The Pros and Cons of an Asphalt Driveway

By Dumb Little Man

August 6, 2018

asphalt driveway paving

When it comes to your home, curb appeal can increase the overall value. A quick and easy way to boost your home’s curb appeal is to asphalt driveway paving. Whether you want to replace your existing driveway or perhaps you currently have a gravel driveway, and you want to upgrade, asphalt is a great choice. We’ll go over the pros and cons of this driveway medium as well as what it is and how to maintain it, so you get the most life out of your new driveway.

Defining an Asphalt Driveway


Asphalt is a mixture of asphalt cement, sand, and rock. There is also a four to eight-inch layer of crushed rock and filler that the company will put down first to stabilize the area. This gives the asphalt a solid base. Next, a two to three-inch layer of hot asphalt is then laid on the foundation of filler. A steamroller is immediately driven over it to compact it down. You’re left with a very smooth and even surface that you can immediately drive on.

You can expect to spend between two to five dollars per square foot of asphalt. This is more expensive than gravel, but it’s a more cost-effective alternative than concrete. Additionally, concrete needs a seven-day curing process before anyone can drive on it.

Extending the Life of Your Asphalt Driveway

Since you could spend quite a bit of money on this driveway, you want to maintain its property to extend how long it lasts. Asphalt is durable and generally long-lived, but routine maintenance on your part can help it last even longer. Typically, an asphalt driveway can last at a minimum of 12 years all of the ways up to 20 years.

Environmental factors will play a large role in how much wear and tear your asphalt endures and how long it lasts. If you live somewhere where you get seasonal snowfall, shoveling or using your snow blower can add a lot of wear and tear to your driveway and shorten its lifespan.

You can also maintain your asphalt surface to make it more resistant to cracking. Start by cleaning your driveway twice a year. Get a stiff bristle broom and a hose with strong water pressure and remove all of the ground in debris and dirt. You also want to seal the surface every two to five years and repair any cracks or holes with the proper asphalt repair mix as soon as you notice them. The sealant will give your driveway a waterproof barrier and a clean finish.

Pros and Cons of an Asphalt Driveway

asphalt driveway
Via youtube

There are several considerations that come with having an asphalt driveway installed. You want to know both sides so you can make an informed decision on whether or not an asphalt is a good option for your situation.


  • Aesthetically Pleasing – Traditionally, asphalt has a rich and deep black coloring that doesn’t fade with sunlight exposure. This color goes with almost every kind of decor and home, so it’s a great way to boost the curb appeal.
  • Easy to Clean and Maintain – You get a very flat and even surface when you get asphalt installed. This makes it very easy to remove any snow, leaves, or debris as they fall.
  • Environmentally-Friendly – Did you know that you can recycle asphalt? Additionally, the machines that produce asphalt release very low emissions. It doesn’t release chemicals or gasses into the air after you lay it either.
  • Flexibility – In general, asphalt is a very flexible surface. It can take a lot of wear and tear or movement before you see any cracks or missing chunks.
  • Noise Reduction – Asphalt gives you a very smooth surface to drive your car over year after year. This can reduce the amount of noise that your car makes, and lower the overall noise levels around your home.
  • Permeable – When people think of a permeable surface, they normally don’t think of asphalt. However, asphalt is very permeable. Water will pass through it and sink into the ground below it. This can prevent puddles of standing water in your driveway.


  • Curing Time – Asphalt can take from three months to one year to fully cure. During this time, it’s softer. This means that it’s easier to damage during this time, especially if you’re clearing snow or debris away regularly.
  • Durability – The surrounding environment can really put a dent in your asphalt longevity and its durability. Asphalt is prone to crumbling at the edges or cracking so you may find yourself repairing it a lot.
  • May Take a Grey Hue – That shiny black surface may slowly start to fade to grey as time goes on. It’s also very uniform. There’s no way to introduce any colors to it, and this can make it look dull and boring.
  • Surface Oil – Some asphalt driveways have problems with an oily or tar-like substance rising to the surface. You can track this substance into your home and create a mess to clean up.

What to Look for in a Reputable Company

driveway asphalt
Via Richfield Blacktop

Finally, you want to know what you should look for when you’re searching for expert asphalt paving contractors like Ask if the company has all of the tools and equipment that they need to perform the job correctly. Also, it’s a good idea to ask what they use in the base and how thick they usually put it on. This is where a lot of less than reputable contractors cut corners, and it can affect the stability of your finished product. If they’re laying asphalt over your old driveway, ask if they plan to improve it or remove it beforehand.

All of these small things can really add up when it comes to determining how well your new asphalt driveway paving will hold up over the years. Do your homework, take a good look at the contractors around your area, and make sure that you’re satisfied with the finished product. It’ll boost your home’s curb appeal and give you a smooth surface to drive on that’ll last for years.

Dumb Little Man

At Dumb Little Man, we strive to provide quality content with accuracy for our readers. We bring you the most up-to-date news and our articles are fact-checked before publishing.

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