A Comparison Guide: Asphalt vs. Concrete.
NSW has been baking since January and Penrith has officially broken its all-time heat record. When
temperatures soar above 40C, construction materials suffer. Concrete, which is made from stone and
sand and bonded by cement, has a tough time adjusting to high temperatures and does not really
expand. Heatwaves or freezing temperature cause concrete to crack. Concrete can also crack under
extreme pressure: cracks in a concrete slab occur when the soil beneath the slab shifts and leaves less
soil underneath it.
Asphalt has a better defensive strategy against highs and lows in temperature. It expands and contracts in response to weather changes, and flexes back into shape. In this sense, it is a more adaptable material compared to concrete.
Asphalt/Tarmac/Black top/Macadam is the most common driveway material used in the country.
Concrete is popular too and offers unique advantages – never mind its poor resistivity to weather and
temperature. When deciding between the two, you may want to focus on cost, maintenance and repair,
durability and aesthetics.
How does Asphalt compare to Concrete?
Usually, asphalt costs $30-$60/sqm laid while the cost of laying concrete can be a bit higher at $40-
$100/sqm. The length and width of your driveway or carpark will determine the overall cost. However,
with good care and maintenance, concrete can last you longer, about 30 years or more to asphalt’s 20
years or more.
Asphalt is easier and cheaper to repair. If the old layer needs to go, you can add a new coat at a
reasonable cost. Cracks in concrete are difficult to repair; crack repairs are pretty obvious and don’t
blend in with the rest of the driveway. Depending on the severity of the cracks, asphalt surfaces may
need to be replaced rather than repaired. If the cracks in asphalt are too large to seal, removal and
replacement is advised.
Concrete surfaces attract stains more easily than asphalt. They need to be kept cleaned and pressure
washed every couple of years. Asphalt driveways must be sealed a year after installation and every
three years after that. When cared for, they can last over 30 years. Concrete driveways don’t need
sealing, but it can help retain their look and feel.
Asphalt’s natural black colour hides stains more easily than concrete, so that is also something to
consider if you don’t think you can invest in cleaning your concrete surface – which is about the only
maintenance task that you really have to worry about.
If you’re looking for a relatively low-maintenance material, concrete does better than asphalt. Still, if
you’re faced with the challenge of repairing cracks in your asphalt carpark or driveway, you may have to shell out more money. Most people appreciate the advantage of quick, hassle-free and inexpensive
In the aesthetics department, concrete trumps asphalt on sheer choice. You can order concrete in a
variety of colours, patterns and finishes. You can have your concrete driveway etched, stamped and
engraved to achieve a look that aligns perfectly to your preferences.
An asphalt driveway looks like a road, its black hue has been variously described as comfortably familiar, uncomplicated and/or refined. You can’t really go terribly wrong with asphalt as far as look and feel is concerned but if you’re keen on making your driveway a centre-piece or matching it to the rest of your exterior décor, concrete offers you many more options. If you want a simple, minimalist look, a luxurious black asphalt surface will contrast nicely against most exterior home designs.
As asphalt dries quickly, your driveway is ready for use within two days of installation. You’ll need to
give your asphalt driveway a week or more before you can start using it.
We’re based in Sydney but travel over regional NSW as well.