Asphalt Driveways and alternatives

Asphalt driveways have always been popular and economical for home owners. Their cost may go up since oil is a key ingredient of asphalt. To keep prices down, asphalt is being recycled and Chip Sealing is an alternative.

Asphalt driveways are the most common type of driveway you will find on most residential homes. The only drawback is the choice of color. Asphalt driveways also have to be resealed every 3-5 years to repair the damage from sun, water, gasoline and oil spills.

Side view of asphalt driveway The economics though may be changing, because oil is a major ingredient in asphalt. Five years ago, State road departments paid $35 to $40 a ton for asphalt. Now it's $75 to $80 a ton. Many experts are predicting that prices will go up to $100 a ton.

To counter rising asphalt prices, some State road department are recycling more old asphalt. In Colorado, up to 20-25 percent of the asphalt laid on streets is composed of old asphalt taken up from older road roads. This is an increase of 10-15 percent of what city road departments were doing in the past.

Recycling asphalt is a good idea, because it keeps old asphalt out of landfills. It should also help contractors keep their costs down.

New asphalt driveway

Everyone's big concern with recycled asphalt is whether it will last as long as new asphalt. Many engineers are convinced that it will last 10-12 years on city streets. We believe it should last as long on residential driveways.

Alternatives to Asphalt Driveways
The alternatives to an asphalt driveway include using concrete, and gravel driveways with porous pavers as a base. Another alternative is Tar & chip paving. In some quarters, it is referred to as chip sealing.

Commercially, chip sealing is applied to rural roads. Also at higher speeds, the rough surface of chip seal generates a lot more noise. In a typical driveway, this should not be an issue. View the process of chip sealing a driveway courtesy of Gorman Asphalt Paving of Manassas, Virginia. Virginia.

Chip sealing will not last as long as an asphalt driveway, but it does have many benefits:

  • Natural beauty- rustic appearance.
  • Very cost effective- can be up to 40% less than a comparable asphalt installation.
  • Maintenance free- never a need to seal coat.
  • Improved Traction- rough, gritty surface gives great traction even in wet weather. An excellent choice for steep slopes.
  • Cooler temperature- its light colored stone surface does not absorb heat like asphalt does.
  • More convenient- easier to install and can be driven on almost immediately.