What is used to pave roads?

Have you ever been driving along and wondered what materials are used to pave roads? Most major highways are paved using either asphalt pavement or concrete. Capital Paving & Sealcoating have worked with both types of materials since 1956 for both commercial and residential paving projects. We can help you decide which material is best for your personal driveway or business.

Paving with Concrete

What sets asphalt and concrete apart is their binder that holds all of their aggregates together to form a surface. Aggregate is crushed rock, stone, and sand, and in concrete, it is mixed together with water and cement. Cement is the binder in concrete.

As the mixture dries out over time, it forms a solid yet unforgiving surface that can be driven upon daily. However, due to its unforgiving nature, concrete can crack, especially if the prepared roadbed beneath it is not adequately smooth.

Repairing and fixing issues with concrete is not an easy task either. If there is an area that needs repair, the entire area has to be dug up and then repoured to fix it. This is labor-intensive and time-consuming for all parties involved.

Paving with Asphalt

As we said before, the main difference in asphalt and concrete is their binders. With asphalt, the adhesive is a sticky substance derived from crude oil called bitumen, otherwise known as the tar. The same aggregates are used as concrete.

Asphalt is used to pave major interstates, main roads, parking lots, driveways, and more. A roadbed is prepared, and the aggregates are mixed in a large drum with the hot bitumen until it is ready to be poured onto the more substantial aggregate that is already in the roadbed. After this, a steamroller machine is used to compress everything together.

When the asphalt is cooled to the surrounding air temperature, it is ready to withstand automobile traffic. Asphalt cures much more quickly than concrete, which can take days before it can handle any traffic.

Benefits of Paving with Asphalt

However, there are additional benefits to paving with asphalt besides how quickly it cures.

Capital Paving & Sealcoating recommends asphalt for most projects because of its durability, flexibility, longevity, and ease of repair and maintenance. These same reasons are why asphalt pavement is so widely used throughout the U.S.

Pavement made of asphalt is durable and can handle massive traffic and heavy loads, but it is not as rigid as concrete and can flex. The ability to flex keeps the pavement from cracking.

If your asphalt does crack, it is easy to repair, unlike its counterpart concrete. Cracks can be fixed in a variety of ways, from something as simple as sealing the crack to patching a hole.

With proper maintenance from sealcoating, your pavement can last upwards of 20-25 years before needing to be replaced entirely. If the top layer of asphalt begins to look shabby, you can extend its lifespan by resurfacing the top layer while keeping the bottom layers in tack. You can think of this as giving your asphalt pavement a facelift! Resurfacing your asphalt is highly cost-effective.

Finally, did you know that asphalt is a 100% recyclable product? It is the most recycled product in the United States! There are always roads that need repair, so the need for asphalt materials is in high demand, that is why you will rarely find any of it in landfills. The aggregate can be crushed and mixed with fresh bitumen over and over; in fact, the recycled product is stronger than the virgin asphalt.

Asphalt is the most common paving material used, and it is what we recommend to our clients the most. While there may be instances where concrete may be a better solution, asphalt is what most of our clients choose for several reasons. If you need help determining what the best paving solution for your needs, don’t hesitate to contact us today for a free estimate!

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