Is there a difference between asphalt and blacktop?


As you all know Uniform Paving & Sealcoating is a premier asphalt and paving company based near Atlanta, Georgia. We offer a variety of solutions to help our client’s complete home and property improvements such as driveway installations and even maintenance.  Since we are experts in our industry, we receive a lot of questions about what we do. Today we want to answer one that came in recently, which was, “is there a difference between asphalt and blacktop?”

With people within the US using the terms asphalt and blacktop interchangeably, it is easy to become confused about them. However, there are a few things that are different between blacktop and asphalt, so let’s dive into what each one is.

What is Asphalt?

Asphalt and blacktop use the same ingredients in their makeup, but what differs is the ratio of those ingredients when mixed together.

Traditional asphalt is what is used the most throughout the United States on major highways, roads, and commercial parking lots. Components that makeup asphalt is bitumen (also known as the binder), sand, and crushed stone. Bitumen is the binder that holds the mixture of sand and rock together. It is made from the most substantial part of petroleum after it has been refined from fossil fuels. It is what gives asphalt its dark black color.

The paving mixture is heated up to 250 degrees within a rotating drum until it is ready to be pressed down into prepared a roadbed. Once the combination has been poured into the foundation, it is then steamrolled with heavy equipment to compress it for strength. This makes asphalt very strong and durable and a popular choice for roads that receive heavy traffic.

What is blacktop?

Blacktop is a form of asphalt paving concrete, but unlike the more commonly known road asphalt, the mixture is different. In blacktop the stone mixture is in a higher ratio, the mixture contains 95% crushed stone to 5% bitumen. Because there is a higher mixture of rock in blacktop it must be heated to around 300 degrees as opposed 250 to get the mix to the correct consistency.

Once the mix has been created it is poured into a roadbed and compacted the same way that traditional asphalt is. However, drivers can feel a difference when traveling on blacktop because it has a rougher feel than main highways.

Over time blacktop does wear down quicker than asphalt. That is why you will see blacktop used in residential neighborhoods, playgrounds, and areas where there is less traffic. Since there is more stone in the mixture of blacktop, it lowers the overall cost, which makes it an ideal solution for residential clients.

Benefits of Paving

Regardless of whether you choose to pave with traditional asphalt or blacktop, the investment is worth the money. Paving your driveway or road immediately raises the value of your property!

Furthermore, paving cuts down on noise and mess. Having a dirt road leads to mud in the rain and snow while coating your property in the dust during the summer months. Speaking of winter, though, having blacktop or asphalt will mean that your road or drive can thaw out quickly by soaking up the sun’s rays. The rich black color will absorb heat and help snow and ice to melt faster than a dirt road while also allowing it to be scrapped.

Overall, paving is an investment worth looking into and following through on. Uniform Paving & Sealcoating can answer all your questions and meet your unique needs. We are here to help you with your paving projects, and we always offer free site visits and estimates. Contact us today and let us help you get started!