Concrete vs. Asphalt

There's a reason that concrete is the world's most widely used and most recycled construction material. A concrete surface can last twice as long as asphalt. That durability advantage means less maintenance, fewer repairs, and an end to the expensive reconstruction cycle. For a better, long-term investment, concrete is the easy choice.

The Michigan Department of Transportation reports that the average life expectancy of concrete pavements is 27.5 years before repairs are needed. The average life expectancy of an asphalt roadway is much less at only 15.5 years, according to MDOT.

Federally funded studies show concrete interstate highways across the United States last about 2.5 times longer on average than asphalt highways. Minnesota, with even more extreme temperature swings than Michigan, has a new concrete pavement design expected to last more than 60 years with minimal maintenance.

Savings for Home and Business Uses

So maybe you don't need a major roadway through your home or business, but even a home and business owner can benefit from the longevity of concrete drives and parking areas. According to Home Advisor, the typical 600-square-foot driveway will cost $93.86 per year over it's expected 35-years lifetime. The same asphalt drive would cost $125 for each of its 20-year lifetime.

Concrete, like a fine wine, ages well with less maintenance and fewer repairs. The increased durability means less pitting or surface spalling, which could be a hazard to your customers or employees.

What Makes Concrete So Durable?

Concrete is made of a mixture of hard, durable aggregates and portland cement bonded with water. The key to achieving a durable, strong concrete is the careful proportioning and mixing of these ingredients. A good mix of large and fine aggregates allows the cement to bind the mix more tightly, making it more impervious to rain, ice and other external forces.

Alternatively, a concrete mix with higher amounts of portland cement will be easy to mold and produce a very smooth surface, making it ideal for counter tops or other interior decorative uses that won't be exposed to high temperature extremes or heavy vehicle traffic.

A properly designed mixture is both workable for forming and has the required durability and strength when it hardens and cures. A typical mix is about 10 to 15 percent cement, 60 to 75 percent aggregate and 15 to 20 percent water. Exterior concrete mixtures also have 5 to 8 percent air content, which gives the concrete freeze-thaw durability.

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