Asphalt vs. Bitumen: What To Get for Your Driveway

Asphalt vs. Bitumen: What To Get for Your Driveway?

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Asphalt and bitumen are often mistaken for one another since they're both intended for the footpath and driveway and have the same black finish. However, although these two materials are often used interchangeably, asphalt and bitumen have uses, advantages, and disadvantages that vary.

Moreover, knowing the differences between these two materials helps you decide the best material for your driveway. By knowing so, you avoid having to redo all your work and finish up your driveway with the most suitable material.

Thus, how do you decide what material to use? Here is the guide below:

What Is Asphalt?

Asphalt is a composite mixture of materials, such as bitumen and aggregate (which can come from rocks, sand, or gravel). Moreover, this material can vary from liquid to glassy solid since it's a waste product made based on the asphalt mix being produced.

What's more, asphalt's density can be modified to an unlimited number of mixes based on one's usage. Since asphalt is a mixture, you can obtain different-sized aggregates depending on your driveway preference. In Australia, these mixes are rigorously controlled in all 120 asphalt plants, ranging from small-scale facilities to large-scale ones.

Further, you can even opt for sustainable asphalt based on the aggregates you use. Nowadays, demolition and construction debris are used as main waste products to increase asphalt's sustainability. Thus, if you're curious for more information, visit Claremont Asphalt to learn more about this sustainable option.

Benefits of Asphalt

Asphalt is typically placed with more depth in one's driveway compared to bitumen. As a result, asphalt is more durable and long-lasting. Likewise, asphalt has a smooth finish, so you can expect a skid-resistant driveway once it's done. This feature makes it easier and safer when driving on rainy days.

Asphalt also needs little maintenance and repairs. Once placed, you only need to give it a quick check to ensure it's in good shape, but it's unlikely that you'll have to fix your asphalt for a long time. Moreover, asphalt is also impermeable, which means that if any oil leak occurs, you can rest assured that it won't reach your soil.

Disadvantages of Asphalt

Although asphalt holds a record for being durable, it can't stand scorching temperatures. A study conducted in South America found that excessive heat can damage asphalt, accelerate its breakdown, and cause it to go soft. When this happens, you'd have no choice but to replace or repair it.

Asphalt is prone to block cracking, mainly if you have poorly laid asphalt. If you notice large cracks in your driveway even though the asphalt is new, it's most likely a result of poor paving or the use of old and dried asphalt. Hire a top-quality applicator to expect quality work to prevent your driveway from block cracking.

What Is Bitumen?

Bitumen is a binding agent produced from petroleum or, more specifically, by distilling crude oil, removing lighter fractions like petroleum gas and diesel, and producing a sticky substance. Moreover, bitumen is a strong adhesive that's water and oil resistant, making it the perfect binder for asphalt.

Benefits of Bitumen

Since making bitumen only requires a small and cheap process, bitumen can come as a cost-friendly option. So if you're looking for a quick driveway fix or want to cover up an area you don't like, you can always count on bitumen to have your back.

Bitumen is a sustainable option since you can easily recycle it. If you have areas you want to conceal, you can heat your bitumen to its melting point of 54 - 173°C and use a suitable leveling mixture to make your driveway even. Thus, bitumen allows you to practice sustainable ways since this material doesn't go to landfills like other driveway materials.

Disadvantages of Bitumen

Bitumen has a rough and bumpy texture when finished. Such texture in your driveway could make your tires wear down more quickly and make driving noisier as you go through the driveway.

Another issue with bitumen is that it isn't a perfect green option. Although it is reusable once melted, bitumen could contaminate the nearby soil in your driveway since it's made from crude oil. If you have surrounding plants nearby, it's best to avoid this.

Bitumen tends to absorb heat, so too much in your driveway could increase the thermal temperature surrounding your home. It's best to plant tall trees to shade your driveway and counter the heat.

What's the Difference Between Bitumen and Asphalt?

Bitumen entails spraying a layer of bitumen in your driveway, covering it with aggregate, and repeating the process to complete a two-set seal. Additionally, bitumen can be used by itself, and it can also be used with asphalt.

On the other hand, asphalt is a mixture of aggregate and bitumen, which is then laid as a solid material. When completely done, asphalt sealing gives off a smooth and robust finish. With this, you could liken bitumen to cement (a standalone material or an ingredient of concrete) and asphalt to concrete.

What Should You Get for Your Driveway?

Since your driveway will require a durable and smooth finish, it's best to get a durable material like asphalt. Although bitumen is more cost-effective, asphalt generally has a thicker layer which is extremely helpful for the heavy machinery load needed in your driveway.

Final Thoughts

Overall, asphalt and bitumen differ, just like cement and concrete. Moreover, knowing not only the definition but as well as asphalt and bitumen benefits and disadvantages will allow you to choose when it comes to the best material for your driveway.