Is There a Difference Between Asphalt and Blacktop?

Capital Paving & Sealcoating

Is There a Difference Between Asphalt and Blacktop? 

Most people in this country have fallen into the habit of using the words asphalt and blacktop interchangeably, so for the majority of people they mean the same thing. However, there really is a distinct technical difference between these two terms, as will be described below. Both of course relate to paving, and as far as the understanding of most people goes, the material used in those paving processes are one and the same. Hopefully, the discussion below clears up any confusion or misunderstandings about these two paving methods and materials.

Usage of the two paving methods 

To begin with, asphalt generally refers to the material used when paving large projects such as roadways and streets, whereas blacktop is what’s used on driveways and sidewalks. In fact, blacktop can be considered a subset or a specific type of asphalt, and it is generally used on much smaller projects with residential applications. One of the reasons that these two paving methods have different usages is that they actually are comprised of different materials, each optimally suited for the kinds of jobs they’re used on.

Composition of asphalt and blacktop 

Asphalt has two primary ingredients, those being bitumen and crushed stone. Bitumen is a dark-colored, tarry substance which binds the crushed stone together and is produced through a process of petroleum distillation. This substance is often used as a roofing material because of its waterproof characteristics, and its protective capabilities for the materials underneath. 

On the other hand, blacktop is also comprised of crushed stone and bitumen, but the two ingredients are mixed in different proportions in blacktop. Blacktop will invariably contain a higher percentage of crushed stone than asphalt does, and for that reason it will need to be heated to a higher temperature to achieve the proper level of binding. 

The reason asphalt is used on roadways and streets is that it is somewhat more durable than blacktop is, and that’s important because it will need to stand up to the demands of heavy traffic, and probably much higher weights than a driveway would ordinarily be subjected to. While blacktop is perfectly durable and long-lasting in terms of holding up under the normal stresses it would be subjected to, it would not fare as well on a high-volume roadway, and would probably require more frequent repairs. 

Which is better? 

As to which of these two paving materials is better, the simple answer is that it depends on what the application is. You really can’t beat asphalt for roadways and streets, because it provides a smooth, quiet ride that lasts a long time, and when it’s necessary to make repairs, that repair process is very easy to implement. When all you need is low-volume driveway support, blacktop is an ideal paving material that will hold up for a very long time, and will provide you with a good, gritty surface so you’ll have non-skid driving and parking.

Where to go for all your paving needs

When you need any kind of business or residential paving somewhere in the state of Maryland, the company you should contact is Capital Paving & Sealcoating. Every time we take on a new task, we provide friendly, efficient, and reliable service which ends up providing total customer satisfaction. We’ve been in business since 1956, and we’ve served clients in Anne Arundel County for more than two decades now. During all that time, we have acquired a great deal of knowledge and expertise, as well as a keen appreciation for the customers who continue to hold us in high regard.