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Picking The Right Type Of Asphalt For The Job

If you need to lay down asphalt, either for a personal project or for a business venture, then it is important that you understand the major differences between the most common types of asphalt. Here is an introduction to help you get started:


First, you should have a basic understanding of what asphalt is composed of. All asphalt is a combination of a semi-solid petroleum product and minerals. It is usually laid down in several layers, and then compacted by applying a great deal of pressure from above.

Now that you have a basic idea of what asphalt is, you can get down to the differences between the popular, commercially-available types.

Hot Mix Asphalt Concrete

This is the type of asphalt that you will see on highways and other areas that experience high traffic. It has good durability, which means that it won't wear down as fast as other types of asphalt after extensive wear-and-tear. It is called hot-mix because it is generally blended at temperatures in excess of 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

In some colder climates, this poses a problem, since it is impossible to lay down hot mix asphalt and compact it fast enough in order to achieve ideal conditions if the ambient temperature is too low. To be more precise, the cool air allows the asphalt to rapidly settle and expand past the desired density.

Warm Mix Asphalt Concrete

If you add a variety of minerals to the asphalt prior to a colder heated mixing process, you end up with warm mix asphalt. This option is often applauded for being more environmentally friendly than other types due to lower carbon emissions during the mixing process. It is also significantly safer for the workers involved in laying warm mix asphalt, so it's no surprise that its popularity is rapidly rising in America.

There are no serious drawbacks to using warm mix asphalt, but it does require significantly more effort and materials in the mixing phase.

Cold Mix Asphalt Concrete

As can probably be discerned from the name, this type is mixed under much cooler temperatures than the prior two types of asphalt. Additionally, soap is mixed with the aggregate before mixing, which actually results in a mixture that is quite easy to work with. It doesn't set too quickly, which allows for a slower and more methodical application. However, it doesn't offer the same durability and longevity of hot mix asphalt, so cold mix is more common for service roads and other less-traveled areas.

For more information, contact a company like Bonness Inc.