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What are the Uses for Asphalt?

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Asphalt paving is unloaded from a wheelbarrowAsphalt is nearly everywhere you look in American communities. Asphalt is a sticky, black, semi-solid form of petroleum used to bind aggregate together. A versatile material, asphalt creates a smooth, durable surface for driveways, walking paths, roads and parking lots.

Some other uses of asphalt may be less common but remain an important element in construction and outdoor areas. In its fluid-like form, asphalt is used to waterproof walls and surfaces, as well as in shingles for residential roofing. A variety of industrial and recreational uses of asphalt make it an ideal choice for many areas of construction.

What Are the Different Types of Asphalt?

As one of the most recycled and reused types of pavement on the market, asphalt is used on 94 percent of paved roads in America. However, not all asphalt is created equal. Chemical composition and other properties determine what type of asphalt you’re driving on.

Types of Asphalt

There are several types of asphalt paving available to homeowners and contractors. What type is right for your project? Learn about five common asphalt paving types below.

  • Hot mix – A combination of approximately 95 percent stone, sand or gravel bound together by asphalt cement, hot mix is heated and poured at 300°F.
  • Warm mix – Because it is mixed and shipped at lower temperatures, warm mix does not cool as fast as hot mix. It includes emulsions that make it easier to pour and spread.
  • Cold mix – This formula doesn’t require heat and is the most affordable asphalt mix. It is used to repair potholes and pavement cracks.
  • Cut-back – A combination of asphalt cement and petroleum solvent, cut-back asphalt is used for its decreased viscosity, or thickness. It contains volatile chemicals and is restricted in many areas.
  • Mastic – A dense and durable formula, mastic asphalt is a waterproofing medium. It is a mixture of asphalt, stone filler and mineral powder that is heated and mixed at hot temperatures.

 

To learn more about the asphalt production process check out our blog, What is Asphalt and How is it Made?

What Are the Uses of Asphalt?

Hot mix is spread and rolled on highways, interstates and roads. Warm mix can also be used on highways and roads and is ideal for tunnels and days when air quality is low. Cold mix can be used in cold or warm weather for pothole and crack repairs—and it even outlasts the surrounding pavement.

Contractors use cut-back asphalt for tack coats, fog seals, slurry coats and as a stabilization element in mixes, while mastic asphalt is used in building and waterproofing for rooftops and underground storage.

Uncommon Uses for Asphalt

Many architects use asphalt in construction for dams, reservoirs, playgrounds and parks. Farmers use asphalt to line the bottom of retention ponds where they raise fish and in livestock containment pens. Asphalt is also an ideal solution for flood control and soil erosion. Auto makers rely on asphalt to prevent rust and road noise in fenders and hoods of cars.

Need to make an asphalt repair? Explore our asphalt products to learn which product is right for your next project.