Whether your project is small enough to complete yourself, or you’re planning to hire a paving contractor such as L&L Asphalt, there are a number of asphalt types you should know about prior to beginning any asphalt paving project. These materials include, but are not limited to: cold, warm, and hot mix asphalt. Each of the following asphalt types have their own share of pros and cons.
Hot Mix Asphalt
Hot mix asphalt (HMA) is the designation given to asphalt mixtures that are heated and poured at temperatures between 275 and 350 degrees Fahrenheit. This type of asphalt is the most commonly used asphalt type in the United States. State transportation departments prefer hot asphalt due to its flexibility, weather resistance, and ability to repel water. Hot mix asphalt provides a more permanent fix for patching potholes. This type of mix can be used to pave interstates, highways, and roadways.
Warm Mix Asphalt
Warm mix asphalt (WMA) is heated and poured at temperatures between 200 and 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Warm mix asphalt can be processed using either a foaming technique or by including an additive. Several benefits result from using this asphalt type. First, less fuel is consumed, which results in increased energy savings and reduced production costs. Secondly, less fossil fuels are emitted, which is better for the environment and worker health. WMA, however, does not cool as fast as HMA. It can be used to pave roads, highways, and interstates during the day or at night.
Cold Mix Asphalt
Cold mix asphalt, or blacktop mix as it is commonly referred as, is specifically used for repairing potholes. It is produced by emulsifying the asphalt in water with a proprietary oil before mixing in aggregates. This process keeps the asphalt soft and helps to repel water. This asphalt type doesn’t require heat, any heavy rolling machines, or commercial applicators. It can be shoveled or poured directly into potholes with little to no preparation needed and tamped down using a hand tool. This makes it DIY friendly.