If you’re considering a paving project in your home, such as a new driveway or a patio, one of the top materials on your list of potentials is almost sure to be concrete. But often, homeowners don’t know much about concrete before needing to make a final decision about construction. Here are the top five questions you probably have about concrete, answered:
- What Exactly Is Concrete?
You may have heard the terms “cement” and “concrete” used interchangeably, but cement is actually a component of concrete. Concrete is generally made up cement, aggregate (small rocks) and water, though extra additives may also be included.
- What Will a Concrete Driveway Look Like?
You’ve probably seen the most basic version of a concrete driveway: flat, smooth, medium gray. But some concrete contractors offer many more iterations of this flexible material. You can have concrete dyed different colors, stamped (to give the appearance of cobblestones, for example) and mixed with other materials to give a variegated appearance.
- How Long Does Concrete Last?
Today, a concrete construction company might work on anything from a driveway to the Hoover Dam, so that should give you an idea as to the strength and durability of this material. The Pantheon in Rome is about 2,000 years old, and its dome is made of unreinforced concrete. But if you’re asking more specifically about a concrete driveway or patio, you’re looking at a lifespan of 30 years or so.
- What’s a Normal Concrete Price Per Yard?
Of course, concrete price per yard will vary based on if you want any special extras (dyeing, stamping, etc.). But if you’re looking at plain concrete, plan on about $90 per cubic yard, knowing that price will vary by region.
- How Does Concrete Compare to Asphalt?
An asphalt driveway costs less an concrete one, but generally is less durable (and often considered less attractive). One advantage of asphalt, however, is that it tends to handle the freeze-thaw cycle with fewer cracks than concrete, which means fewer calls to the asphalt and concrete repair company and fewer unsightly patches. It’s a good idea to keep local weather in mind when making a decision.
What other questions do you have about concrete? Ask or share your knowledge in the comments.