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Rubber Paving Vs Asphalt Paving: All You Need To Know

There are many options for a homeowner or a contractor looking to install a driveway, the most common being asphalt, concrete and rubber. In this blog, we will compare the latter two to help you reach an informed decision about which one is better for your specific scenario.  

Asphalt Paving

What is Asphalt?

Asphalt pavement is the most commonly used material for the surface of paved roads. On roads, it is beneficial because its rough texture provides great traction for tires, and is also relatively quiet to drive on. Also it takes a short time before it is set and ready to use. 

Asphalt is a black liquid substance that is a by-product of processing crude petroleum. It is a key component in waterproofing and insulation materials. It’s also used for roofing shingles. But its best known use is for paving roads. The raw asphalt is mixed with crushed rocks and other minerals to create paving asphalt. 

Exactly what goes into the paving asphalt depends on what is being paved. But generally, these are the four ingredients: 

  • Sand
  • Stone Dust
  • 5mm – 10mm stones
  • 10mm-14mm stones

These materials usually make up about 90% of the paving mix. The remaining 5% is liquid  asphalt cement. So the liquid asphalt basically acts as a glue to hold the aggregate together. 

Given that most paved roads in the world are asphalt, it’s no surprise that it’s one of the world’s most recycled materials. In the U.S. alone. 80% of asphalt removed during road works is reused for future projects. Of the nearly 100 million tonnes of it produced or reclaimed each year, 95% is repurposed or reclaimed in some way. This helps to save tons of waste from reaching the landfills. It also drives the cost of road repairs and paving projects down. It can provide a profit or saving of up to $30-80 per ton depending on the combination of ingredients used in the process. Using recycled asphalt also offers other benefits: It results in stiffer pavement that is less prone to cracking.

What makes it the de facto paving solution is the fact that it’s easy and cheap to produce. 

How Asphalt Paving Is Installed

  • Step1: Old Surface removal

First step is always to remove the existing pavement, whether it is concrete, rubber, or asphalt. Using bobcats and forklift, the paving is removed and sent away to a recycling plant for reuse.

  • Step 2: Grading the surface

Once the area is debris free, technicians use laser-guided transits and motor graders to properly grade the surface, using the resulting pavement will not have water logging issues. This prevents future issues such as cracks and heaving. 

  • Step 3: Installing the foundation (Sub-base)

After grading, the next step is to lay the foundation of the pavement / driveway. This layer is also known as the sub-base.  It’s main functions are to: 

  1. Provides a stable surface to support the pavement.
  2. Provides a frost barrier to help reduce winter damage due to freezing and thawing.
  • Step 4: Testing and adjusting the foundation

This step involves testing the foundation to see if it can handle heavy loads. Any soft areas are then repaired.

  • Step 5: Installing the binder

Once the sub-base is tested and found to be fine, the binder, which is sometimes called the base coat, is laid. This layer is the strength of the asphalt pavement. It consists of a large aggregate (approximately 0.75 inch) mixed with hot mix asphalt.

  • Step 6: Laying the New Asphalt Surface

Once all the sub-layers are finished, a new asphalt surface is applied. This mixture of small aggregate, sand, stone dust and bitumen binder, create the jet-black top coat we all know. 

  • Step 7: Fixing the Butt Joints

More often than not, asphalt is installed in areas where it connects to existing driveways. The point where they meet is called a butt joint. It is important for the contractors to smooth out such areas for good water runoff and also for aesthetics.

  • Step 8: Smoothing and rolling

Once the asphalt has been laid and the butt joints have been smoothed, everything is compacted and smoothed down using roller machines. 

Benefits of asphalt paving

Asphalt is Recyclable 

Asphalt is probably the most recycled product in the U.S. This recycling system is not only environmentally friendly but also results in stronger asphalt. 

Asphalt is Hardy and Lasts Long

The life expectancy of an asphalt driveway varies based on climate, load, and maintenance. With proper installation and good maintenance it is possible for your asphalt driveway to last 25-30 years,

Asphalt is Cost Efficient

Because of the high rates of asphalt recycling, cost of asphalt driveways is kept relatively affordable. 

Asphalt Projects Can be Completed Quickly

The materials needed to create asphalts are easy to get ahold of and able to be turned into asphalt very quickly.

Asphalt Paving is Safe

The rough texture of asphalt helps to prevent skids and slips. 

Rubber Paving

Rubber is a material which in the past 25 years has grown in popularity to compete with asphalt and concrete. It typically consists of recycled car tyres which have been ground and mixed with adhesives and other ingredients. Rubber paving possesses some characteristics that make it a desirable paving solution:

Benefits of rubber paving

Rubber paving looks good

Rubber paving can be customized to different colors and grain sizes to give you your desired look. Rubber paving contractors usually offer good comprehensive warranties and also warranties against cracking since rubber pavement is less prone to cracks than say, concrete. Unlike concrete, rubber also does not allow grass weeds or fungi to grow through. 

A rubber pavement is cheaper than a concrete pavement

Surface renovations can quickly and easily run over budget so choosing good but cost effective paving options like rubber is important. 

Rubber paving is more affordable than concrete paving. On average rubber paving costs $6.00 – $11.00 per square foot. Concrete paving on the other hand costs $8.00 – $18.00 per square foot.

Apart from cost of materials and equipment, rubber paving is also cheaper because it doent require you to rip out existing substrate. Thuis installation is quick easy and incase you want to change it later on, it will be a quick and inexpensive job. 

Easy repair and maintenance 

Cleaning a rubber pavement is daily easy, All you need is a regular or pressured hose to loose dirt off the surface. Also because rubber doesnt foster growth of moss or other small plants, you won’t pack to pick them out as in concrete. 

Rubber due to its impact absorbing nature as well as durability, is not prone to damage. However in case of holes or other defects, the area can easily be patched seamlessly and appear as good as new. 

Rubber paving is eco-friendly 

Much of rubber paving is manufactured utilizing old car tires as the raw material. By doing so, millions of tires are redirected from landfills where they would take up tons of space, and become environmental hazards. 

Rubber paving is tried and tested

Rubber paving has gained popularity for good reason — it offers good value for money as a surfacing material. Rubber paving can serve you and remain in good condition for over 20 years, resisting strong weather, snow, heavy foot traffic among other tough conditions.

How rubber paving is installed:

As mentioned above, installing rubber pavement is not a difficult process. However precision is important for a good outcome. 

Steps to install rubber pavement: 
  • Mixing of materials – This is when the solid rubber granules are mixed with adhesive and other chemicals to form the paving material. Coloring is also added at this point. 
  • Surface priming – To ensure a long lasting pavement, the underfloor has to be prepared so that the rubber will stick well. This can involve sanding the surface, smoothing it, cleaning it and applying a priming solution. 
  • Pour and level the mixture – Once your mixture and surface are ready, it’s time to pour. Pour the rubber into the surface and pack it down to be as thin or as thick as you desire. The benefit of rubber paving is that it is easy to mold it into crevices and around corners. Use trowels and rollers to achieve a flat finish. 
  • Let it set – After you’re happy with the job, you need to let it dry. Newly applied rubber surfacing usually has an odor but don’t worry the smell will go away eventually. The drying time for rubber paving is relatively short. In a day or so, you can walk on it. After 3 days you can begin to park your car in the newly paved driveway.

Since rubber paving doesn’t require lots of special equipment, you are able to do this on your own, or you can choose to hire experienced contractors. 

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Creative Director, Rubcorp Distribution, LLC

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