You may have never realized it, but when paving contractors lay asphalt, they don't always do it the same way. Granted, every mixture is a combination of fine and coarse aggregate, as well as crude-oil-based products, but the mixing process and temperatures differ to create three distinct products: hot mix, warm mix, and cold mix asphalt. Midsouth Paving, the premier paving contractor in Southeastern Alabama, explains below how these mixes differ and what they're used for.
Hot Mix Asphalt
Hot mix asphalt must be heated and spread at temperatures between 300 and 350 degrees Fahrenheit. It is the most common type because the heating process helps weatherproof it. Hot mix asphalt therefore withstands UV rays well, slows oxidation, and resists moisture penetration. This prevents cracks and potholes from forming and extends the surface's lifespan. It cools very quickly, so it cannot be laid on days where the temperature is below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Warm Mix Asphalt
Laid at temperatures of 200 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit, warm mix asphalt costs less and utilizes less energy to produce than the hot mix variety. It is very flexible, as it cools less quickly than hot mix asphalt does, so it is ideal for nighttime and winter construction, and it can be shipped over longer distances. Perhaps a third of all construction projects use this variety.
Cold Mix Asphalt
The third type of mix, as its name suggests, does not require any heat to produce. It is therefore the most economical and environmentally friendly mix since it utilizes no fossil fuels to manufacture. It is ideal for quick repairs of cracks and potholes, particularly during winter months. However, cold mix patches do not last as long or provide the same weather resistance as the others do. Proper repairs with hot or warm mix asphalt may be required later.
As you can see, hot, warm, and cold asphalt mixes each has their place and purpose. To discuss your options with an experienced paving contractor, contact Midsouth Paving in Dothan, AL. They handle jobs as small as an asphalt driveway and as large as a section of interstate. Visit their website to request a quote or call (334) 712-7500 to speak to a friendly, knowledgeable representative.