Asphalt and concrete are the most popular types of material for paving driveways. Asphalt driveways and concrete driveways both have their unique advantages. If you live in a cold climate and are considering a concrete driveway you need to make sure the base for the driveway is heavily laid with gravel and it is compacted first. Otherwise the driveway will run the risk of cracking due to frost heaves. In addition, concrete is susceptible to salt damage, a material frequently used on roads in cold weather parts of the country. On the other hand, if you live in a warm or hot climate and are considering asphalt paving, then you need to consider the fact that asphalt can become soft in the hot sun and is therefore susceptible to ruts.
Asphalt paved driveways are typically cheaper to install than concrete paved driveways. However, asphalt paved driveways need significant more care over time to protect them. Asphalt paved driveways need to be sealed at least once every 3-5 years. Each sealing, though easily completed by a do it yourself homeowner, costs money and time. In addition, the sealer needs typically 2-3 days to dry before you can park a vehicle on it. Also, a newly asphalt paved driveway should not be sealed for at least 6-9 months, as the light oils associated with the asphalt need to evaporate first. If an asphalt driveway is sealed too soon it will remain soft forever.
Asphalt driveways do not need to be always black and concrete driveways do not always need to be off-white. Both asphalt and concrete driveways can be tinted to various colors. Check with your prospective paving contractors first to see what color options there are for your driveway project.
Asphalt driveways, if maintained can typically last 25-30 years. Concrete driveways can last even longer. However, both require a solid foundation to be laid on. If not laid on a solid foundation both will crack over time, especially in colder weather climates. Asphalt cracks are easier to repair than concrete driveway cracks.
Consideration for the slope of the driveway should also be considered when contemplating concrete driveways. Over time, concrete driveways can shear off of the foundation they are poured on which can lead to unwanted cracks.