Hot, Warm or Cold: Choosing the Best Asphalt for Your Project
If your project requires paving, odds are you’re considering asphalt – and for good reason! It’s durable, versatile, low-cost, and it looks great on anything from roads to runways. However, if you’ve started looking, you’ve probably already realized that the decision to use asphalt is not that simple. While all asphalt is made of rocks and bitumen (a hydrocarbon mixture), the formula, additives, and temperature of the mix change the product’s composition. As a result, the type of asphalt you need varies depending on your project, and choosing the right type is crucial to ensure proper installation and pavement maintenance.
Hot mix asphalt is the most common type used on roads, tennis courts, parking lots, and runways. As the name implies, high temperatures are used to heat the binder in the production process, which effectively reduces the viscosity levels. The high heat also dries the material more thoroughly, removing all moisture prior to the mixing process. One limitation of hot mix asphalt is that it cures as it cools, making it difficult to transport over long distances. Within the hot mix categories, there are a variety of formulas available to meet specific project needs. If you are a property manager seeking the best asphalt for your project, you will want to work with a professional who can advise you regarding custom hot mixes tailored to unique issues such as temperature and base layer, which fluctuate in different areas.
Warm mix asphalt accounts for approximately 30 percent of all paving projects. As you may guess, it is still heated but not to the same degree as hot asphalt, which allows it to be transported over greater distances. Warm mix asphalt is popular for overnight jobs and off-season paving projects.
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