3 Things You Should Know About Asphalt Paving

Asphalt paving is a wonderful way to provide a durable surface in a wide range of environments. There is, however, more to getting the job done than just putting down a layer of the black stuff. Let's look at three things all customers should know before they contract for asphalt paving services.

Types of Mixes

In the industry, there are two main types of materials: hot and cold mixes. Most hot mixes are intended for permanent work, and this approach represents much of the work you'll see crews doing on highways, for example, during good weather. Cold mixes, on the other hand, are frequently used for patch jobs in cold weather. Some companies are starting to use more permanent cold mixing processes, but you should always ask about the expected durability of the materials before starting a project.


The aggregates used to make a mixture determined by what type of course the asphalt will be. Most companies use three grades: surface, binder, and base course. Surface is the finest aggregate available, and base is the coarsest. It's not uncommon for the different grades of courses to be used at different levels of a surface. This is why the most rugged grade is called the base course, as it's frequently used to create a base.

Climate conditions may also dictate which grade will be used. A finer grade may be required in settings where water will create problems with the base because it's important to seal the surface as much as possible. A porous pavement, conversely, will allow water to drain through, and that may be okay for a cheaper project involving a less sophisticated base.

Engineering Issues

The amount of force that's going to be applied to the surface will dictate many of the engineering issues during a job. It's important to discuss your goals with contractors in detail. Putting down a layer of asphalt with no base for a personal driveway, for example, might be acceptable if there isn't going to be high usage. On the flip side, you may need to have an aggressively engineered solution if you're going to see many vehicles or lots of heavy equipment going through the paved area.

Note that pre-existing drainage issues may have to be solved before starting a paving job. This sort of work is generally outside the scope of asphalt paving work, and you'll likely have to contract with a company that can engineer a solution to the paving company's specs. To learn more about asphalt paving, reach out to a company such as ASAP Asphalt Sealing & Paving Co.