Why Concrete Is the Better Choice in Hot Climates
Concrete and asphalt are the most common materials used in driveways. Each has its advantages and pitfalls.
Here, we will discuss why you might consider asphalt or decide to work with Houston concrete contractors instead.
Climate Is Key
Asphalt is often selected for its relatively low initial installation cost, fast curing time, and resilience in colder climates. It is more resistant to extreme cold (and salt damage) and less susceptible to damage from rain, snow, and ice than concrete, which is prone to expansion, contraction, and frost damage at lower temperatures. Heat absorption properties speed snow and ice melting in winter.
However, asphalt is less desirable in hot climates, where it can expand and contract. Hot asphalt can burn bare feet and soften up in very warm temperatures. Sticky oil may form on top and stick to anything that touches the surface.
Concrete patios and driveways are, therefore, preferred in warmer climates. In general, concrete holds up very well in warm temperatures and exposure to direct sunlight. It can last several decades if properly cared for. Here’s a look at the difference and similarities of both materials, and why you might want to consider concrete as a more effective solution.
Concrete is a mixture of sand and gravel that is cemented together into a hard surface. Once cured, it remains hard and will not soften over time. It is used on driveways, patios, sidewalks, loading docks, and many other heavily used surfaces, including those in gas stations and drainage areas. Like asphalt, concrete requires a solid foundation or else the top layers won’t hold up well.
Concrete can take three to four days to dry and up to seven days before you can drive or park on it. Nonetheless, it hardens into a surface that can last 30 or 40 years with little maintenance. This is a benefit because addressing larger cracks and other damage is often more effective when the entire surface is replaced. However, concrete is highly durable and requires infrequent replacement, making it suitable for durable patio construction in the Houston area.
Although asphalt, or blacktop, forms a hard surface like concrete, there are distinct differences. It is produced from stone and sand. These materials are fused together with byproducts of gasoline, diesel fuel, and kerosene, forming a flexible pavement suited for road construction. Asphalt cures almost immediately and can be walked and driven on the same day it is laid.
Compared to concrete, asphalt requires more maintenance. Resealing is needed every four to five years; waiting for sealant to dry can take two to three days. Spot repairs (e.g., for holes or cracks) are possible and, if well-kept, an asphalt surface can last up to 20 years. Due to the material’s color, oil leaks are less visible than on concrete surfaces.
While asphalt is preferred for its low cost (about $2 to $5 per square foot), it is made with oil. Increases in oil prices can affect asphalt prices. Therefore, the costs aren’t as consistent as they are with concrete (which runs about $3 to $10 per square foot).1
Why Concrete Is Better
Concrete companies in Houston often stress the benefits of concrete due to its tolerance to hot temperatures. In fact, concrete can be used as a base for asphalt since it is both solid and stable. Despite asphalt’s flexibility, lower cost of installation, and ease of repair, it does not suit homeowners who’d prefer a longer-lasting, maintenance-free solution.
In Houston, hot temperatures last for several months out of the year. Humid subtropical air and heavy rain can do a number on asphalt, so residents and business owners often choose concrete for its added durability. Concrete holds up in a variety of weather extremes, even the hot temperatures of summer and relatively mild, dry conditions of winter in the Houston area.
Therefore, all year long you can depend on its:
- Longevity: Concrete surfaces can last up to 30 or 40 years, which is ideal for long-term homeowners.
- Less maintenance: Repairs can be expensive, but concrete can go long stretches without needing repairs or replacement.
- Easy cleaning: If you have a concrete driveway, a good pressure washing every few years can keep it in good shape and free of contaminants.
- No need for resealing: There is no need to reseal concrete surfaces, particularly in warm climates, saving time and costs.
- Design options: Concrete is available in many color and pattern choices, enabling, for example, unique patio designs.
- High weight capacity: From cars to heavy-load-bearing vehicles such as garbage trucks, concrete holds up very well.
With the right service provider, concrete can be repaired, patched, and resurfaced. Small cracks, when addressed early, can be sealed to avoid having larger cracks to deal with. You can enjoy and maintain your concrete surface over the long term while retaining the curb appeal of your home.
Choose Cross Construction Services for Your Concrete Installation
One of the most trusted concrete companies in Houston, Cross Construction Services specializes in residential and commercial concrete installation and repair. We provide home concrete driveway and patio services and install/repair commercial concrete driveways, parking lots, sidewalks, and stormwater drainage systems.
Even when concrete starts to degrade, we can provide a thorough evaluation and address issues related to heavy usage, exposure to extreme conditions, and poorly sealed finishes. Our team can also conduct subgrade assessments, leveling checks of sunken concrete and completing safety hazard evaluations.
Cross Construction Services can assist with your patio ideas and provide quality solutions for cracked, stained, or crumbling concrete. Whether it’s a smaller or larger—possibly hazardous—issue, our Houston concrete contractors can address the problem, so you get the most out of your concrete surfaces. Call 713-254-1703 or contact us today to learn more about our high-quality solutions, obtain a quote, and receive exceptional customer service.