Driveways are often a central piece of many hardscape designs. They need to find a perfect balance between aesthetic appeal and functionality. So who wins in the asphalt vs stone driveway battle?
Many homeowners find themselves in the midst of this battle when deciding the material for a new driveway. So what is the correct way to go about it? What to consider when comparing those two options?
Let’s talk about that in this article and hopefully clarify some things for you and help you reach a decision. First, we will present you the comparison points between them, and then discuss how each material fits those categories, giving you a third surprise alternative at the end.
Asphalt vs Stone: Comparison Points
The first thing that comes to mind when developing a project, the cost of the chosen material than hugely impact the development of it. Cost is used as measurement to establish the pros and cons of each material, and if said pros and cons are worth their price.
Of course, the appearance of the driveway cannot be put aside. After all, most projects start in our heads, and we aim for a material that gets as close to our imagination as possible.
Hardscape projects are meant to last. They can be seen as an added value to a house, so the chosen material needs to stand the test of time without losing its quality.
And, of course, day-to-day wear and tear. Driveways need to withstand heavy loads and support a fair amount of traffic, so that is an aspect that need to weight in the decision.
Asphalt Driveway: Pros and Cons
Asphalt is used in streets and highways for good reason. The material is resistant and can last a long time, satisfyingly checking the durability and lifespan boxes.
They are resistant, both physically and again elements, especially freeze-thaw cycles. Even so, cracks and holes will eventually start to appear. That is not exactly a problem, as asphalt can easily be repaired at a fairly low cost.
Sealing asphalt is not exactly required, but very much encouraged. Sealing ensures it lasts longer and is more protected against stains, as well as maintain the color for longer.
On short term, they are way cheaper than stone, usually staying around the $7 to $13 per square foot price range. On the long term, however, they fall behind to stone, which maintains its value better and spends less on maintenance.
Aesthetically speaking, there are not a lot of options when it comes to asphalt. They are plain and black, often finding difficulty to fit in the aesthetic of most modern projects.
Stone Driveway: Pros and Cons
Few things beat the elegance of a well-designed stone driveway. Stone is superior to asphalt in almost every aspect, except for the initial cost and the capability to be repaired.
They can last for decades and are extremely resistant, so their lifespan and durability surpass the asphalt. A good installation and choice of material can also ensure protection against elements and freeze-thaw cycles.
Sealing stone, however, is a must, as most of them are porous. Without proper sealing, they can easily be stained. Sealing it also prevents the accumulation of mold and weeds on a paver installation.
Upfront, the cost of stone is higher than asphalt, around $7 – $20 per square foot. The cheapest options usually start at the same price as asphalt, but the top end can reach much higher costs. Depending on the stone chosen, it can go as high as $30 per square foot.
But aesthetically speaking, stone is the best option available. That is in fact one of the main factors that influence its high price, combined with the labor involved in quarrying and producing the material. You have tons of options of material, colors, and patterns when it comes to natural stone.
Secret Alternative: Concrete Pavers
As nice as natural stone is, it is expensive mainly for its aesthetic aspects and difficulty to produce. What if you could have all the benefits of it but remove all the things that make it expensive?
Well, that’s where concrete pavers come in.
Some lines of concrete paver are specifically designed to simulate the look and feel of natural stone, and costing way cheaper.
Concrete pavers usually cost around $3 to $6 per square foot, being, by far the cheapest alternative, even cheaper than asphalt.
Concrete pavers can last the same, if not even more, as natural stone and are just as resistant. They also have to be sealed, but since you’ll have to do that either way, it doesn’t really make a difference.
Just like natural stone, concrete pavers are superior to asphalt in almost all aspects, and costing way less without sacrificing the aesthetic appeal. That makes it a considerable choice.
Professional Help Choosing Driveway Material
So, a quick sum up.
Stone is highly superior to asphalt both in resistance and lifespan wise. It costs more upfront, but it lasts way longer, and it will not require regular fixing like asphalt.
And an option just as good as natural stone are concrete pavers that are designed to look like natural stone. They work exactly the same, if not better, and maintain the aesthetic purposes that it would lead to going for natural stone.
In the end, the best course of action is to hire professionals to help you decide which material is better for your specific needs.
Here at S&S Pavers, we have been helping homeowners develop the hardscape projects of their dreams for the past 12 years, helping them with the installation and choice of right materials.