Concrete Vs. Asphalt – Which is Better for Road Surfacing?

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Heather Jones
Heather Jones
I'm Heather, an author passionate about home improvements. My writing is your guide to making homes better. Let's explore easy ways to enhance your living spaces, from small fixes to exciting projects. Join me on a journey of making your house a cozy and stylish haven.

The debate on the better product for road surfacing (concrete or asphalt) has long been a significant subject among homeowners, engineers, environmentalists and car manufacturers.

Concrete vs. Asphalt

Concrete is a material created from coarse aggregates (such as sand and crushed rock), in addition to cement and water. In concrete, the cement acts as a binder for holding the aggregate in place so that when the mixture completely dries, it forms a solid, stiff, and unforgiving structure able to withstand extreme pressure from vehicles or the weather.

Like concrete, asphalt is also created from a mixture of aggregates. However, in asphalt, bitumen (a sticky, dark substance obtained from crude oil) serves as the binder. When parking lots, driveways, or roads are made from asphalt, the bitumen is intermixed with fine aggregates, which are then poured and pressed tightly to a bed of heavier aggregates with a steamroller.

Now that we have an idea of what both surfacing materials are all about, here are some factors to consider when choosing which material to use for road surfacing.

Durability and safety.

Concrete roads are considerably less inclined to wear and tear faults like potholes, cracking, rutting, stripping or loss of texture likely to occur with other pavings. One of the greatest advantages of concrete pavings is their minimal maintenance requirements. Minimum upkeep also means fewer traffic hold-ups, a huge benefit on our already overcrowded highways.

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Concrete roads are able to hold up better under extreme pressure from heavy loads and vehicles compared to asphalt pavings. Considering the heavy vehicle traffic on most interstate roads, it’s easy to comprehend why state ministries of transportation likely choose concrete paving on interstates.

Longevity and maintenance

Concrete roads do not need frequent patchworks and repairs like asphalt roads. Besides, improvements in concrete technology have lowered the charge of concrete paving whilst bettering its performance to a greater extent. On average, the life span of concrete pavings is estimated at 27.5 years before repair compared to asphalt pavings which require repairs only after an average of 15.5 years; this is almost half the service life of the concrete. With proper care, concrete pavements can last even longer and require fewer repairs; it is a practical choice for urban areas with heavier traffic volumes. Minimal maintenance means fewer demands on the budget and fewer interruptions in traffic.

Low Fuel Consumption

Studies have shown that maintenance costs on roads have been lowered by 75% by using concrete for surfacing. Furthermore, research by engineers has confirmed that automobiles consume less fuel when traveling on concrete roads. According to experts, a vehicle running over a concrete road, will consume 15-20% less fuel than on an asphalt road. Owing to the fact that concrete surfaced roads do not deflect underneath the wheels of heavy trucks.

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Concrete pavings can be coloured or stamped to increase safety on crosswalks or add to the general appeal of a setting. Grey resin driveways are a great way to add kerb appeal to your home and they are also very low maintenance.

Resistance to vehicle fuel spillage and extreme weather

Unlike asphalt pavings, concrete roads are not damaged by oil spills from automobiles or by drastic weather conditions like extreme heat, cold or excessive rainfall.

Saving of natural resources and recyclability

Asphalt (bitumen) is made from petroleum, the reservoir of which is reducing drastically. Conversely, concrete (cement) is made from abundantly available limestone. Also, concrete can be regarded as recyclable, to the point that the old concrete paving slabs can be crushed and used as gravel.

Greener process and effect on the environment

Concrete pavings are eco-friendly, whereas asphalt roads generate harmful greenhouse gases during the period of melting for paving. Vehicles running on concrete paved roads require less fuel consumption which means less pollution.


Concrete surfaced roads are highly durable, affordable, environment friendly and require low maintenance. This makes them practical for surfacing new roads in urban areas or underground utility repair.

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