While asphalt is considered a popular option for driveway materials among property owners in Houston, concrete is an attractive option for those who are looking to update their driveway or invest in a new one. When choosing between the two, it's important to understand the benefits of each type of material before making a final decision. This article will provide homeowners with information on concrete, why it's considered a good choice for Houston homes, the benefits of using concrete, and how to decide if it is right for your home.
Since the early twentieth century, concrete has been a common material used in commercial construction projects, including building driveways, sidewalks, roads, highways, and parking garages. It has been successfully installed as an option for residential driveways across the country due to its smooth surface texture that reduces dirt accumulation and potential hazards associated with falling leaves or snow. When properly installed by experienced professionals using quality materials that are mixed according to specifications-concrete is one of the most reliable driveway materials available today.
What is the Makeup of Concrete?
The composition of concrete will vary depending on the type used and the desired results. Still, it's important to know that concrete is made up of stone or sand aggregate, Portland cement (a binding agent), water, and sometimes fly ash. The ratio of these elements ranges from one part sand to five parts stone/cement, which makes the texture smoother than asphalt while providing a strong foundation for homes in Houston.
What Other Driveway Materials Do Homeowners Choose?
Homeowners in Houston can select from a wide range of materials for their driveway installation, including asphalt, concrete, brick, stone, and synthetic materials. Asphalt is one of the most commonly used for residential properties because it's inexpensive and provides an additional layer of protection against the elements. Concrete has become more popular than asphalt recently, as homeowners look to create a custom appearance that will provide durability and last for many years to come.
Why Does Concrete Make the Best Choice?
As mentioned above, homeowners choose concrete due to its lasting durability. This includes strong resistance to tears or cracks caused by weather conditions like snow or ice accumulation during the winter months. The smooth surface also makes it less likely for falling leaves during storm season to collect on the driveway.
Concrete Pros & Cons
The benefits of using concrete for a driveway installation in Houston include the following:
- It provides a smooth texture that reduces the accumulation of debris, preventing leaves and rotting tree roots from settling on the surface.
- Concrete is resistant to damage by rain, hail, or snowfall throughout most months of the year.
- It's easy to maintain with periodic sweeping and occasional pressure-washing to clean off leftover dirt.
- It's extremely durable, which prevents cracking or tearing that may appear with other types of materials.
- Concrete is available in a wide range of colors and can achieve the desired appearance with the use of different additives to the mix design.
- The final installation provides an even surface for cars to drive across.
Concrete has some disadvantages depending on your desired results after installing an asphalt driveway or applying additional treatments like sealer or coloring agents. Some potential drawbacks associated with choosing concrete as your primary driveway material for your home include:
- Aggressive stains can permanently damage surface integrity over time if not removed quickly by power-washing.
- Concrete is not porous, which makes it more difficult to apply additional treatments for changing the color or applying a sealer.
Concrete vs. Asphalt: What are the Differences?
Asphalt is a cheaper alternative to concrete, which makes it available for homeowners who are shopping for a less expensive option. Asphalt also offers the benefit of being able to apply sealer or coloring agents after installation. However, it will require regular reapplication in order to maintain the desired appearance and extend the life expectancy of your driveway.
Concrete is stronger than asphalt, especially when it's installed without cracks or other damages caused by exposure to sunlight or shifting earth due to weather changes.
What Factors Should Homeowners Consider When Installing Concrete?
When homeowners choose concrete for their residential driveway installations in Houston, it's important to be aware of the following factors:
- Type of Cement-Not all types of cement are created equal. Portland cement is often listed as the best choice, but it's important to consider the strength of the material and ensure that your contractor provides a recommendation for a particular type with superior durability.
- Subbase-It's critical to make sure your subbase has been installed properly before you pour concrete because it will prevent settling and cracking caused by exposure to weather conditions over time.
- Cracks & Seams- Ensure that your contractor provides proper quality control during installation so cracks won't form along seams or other areas where different amounts of material are poured into the foundation.
- Depth & Slope-Concrete driveway installations in Houston need to be deep enough or slope properly, so water drains away from the home without leaving puddles behind.
- Allow Adequate Time for Installation-Just like with asphalt, concrete requires proper curing time before the surface is safe to drive on. Homeowners should expect the installation process to take at least a week in order to fully cure and reach maximum strength.
Houston Concrete Driveways: Making the Right Choice
If you're shopping for driveway contractors in Houston and want a smooth, durable surface that can be customized with different treatments or specialty appointments during installation, then choosing either asphalt or concrete may be the ideal choice depending on your budget and desired results.
Our contractors' service many Houston-area locations, so homeowners in the market for a new driveway have plenty of options to choose from. If you need help finding an experienced contractor who can provide free quotes on both options, contact our team of experts today! We're happy to provide homeowners with in-depth information on all of the available installation options, including concrete. Whether you want smooth, textured, or stamped concrete, our experts are standing by.