Without digging too deeply into its chemical breakdown - asphalt cement is a petroleum product with tarlike properties. The asphalt cement acts as a binding agent for a mixture of aggregates (i.e. gravel, sand, crushed stone) to make up the asphalt pavement our cars park on and quite literally where the rubber meets most roads in the U.S.
In fact, according to the National Asphalt Pavement Association, over 90 percent of all parking areas, paved roads, and airport runways in the U.S. are surfaced with asphalt pavement. This should come as no surprise though as asphalt pavement is skid resistant, weather resistant, cost-effective, quiet, and highly durable - making it an ideal surface material for everything from driveways to roadways to walking paths.
Asphalt pavement is also 100% recyclable and can be crushed down into various sizes for reuse. The end product: recycled asphalt product, or R.A.P. as it is called in the industry, can then be resold as a sustainable, relatively cheap alternative to driveway gravel - or it can even be reused to make new hot mix asphalt paving material.
For these reasons and more, RAP has become more and more popular for use on projects of any scale. Here are a few of those products and their most common applications:
'Asphalt Millings' is recycled asphalt pavement that has been crushed using a milling machine--typically when roads are being repaved--into sizes comparable to gravel.
'Recycled Asphalt' is essentially the same crushed material, though it may be screened or crushed down into even smaller sizes than the millings - it will all depend on where you get it from and/or the asphalt plant that processed the recycled material.
For residential applications, recycled asphalt/millings are most commonly used in driveways - though homeowners have found the product useful for various projects like patios, playgrounds, parking lots, fire pit areas, as well as basketball and tennis courts. It also works great under sheds, barns, and metal buildings, as well as for a top coat at entry ways.
For commercial and community projects, the RAP can be used as an effective base for sidewalks, for bike paths, walking trails, as road ballast, as road or construction filler, or as a paving material with the help of an asphalt paver or a compactor/roller.
The benefits of R.A.P.:
It is often less expensive than most driveway and walkway gravels.
It minimizes the likelihood of mud forming and holds up well in the rain and snow.
It will kick up less dust than gravel/dirt when driving on it.
It actually hardens over time as it is exposed to the heat and compacts together tightly.
It also makes for a great base should you choose to lay gravel on top or pave over it with a layer of hot-mix asphalt later on.
Before purchasing and installing recycled asphalt/millings for your next driveway or other project, remember that it is important to research and consider questions like:
Can my project be 'DIY' or will I need the help of installation or paving professionals?
If it is DIY, what machinery will I need to rent or buy to carry out the job?
How much surface area am I needing to cover, and what base material should I lay down first?
Lastly, 'asphalt sand/screenings' come in sizes 3/8" down to fines, and can be used as construction filler for backfill projects or for mixing new asphalt. When used as a substitute for fill dirt, the sand/screenings will have the added advantage of resisting erosion, ultimately improving the longevity of the project and saving you money. It is also a skid resistant material due to the angular shape of its particles - making it a useful paving course to go underneath pavers or flagstone.
Be sure to check the availability of RAP or asphalt screenings in your area on the Gravel Shop for your next project by first entering your zip code on our homepage and taking a look at our products for sale.