Asphalt and concrete are often confused with each other since they are used in similar settings. However, there are significant differences between the two. It’s important to understand those differences before choosing a material for your next project. Factors that can help determine whether you need concrete or asphalt include the climate where the project is, the environmental impacts of each material, the installation and maintenance of the material over time.
We’ll provide an overview of concrete and asphalt and highlight the key differences of each material. After building a better understanding of these materials, explore what ToriTom Services can do for your commercial property.
Overview of Concrete and Asphalt
Concrete and asphalt are commonly used to construct sidewalks, parking lots and roadways. Each material has a unique composition that impacts how it is installed and what properties it offers.
Concrete is made using a mixture of about 10%-15% cement, 60%-75% aggregate — a combination of pebbles, sand and stones — and 15%-20% water. Concrete is easily malleable after it’s mixed. After it hardens, concrete becomes a durable material, able to resist damage from chemicals and weather. Concrete is a popular building material because it can withstand excessive pressure and weight. Once dried, concrete is rigid and can crack and break if the ground underneath is not smooth.
Asphalt also contains a mixture of aggregates and includes bitumen as a binder. Bitumen is the most prevalent material in asphalt, which is where its adhesive, sticky quality comes from. Bitumen also has waterproofing qualities that are ideal for asphalt. The majority of U.S. roads are made of bitumen or a combination of bitumen and aggregates. This mix of bitumen and aggregates is then poured and compacted using a steamroller to ensure proper binding. Asphalt dries quickly and is a flexible material that accommodates any underlying imperfections.
Similarities of Concrete and Asphalt
Although concrete and asphalt have many differences, they can be used for similar projects. Both materials are widely used in construction projects because they are strong and reliable. The main similarities include:
- Both concrete and asphalt are laid in layers and both start on a gravel base.
- Both materials use an aggregate of sand and stone.
- Different finishes can be applied to concrete and asphalt to add different textures and colors to the material.
- Both can be used for commercial paving.
- Both materials require a cure time before they can be used.
- Both are respectable options for parking lots and roadways, and ToriTom Services can help you make repairs.
What Makes Concrete Different?
Concrete has its benefits, especially when it comes to the Florida climate. In general, it makes a great material for parking lots and sidewalks. Concrete’s unique qualities include the following:
- Most effective in areas with a warmer climate: Concrete is rigid, making it prone to damage in cold climates where frost expands and contracts the ground underneath and around a slab of concrete. Concrete can also deteriorate when salt is used to melt snow and ice, which is more prevalent in colder climates.
- More durable: Oil leaks and extreme weather cause frequent deterioration on asphalt surfaces. Concrete surfaces are less susceptible to potholes and other wear and tear, which means they often require less maintenance.
- Long-lasting: Because of its durability, concrete generally lasts longer than asphalt. There are many factors that contribute to the life span of concrete. Depending on the level of use and the amount of care you put into protecting the material, concrete can last around 50 years.
- Beneficial roadway material: Concrete is more reflective because of its lighter color and is fuel-efficient for drivers.
- Costly installation: Typically, having concrete professionally laid can be nearly twice as expensive as asphalt. Concrete repairs can also be costly, as they usually require pouring completely new concrete.
- Takes longer to cure: Concrete takes several days to cure before it can be walked on or driven on.
What Makes Asphalt Different?
Asphalt is the most common roadway material, especially as engineers and scientists find more ways to make it environmentally friendly. Its unique attributes include:
- Can be recycled: Asphalt is more environmentally friendly than concrete. Old asphalt can be ground up and reheated to be added to new asphalt pavements. In fact, asphalt is America’s most recycled product. In 2019, 89.2 million tons of asphalt were recycled into new mixes.
- Most effective in colder climates: Cold climates don’t affect asphalt, and it doesn’t deteriorate from salt use. Due to its black color, asphalt can absorb the sun’s heat, naturally melting snow and ice faster than concrete. However, asphalt can soften and release oils in extreme heat, and the black surface can become very hot during summer temperatures.
- Can be installed and used quickly: To cure, asphalt must cool to the surrounding air temperature. This can happen almost as quickly as it was laid, which means asphalt can be used the same day it was installed.
- Easy to repair: Although more susceptible to deterioration than concrete, asphalt is simple to repair. Unlike concrete, you can easily repair a small section or the top layer of asphalt, and the repair seamlessly blends in with the existing pavement.
- Provides good traction: Because asphalt has more of a coarse texture, it provides drivers better traction and more skid resistance than concrete.
- Helps with water drainage: Some types of asphalt, like permeable or porous asphalt, allow water to percolate through the pavement instead of creating more runoff into streams and other bodies of water.
Contact ToriTom Services for Concrete or Asphalt Repairs
At ToriTom Services, we understand the importance of maintaining the appearance of the sidewalk and parking lot outside of a commercial property. Customers and clients will be impressed when you take care of the outward appearance of your property. A well-paved parking lot or sidewalk can keep their cars in good shape and make for an easy walk from the parking lot.
If a sidewalk or parking lot on a commercial property you manage could use a touch-up, contact ToriTom Services for commercial asphalt repairs and maintenance and commercial concrete repairs. With a combined experience of several decades in the business, we’re confident you’ll be satisfied with our work. Contact us today with any questions or to request a free quote on our commercial property maintenance services.