If it’s time to replace your driveway or re-pave your sidewalk, asphalt is usually your best option. What exactly makes asphalt so durable while still being affordable? Let’s take a closer look at the ingredients that make up asphalt and how they increase its overall toughness.
Why is Asphalt So Durable?
Asphalt is composed of several broad materials, including aggregates, fillers, and binders. These components work together to form asphalt and then slowly harden, strengthening over time. Aggregate is a blend of various minerals, including sand, gravel, and other crushed and powdered rock types. Typically, bitumen acts as the binder that brings these minerals together.
In order for asphalt to be durable, it must be hard enough to withstand the weight of vehicles and people, but soft enough not to crack and break underneath. This perfect blend between hard and soft occurs when the ingredients are proportioned and blended perfectly.
Understanding the Different Types of Asphalt
There are two ways to mix asphalt.
Hot Mix Asphalt
Overall, hot mix asphalt is stronger and more durable than cold mix asphalt. It is also better suited to large paving projects, such as parking lots, roads, and driveways. Hot asphalt is usually around 300 degrees when poured, but cools relatively quickly. This ability to absorb heat makes hot mix asphalt flexible and durable underneath the sun’s heat without becoming brittle and breaking.
Cold Mix Asphalt
Although cold mix asphalt does not possess the same durability as hot mix asphalt, it provides an excellent option for smaller paving projects and repairs. Cold mix asphalt is often used to repair cracks and potholes during the colder months, as it can be laid no matter what the weather is. It is also more affordable than hot mix asphalt and can be purchased in small quantities.
How to Preserve Your Asphalt’s Durability
Additionally, you can preserve and even increase the durability of your asphalt through proper care and maintenance. To increase the lifespan of your asphalt driveway or sidewalk, take the following steps.
Sealcoat your asphalt.
Did you know that much of asphalt’s durability comes from its multiple layers? Sealcoating your asphalt provides a protective layer between the asphalt and the elements. Wind, sun, rain, and ice find it difficult to penetrate the sealcoating layer, reducing the need for repairs.
Make sure you have a proper drainage system.
Moisture buildup tends to cause potholes and crumbling on asphalt driveways and curbs. It is extremely important to place all paving projects on the proper slope so that rainwater drains properly.
Address small cracks or potholes.
If you see cracks, spiderwebs, potholes, or crumbling in your driveway or sidewalk, address it early. Nipping small problems in the bud with asphalt filler prevents the need for more expensive repairs down the road.
Resurface when necessary.
Occasionally, your asphalt may need to be resurfaced. Much like sanding and refinishing a hardwood floor, resurfacing your asphalt gives it new life and increases its durability.
How Can Walt’s Paving Help?
You can count on Walt’s Paving to complete your residential or commercial paving project in an efficient and timely manner. We have over 40 years of experience paving asphalt driveways, making asphalt repairs, and sealcoating asphalt. We are located in Osceola IN and service homeowners and businesses within 50 miles of Elkhart, IN. Call us today.