Concrete may be tougher and more hardwearing than asphalt, but more and more concrete roads are either being replaced or overplayed with asphalt or asphalt concrete for practicality reasons. As a matter of fact, asphalt is the most commonly used material for roads and pavements. In United States alone, about 99% of roads are covered with this material. But what really separates asphalt from concrete? To start the comparison, let’s talk about how these things are made.
How Concrete Roads Are Made
First off, concrete road is made with the use of aggregate or crushed rock and sand, together with cement and water. With the help of water, cement is able to mix, bind and hold the aggregate together. As the mixture of aggregate, cement, and water dries up, it results to a stiff and solid concrete. Concrete is tough and hardwearing, however, through daily pressure of vehicles passing through and weathering, concrete wears out eventually and starts to break and crack overtime. It also breaks easily if the surface underneath is uneven and rough. Also, it can take weeks for concrete roads to fully dry up.
Pros and Cons of Concrete Over Asphalt
Concrete are far more durable than asphalt. They don’t require any maintenance for as long as forty years, while asphalt may need repairs after a ten-year service. Also, concrete will not require resurfacing or patching work compared to asphalt.
Concrete can withstand extreme weather conditions better such as extreme heat and excessive rain, and are more resistant to car fuel spillage.
Concrete however, is more expensive. Also, because there are no maintenance needed, or no maintenance can be done to keep concrete roads in good condition, when the road breaks, you may have to remove the whole slab of concrete to make a reliable road. This can be again, expensive.
How Asphalt Roads Are Made
Like concrete roads, asphalt roads use aggregate. Asphalt But instead of using cement as a binder, it uses bitumen, a dark and sticky substance that comes from crude oil. The mixture is then poured on roads and streets and pressed evenly with the use of steamroller. For roads, pavements and parking lots asphalt construction, hot asphalt mixture is poured is poured onto the surface. Steamroller will then press the asphalt to make an even surface. As soon as the mixture dries and the temperature cools down, the road will be strong enough to withstand passing vehicles.
Pros and Cons of Asphalt Over Concrete
Most drive ways and parking lots uses asphalt as they are way cheaper and dries up quicker compared to concrete.
Also asphalt has better flexibility when it comes to road reconstructions and repairs. Removing damaged asphalt road is fairly easy as well and fixing underlying imperfections are as easy as pouring another layer of mixture (road resurfacing). Resurfacing will take the road back to its original smooth condition, adding more to the road’s structural integrity and continues to provide safer and smoother driving surface.
Asphalt also provides better traction and more skid resistance, giving drivers better control of their vehicle. This is why we see professional car race tracks use asphalt.
Asphalt is 100% recyclable as well. It can be used over and over again by melting it.
Concrete roads may be tougher than its asphalt counterpart, as the latter can be damaged under extreme weather conditions. However, because asphalt is cheap, any repair and resurfacing will be easy to do. And the fact that it’s recyclable makes it even a better alternative in terms of practicality. Top asphalt Melbourne companies like Nelson Asphalting for example, offer wide range of asphalting services to fit your specific needs and budget. Asphalt repairs Melbourne services also include wide range of options, including pot-hole repairs, patching resurfacing, etc. For more information, just visit asphalt melbourne