As a dad and husband, I like to fix things myself around the house. I am my own handyman. Therefore, I have come into contact with concrete and asphalt.
These are two different construction materials. The main difference between these two products is that asphalt is the result of mixing bitumen and aggregate.
It may also be obtained from crude oil extracts.
On the other hand, concrete results from mixing cement binder and aggregate materials. These two are then allowed to sit to harden and become a rock-like substance.
Those are, however, not the only differences; this post will discuss other differences and the pros and cons of both concrete and asphalt.
What Asphalt Looks Like
Asphalt is also known as bitumen in some parts of the world. Physically, it is sticky and black.
In addition to being extracted from crude oil, it can be manufactured using recycled vehicle engine oil. In addition, asphalt is mainly used for constructing roads because it is flexible, easy to use and cost-effective.
Surprisingly, after laying it on the driveway, you can drive on it the same day. Furthermore, it is also found in liquid form, used to seal roads or a semi-liquid state.
What Concrete Look Like
Concrete is the mixture of several items, including sand, cement, water and crushed rock. It is the main material used to construct buildings. Many people use it because it can withstand pressure and excessive weight.
On some occasions, concrete has been used to construct roads, although many prefer it to construct buildings. Experts say it is more fuel-efficient to drive on, more durable, and more reflective than other paving materials.
Different finishes are used to make concrete less susceptible to chemicals and dyes. That is because concrete is more porous. This is one of the disadvantages of using concrete for construction.
Pros and Cons of concrete
Benefits of concrete:
• Concrete is fire-resistant and inert. That means you will not have to worry about fires burning down the structure.
• It is sturdy and durable- its durability means that it can be used for long term projects.
• Its sustainability and strength increase with time.
• Requires minimal maintenance. Therefore, it is easily refurbished and sealed with the aid of a concrete sealant.
• It is cost-effective and economical as compared to asphalt.
• It can be used as a foundation for a structure because it is flexible. Additionally, when concrete has been freshly prepared, it can be moulded into any shape you want
Downsides of concrete
In my experience, I have found concrete to be a constructor’s best friend. However, it has some drawbacks, which include:
• First up, concrete needs regular and constant reinforcements. Since it easily gets cracks, the reinforcements come in handy.
• When concrete is in contact with alkalies, it easily gets desegregated. I found out that concrete is a cheaper version of Portland cement used during the manufacture of concrete. Therefore, it has a lower quality finish as compared to Portland cement.
• When attempting to restore a structure built from concrete, you will find that you will require more labour and force.
• Under extreme weather conditions, it can rupture and split.
• Lastly, it has low tensile strength.
Pros of Asphalt
Let us take a look at some merits of using asphalt in your construction:
• Many people use asphalt to construct driveways. This is because it is safe and has a smooth finish. Furthermore, you will discover that it offers the driver skid resistance.
• We are all looking to save money any way we can. Asphalt provides you with this aspect because it is cheaper and time-efficient than similar materials.
• Asphalt is environmentally friendly. It is fully recyclable, and you may use it time and again.
• Since asphalt is a weather-resistant construction material, it is durable and withstands any weather.
• When it is time to maintain it, you will use less time and effort. It is easy to clean.
Cons of asphalt
Every construction material has its fair share of merits and demerits. I have compiled a few demerits that I thought were significant. Here they are:
• Asphalt is subject to cracking. If you are new to construction and do not mix it up properly, it will erode. Hence, before paving, ensure you even out the area to make it compact.
• Asphalt paved roads need to be resealed after 3-5 years. You will find this rather tedious and tiring. Additionally, after applying the sealant, you will not be able to use the pavement for a few days.
• Experts have it that asphalt causes pollution. Since it is the by-product of petroleum, it releases pollution when it releases hydrocarbons. Therefore, it is not as environmentally friendly as you would hope.
• Asphalt should be heated up to 350 degrees F for the best results. You will thus require heavy machinery for this process.
Concrete vs Asphalt: Differences
Just a reminder, concrete and asphalt are great construction materials. Specifically, concrete is good because:
• It is durable
• Fire resistant
• Requires minimal maintenance.
Some disadvantages of concrete are:
• Requires regular reinforcement
• Has low tensile pressure
• Prone to cracks
Advantages of asphalt are:
• Saves money
Some demerits of asphalt are:
• Causes pollution
• Requires to be resealed every 3-5 years
• Subject to cracks.