Cactus Asphalt is Your Local Asphalt Expert in Phoenix, AZ

You may have heard the terms asphalt and blacktop used interchangeably and assumed the two terms described the same thing. This is a common misconception, as there is actually a difference between asphalt and blacktop. However, it’s not a huge difference because blacktop is a type of asphalt, so the two materials are similar. The primary difference between the two is how they’re made and what they’re used for. The team at Cactus Asphalt is your local expert on all types of asphalt and asphalt paving services in Phoenix, AZ, so we’ve put together this useful guide to help you better understand the difference. Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions.

How Is Asphalt Made?

Asphalt is made using two main ingredients, which are crushed stone and bitumen. These two ingredients, along with some others, are combined together and heated to create the soft asphalt that is then poured into place and allowed to harden. Bitumen is a dark, viscous material that is made from petroleum distillation and holds the crushed stone together. This combination of stone and the binding bitumen material creates a strong, durable surface that can withstand heavy traffic once fully dried. Bitumen is also utilized in the creation of roofing materials.

How Is Blacktop Made?

Blacktop is made in a similar way with some of the same ingredients as asphalt, but the ratios of the ingredients are different. The mixture used to create blacktop contains a higher percentage of crushed stone than standard asphalt. This increased level of stone is what creates the subtle sparkle on the surface of blacktop driveways, roadways, or parking lots. In addition, blacktop must also be heated to a higher temperature than asphalt, usually to 300 degrees or above. As a result of this high stone content and high-temperature creation, blacktop surfaces can last a long time.

Both Blacktop & Asphalt Are Poured Using Similar Methods

Because blacktop and asphalt are simply different forms of the same type of material, they are poured in a similar manner. The process starts by fully prepping the surface to ensure it’s ready to support the new surface. Without proper preparation, the asphalt or blacktop will not last as long and could begin to crack or degrade prematurely. For both asphalt and blacktop, the ingredients are heated and mixed together to form the pliable material that is poured into a graded roadbed. Once poured, the project is finished by smoothing the asphalt or blacktop using a roller and other specialty tools.

What Surfaces Is Asphalt Used For?

The other main difference between asphalt and blacktop is the types of projects they’re used for. Because asphalt, especially hot-mix asphalt, is more durable than other forms of pavement, it’s often used for paving in very high traffic areas. Many contractors will use asphalt for commercial highways, city streets, and other public roadways that get a lot of daily traffic. Using asphalt for projects like these ensures the surface will be able to withstand the daily wear and tear and last for many years to come. In addition, asphalt creates a better environment for people living near roads. Because asphalt can absorb road-noise, it helps to create quieter, more pleasant neighborhoods.

What Surfaces Is Blacktop Used For?

Though blacktop still produces a strong, durable surface, it does not hold up as well to lots of daily use from many cars. For this reason, it’s most often used for low traffic areas, like driveways, parking lots, playgrounds, and other less frequently used areas. Blacktop provides suitable durability and strength for these types of applications. If you’re struggling to decide whether blacktop or asphalt is the right choice for your project, a contractor can help you determine which will work best for you.

Cactus Asphalt Can Provide Asphalt Installation & Maintenance

Cactus Asphalt is your local asphalt expert in Phoenix, AZ. We’ve been providing new asphalt installation and maintenance services to the city and the surrounding areas for many years. Our experienced team can prepare your site and install your new paved surface with precision. In addition, we also provide numerous pavement maintenance services to help prolong the life of your asphalt and keep it safe for daily use. We can complete seal coating, crack sealing, patching, striping, and more. No matter what paving service you need, our team is sure to get the job done right.

Contact Cactus Asphalt for Paving Services

At Cactus Asphalt, we offer a wide range of paving services, ensuring our customers always get the service they need. Whether you are looking to pave an area for the first time, need to update a previously paved surface, or want to maintain your current asphalt surface, we can provide expert service. We’ll ensure your driveways, parking lots, or roadways are safe, presentable, and able to withstand daily traffic. Please reach out to us today to learn more or to request service at your property.