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An explanation of each and what they are suitable for.
The simplest way to describe bitumen is to say that it is like a glue. Glue that holds together road and car park surfaces.
Roads and car park surfaces are made of several different materials that are bound together by bitumen.
Bitumen is temperature sensitive. It is liquid when hot and almost like plastic when cold. It adheres strongly to many materials, is water resistant, flexible and durable.
So if you call a road or car park “bitumen”, you’re partly right, that’s just one of the materials used in creating it.
Asphalt is the term used to describe all the materials used when laying a road or car park surface.
Generally the terms asphalt and bitumen are interchangeable when it comes to using them to describe a surface sealant.
However, asphalt (or hot-mix as it is commonly referred to in this context) is made up of sand and stone aggregates, and is bound together by bitumen. The hot-mix is laid on a prepared base, which provides a stable foundation for the pavement.
Once laid, the hot-mix provides a smooth, flexible and durable finish which is ideal for road surfaces , driveways, car parks and other areas which may encounter a high volume of traffic, or drag caused by turning wheels.
Unlike hot-mix, spray seal is formed by applying a spray coat of bitumen over a prepared base then laying an even spread of aggregate on top. Spray seal can be applied in a single or double coat.
It’s important that the base for the spray seal is well-prepared, since it’s thinner than hot-mix and will closely follow the shape of the base. While this means it’s not quite as strong as hot-mix, spray seal is still flexible, attractive and water-proof.
As a more affordable alternative, spray seal is ideal for paving large areas where high traffic volumes are not an issue, such as rural driveways, private roads, and footpaths. We would not advise spray seal for industrial purposes.
Whether you choose hot-mix or spray seal for your project, a well-prepared base is essential to the longevity of your finished pavement. AAA Asphalt employ a permanent earthworks crew with the experience and equipment to lay foundations for asphalt paving of any size or dimension.
We prefer to use our own team to prepare the base course, so we can ensure the quality of the preparation and offer a greater warranty on the finished product.
Contact us to discuss which surface sealant is best suited to your asphalt project.