Determining the Right Asphalt Mix for Your Project

December 30, 2020

The proper asphalt mix is essential for all projects. There is never a one-size-fits-all option that works for all construction and paving, and hiring a skilled asphalt contractor in Montgomery County, MD is an excellent first step. Each type of asphalt varies in cost, mix control and recycling capabilities, and it is impossible to determine what you need without specialized knowledge. Here are four types of asphalt mix and their ideal projects:

  • Hot mix asphalt (HMA): HMA is the “standard” mix. Contractors must heat it between 289 and 325 degrees Fahrenheit to lay it and produce the correct binding quality. It works for most projects, although its high heat demand limits its application to warmer months. If you use HMA in winter, you risk the base cooling too quickly and compromise your driveway or parking lot structure. It also contains hazards, because paving HMA produces fumes, dust and smoke. However, it is the old standby, and those seeking reliable paving products often lean toward HMA.
  • Warm mix asphalt (WMA): WMA is a newer form and used in around 30 percent of paving projects. It is a compromise between hot and cold, and offers many advantages. Contractors can haul it longer and lay it in cooler temperatures. It uses fewer petroleum products than other mixes, and creates less smoke, dust and fumes when paved. This advantage makes it safer for worker health and the environment. WMA only needs to be heated between 200 and 250 degrees to mix, demanding fewer worker resources. With WMA, you enjoy a reliable product and may pay less than you would for more traditional options.
  • Cold mix asphalt (CMA): This variety works very well for spot repairs like potholes and patchwork on road surfaces. Contractors can blend and lay it in winter temperatures, since it does not need heat to mix correctly. It is not appropriate for larger projects with heavy vehicle or foot traffic, because it is not as durable as WMA and HMA. However, it works great for repairs and smaller, less-traveled surfaces. If you find you’re in a tight spot one winter and need repairs or a temporary access road, CMA will hold for you until you can use another asphalt mix.
  • Custom: Sometimes, a project is not entirely straightforward. If a paving or construction project requires a specific thickness, granularity or stress tolerance, the immediate solution is to lay it hot and mold it to specifications. But sometimes, demands require mixing the elements of one or two types to create a custom mix. If your paving project involves unique circumstances, the best course of action is to consult with a contractor and see what options may work for you.

Maryland Asphalt LLC is a trusted asphalt contractor with years of industry experience. When you call us for an estimate, we can determine the proper asphalt mix for residential and commercial projects in Montgomery County, MD. Reach out to us today to discuss paving, sealcoating and any other necessary paving projects for your property.

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