What Is Stronger Asphalt Or Concrete?

Posted on: July 23, 2022

When it comes to traffic-carrying capacity, asphalt and concrete are roughly equal in thickness. This fact is based on the structural number, which is the numerical value assigned to a particular material without units. The Structural Number is often used to compare different materials. The thickness of a pavement has the biggest impact on its traffic carrying capacity, so the higher the number, the stronger the pavement. However, the higher the number, the more expensive the material.

Structural Number

To determine the strength of an asphalt or concrete pavement, first calculate its thickness. Concrete is generally stronger than asphalt, but it does not have the same structural number as asphalt. In most cases, the carrying capacity of an asphalt or concrete pavement is the same for every inch of thickness. A concrete pavement can hold more traffic than an asphalt one, but the difference in carrying capacity is small. Using the Structural Number, you can compare the carrying capacity of asphalt or concrete with an equivalent design.

When comparing the strength of concrete and asphalt pavements, the Structural Number can help you make an informed decision. The SN is an important measure of strength and a concrete pavement with a SN of 5.0 is twice as strong as a similar-sized asphalt pavement with a SN of 7.0. Using the SN as a benchmark, you can compare two different pavements to see which one is the best fit for your specific application.


If you’re considering putting down a new driveway or replacing a concrete one, you’ll want to consider the durability of asphalt or concrete. Asphalt, unlike concrete, can last for up to 20 years. It is also flexible, which means that it can flex and rebound under a single heavy load. Conversely, when a series of loads exceeds the design capacity, asphalt will fail prematurely. To determine the proper design, calculate the SN for the traffic volume and then convert it to the correct layer thickness. Then, use the table below to convert the SN to the thickness of concrete or asphalt you’ll need.

When comparing the cost of repair and maintenance, you’ll find that asphalt is much cheaper, while concrete is more expensive. However, asphalt is more durable and will need fewer repairs over time. Regardless of the cost, concrete may be a better choice for a parking lot because it will withstand high traffic levels for longer. However, the cost per year and number of visits to the road will be higher for concrete.


Both asphalt and concrete have a few advantages over each other. Asphalt is more affordable to install and maintain, but concrete requires more upkeep. It’s not easy to repair concrete slabs, and repairing them will require replacing the entire slab. Concrete also does not last as long as asphalt, and cracking can occur if you live in a warm climate. Asphalt, however, does not show stains as much as concrete does.

Fortunately, there are many benefits of concrete. It lasts longer and requires less maintenance, so it’s a better choice if you’re looking for a long-lasting paving solution. Concrete can last for over 40 years, while asphalt will last for about a dozen or so years. But durability shouldn’t be your only consideration when choosing between asphalt and concrete. The durability of either material is important, but don’t let the price tag make you choose one over the other.

Environmental impact

While a road with either a stronger asphalt or concrete surface will probably be more durable, it will also need to be repaired or replaced more often. The good news is that both concrete and asphalt are recycled, making the overall environmental impact of both materials relatively small. Asphalt is used for roads because it’s more durable than concrete, but it will also be more expensive. Despite these benefits, concrete is the most popular construction material when it comes to recycling. When excess concrete is removed from a construction site, it is ground down and recycled into a new material. Concrete, on the other hand, is not recycled as easily, so it’s important to know how both materials impact the environment.

A research team has examined the environmental impacts of pavements using a regional climate model and different materials for reflective coatings. They also studied the use phase of the materials. Compared to asphalt, concrete has a higher albedo. However, the cement-based concrete process requires a high temperature, so its environmental impact is larger than asphalt. The researchers compared the environmental impact of the different types of pavements with a simulated building energy consumption and a regional climate model.