and the asphalt was well below what concrete would have cost me.
Another asphalt advantage for the climate there was the heat generated by the asphalt on a sunny day. This helped melt snow faster.
It does need to be sealed in 6 mo. to a year though which will prolong its life.
At least that is what the asphalt guy told me. The cost at that time and place was $50 per foot for a 100 foot drive.
RonT
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George Gibeau wrote:

COST:
Compared to concrete, black top is dirt cheap.
If you lay concrete, you need to provide some compacted fill to insure drainage, at leat 6" of concrete complete with mesh (Looks like fencing).
If done right, the concrete is good for at least 20 years, pick a number for the black top.
How long to you plan to live there?
Lew
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Where do you live that it will only last 20 years? There are acres of concrete in the cities that is will over 50 years and still doing just fine and will probably another 50 or more.
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

Not to mention all those roman aqueducts , bridges and coliseums. A little tatty after a couple of thousand years -- but still...

--
Will
Occasional Techno-geek
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wrote in message

Lots of broken driveways, walkways and patios in the Bay Area, many within 20 years. Combination of poor workmanship and cheap material, expansive soil and earthquakes. I've also seen concrete cracked within couple of days due to contractor cutting too many corners.
Now if we had those Roman contractors our driveways would still be in good condition after 2,000 years.
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

That comment was based on living far too many years in the "rust belt", AKA: Northern Ohio.
You would be amazed what road salt, brought in by a vehicle, can do to a concrete driveway, especially if you leave your car outside for the winter.
Lew
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We have tons of road salt slung on the roads in the UK and concrete roads last for decades. Most of the problems you have over there are probably ground heave caused by frost.
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No idea where the OP lives. That makes a difference.
In areas with seismic issues, or expansive soils, or drainage issues, or tree roots, or other such conditions, even the best concrete work _may_ have to be redone. The economics of '25 years down the road' are pretty meaningless in some cases.
Put in what you want to live with, and can afford. Be happy.
Patriarch, owner of a paver driveway & patios.
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Thankyou... the voice of sanity. I'm no expert but as resident of the 45th parallel, climate makes all the difference in expected lifespan of either type of driveway. I can't think of a single home in my community with a concrete driveway. I *have to* attibute that to the harsh climate.
(with the notable exception of an airforce base down the road, but the DOD can probably spring for 14" thick runway)
I just don't think you can answer the OP's question without factoring in geography.
Steve
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It'd be a *WRONG* attribution, though. :)
In virtually any climate, *properly*installed* portland cement concrete will 'significantly' outlast properly installed 'blacktop' (technically "asphaltic concrete", BTW).
Portland cement *IS* significantly more expensive than asphalt. The 'materials cost' difference is much less than it used to be (general run-up of 'petroleum' prices); but portland cement still requires: (a) much more time and care in preparing the material, (b) more complex transport, (c) more, and more skilled, labor in installation/finishing. All of which translate directly into higher costs. There's also the issue of the delay between installation and '_fully_ ready to use' -- weeks for concrete, vs hours (at most), for asphalt.
The "lifetime" of portland cement is more dependent on 'proper installation'. You can 'cut corners' further on an asphalt install, than you can on portland cement, and still get something that is usable "for a few years". You have try _really_ hard to get an asphalt install that won't be usable for 2-3 years. But "any idiot" can botch a portland cement job such that it barely survives the first year.
The single _biggest_ factor that works against asphalt is *heat*. In cooler climates, heat-related 'problems' do not manifest themselves to anywhere near the degree that bedevils asphalt in warmer climes.
Thus, the "inferior" product may be "good enough" for that environment, especially when one takes into consideration the *cost* difference between "good enough", and 'doing it right'.
It's not that asphalt is 'better' than portland cement in a colder climate (it is =not=) but that portland cement is not perceived to be "enough better" to justify the higher cost. If your 'planning horizon' is say, 15020 years, does the fact that a portland cement install will last for 100+ years, vs. asphalt at a life of maybe 20-25 years, *really* make any difference? Either one will last "longer than you care to think about." -- when whichever one you used fails, it will be "somebody else's" problem. :)

Answering "which is best?" is easy. <grin>
Answering "which is 'good enough' for my needs?" is an entirely different issue. And depends on a *lot* of things -- climate, geology and soil conditions, topography, anticipated loading, frequency of use, required 'useful life', and a whole bunch more.
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