Do you need your driveway paved? The good news is that you do not have to do this yourself. In most areas, there are at least a couple of paving companies you can choose from. They'll do the hard work of preparing the ground and pouring the asphalt. However, before they get to work, they will want to have a conversation with you about your expectations and the approach they are going to take. You don't need to know much to navigate this conversation, but knowing the basics about the different types of asphalt can be helpful. So, here's a brief overview:

Hot Mix Asphalt

As the name suggests, hot mix asphalt is mixed together and poured at very hot temperatures. Usually, it contains a mixture of small and larger pieces of aggregate, which gives it a good balance in terms of texture and durability. It can be worked into more intricate patterns, such as a narrow walkway or circle. However, pavers have to work quickly when installing hot mix asphalt because it becomes a lot less malleable once it cools off—which happens fast. It also has a strong odor.

Warm Mix Asphalt

Warm mix asphalt is becoming more popular, especially in colder climates where hot mix asphalt cools down too quickly to work with. Warm mix asphalt is poured at a lower temperature and it maintains that temperature better, which gives your pavers a longer "open time" to move it around. The downside is that it is not quite as durable as hot mix asphalt. You will need to be good about sealcoating it and filling any cracks as soon as they appear.

Dense Grade Asphalt

This is technically a sub-type of hot mix asphalt as it is poured at a similarly high temperature. However, instead of containing a mix of large and small aggregate, it contains a lot of large aggregate. This makes it more durable. Your paving team may recommend this type of asphalt if you park large vehicles and equipment on your driveway, or if your driveway gets a lot more through traffic than usual. Under these conditions, it will be less prone to potholes and cracks than other types of asphalt. 

Now that you have a basic understanding of the basic types of asphalt, you can have a more productive conversation with your asphalt paving contractor. Ask them which type they think best suits your needs.

Contact a local asphalt service to learn more.