Asphalt or bitumen, what is the best solution for the area you are planning to resurface? Continue on reading if you would like to know the difference between the two, what are the benefits and disadvantages, price difference and lifespan.
Bitumen and asphalt, what’s the difference?
When people talk about asphalt and bitumen, the words are often used to describe the same thing, which is not correct. To set the record straight we offer an explanation of the difference below:
Bitumen is the liquid binder that holds asphalt together. A bitumen-sealed surface is a layer of bitumen sprayed and then covered with an aggregate. This is then repeated to give a two-coat seal.
Asphalt is produced in a plant that heats, dries and mixes aggregate, bitumen and sand into a composite. This is then installed across a surface, for example an asphalt driveway.
It’s all good to understand the difference between the two. However, which one is the best option for you?
Benefits and Disadvantages of Asphalt
- Minimal noise
- Durable with a life span of 20 + years
- Energy efficient -reduces friction between tire and car, which in turns means better fuel economy and a reduction of carbon dioxide emission
- Safer than most pavement options- asphalt gets a smoother and more skid-resistant surface making asphalt a safer option
- Reduced wear and tear on vehicles and tires
- More expensive to install compared to bitumen
- Requires a well-prepared surface before paving is done
- Extreme hot temperatures can affect the asphalt negatively and make it go soft
Benefits and Disadvantages of Bitumen
- Cheap to install compared to asphalt
- Can be recycled instead of going to landfill
- The loose rocks on bitumen pavements make the driving experience noisier and wear down tires.
- Less durable
- Extreme weather and improper weather conditions tend to make bituminous pavement slick and soft.
- Can cause pollution to soil and groundwater
Still unsure whether asphalt or bitumen is the right choice for your next resurfacing project? Call us on 0418 957 081 to get expert advice or continue on reading about the price difference between the two materials.
Bitumen is Cheaper
When you compare the price between bitumen and asphalt, bitumen is a clear winner. Bitumen is cheaper to install and if you are planning to resurface a road with low volumes of traffic, bitumen can be a good investment.
Asphalt is the Most Cost-Effective
Yet, when you look at the cost efficiency and lifespan of the two, asphalt comes out as the winner. Asphalt generally has a thicker layer of 25-40 mm whereas bitumen has a layer with a thickness of 10-20 mm. This is one of the reasons why asphalt has a longer lifespan. You can expect to get 5-10 years from a road where bitumen has been used while you get a staggering 20 + years from an asphalt road! Additionally, an asphalt surface only requires periodic maintenance, saving you both time and money!
When you are thinking about resurfacing an area, we suggest you consider the purpose of the area you are planning to resurface as well as your budget.
To summarise, asphalt comes with many benefits and few disadvantages while there seems to be more disadvantages than benefits using bitumen. Asphalt is the most commonly used pavement method and no wonder, it’s cost-effective with a long life span. Additionally, when it’s installed, you don’t have to sacrifice precious hours to maintain it. No matter if you are resurfacing a driveway, installing an asphalt carpark, or fixing potholes in an existing surface, asphalt is a worthwhile investment that will last the test of time.
Are you still debating whether asphalt or bitumen is the best option for you? Give us a call on 0418 957 081 and let us guide you!