What’s the Difference Between Blacktop and Asphalt?

When looking to pave your surfaces, it’s not always easy to choose the right material for the job, especially with the several available options. Asphalt and blacktop are terms used interchangeably in the paving industry, as these materials perform the same function. However, there are significant differences between the two.

Asphalt and blacktop are both made from the same two ingredients: crushed stone and bitumen. Bitumen is a dark material made from petroleum distillation and is used to hold the crushed stones together. Once bitumen has been added to crushed stone, the mixture is heated to over 250 degrees to form blacktop or asphalt. Asphalt and blacktop surfaces will then be pre-mixed, poured, and are ready for use about two days after being poured.

How Are Blacktop and Asphalt Made?

The primary difference between these two materials lies in how the ingredients are mixed:

How Blacktop Is Made

Despite being asphalt, blacktop is made from a different mixture. The mixture is more stone than bitumen and is heated to about 300 degrees. Blacktop roads have a sparkle on the surface due to the crushed stone and last quite long because of the higher temperature to which the mixture is heated.

How Asphalt Is Made

Asphalt does not contain as much natural crushed stone as blacktop. The mixture is heated at 250 degrees to make it strong and durable. Asphalt produces a smooth and quiet surface for vehicles to drive on, making for safer travel and reducing wear and tear on vehicles. This surface is much easier to maintain, especially during the winter months.

What Are the Different Uses for Blacktop and Asphalt?

Blacktop and asphalt have varying uses:

Uses of Blacktop

Blacktop is commonly used in areas that do not experience high traffic or have a high weight load because it is not as durable as commercial hot-mix asphalt. Blacktop is used on residential roads, parking lots, driveways, and playgrounds.

Uses of Asphalt

Asphalt is both flexible and water-resistant, making it ideal for use on major highways, airport runways, commercial parking lots, and other areas that see heavy traffic. Provided regular maintenance is performed, asphalt can last for more than 20 years. However, you should ensure asphalt is sealed to extend its life.

In short, both asphalt and blacktop can be called tarmac. These two materials are durable, safe, and can be used for paving various high-traffic areas. At Associated Paving Contractors, Inc., we not only help you choose the right paving material but also do quality paving work. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our commercial asphalt paving and sealcoating services.