Asphalt Paving 101

Asphalt Paving 101

Asphalt production and paving are backbones of the American economy. And while you will most probably never do it yourself, learning about asphalt paving is interesting and fun!At K&L Industries, we have paved driveways and parking lots all over Portland, Oregon. Click here to learn more about our services.

For more than 30 years, we have been dealing with asphalt almost every day of the week. And we strongly believe that property owners should have a basic understanding of how the process works. So here’s all you need to know about asphalt paving. 

What is Asphalt?

When it comes to paving, you have a choice between concrete and asphalt. Both materials are created from aggregates like gravel, sand, and crushed stones. Cement acts as the binder for concrete, whereas asphalt is bound with bitumen.

The good thing about asphalt is that it is 100% recycled, making it eco-friendly (more on this below). Other benefits of asphalt include safety, durability, and cost-effectiveness. Moreover, asphalt is easy to install, repair, and replace, making life easy for property owners.

Types of Asphalt

There are five major types of asphalt:

1. Porous Asphalt

As the name implies, porous asphalt has tiny holes in the surface. It is environmentally friendly, and it can even give you business tax benefits. The holes in the surface help manage rainwater by letting the water seep underground, where it goes through a natural cleaning process. Porous asphalt offers the best water drainage.

2. Cold Mix Asphalt

During the winters, it is hard to lay new asphalt or perform procedures like sealcoating. However, you can use cold mix asphalt for pothole repairs during the winter. This type of asphalt is easy to mix, even during a freeze, and it is good at repelling water damage.

3. Hot Mix Asphalt

On the other end of the spectrum is Hot Mix Asphalt. This material is heated up to 3500F and can be used to make all sorts of mixes. HMA is the most common form of asphalt.

4. Warm Mix Asphalt

Heated at temperatures less than 2500F, Warm Mix Asphalt is not only cheaper than HMA, but it is also eco-friendly since it requires fewer fossil fuels.

5. Coarse Graded Asphalt

Finally, coarse graded asphalt is commonly used as a base or binder for the construction of driveways, roads, and parking lots.

Asphalt Paving Process

There are five main steps in the asphalt paving process:

  • Demolishing

Asphalt paving involves extensive layering. The first stage of the process is demolishing and hauling away the existing surface.

  • Grading

The next step is sloping the grading towards the drainage or grassy areas. This is necessary to avoid the accumulation of water on the surface.

  • Creating the Sub-base

Once the surface is graded, we lay out a load-bearing, supporting layer. The sub-base layer consists of aggregate materials, mostly crushed stones.

  • Adding a Binder Layer

As already mentioned, bitumen is the most common binder for asphalt paving. The binder layer is mixed with oil to make it durable. If we detect any soft spots at this stage, the workers will dig down several feet and add more durable aggregates.

  • New Asphalt

Finally, the new asphalt is put down and smoothed with a roller. The asphalt will dry in 24 hours, after which it is sturdy enough to withstand foot and vehicle traffic.

Hopefully, you now have a basic understanding of how we perform asphalt paving in Portland, Oregon. You may click here to learn more about asphalt paving and repair services at K&L Industries.