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Asphalt vs. Concrete: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sawaira Riaz || By Sumera Saeed || Updated on October 24, 2023
Asphalt is a black, sticky substance primarily used for road surfaces, while concrete is a mixture of cement, aggregate, and water used for construction.

Key Differences

Asphalt, derived mainly from petroleum, offers a black and somewhat flexible surface, often associated with roadways. Concrete, however, is a gray, rigid material composed of cement, water, and aggregates like sand or gravel.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 24, 2023
When it comes to application, asphalt typically requires a heated process to lay and set, and it can be resurfaced relatively easily. In contrast, concrete is mixed and poured at ambient temperatures, and once it sets, any repairs or changes become more challenging.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 24, 2023
Lifespan and maintenance also distinguish these materials: asphalt surfaces might need more frequent maintenance, like sealing, to prolong their life, while concrete, with its sturdy nature, can last for decades with minimal upkeep. However, concrete can be more susceptible to cracks, especially in regions with freeze-thaw cycles.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 24, 2023
Though both asphalt and concrete are prevalent in construction, they possess distinct properties, making each suitable for specific applications.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 24, 2023

Comparison Chart

Composition

Derived from petroleum.
Mixture of cement, water, and aggregates.
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Oct 24, 2023
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Color & Appearance

Black and somewhat flexible.
Gray and rigid.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 24, 2023

Application & Setting

Heated process; can be resurfaced easily.
Poured at ambient temperatures; hard to modify after setting.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 24, 2023

Lifespan & Maintenance

Requires frequent maintenance.
Long-lasting with minimal upkeep.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 24, 2023

Reaction to Environmental Stress

Can soften in extreme heat.
Susceptible to cracks in freeze-thaw cycles.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 24, 2023

Asphalt and Concrete Definitions

Asphalt

A black, viscous material used in road construction.
They repaved the main street with fresh asphalt.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 24, 2023
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Concrete

Sets into a rigid, rock-like mass.
After 24 hours, the concrete had hardened completely.
Harlon Moss
Oct 24, 2023

Asphalt

Commonly used for its flexibility and ease of repair.
The driveway's asphalt surface was patched up after the winter.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 24, 2023

Concrete

A construction material made of cement, water, and aggregates.
The workers poured concrete to form the building's foundation.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 24, 2023

Asphalt

Can soften and become tacky in high temperatures.
During the summer heat, the asphalt on the playground melted slightly.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 24, 2023

Concrete

Known for its strength and durability.
The bridge, made of reinforced concrete, has stood for over a century.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 24, 2023

Asphalt

Derived primarily from petroleum refining.
The plant processes crude oil to produce asphalt and other products.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 24, 2023

Concrete

Used in various applications from buildings to roads.
The city opted for concrete barriers along the highway.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 24, 2023

Asphalt

Requires sealing to extend its lifespan.
Every few years, they seal the asphalt to protect against wear.
Harlon Moss
Oct 24, 2023

Concrete

Susceptible to cracks if not properly mixed or cured.
Due to poor installation, cracks appeared on the concrete patio.
Sara Rehman
Oct 24, 2023

Asphalt

See bitumen.
Sumera Saeed
Aug 30, 2018

Concrete

Of or relating to an actual, specific thing or instance; particular
Had the concrete evidence needed to convict.
Sumera Saeed
Aug 30, 2018

FAQs

Which lasts longer, asphalt or concrete?

Concrete typically has a longer lifespan than asphalt when maintained properly.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 24, 2023

Which is more environmentally friendly, asphalt or concrete?

Both have environmental impacts, but asphalt can be recycled more easily than concrete.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 24, 2023

How often should asphalt roads be resurfaced?

It varies, but asphalt roads generally need resurfacing every 10-20 years.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 24, 2023

What is the primary use of asphalt?

Asphalt is primarily used for road construction and paving.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 24, 2023

Can concrete be colored or stamped?

Yes, concrete can be colored, stamped, or textured for decorative purposes.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 24, 2023

Is asphalt only black?

Asphalt is naturally black, but sealers or coatings can alter its appearance.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 24, 2023

Why does asphalt sometimes become soft in the sun?

Asphalt can soften in high temperatures because of its petroleum-based composition.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 24, 2023

Can cracks in asphalt be repaired?

Yes, asphalt cracks can be sealed or patched as part of regular maintenance.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 24, 2023

How is concrete made?

Concrete is made by mixing cement, water, and aggregates such as sand or gravel.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 24, 2023

Why does concrete crack?

Concrete can crack due to various reasons, including shrinkage, temperature changes, or ground movement.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 24, 2023

Can concrete be recycled?

Yes, concrete can be crushed and reused in some applications.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 24, 2023

Are there different types of concrete?

Yes, there are various types of concrete based on mixtures, purposes, and reinforcements.
Sara Rehman
Oct 24, 2023

Is asphalt cheaper than concrete?

Generally, asphalt is less expensive initially, but long-term maintenance costs might be higher than concrete.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 24, 2023

What's the main ingredient in concrete?

The primary ingredient in concrete is cement, which binds the aggregates together.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 24, 2023

How long does it take for concrete to cure?

Concrete can take up to 28 days to fully cure, depending on conditions.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 24, 2023

Is asphalt waterproof?

Asphalt is water-resistant, but not entirely waterproof.
Harlon Moss
Oct 24, 2023

How is concrete strength measured?

Concrete strength is typically measured in pounds per square inch (psi).
Aimie Carlson
Oct 24, 2023

What is the texture of asphalt?

Asphalt is usually smooth but can be textured depending on its application.
Janet White
Oct 24, 2023

Why is asphalt sometimes referred to as bitumen?

Bitumen is the liquid binder in asphalt; hence, the terms are sometimes used interchangeably outside of the U.S.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 24, 2023

Can concrete resist fire?

Yes, concrete is inherently fire-resistant.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 24, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.
Edited by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.

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