Why? Can you offer another reason almost nobody in Clinton County, NY
(Bordering VT and Canada) uses concrete?
Bob, I did not intend to imply that concrete was not longer lasting. I'm
sure that it is. What I did mean was that without factoring in climate, you
could not make *specific* age predictions about either asphalt or concrete.
Without specific (regional) age predictions, how can you asess whether the
upgrade to concrete is cost-effective in the long run?
[[.. some snipped original material restored, to provide context ..]]
|| Robert Bonomi wrote:
|| >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.
Because they're *CHEAP* SOBs, with a (comparatively) short-term view. <grin>
Note: A "cool" climate is actually _easier_ on asphalt than a "hot" one.
Repeating from previous posting:
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'.
Portland cement doesn't "give a damn" about temperatures, high or low.
What can do damage is 'freeze-thaw" cycles, where moisture gets into cracks
and expands as the water freezes.
This will break up *either* portland cement, or asphalt. If not properly
installed/supported, portland cement is somewhat more vulnerable to this,
because it is comparatively brittle (whereas asphalt is somewhat flexible),
which facilitates development of cracks.
For "specific" aging predictions -- as in "concrete will last X years, while
asphalt will only last Y years" -- I won't argue.
Properly installed concrete, for practical purposes, *does*not* wear out
simply due to the passage of time. The size of the loads applied, the
frequency of the loading, and 'scuffing' from friction turn out to be the
major "life expectancy limiting" factors.
Asphalt, on the other hand _does_ "age". It doesn't have structural integrity
enough to support its own weight. The 'binder' that holds the rocks together
*is* volatile (it is a hydrocarbon compound) -- not _very_ volatile, but
nonetheless volatile -- and does evaporate/leach out over time. Regular
"preventive maintenance" can slow the process, but not prevent it. As the
binder "looses its grip" the asphalt just crumbles and falls apart.
Repeating from prior post:
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.
Without defining _what_ is the "long run", how can you possibly begin to make
an assessment? Hint: this *is* why the DOD used concrete, where the locals
were using asphalt. They *do* expect to be there for the "long run" -- their
"planning horizon" *IS* much longer than the local homeowners. Nationally,
the 'average' length of ownership of residential real-estate is _thirteen_
years. Anything you do with a 'life expectancy' longer than the time you're
likely to remain in the property is, effectively, for the benefit of the
an assessment? Hint: this *is* why the DOD used concrete, where the
were using asphalt. They *do* expect to be there for the "long run" --
"planning horizon" *IS* much longer than the local homeowners.
the 'average' length of ownership of residential real-estate is
years. Anything you do with a 'life expectancy' longer than the time
likely to remain in the property is, effectively, for the benefit of
We've got asphalt. Not a good job--put in by the contractor who raised
the road in front of the house, and they did a little better job on the
road. Not much. It has been down 21 years now and we've got a couple
Bug swallowing potholes that I'll patch this spring. Then in a couple
more years, I'll have two more inches of tar laid down. By the time
that's gone, we'll both be so decrepit we don't care, if we're not
dead. I've been in this place 18 years now, my wife about 31 or 33,
depending on her mood at the moment.
Let the kids worry about it after this next one. They'll be responsible
for selling it to pay our debts.
I had my Asphalt driveway installed in 1970 and it is now
cracking bad enough to have me thinking about having it
fixed.."capped" , dug up and replaced, or just forgetting about it....
and letting it revert to gravel in another 5 years....
Never coated this drive to make it look pretty but weekly visits from
the BIG & Heavy Schwann Ice Cream truck and lots of visits from the
BIG & Heavy Propane truck have over the years left their mark...
Concrete should last much longer then 20 years....I got 30 good years
out of my Asphalt drive ... Not Complaining... I like Ice Cream and I
kind of like to work in a warm shop...
Indefinitely actually. I moved to Houston in 1974 and was amazed that 90%
of all streets and freeways are made from concrete. They are still here
with 500,000 cars going over one portion of a concrete freeway daily.
If the Schwan's truck visited me every week I'd be worrying about the
BIG and heavy *me*!
"We need to make a sacrifice to the gods, find me a young virgin... oh, and bring
something to kill"
Concrete if done right will outlast any blacktop, bar none. You are looking
at 56 cubic yards of concrete (3 1/2" thick) which will cost more then
blackstuff but will last over 100 years and no maintenance. Well, wash it
off once in a while.
If the ground is firm and has no settling, you won't need rebar or wiremesh,
BUT you do need expansion joints and control joints every 12' in both
directions to control any cracking from expansion and contraction. Also you
will want a 5 sack mix (5 bags of cement per cy of mix). Some contractors
use 4 sack mix which loses strength in time and will crack more. More money
for them! A good respectable contractor can give you all the info you
need. Check out his other jobs and see what his customers say about the
Al in WA
| > 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
One thing to consider in addition to what others have stated: If you
live in a very warm climate, asphalt has a tendency to stick to shoes and
get tracked into the house and onto carpets. Concrete stays in the
The absence of accidents does not mean the presence of safety
Army General Richard Cody
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