H & H Paving are residential and commercial paving contractors with a wide range of services to meet any paving need our clients may have. Recently, we had a question we were asked and wanted to share the answer with all our clients. That question was, “Is blacktop asphalt?” With so many options available to pave with nowadays it can be easy to become confused, but we are here to help you.
Is blacktop asphalt?
In the United States, we often use the terms blacktop and asphalt interchangeably to describe the surface of a paved road. However, there is a slight difference between the two, due to their mixing of materials.
So, if they have the same materials within their mix what makes these paving solutions different?
How Asphalt is Used
What we think of as traditional asphalt is what is most commonly used to pave significant highways throughout the US. You will also find asphalt used in paving tarmacs for airports, commercial parking lots, and more.
The components that are in the asphalt mixture are bitumen (a byproduct of petroleum) also known as the binder, sand, and finely crushed stone. This mixture is then heated to 250 degrees in a rotating drum to thoroughly liquefy the bitumen and coat all the ingredients before use. Afterward, the asphalt mixture is either poured directly into the prepared roadbed by hand or using a machine.
While the mixture is still hot and pliable it is compressed with a steel roller to even out the surface. Once cooled and inspected it is then safe for cars and trucks to travel on. Asphalt is a durable surface that can handle a tremendous amount of weight and heavy traffic. That is why our major thoroughfares and interstates use traditional asphalt as their primary paving material.
How Blacktop is Used
Blacktop uses the same base ingredients that asphalt does and is considered a type of asphalt paving. What makes blacktop different is the ratio of the components mixed together.
With blacktop, there is a higher ratio of stone compared to the sand and bitumen. In fact, the crushed stone makes up 95% of the mixture to about 5% of bitumen. Since there is less tar than in a traditional asphalt mixture, blacktop must be heated to 300 degrees as opposed to its counterpart.
Because blacktop uses less tar in its mixture it makes it a more cost-effective solution than traditional asphalt. However, there is a slight tradeoff because, with less bitumen, the combination is not quite as strong and is not as durable. Nevertheless, it makes blacktop the ideal solution for areas where there is light traffic such as side roads in residential communities. You will also find blacktop used to pave areas such as playgrounds.
Reasons to Consider Paving
Using either option of traditional asphalt or blacktop as a paving material is an investment that will pay for itself over time. Let’s look at some reasons why you should consider paving your parking lot or driveway.
- Paving reduces messes such as dust and mud
- Makes removal of snow and ice a breeze
- Reduces noise from vehicles as they drive
- Asphalt requires little maintenance
- Paving your residential driveway increases your home’s value
We hope this topic has helped you understand the differences between blacktop and asphalt. H & H Paving offers both blacktop and traditional asphalt paving solutions to meet your needs for both commercial and residential clients. We also provide asphalt repair and maintenance services, so you never have to worry about the care of your investment. If you are looking to begin a paving project and would like a free estimate, contact us today!