• Oakes Paving

Asphalt vs Blacktop

Updated: Jul 20

Asphalt vs blacktop. Many people think the two are the same and use the words interchangeably. While their composition is similar, consisting of bitumen and crushed stone, they are different.


Application

Unsurprisingly, asphalt is mainly used for commercial applications such as highways. They can withstand heavier traffic and last longer, thus better suited for major roads with massive traffic flow.


On the other hand, blacktop is used in residential communities, driveways, parking lots, pathways, playgrounds, etc., because of the better grip on tires. While not as durable as asphalt, blacktop can last long in residential areas as there's less traffic to handle.


Asphalt vs. blacktop - the difference

The difference between asphalt and blacktop is in how they are mixed and the process. It is established that both contain bitumen and crushed stone. However, these two ingredients are mixed in different ratios. The amount of heat applied during the mixing process also differs.


Asphalt has less crushed stone than bitumen, the black material from crude oil. It holds the crushed stone together. The materials are mixed in a drum and heated to about 250 degrees.


On the other hand, blacktop has more crushed stone than bitumen and is heated to about 300 degrees.


Durability

Due to the higher bitumen content that firmly holds the materials together, asphalt can withstand heavier traffic and loads. Therefore, asphalt is the preferred material for highways and high-traffic areas.


Asphalt is also better at retaining heat than blacktop and is excellent in extreme weather conditions. While not as durable as asphalt, blacktop can last long when heated to 300 degrees.


Maintenance

While asphalt is very durable, it requires regular maintenance to keep it in perfect shape.


Depending on the traffic, you need to sealcoat asphalt pavements every few years to prevent deterioration. Blacktop also requires seal coating, but less often than asphalt.


Texture

With more bitumen than crushed stone, asphalt offers a smoother ride than blacktop. There's less noise produced while driving on an asphalt road, making for a quieter ride.


The reduced friction also reduces tire wear and tear, thereby increasing tire life. However, blacktop's rougher surface is advantageous in residential areas as it lowers the risk of accidents.




Now that you know the subtle difference, you'll be able to choose the right material for your next project. Get a free estimate for your asphalt or blacktop paving project today.