We drive on it, walk on it, and even play on it. When it comes to our roadways, driveways, playgrounds, sidewalks, and parking lots, it is asphalt that gives us that smooth, black, and semi-solid surface beneath our feet.

But, did you know that there are several different types of asphalt?

Knowing the differences between them can help you make an informed decision for your property.

An asphalt machine depicting a type of asphalt

1. Hot Mix Asphalt

A hot mix asphalt is commonly used in both residential and commercial applications as it is durable, provides protection against the elements, and is easy to mix and use.

It is an effective choice for patching, resurfacing, and paving high-traffic roads, interstates, and driveways as it gives a smooth surface and is affordable.

This asphalt type is produced and mixed between 248-375°F (120-190°C) depending on which type of bitumen (binder) is used with it and must be used while in its hot state, as it completely hardens when cooled.

Since it can resist a lot of damage, it is a great choice as a permanent solution.

2. Warm Mix Asphalt

This asphalt type is similar to a hot mix but is produced and paved at a lower temperature of 210-300°F (100-150°C).

This makes warm mix asphalt safer during application and more environmentally-friendly as it releases fewer greenhouse gases and takes less fuel consumption to produce.

It is flexible enough that it can be applied some time into the “off-season” and is used for paving walking paths, tunnels, driveways, and even commercial interstates and highways.

3. MC Cold Mix

Cold mixes are designed to be made and used without the need to heat the material. This makes them safer, more environmentally friendly, and allows them to be stored for later use.

They are best for short term fixes, but carry the additional advantage of being easily tailored to specific situations based on needed strength, workability, stability and moisture susceptibility.

Their versatility means they can be made into open, or dense-graded mixtures, be made completely from recycled asphalt and even be stockpiled for unforeseen emergencies.

4. Porous Asphalt

This asphalt type is a cost-effective solution for surfaces that need water management, including parking lots, sidewalks, playgrounds, and open-courts like tennis and basketball.

It works great for draining standing water, as this asphalt type allows the water to seep through it into a stone-bed underneath, where it can slowly sink into the soil.

This prevents the asphalt from becoming damaged, improves groundwater reservoirs, and it is long-lasting.

5. Dense-Grade Mixes

What makes these asphalt types dense is their mixture combination of finely and coarsely-graded materials. This makes them highly durable and easy to use.

They are typically a hot mix asphalt and have a high water permeability, making them ideal for freezing conditions.

Dense-Grade mixes hold up well to prolonged use, and as such are popular choices where structural integrity is a must-have.

6. Thin Overlays

This asphalt type uses a warm mix type with recycled materials to produce a thin overlay that is paved on top of existing pavement.

It can be used to improve ride and walking quality, as well as, reduce pavement noise and fractures.

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