Difference Between Asphalt, Concrete and Cement

Difference Between Asphalt, Concrete and Cement | Royal Oak Property Services

There are a number of primary differences between asphalt, concrete, & cement when choosing for commercial parking areas, including lifespan, weight, strength, required maintenance and cost. Other differences include color, aesthetics and types of finishing options, but when trying to decide what material to use to resurface a large area, those may not be your topmost concerns.


What most people don’t realize is that asphalt is technically a liquid, a petroleum-based liquid. People typically think of asphalt as a black, hard surface – one that makes up the majority of roads and highways in the U.S. Most asphalt roads are the hardened version of the liquid after it’s been mixed with rock and sand particles.      

Asphalt is the most affordable material for resurfacing. Asphalt typically runs anywhere from $2.50 to $4.00 per square foot, while concrete can run $4.00 to $6.00 per square foot. Asphalt is also very easy to repair. However, asphalt is also less durable and requires more maintenance. Professional contractors recommend that asphalt gets resealed every 3 – 5 years, and the average lifespan for asphalt is 20 years. Asphalt can also soften when temperatures get very high.


Concrete is a mixture of water, sand or rock and a cement binder. The cement is commonly comprised of lime. Concrete is far more durable than asphalt and requires much less maintenance. It’s a stronger substance because there are more materials added in to make a stronger and more permanent product. Concrete can be poured into molds, or shapes made out of rebar. Concrete can also be made in many matching colors to bring a higher aesthetic to projects. Sealing concrete isn’t required, it’s optional. The average lifespan for concrete is 40 years.


When discussing material options for resurfacing, cement shouldn’t be a contender in the equation for high traffic parking areas. Cement is a binder, it’s essentially a type of glue that holds the particles in concrete together. Whereas petroleum, or tar, is used to hold asphalt together, cement is used to hold concrete together. Cement is most recognizable in its powder form, which is sold in large bags. 

If you’re still not sure which material to use, Royal Oak Property Services can help you make the best decision and assist you with your resurfacing project, from start to finish. Contact one of the experienced and knowledgeable team members of Royal Oak at 310-872-5999.