Contrary to popular belief, asphalt and blacktop are not the same thing! While many people use the terms interchangeably to describe any black asphalt pavement, these surfaces have subtle differences. In this blog, we will take a closer look at asphalt vs blacktop to help you understand which surface is right for your property in Atlanta.
How is Blacktop Similar to Asphalt Paving in Atlanta?
Before we get into the differences, let’s review the similarities.
Asphalt contractors can create blacktop surfaces using the equipment used for asphalt paving in Atlanta. That’s because Atlanta asphalt and blacktop contain the same ingredients. Technically, blacktop is a type of asphalt. That’s why both surfaces have the signature dark color.
The differences lie in the ingredient formulas and preparation. More on that soon. Both surfaces contain crushed stone and bitumen, a petroleum byproduct with many uses in construction. When doing blacktop or asphalt paving in Atlanta, contractors must heat the ingredients to ensure a strong bond and a resilient finished surface.
How Do Atlanta Asphalt and Blacktop Differ?
While they look similar, Atlanta asphalt contains a higher bitumen-to-stone ratio than blacktop. The greater concentration of bitumen makes it an ultra-durable pavement option. While you’ll still need occasional asphalt repairs, the composition of the material makes it more capable of withstanding traffic and exposure to the elements.
Blacktop has more stone than bitumen. This results in a grittier texture that provides great slip resistance. It’s also more malleable. Therefore, it’s less prone to cracking and may need less frequent attention and fewer asphalt repairs.
Another key difference is the preparation process. An asphalt contractor must heat both materials. However, blacktop requires a higher heating temperature. Atlanta asphalt only needs heating up to 120 degrees Celsius (about 250 degrees Fahrenheit). Meanwhile, blacktop needs to reach 150 degrees Celsius (roughly 300 degrees Fahrenheit).
Asphalt vs Blacktop: Which Surface is More Durable?
Regarding durability, asphalt paving in Atlanta is the clear winner. Because Atlanta asphalt contains a higher bitumen concentration, it’s less porous than blacktop. It holds up better to the elements and can withstand more wear. These surfaces can last decades with proper care, occasional asphalt overlay, and sealcoating.
Blacktop is also tough, but it’s not for heavy-duty applications. It’s better at resisting cracking, but the material isn’t as strong as asphalt.
Asphalt vs Blacktop: Which is More Comfortable to Use?
There are pros and cons for both surfaces.
Blacktop has a grittier texture due to its higher stone-to-bitumen ratio. That may make surfaces more comfortable to walk on during wet conditions.
But asphalt paving in Atlanta is smoother. Therefore, it produces less noise when driven on. It offers a smoother driving experience for customers who visit your commercial property. The lower stone content also reduces wear on tires and shoes! With occasional asphalt overlay, you can maintain that comfort for years.
Asphalt vs Blacktop: What are the Different Applications for These Surfaces?
Generally, asphalt paving is for heavy-duty applications. Because the surface is more resilient, it’s perfect for busy parking lots, airport runways, highways and major roads.
Blacktop isn’t as tough, so it’s best for low-traffic areas. Asphalt contractors often lay blacktop on small parking lots, walkways, sports courts, etc.
No matter what type of surface you want for your commercial property, The Surface Masters are here to help! We’re Atlanta’s most trusted asphalt contractor, offering several surfaces to help you get and maintain paved surfaces you can count on. These include new paving, asphalt repairs, asphalt overlay, milling, reclamation, sealcoating, crack-filling, concrete curbing and pavement markings.
At The Surface Masters, we’re proud to be a nationally recognized asphalt contractor. We plan to show you why we’re one of Atlanta’s most rewarded contractors, delivering quality service you can trust. Call us today at (770)250-6392 for a free quote. You can also reach us at Info@TheSurfaceMasters.com or submit our online contact form.