Choosing between asphalt and concrete paving isn’t always a cut and dry decision. There’s a lot of research involved to guarantee that you’re applying the right paving material that will not only yield the best results, but will also have a longer lifespan, minimal costs, and minimal maintenance.
If those are the qualifying factors that you’re looking for in a paving material, then asphalt paving is definitely the better option. Asphalt pavement is known in the commercial construction industry for being more resilient, sturdy, and capable of withstanding practically anything that’s thrown at it.
Keep reading to gain a better understanding of why asphalt paving is the preferred choice amongst experienced contractors in Toronto and the GTA.
What Are the Problems with Concrete Paving?
Concrete is also a commonly used paving material throughout Ontario, but it’s not without some pretty major pitfalls. Improper mixing can over-dilute concrete mixtures, which weakens the pavement. Weak, unstable concrete mixtures will expand and contract more easily with temperature changes and minor pressure, which can lead to a lack of overall structural stability.
Air bubble formations are also a big problem for concrete paving mixtures for the same reason. Concrete paving is more susceptible to cracking and crumbling than asphalt paving, which means it requires more frequent repairs and costly maintenance.
Over time, it costs more to maintain concrete than it does to maintain asphalt. Special precautions such as groove joints need to be incorporated into concrete paving and slab structures to create a stable and compact structure. This can easily run up the cost of installation, preservation, and maintenance.
Weather conditions also factor into the quality and stability of the structure. If you happen to install the concrete slabs on a particularly sunny or windy day (or both), then the top layer will dry and cure faster than the bottom layer, making for a very weak foundation. Eventually, you’ll start to notice surface cracking. These cracks actually stem upward from the foundation of the structure because it was either very weak to begin with or it didn’t dry or properly cure before being used.
What Are the Advantages of Asphalt Paving?
As the more durable alternative to concrete, asphalt paving has a lot of advantages that are worth considering, including:
The Ability to Withstand Extreme Weather Conditions
Ontario experiences a variety of seasonal weather conditions (sometimes seemingly in one day!) and that means you need a durable and stable paving material that can handle just about anything. Hot or cold, rain or shine—asphalt paving can withstand it all.
Asphalt naturally absorbs and retains a great deal of heat in the warmer months, which causes it to expand. During the winter months, the low temperatures cause asphalt to contract. While these are naturally occurring scientific phenomena that can cause some minor cracking, they’re not dire enough to deter contractors from using asphalt because it can also withstand heavy rainfalls, hail, ice, and snow.
Asphalt Is More Economical Than Concrete Paving
Because asphalt paving has the capacity to withstand more temperature changes and harsh weather conditions than concrete, it’s also far more economical. Asphalt’s ability to sustain fewer damages in the face of harsh weather conditions also means it’s low maintenance and requires fewer repairs.
Additionally, asphalt is far cheaper to install than concrete per square footage and the repairs are usually so minor and few and far between that many property owners prefer it to concrete.
Asphalt Is Environmentally Friendly
Did you know that asphalt is one of the most environmentally friendly paving materials in the world? Asphalt is reusable and recyclable, which in turn helps reduce waste in landfills. Aside from paving roadways, streets, highways, driveways, and parking lots, asphalt can also be used for a multitude of other purposes which will be discussed below.
Since asphalt is also a naturally occurring substance in some parts of the world and it can be broken down to be repurposed or reused in new aggregates, it doesn’t contaminate waterways or natural animal habitats. Approximately 100 million tons is reclaimed annually. More than 95% of that asphalt is recycled or reused.
Asphalt Is Extremely Versatile
Aside from paving, asphalt can be used for a number of different applications and products that we use on a daily basis without even thinking about it. Only about 70% of the world’s asphalt is actually used for its original purpose—as a binder agent for paved roads.
Asphalt has invaluable waterproofing qualities, which makes it ideal binding agent for the following non-construction related products and applications:
- Roofing shingles
- Newspaper ink
- Vehicle tires
- Soundproofing materials
- Pool lining
- Building waterproofing
- Waterproofing in tile underlay
- Cable coatings
- Pipe coatings
- Tennis courts
- And many other common applications
Asphalt Has Low Maintenance Costs
Let’s talk about some of those comparatively low maintenance costs for asphalt paving. Since asphalt paving is a lot more durable than concrete, it won’t crack or crumble as often. With proper routine maintenance such as sealcoating and minor repairs, you can extend the lifespan of your asphalt pavement to about 20-30 years or even longer.
Sealcoating is the process of applying a generous layer of an asphalt-based sealer that acts as a protective barrier for your asphalt structure. It should be applied at least once every two to three years depending on the age and condition of your structure.
Other factors that influence how often you should sealcoat your asphalt pavement include the amount and type of vehicular traffic your property typically gets. If you own an industrial parking lot that’s typically used by larger vehicles, then it may be recommended that you sealcoat your asphalt more often. However, most commercial parking lots can get away with less frequent sealcoating.
Sure-Seal Pavement Maintenance Inc. has been installing, maintaining, and repairing asphalt paving in Toronto and the GTA for over 25 years. As a customer service-oriented business, our top priority is ensuring that all of our clients are completely satisfied with the quality of our products and work. That’s why we have an extensive seven-year material and labour warranty for all of our services. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced asphalt paving contractors.