Material Calculators

Asphalt FAQ

What is asphalt and how is it made?

Asphalt is a mixture of aggregates and asphalt cement (liquid asphalt). The asphalt cement is the glue that holds the aggregates together. The mixture is scientifically engineered and heated over 300 degrees so it can be placed and rolled to a smooth surface.

What are the benefits of using asphalt?

Asphalt covers 94% of the roads in the United States. Asphalt requires less construction time and creates a quieter ride that reduces driver fatigue. Asphalt is smooth, durable and skid resistant.

Can asphalt be recycled?

Yes, asphalt is one of the most recycled materials in the United States. 100% of an asphalt pavement can be picked up, remixed with a portion of fresh materials and used again. The quality of recycled asphalt pavement is as good, or even better, than brand new pavement.

How is asphalt pavement built?

The asphalt pavement is built in layers. The first step is to remove topsoil and compact the earth. Next, a rock base is placed and compacted. Then, two or more layers of hot mix asphalt are placed and compacted.

How safe is asphalt pavement?

Asphalt pavements can be designed so that water drains through the surface layer of the pavement, thus reducing splash and tire spray, and increases tire-road contact during wet weather. The asphalt pavement retains heat better than other materials, so ice doesn't form as quickly and melts faster.

What happens at an asphalt plant?

At the asphalt plant aggregates are dried and heated, then mixed and covered with asphalt cement.

How do you lay asphalt? How thick?

Asphalt is most efficiently applied with an asphalt paving machine. The thicker the layer of asphalt the more stability it gains.

What is the difference between asphalt and concrete?

Asphalt contains aggregate held together by oils and applied hot. Concrete contains cement, aggregate and water and is applied cold. Concrete is a harder material and doesn't soften up with high temperatures like asphalt.

What is an overlay?

An overlay is a new layer of asphalt applied to existing asphalt. The new layer is typically 1 ½" to 2" deep.

What causes a pothole in asphalt?

A pothole is caused by water penetrating the asphalt, usually through a crack, and damaging the stone base during the freezing and thawing cycles of water.