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Asphalt VS Blacktop – The Great Pavement Debate 2022

Asphalt and blacktop are two of the most common surfaces to use for paving projects. Because blacktop is a type of asphalt, the two terms are often used interchangeably. However, there are some significant differences between asphalt vs blacktop. In this article, we will break down the similarities and differences between the two. We will also discuss the pros and cons of using each paving surface for your next project. 

How Blacktop & Asphalt Are Made

Asphalt and black top are made up of the same ingredients – crushed stone and a tar-like substance known as bitumen. The difference, however, is the mixture ratios of the ingredients. Blacktop uses more stone than asphalt; therefore, it must be heated at a higher temperature. Asphalt is heated at around 250 degrees, whereas blacktop is heated at about 300 degrees. 

Best Uses For Blacktop

Blacktop can be installed in virtually any climate and can withstand heavy use due to its high resistance to wear and tear. It is typically more affordable than other paving options, such as brick pavers, which can be very expensive to install and maintain. It’s an excellent choice for both functional and aesthetic purposes.

Blacktop is a durable and affordable option, making it an ideal choice for surfaces including:

  • Driveways
  • Playgrounds
  • Paved Sport courts
  • Commercial Parking lots 
  • Patios
  • Walkways 
  • Bike paths 
  • & many more! 

Best Uses For Asphalt 

Asphalt is a versatile material that can be used in various ways. It is an effective paving material, as it provides a durable surface that can withstand the weight of vehicles without crumbling or cracking. 

While blacktop is more commonly used for lower traffic or “light load” areas, asphalt is better for high-traffic areas where it must withstand high volume. Asphalt is excellent for: 

  • Major roadways
  • Freeways/Highways 
  • Runways at airports 

While black top is a fantastic option for many projects, it cannot withstand the traffic of a highway or the impact of airplanes landing. 

Pros of asphalt

  • Longer lifespan: Asphalt is known to last longer than blacktop, so your parking lot will likely need to be repaved less often. The exact lifespan will depend on several different factors, but, generally speaking, asphalt will last longer than blacktop. 
  • Easier to install: Asphalt is often considered easier to install than blacktop, making it a better choice for smaller contractors with less specialized equipment. 
  • More affordable – Asphalt is also cheaper than blacktop, making it the ideal choice for smaller-budget projects. 
  • Great for heavy vehicles – Asphalt is also suitable for areas where heavy vehicles will drive, such as airport runways or parking lots. It’s also the go-to choice for highways due to its durability.

Pros of blacktop

  • Larger surface area: Due to the bigger size of blacktop, it can cover a wider area than asphalt, making it an excellent choice for larger or commercial projects. 
  • Suitable for all-weather conditions: Due to its naturally porous nature, blacktop can withstand extreme weather conditions and is suitable for use in all weather conditions. 
  • Great for roads: Blacktop is also ideal for streets and highways, making it the perfect choice for commercial or large-scale projects. 
  • Easy to maintain: Blacktop is also easy to maintain, making it a great choice for commercial properties that must be kept clean or regularly maintained.

Cons of asphalt

  • Longer installation time: Although asphalt lasts longer than blacktop, it also takes longer to install, which can be a disadvantage if you’re in a rush. 
  • May be easier to break – While asphalt lasts longer than blacktop, it can also be easier to break, leading to future repairs.

Cons of blacktop

  • Higher maintenance: Blacktop is known to require more maintenance than asphalt, which can be an added expense that you may not have accounted for. 
  • More expensive: Although blacktop is often cheaper to install than asphalt, it’s also more costly to maintain, making it a less financially savvy choice.

Asphalt vs Blacktop- Which Is Better For You?

The Great Pavement Debate is quite a complex subject, and there are several factors to consider when choosing between asphalt and blacktop. There’s no “correct” answer when deciding which material is best for your project. When it comes to choosing between asphalt and blacktop, both materials are excellent choices. Depending on your specific project, either one could be the best choice. The best way to know for sure is to talk to an expert.

At Saguaro Asphalt, we can help you determine the best option for your project, depending on the surface you need paved. Give us a call at (520) 394-8480, and we will give you an estimate for your upcoming project. 

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