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What Are the Different Types of Asphalt?

Most people think of asphalt as the black pavement material found in parking lots and roads. Beyond that, they don't think much about asphalt.

Black Bear Paving & Grading in San Jose specializes in asphalt repair, installation, and maintenance services. While asphalt may look similar, there are actually three different types of asphalts: hot mix asphalt (HMA), warm mix asphalt (WMA), and cold mix asphalt. Below, we'll explore each more in depth. Contact us today for all of your asphalt paving needs!


Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA)

HMA is produced at high temperatures, usually somewhere between 150 and 180 degrees Celsius, or about 300 degrees Fahrenheit. This type of asphalt is the most durable of all asphalt types. This asphalt is used in major highways and airport runways.

Warm Mix Asphalt (WMA)

WMA is made at a lower temperature than HMA, usually about 30 degrees Celsius lower. This is made possible because of added materials, such as emulsions, waxes, and zeolites. WMA uses less energy and produces less fumes. Crews can work the WMA better, and it takes less time for asphalt to cool down for use by the public. This type of asphalt is relatively new, having been developed in the 1990s. However, WMA is not as strong nor durable as HMA, and thus this type of asphalt is much more likely to be found in low-trafficked areas.

Cold Mix Asphalt

Cold mix asphalt is made with no added heat at all. The water inside the bitumen helps to break down the materials. As the asphalt cures, the water content evaporates, which results in a stronger product than previously. Cold mix asphalt is preferred for very low-trafficked roads, to repair potholes, or fix pavement cracks. Cold mix asphalt is the most affordable type.

In general, these are the type of asphalts. However, when you lay asphalt, it's put down in layers. These include the asphalt surface, the binder layer, the base layer, and the protection layer. Different mixes of asphalt are used for these purposes. There are almost a dozen different kinds of asphalt that consist of different textures and materials in order to create the perfect product for the asphalt job. Some of the most popular types of these layers include:

  • Mastic Asphalt — contains less bitumen than other asphalt mixes and is very popular for roads, footpaths, playing courts, and in roofing

  • Soft Asphalt — contains many of the same aggregates as regular asphalt, just with very low viscosity (soft) bitumen binders. This type of asphalt is popular for gravel roads and is less susceptible to frost heaves and fatigue

  • Porous Asphalt — this type of asphalt allows for stormwater to drain through the pavement surface beneath the asphalt due to its spacing in-between the substances. Very popular for parking lots


Black Bear Paving & Grading specializes in asphalt paving jobs in the San Jose area. Whether you need a repaving project or you just need asphalt maintenance, we can help. Call us today!

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