Some homeowners do not give much thought to the paving material used for their driveway, but there are significant differences among the various options. Many homes feature driveways made of asphalt, the same material that is used to pave most public roads. Asphalt's durability is one of its main selling points, but there are also drawbacks to the material as well. If you are thinking about an asphalt driveway for your home, considering both its pros and cons may help you make a more educated decision.
Pro -- Cost
In most areas of the country, an asphalt driveway is less expensive to install than many other types of driveways, including concrete. As a result, it is an ideal option for homeowners on budget who still want an attractive, durable surface for their driveway.
Pro -- Easy to Install
With the proper equipment and a solid understanding of asphalt's properties, an asphalt driveway is relatively easy to install. As a result, there are likely many asphalt contractors in your area, so you can shop around to get the best estimate for your project. In addition, because of the easy installation, an asphalt driveway can be installed fairly quickly.
Pro -- Crack Resistant
When asphalt is warmed, it may begin to shift with ground movement. However, because it is flexible, an asphalt driveway is more resistant to cracks than concrete or other types of driveways. As a result, homeowners are less likely to have to repair their asphalt driveway, so repair costs are usually negligible.
Con -- Can Deteriorate Quickly
If an asphalt driveway does not have adequate drainage, it can begin to deteriorate in as few as five years. Water that sits on the surface of the driveway can seep down into tiny cracks or chips in the asphalt and begin to weaken it. Some varieties of plants and grass may also begin to grow up through the asphalt and break up the driveway.
Con -- Need to Be Resealed Often
To prevent deterioration of an asphalt driveway, it must be resealed every two years. A sealant forms a protective barrier on the surface of driveway so water cannot seep down into it and also helps to hold the sand and rocks in asphalt together so the driveway is less likely to break apart. Because an asphalt driveway needs to be resealed every two years, the maintenance costs can quickly add up for homeowners.
Con -- May Stain Floor
After walking on an asphalt driveway, homeowners may pick up oils and material from the asphalt sealer coat on their shoes that are then tracked into their home. These substances can easily stain vinyl tile, carpeting and other types of flooring if homeowners do not remove their shoes. In particular, light-colored flooring is susceptible to staining from asphalt.