Is There a Difference Between Asphalt and Blacktop?

July 15, 2020 10:32 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

If you’ve been using the words “asphalt” and “blacktop” interchangeably your whole life, you’re not alone—but there is actually a difference between the two. In fact, blacktop is a type of asphalt. Both of them use the same ingredients to form their jet-black paved surface, but the methods to make the final product are different.

Asphalt is usually used on highways and major streets, while blacktop is reserved for residential areas, including driveways and roads. Read on to learn the difference between blacktop and asphalt in Washington, and why you might pick one over the other.

How blacktop and asphalt are made

Both blacktop and asphalt are made with bitumen and crushed stone, but the ratio is different. Bitumen is a petroleum-based product that helps hold the particles of crushed stone together. It’s also used in roofing applications.

Blacktop has more crushed stone than asphalt, and it’s heated to about 300 degrees before being poured onto residential roadways. Asphalt, on the other hand, is only heated to 250 degrees before it’s poured on freeways and other major thoroughfares.

Because blacktop is heated to a higher temperature, its surface can last quite a bit longer—but both are durable enough to stand up to heavy traffic and the elements, and smooth enough not to cause additional wear and tear to your car.

Why choose blacktop or asphalt for your paving project?

Depending on your paving project, there are a number of different ways to get the job done. If you’re paving a road or a driveway, however, asphalt of any kind is a smart choice. First, it’s incredibly durable—the sticky bitumen holds the crushed rock together as it’s poured. As the asphalt dries and cures, it becomes strong enough to bear the weight of thousands of pounds.

Minimizing wear and tear on your vehicle is another great reason to choose asphalt or blacktop for your driveway in Washington. The mixture of rock and bitumen is designed to be as smooth as possible, reducing friction on your tires and vibrations in your car.

Asphalt is also easy to keep looking nice, too. After your driveway, road, parking lot or other space is paved and it cures, you can strengthen it and refresh its appearance with sealcoating. Sealcoating usually takes place somewhere between six and 12 months after the paving is completed, and will help fix minor imperfections as well as form a protective barrier. When you live in a state as rainy as Washington, protecting your pavement from pooling water is a must.

Finally, asphalt simply looks nice—in part because you can get it refinished if it fades, but also because the smooth, jet-black surface looks fresh and clean for a long time.

Ready for your own blacktop or asphalt driveway in Washington? Jimini Paving specializes in comprehensive asphalt and concrete services for residential and commercial customers. We can also help you repair and maintain your driveway, parking lot or road over the years—call us today to get started.

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