Most homeowners look to asphalt when the time comes to install or replace a driveway. When the driveway is properly installed, it will last for years and perform much like concrete. However, it must be sealed every few years for the best performance. As asphalt is flexible, it won’t crack as easily as concrete, but the surface gets hot in the summer. These are only a few of many considerations when determining whether asphalt is the right material for a driveway today.
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The Cost of an Asphalt Driveway
One reason many people look to asphalt for their driveway is the affordable cost. Expect to pay about $5 to $7 per square foot for driveway paving when little grading is needed. Much of this cost is labor. However, if the paving company must do any excavation, the cost will go up.
The price may vary based on several factors. The geographical location plays a role in the price. The size of the driveway and the amount of preparation required can increase the cost. In addition, the asphalt type influences the price the homeowner will pay.
Benefits of an Asphalt Driveway
When homeowners are choosing a material for a driveway, one thing they like about asphalt is it cures quickly. A concrete driveway cannot be driven on for several days, as the material must cure. This isn’t an issue with an asphalt driveway. In addition, maintaining the driveway is a task the average homeowner can tackle without professional help.
Maintaining the Driveway
Asphalt driveways require regular maintenance. They must be sealed every three to five years. In addition, the homeowner must clean the driveway a minimum of twice each year. This involves using a stiff brush to loosen any dirt and debris. A power washer should then be used to wash away everything loosened on the surface. Cracks and fissures must also be addressed promptly.
The Lifespan of an Asphalt Driveway
The average asphalt driveway lasts roughly 20 years. However, the quality of the installation plays a role in this, as does the local climate. Driveways that receive heavy usage may not last as long, and a lack of maintenance shortens the lifespan of the surface. As with most things around the home, a properly cared for driveway will last longer than one that is neglected.
Asphalt withstands harsh weather with ease and won’t deteriorate when exposed to salt and ice melt. However, the surface can soften on hot summer days. It may feel sticky when it does so, which isn’t an issue with a concrete driveway.
The Drawbacks of an Asphalt Driveway
As the driveway ages, it won’t look attractive. The homeowner will notice the cracks and need for repairs. The driveway will still be usable, so it becomes a matter of what the homeowner can live with in terms of curb appeal. If they don’t mind an unsightly driveway, this surface may last well beyond the 20 years. Its continued use won’t be a concern, other than that it lowers the property value.
Consider the above when determining if an asphalt driveway is right for the home. Many people find it is. However, they must have all facts before making this determination, so speak with a licensed contractor to learn more about whether an asphalt driveway will add value to the home or if another material should be selected.