What is asphalt and how is it made?
~ Asphalt has been around for many years and has been part of our landscape since the late 19th century. It is sometimes known to people as Hot Mix Asphalt, blacktop, tarmac, macadam, plant mix, asphalt concrete, or bituminous concrete. This resilient material covers more than 94 % of the paved roads in theUnited States. It’s a popular choice for driveways, parking lots, airport runways, racetracks, tennis courts, and other applications where a smooth, durable driving surface is required. Asphalt is an engineered mixture of aggregate, or stone and sand, mixed with liquid asphalt cement, which is a petroleum product similar to tar or oil. Various sizes of aggregate are mixed with the asphalt cement and heated at a state approved asphalt plant. The asphalt is then delivered by truck to your driveway. Once it has been installed and compacted, the mixture will cool and harden.
What is an oil and stone driveway?
~ An oil & stone driveway, sometimes known as tar & chip, will offer the look of a gravel driveway, but will still provide a strong and durable surface. We suggest two coats of oil and stone on new driveway surfaces. The driveway base is prepared, and a coat of oil (RC-250) is applied with a special sprayer attached to the oil truck. A layer of gravel is then distributed over the treated surface and is then compacted with a roller.
This process is generally repeated once more, to provide two coats of oil & stone. Once the oil has cooled, it will harden and provide a stable surface for the gravel. The end result will look like a natural gravel surface. There will be constant loose stone, however, maintenance will be minimal depending upon the stone type. Stone comes in a variety of sizes and colors and provides and excellent alternative to asphalt.
*All stone types are naturally mined products and may vary in size and color.
What is the difference between an asphalt driveway and an oil & stone driveway?
~ An asphalt driveway and an oil & stone driveway are actually made from similar materials. The main difference between the two is how they are installed and what the finished surface will look like. An asphalt driveway will result in a hard, blacktop surface suitable for driveway basketball games, bike riding and roller-skating. The surface will be durable, long lasting and require little maintenance. An oil & stone driveway will result in a loose gravel surface suitable for driveway or parking areas. The surface will be rough, and may require periodic maintenance as the stone moves.
Which surface should I install?
~ Obviously, the choice is yours. Asphalt is both durable and functional, while Oil & Stone is more rustic and aesthetically pleasing. Asphalt will provide years of use with little maintenance, while Oil & Stone will require more effort to keep it looking its best. Of course, there are some other factors that will influence your decision aside from looks. The terrain and the very earth itself may play a big part in your final choice. A steep hill, that is vulnerable to erosion, would not be a very good place for an oil & stone application. The loose stone will easily be washed away and before long, the base and sub-base will be undermined. (Remember, theGrand Canyonwas cut and created by flowing water…) A more solid surface, like asphalt, would be recommended in sloped areas. Or how about an area that is relatively low, and frequently under water? An oil & stone surface, or even gravel only might be better in an area like this, as it will allow excess water to dissipate more quickly.