While choosing between concrete or asphalt in a warm climate might be a little harder, in a cold climate it's a no-brainer. Asphalt suffers from none of concrete's weaknesses when it comes to snow and cold weather in general, and has extra properties that make it especially suited for snowy weather besides.
Rock Salt And Deicer Are Fine For Asphalt
One of the biggest problems with having a concrete driveway in a cold climate is that you can't use rock salt for fear of destroying your drive. Some deicing products also don't jive with concrete, which means you'll more likely than not have to get up early each morning and shovel your drive before you can go to work. For people who live in areas where it snows throughout the year, this can be a huge hassle.
Fortunately, asphalt provides a nice alternative to concrete if you want to avoid this issue. Unlike concrete, which is water-based, asphalt is made with oil. This means you can put as much salt as you want on it without worrying about any sort of reaction. You're also able to use a wide range of deicing products if plain salt isn't enough to keep your drive ice-free. This reduces your risk for slipping and falling in the mornings while you shovel snow.
Blacktops Keep Snow Away During The Day
Because concrete is light in color, it tends to reflect a lot of the sun's heat away from itself, staying cold throughout the day. Its porousness also contributes by keeping it ventilated and allowing icy water to cling to the surface. As a result, snow easily builds up on your driveway after you shovel it in the morning. In serious enough snow, you may have to shovel your drive all over again coming home from work.
Blacktop, on the other hand, holds onto the sun's warmth over the course of the day due to its dark color. This enables it to stay warm even during snowfall, which means the snow melts away from your driveway and you don't end up having to shovel it twice in one day. The relative smoothness of asphalt also helps to keep water flowing off of the driveway instead of allowing it to pool and freeze.
Damage From Freezing Is Easier To Repair
As the weather cycles from heat to cold, you're likely to experience at least one or two days of snow followed by heat, which can result in damage to either concrete or asphalt driveways. Both materials tend to develop cracks after extreme temperature swings, but the cost to repair these cracks is significantly different for a few reasons.
Whether laying a new driveway or just repairing damage, concrete will always be more costly to work with than asphalt, both in terms of time and money. It's estimated that doing the exact same project with concrete will take at least twice as long as it would if you were doing it with asphalt. This is due to the time spent mixing it by hand and waiting for it to set after it has been poured.
Repairs are often much simpler with asphalt as well. Unlike concrete, where cracks mean you have to tear up and re-pour a whole slab, asphalt can be repaired exactly where the problem is. This means you only have to remove the asphalt that is damaged, and you only need to buy and deal with as much as it takes to patch the hole. This saves you both time and money by allowing you to keep a small job small.
If you're looking to get a new driveway and you live in a cold climate, you can't go wrong with good ol' asphalt: it keeps the snow out of your way all day long and is easier to maintain than traditional concrete. For more information about asphalt and answers to any questions you may have, it's a good idea to speak personally with your local paving contractor. You can also visit a site like http://www.lakeridgepaving.com to find a paving contractor near you. With a little luck, you'll be coming home to a brand new drive in no time.Share