The Amazing Material called Asphalt
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of asphalt? Probably how nice it looks when there is a shiny new just paved layer of it on your driveway, or office parking lot. But do you know what asphalt is? Did you know that it’s actually been used since ancient times, and that Canada has the world’s largest reserves of naturally occurring asphalt?
Liquid asphalt also called bitumen is the glue or binder that is used to make the material that we commonly call “asphalt” and use to make smooth attractive and safe roads, parking lots, driveways etc. It has been a valued substance since ancient times when it was often called pitch and got used in a variety of ways. Making boats water tight, roofs water proof, as mortar in brick walls, as natural glue and a waterproofing agent for cloth were all done with asphalt.
Asphalt and Tarmac the pavers substance of choice
For most people, and certainly for us pavers, asphalt is actually an abbreviation for asphalt concrete Asphalt concrete is the stuff Burnaby Blacktop use to make your parking lot look great , put in a new municipal bike path, basketball court etc. Asphalt concrete, also sometimes called Tarmac or blacktop is actually an engineered mixture of aggregate (stones and sand) with liquid asphalt cement (a petroleum based substance).
Today by far the largest use of asphalt/bitumen is in the making of asphalt concrete which is the main substance used in 95% of the roads and parking lots of North America. To make asphalt for paving, various sizes of aggregates are heated and then mixed in exact proportions with asphalt cement that has been liquefied at about 300°F (150°C). While the mixture is still hot, it is delivered to your property and placed on a prepared gravel base or subgrade. Very soon after paving, the mixture cools and hardens to form a strong water resistant surface that you can drive and park on it.
The Advantages of Asphalt
You’ll recognize several benefits with asphalt pavements, compared to other, more costly options.
- It is strong and durable.
- It is easy to form into a smooth, continuous surface.
- It is engineered to withstand freezing and thawing.
- Asphalt is unaffected by salt. No need to worry about salting your driveway in winter..
- Unlike other, more rigid materials, such as concrete, asphalt pavements are designed to flex and “give” with slight settlements or frost heave.
- It’s easy to repair, easy to maintain and can be recycled when old.
Asphalt is flexible to the types of service that are usual in both commercial and residential areas. If a utility line or pipe must pass under your driveway, repairs are performed more easily and quickly than with alternative materials, such as concrete. The same is true if undue ground settling should naturally occur, requiring excavation and repair.
Asphalt mixtures come in a wide variety and are optimized for different uses and conditions. Some mixtures are smoother on top than others; some have a higher content of asphalt cement than others. A special type of asphalt mixture can even be colored and imprinted to resemble paver blocks, combining a certain aesthetic appeal with the benefits of asphalt.
Asphalt, long term benefits for millions
Asphalt is the most cost-effective option you can choose. Just as it has for millions of businesses and homeowners the world over, asphalt pavement can last many years for you — with only minimal maintenance.
As you can see asphalt has been providing benefits to civilization for a long time. Burnaby Blacktop is proud to be part of a long traditional of craftsmen who have used asphalt to make our community more attractive, safer, better!
If you have some paving that needs doing, repairs or lines that need refreshing, or simply have some more questions about asphalt, give us a call at (778) 855-0513. Find out why our clients love us!