When you have an asphalt parking lot, driveway, or structure installed, it is important to determine what type of asphalt mix is used. The mixture of asphalt used will impact the thickness and stress tolerance of the finished products. To get the best results, you need to understand the choices that are available to you so you can choose the strongest asphalt for the job.
Type #1: Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA)
HMA is generally seen as the standard type of asphalt. With HMA, the aggregate and binding materials are mixed and heated to extremely high temperatures. When the mixture is extremely hot, it is laid down. The mixture needs to be laid down immediately after mixing.
This type of mixture can only be used when it is warmer outside, as, during the colder months, the mixture can cool off too quickly before it is properly laid down and can compromise the quality of the final product. HMA is used in most large jobs.
Type #2: Cold Mix Asphalt (CMA)
CMA is specially designed so that asphalt mixtures can be laid down when it is colder outside. This makes it possible for asphalt contractors to work throughout the year.
The normal mixture of aggregate and binding materials is mixed with additional additives and oils that allow the mixture not to cool off too quickly and allows for asphalt to be laid down when colder. Cold mix asphalt, however, is not as strong as hot mix asphalt. It is generally used more for patchwork and filling potholes and is rarely used for an entire parking lot or structure.
Type #3: Warm Mix Asphalt (WMA)
WMA is a newer mixture that is a compromise between hot and cold mix asphalt. Like CMA, it can be used in the colder months. However, it is specially designed to be hauled further distances while still curing and creating a strong product.
Warm mix asphalt also uses less petroleum than HMA, making it better for the environment. Warm mix asphalt is also safer to work with, producing fewer fumes and creating less dust and smoke when it is poured. More and more large projects are being made with WMA.
Hot mix asphalt is the standard for asphalt products, although if you are looking for an environmentally friendlier option, you may want to consider warm mix asphalt. Cold mix asphalt is best for small patch jobs in the winter months. Discuss which product is best with your commercial paving contractor. Get started with your commercial asphalt paving project today.