Bitumen/ Asphalt? Asphalt/ Bitumen?
What’s the difference? Is there one? What should I use?
This is one of the most common questions which I receive! Heres the black and white of it….
Bitumen, which is often incorrectly used to describe “Asphalt” is actually a binder which holds Asphalt together. Asphalt is a mix of aggregate, bitumen and sand which is heated, mixed and applied on site using a paving machine. At this time the thickness is altered to suit the use of the surface being sealed.
A Bitumen sealed road consists of a layer of liquid bitumen sprayed on the surface, this is then covered in an aggregate and repeated for a two coat seal.
As you may have gathered from the above Asphalt is therefore the more expensive option, however also provides longevity which a Bitumen seal does not. Some people compare the price of Asphalt as being very similar to the price of concrete- therefore you can see why people are often drawn to Bitumen for their residential properties.
Bitumen is suitable for driveways and low traffic areas. In fact council will often use this for re-sealing of road which are in low traffic areas.
Asphalt is the premium product, it has a smooth finish, is more durable , has minimum road noise and loose stones and a lifespan of roughly 20 years. Bitumen on the other hand- is noisy to drive on, with loose stones picked up in tyres, a coarser finish due to the loose stones and generally has a average life expectancy of only 5-10 years. This may be longer or shorter depending on the frequency and type of traffic.
So which one is for you? Well this can come down to a number of things! Obviously cost is a huge deciding factor for a lot of people- let’s be honest if cost was never an issue we would all go for the best of the best! I would recommend that you have a professional come out and look at the area to be covered to give their advise on what would work. If you have a flat driveway with traffic being restricted to light vehicles such as small to medium sized cars you may find that a Bitumen Spray seal would provide a fantastic option for a beautiful driveway! If you are working with a car park, or high traffic road, perhaps a driveway into your workshop which delivery trucks etc drive on daily- Bitumen is likely to be unsufficient. Should you did decide to go with Bitumen as a cheaper option do not be surprised if you are paying for repairs much sooner than 5 years. Like anything you need to ensure that the choice you make is suitable for the job required.
Whichever option you believe is best for you ensure to have a professional come out and have a chat with you! They do this every day and will be able to give you an honest opinion on if you could get away with Bitumen or if you are just setting yourself up for higher costs in the long run.
Hope this helps clear a few things up! Please get in touch if you have any specific topic requests. Details on my contact page or head back to the main page here!