So you’ve decided on asphalt for your next major project. An excellent choice! Asphalt is a great option for a large variety of projects, owing to its durability, its ease of repair and its cost-effectiveness. But what type of asphalt is best for you?
Not all asphalt is made equally, and some types of asphalt are better for certain projects. Depending on what you need out of your asphalt surface, you’ll need a different mix of asphalt. Here’s a quick rundown of the most common types of asphalt around, and what benefits they provide.
Hot Mix Asphalt
Hot mix asphalt is ideal for driveways, thanks to its aesthetic appeal – it’s easy to give it a quality, finished appearance. Its flexibility, weather resistance and ability to repel water make it a common choice throughout North America. It’s called “hot mix” because it’s heated and poured at temperatures between 300 and 350 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s durable, easy to repair, withstands freezing and thawing and is unaffected by salt in the winter. It’s a high-quality, low-maintenance surface.
Warm Mix Asphalt
Warm mix, as you might guess, is poured at lower temperatures than hot mix – between 200 and 250 degrees. This offers much of the same benefits of hot mix, and has its own benefits added in, as well. It can be laid in cooler temperatures, extending the paving season – great if you need an emergency paving job in, say, December. It’s also greener than hot mix, using less fossil fuels and resources in the manufacturing process. It also produces less dust, smoke and fumes, which is better for worker safety. For these reasons, and more, it’s becoming a very popular option.
Perpetual pavement is good for heavy-use areas; it’s a multi-level paving process that helps prevent the need for complete replacement. A strong, flexible base helps prevent cracks from forming from the bottom up, while a strong middle layer is laid on top of that, before the final top layer is applied. That middle layer is permanent – think of it like a buffer zone – while the top layer is designed to be replaced periodically. That helps save time and money on repair needs – only the top layer needs to be addressed during regular repairs. In high-traffic areas, where damage is unavoidable, perpetual pavement is a great option.
Porous asphalt is a great option for parking lots and other areas with drainage issues. Pores in the surface allow water to drain through the surface into the soil below, helping avoid pooling and puddles. It reduces runoff, which is key in commercial areas, and is better for the environment, reducing storm system basins. It’s often a little courser than regular asphalt, but it’s a great way to manage water on your property.