Most people drive on asphalt each and every day. But what is it, really? What is it made of?
Let’s take an in-depth look at what our roads, driveways, and parking lots are made of.
Asphalt is an aggregate, which means that it is composed of several ingredients, some of which are loose and must be bonded together. Asphalt is made primarily of loose sand and stone particles. These particles are bonded together by tar, and the resulting combination is asphalt. (Side note: tar is what gives asphalt its black color and smooth aesthetic.)
The tar adhesive is a key difference between concrete and other paving aggregates.
Now that we know what goes into the asphalt mixture, the next question is: How does asphalt get installed?
All asphalt driveways, roads, and parking lots need to be installed over a solid gravel base. This gravel has to be compacted and tightly compressed to create a stable base for the asphalt layer.
Then, asphalt must also be compressed in order to form a solid surface on top of the base layer. Once applied, it must be rolled by a very heavy roller in order to adhere properly to the surface.
After the asphalt has been rolled, applied properly, and compressed, it must be sealed to prevent surface damage. Sealcoating ensures that your asphalt won’t degrade due to the sun or rain. This special layer must be applied after the asphalt has fully cured and been in place for a few months, and it will extend the life of the asphalt.
And that’s it! Next time you park outside your favorite store or pull into your driveway, you’ll have a slightly deeper appreciation for what, exactly, your car is sitting on.
For more information on our paving services, contact Asphalt Paving Service in Kansas City.