Asphalt is a mixture of sand and stones with liquid asphalt cement. The different components are heated and mixed in exact proportions with the asphalt cement. The asphalt cement is usually liquefied at approximately 300 degrees Fahrenheit. When you are installing driveways there is a decision to make as to whether to use concrete or asphalt. Each option has their own advantages and disadvantages. The choice of driveway design should really be dependent on where you are living as a specific type of driveway will work better or last longer due to your living conditions and exactly how active your driveway is. There is a subgrade preparation that has to take place before the hot asphalt is poured onto the driveway. If the subgrade or base is not properly prepared then the asphalt application will not yield the best results.
Advantages of Asphalt Driveways
There are numerous advantages to having asphalt driveways:
- The installation of asphalt driveways costs less than concrete driveways. The cost is around average $2-$5 per square foot of driveway while concrete goes from $3 to $10 per square foot.
- After installing the asphalt driveway you can drive on it almost immediately.
- This type of driveway is easier to repair. If there are cracks and holes they can be filled easily and sealed.
- You can have your asphalt driveway for up to 20 years.
- It takes a small amount of time for an experienced and knowledgeable contractor to install an asphalt driveway.
Disadvantages of Asphalt Driveways
- The major disadvantage of asphalt driveways is that they react to temperature change easily. The surface will shrink and expand with temperature change.
- There is more maintenance that takes place when you have an asphalt driveway. In the long run you may end up spending a lot of money on yearly maintenance of the driveway.
- Gasoline will cause damage to the asphalt as compared to concrete which it can be easily washed off of.
Why Select Asphalt Driveways?
For your driveway design an asphalt driveway can be a very cost effective and aesthetically pleasing choice. The clean, sharp black look is very inviting and especially if you live in the snowy areas the black asphalt helps with melting the snow and ice faster since it stores the heat from the sun. In installing the asphalt driveway you should always ensure that you select a reputable, knowledgeable and fair pavement contractor. There are resources available to help with this selection and a quick search on the internet can tell you the factors to look for in a good pavement contractor. Another reason to select an asphalt driveway is the possibility of it being designed using porous asphalt. In this case the driveway would be designed with a special mix asphalt which allows water to drain right through the pavement into a subgrade reservoir.
Asphalt driveways are more suitable for snowy regions. It is more forgiving than the concrete driveways when it comes to heaving from the freeze and thaw cycles. After an installation of an asphalt driveway, maintenance is very important.
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