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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.

It’s all good to understand the difference between the two. However, which one is the best option for you? This takes us to the next part of our blog post.

Benefits and Disadvantages of Asphalt

Benefits:      

Disadvantages:

Benefits and Disadvantages of Bitumen

Benefits:

Disadvantages:

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.

However, 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 or another area around your house, asphalt is a worthwhile investment that will last the test of time.

 

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