Asphalt and blacktop are often used interchangeably, and many believe they are the same thing. Actually, asphalt and blacktop are two different things.
It’s not that big of a difference, as blacktop is a form of asphalt. The two materials are very similar. Both are made of bitumen or crushed stone. The fundamental distinction between the two is how they are made and for what purpose.
What is Asphalt?
Asphalt is also known as asphalt concrete. It’s a mixture of mineral aggregates, usually a mixture of sand, rocks, and bitumen. They are bound together to form a highly viscous black asphalt mixture.
Mixing asphalt is done at the minimum required temperature. The asphalt remains pliable at this high temperature for long enough to be poured onto roads. A high temperature also ensures that the asphalt will withstand the pressure of automobiles moving on it.
Bitumen and crushed stone are the two primary ingredients of asphalt. The mixture of these two ingredients is heated together to make soft asphalt. Once the asphalt has hardened, it can be poured in place. Asphalt must be blended at a temperature of at least 250 degrees Fahrenheit to withstand the rigors of driving, running, and walking on it.
The durability of asphalt, mainly hot-mix asphalt, makes it a popular choice for high-traffic areas. Asphalt paving is ideal for the following:
- commercial freeways
- city and urban streets, and
- other important thoroughfares
Asphalt is an excellent choice for projects such as these because it can withstand daily wear and tear and will last many years. Asphalt pavement creates a safer environment for those near the roads since it can absorb road-noise, making it easier to develop peaceful areas.
What is Blacktop?
Blacktop, like asphalt, is a mixture of bitumen and composite material. It is made by combining 95% mixed material stones and 5% liquid asphalt. Stones and liquid asphalt are mixed and heated to create a blacktop.
Blacktop contains a different mix of bitumen and aggregate. It has a higher proportion of aggregate than asphalt. It is flexible and durable and can last a long time. It can also be heated to a higher temperature than asphalt.
Blacktop is made with a higher proportion of crushed stone than regular asphalt. The blacktop road’s surface shines brighter than asphalt roads. It is because the mix contains a higher proportion of natural stone. Blacktop can be heated to around 300 degrees Fahrenheit, about 50 degrees higher than asphalt.
Although blacktop is a durable, firm surface, it doesn’t hold up to daily traffic from many cars. Blacktop paving is best used in areas with low traffic, such as:
- parking lots,
- pathways and
- residential roads.
You can make these applications with blacktop because it is solid and durable. Blacktop paving is often used in in-game areas like outdoor basketball courts.
Which One is Right for You?
If you plan to use asphalt or blacktop for your job, make sure you choose a suitable material. If you’re building a new road or highway, asphalt paving is the best material to use. Blacktop is always the best option for a more visually appealing and quiet driving surface.
For both commercial and residential projects, we are here to help. We can provide an estimate and the right mix for your professional paving needs. Contact A-Rock Asphalt Services to learn more.