Asphalt is a common choice for new driveways because of it's competitive cost and durability. When it comes to asphalt, though, there are a few choices available. Learn what they are so you can pick the best asphalt for your project.
1. Hot Mix
Hot mix asphalt is brought in a special truck or trailer that is equipped to keep the asphalt hot and malleable. It's laid and smoothed while hot, so it creates a smooth, blemish-free surface that is uniform in color. This is the most common variety of asphalt used for paving projects like driveways and private roads. Naturally, hot mix is a rich black color, although variations are possible to lighten the color so it can take dyes. Another benefit of hot mix is its repairability. If cracks occur, the asphalt can be reheated and then a hot mix patch can be applied that will promptly bond with the existing asphalt.
Asphalt is completely recyclable, so it's possible to request that only recycled asphalt be used for your driveway project. This prevents landfilling a petroleum product, which is beneficial to the environment. The old asphalt is reheated and filtered to remove any impurities. It is then applied as a hot mix, so it is just as uniform in color and durable as using virgin asphalt. Even better, the cost of recycled asphalt is often much less than that of virgin asphalt. You can also request that any old asphalt that you are having removed also be recycled as opposed to being sent to the landfill.
If you have issues with standing water on your property or if you are concerned about groundwater loss via evaporation, porous asphalt is the answer. This asphalt contains large aggregate that leaves small openings in the paving. The asphalt is still durable enough to drive and park on, but the pores allow water to seep through and into the ground below. From the surface, porous asphalt looks just like regular asphalt paving, so you aren't making any trade-off between porosity and aesthetics.
Once you determine the basic type of asphalt you would like used for your driveway, you may have the opportunity to further personalize it. Asphalt can be dyed a variety of colors, for example, to add some visual interest to the drive. There is also the option of having a stone aggregate mixed into the top layer for a more decorative finish. Contact an asphalt paving contractor to learn more.