The Benefits of Asphalt and Why It Is the BEST Paving Material
According to the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA), asphalt is the most popular road surfacing material. Over 94% of the nation’s 2.6 million paved roads are covered with asphalt. Commercial airports use asphalt for runways, parking lots are commonly surfaced with asphalt. What makes asphalt so popular? Learn more about the benefits of asphalt to understand why it’s the best paving material.
What Is Asphalt Pavement?
Asphalt pavement is a combination of stone (aka aggregate), sand, or gravel mixed with a liquid, or bitumen, the sticky black substance, that binds everything together. There are different types of asphalt, depending on the weight of the loads that will drive on the pavement and the weather conditions when it will be installed.
Hot-mix asphalt is probably the most commonly used asphalt for pavement on roads, runways, and parking lot repair. It must be heated to around 350F before being poured, but it cools quickly and needs little curing time before it can be driven on.
Advantages of Asphalt Pavement
A freshly laid parking lot or road looks divine. The smooth surface is easy to drive on, and splash from rainstorms is minimized, which increases safety. Smooth roads are more comfortable and easier on the vehicle by reducing the friction between tires and pavement.
Cars get better fuel economy on a smoother surface. Less accidents occur on smoother roads because of asphalt’s high skid resistance, and driver fatigue is reduced while control over the vehicle is increased. Asphalt is traveler-friendly, but there are numerous other benefits of asphalt paving when used in parking lots or other applications.
Asphalt Paving Is Cost-Effective
Asphalt roads can be built quickly, which reduces the taxpayer burden. There is less site preparation than concrete and the roads can be used almost immediately without any curing process. Concrete takes up to a week to cure. Asphalt roads can be paved one lane at a time, which minimizes disruption to traffic. Stores and businesses won’t have to be shut down from a lack of access. For smaller paving projects, asphalt is less disruptive and more affordable.
Asphalt Is Budget-Friendly
Asphalt itself is also less expensive than other materials. Because it’s faster to install, labor costs should be lower. Projects take less time, reducing the overall cost of the project, whether the project is big or small.
Although there are some maintenance costs after the asphalt pavement is installed, annually, there isn’t a huge investment to keep up with the project. Catching small problems early reduces the repair costs. Inspecting your parking lot at the beginning of each season can keep your parking lot looking its best.
Asphalt Pavement Is Eco-Friendly
According to NAPA, the asphalt industry has “an outstanding record of using sustainable practices.” Asphalt is 100% recyclable. When the asphalt pavement needs to be replaced, it can be scraped up and turned into a new asphalt pavement.
Many recyclable materials, such as tires or shingles, are repurposed into the base for asphalt, keeping these items out of landfills. Newer technologies are making asphalt easier to produce and even more sustainable. When your parking lot does need to be replaced, it can be recycled instead of placed in a local landfill.
Asphalt Surfaces Are Safer for Pedestrians
Asphalt pavement isn’t only safer for drivers; pedestrians find it easy to walk on. The surface is smooth, but not so smooth that there isn’t traction. When installed correctly, asphalt drains well.
The porous property of asphalt often lets rainwater or melted snow drain through the surface right back into the soil instead of pooling on the surface or being forced into storm drains. Because asphalt is dark, snow and ice can melt faster than on other surfaces, making it safer in the winter.
Asphalt Is Durable
Another benefit of asphalt is that it has a very long life. When properly installed and maintained, asphalt driveways or parking lots should last 20 to 30 years. Asphalt is flexible, so it can withstand the different weather conditions of the Midwest. It can even withstand occasional overloads from heavy-duty vehicles.
A sealcoating will extend the life of asphalt. Asphalt can also be repaired, even in colder months with a cold-mix asphalt that prevents more damage until the weather cooperates to pour hot-mix asphalt. This keeps your asphalt looking good, regardless of the season.
Asphalt Can Handle the Cold Weather
In the winter, the freeze thaw cycle can wreak havoc on parking lots. Freezing temperatures cause the ground to expand. When the ground thaws, it contracts. This change day-in and day-out can cause concrete to crack, but the bitumen in asphalt has elasticity, which lets it stand up better to a wide range of temperatures in the winter. Asphalt can also stand up to road salts better than concrete.
Asphalt Is a Quiet Surface
Asphalt roads are quieter than other types of surfaces due to the decreased friction between the surface and tires. Asphalt roads reduce highway noise, which reduces the need for sound barriers. While this may not be a big consideration for parking lots or driveways, it is worthy to note that it can reduce outside noise.
Asphalt Boosts Curb Appeal
The parking lot is often the first thing visitors see when they come to your business. New roads are immediately noticed in the community. Asphalt pavements increase the value of your home or business because the appearance of the project just looks awesome.
Wichita’s Number One Choice for High-Quality Asphalt Paving and Maintenance Services
Choosing the right asphalt contractor is crucial to getting all the benefits from asphalt. Laying a strong foundation for the asphalt is key to its durability and longevity. You’re making a big investment in your business or home, so you need a professional who understands asphalt from start to finish.
South Central Sealing & Paving has over 30 years in the industry. We know the weather and soil conditions that keep your parking lot or other asphalt project looking great all year long. Our team has the experience and resources to complete your project right the first time. We abide by all specifications and don’t cut corners. Request a free estimate.