Asphalt is reusable, versatile, and incredibly affordable, which makes it a popular paving material for parking lots and driveways. If you have an upcoming paving project, you should know the different types of asphalt mixes available and their purposes. This way, you can plan for repairs and maintenance of your asphalt surface accordingly.
Learn the three main types of asphalt mixes below
Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA)
As the name suggests, hot mix asphalt is easy to work with while still hot. Hot asphalt (also bitumen or blacktop) is the most commonly used asphalt mix on roads and pavements. HMA comprises a blend of asphalt binder and a mix of coarse and fine aggregate, which create a weather-resistant asphalt surface. This asphalt mix is also incredibly resilient, flexible, and impermeable, which endears it greatly to council projects and hardstands.
During application, paving contractors heat and pour hot mix asphalt at 300–350 degrees. This asphalt mix cools down quite fast, so professional application is vital as soon as you purchase it. Otherwise, the asphalt may harden and may not pave your surface properly.
Warm Mix Asphalt (WMA)
Like HMA, manufacturers heat warm mix asphalt up to a temperature range between 30 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit, which is lower than HMA. This mix contains additives and binders like zeolites and wax that cool it down before application. This quality makes it easy to apply even during cold weather conditions.
Furthermore, the warm asphalt mix stays intact even when trucks haul it over long distances to your project site, thanks to its lower temperature. Also, the WMA manufacturing process utilizes less energy and emits fewer greenhouse gases, which makes it ideal for places with low air circulation.
WMA is safe for both the workers and the environment. Warm mix asphalt is durable, versatile, and resilient and mostly paves asphalt driveways, roads, and pavements.
Cold Mix Asphalt (CMA)
Unlike the hot mix asphalt and warm mix asphalt, manufacturers don't heat cold mix asphalt during production. So, contractors can transport it and lay it while still cold. Unfortunately, you can only use this mix in areas with minimal traffic because it's soft compared to hot and warm asphalt mix. Moreover, owing to its cold nature, CMA takes longer to cure.
Still, you can use cold asphalt to temporarily repair potholes and cracks during cold weather, then replace it with hot or warm asphalt mix when the weather favors it. But don't dispose of CMA when you replace it. Just remove it and stockpile it so you can use it again later.
Knowledge of the various types of asphalt mixes helps you choose a suitable product that meets your specific needs. Also, hire asphalt paving contractors to install your asphalt surface for the best results.
Contact an asphalt contractor to learn more.