Why Are People Using Asphalt Millings Instead of Gravel?

Why Are People Using Asphalt Millings Instead of Gravel?

Asphalt millings, also known as recycled asphalt pavement (RAP), come from previous asphalt projects that have been removed and crushed into gravel. Asphalt millings are cheaper and more eco-friendly than virgin asphalt, hence why more people are turning to this option, especially for residential construction. Depending on the nature of your project, asphalt millings can offer some unique benefits over traditional gravel or asphalt. That doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the right option for your project.

What Are Asphalt Millings?

When city streets wear down and need to be redone, construction crews enter the scene and remove old layers of asphalt before applying new layers of asphalt. It’s easy to assume old asphalt is useless and simply gets thrown out, but old asphalt (aka asphalt millings) can be reused on another project.

Recycled asphalt is ground down into aggregate size, at which point it is capable of hardening and binding together. This creates a cost-effective option for a base or sub-base material. To produce a sufficient finished product, the asphalt must be uniformly applied and compacted with a roller.

Pros To Asphalt Millings

#1. Asphalt Millings are Cost Effective

The biggest advantage to using recycled asphalt is saving money. Recycled asphalt requires fewer raw resources than new asphalt, saving you money from the get-go. Asphalt contains oil, and so when gas prices go up so does the price of new asphalt. When gasoline prices reach their peaks, asphalt millings become even more attractive.

#2. RAP = More Eco-Friendly

Since new materials don’t need to be produced, the process is more environmentally friendly. Plus, since asphalt is non-biodegradable, it’ll go to waste if it is not reused. When old asphalt is tossed into a landfill, it sits there indefinitely taking up lots of space. By reusing asphalt, you can reduce the amount of junk littering landfills. 

#3. It Holds Up Surprisingly Well

It’s easy to assume that recycled asphalt will not stand up to the elements all that well, but in fact, RAP typically stands up to pooling, flooding and snow with impressive strength.

#4. It’s Uniquely Good Looking

RAP doesn’t have to look like a bunch of random asphalt chunks roughly tossed together. RAP surfaces, when done right, can look really good. They do not look exactly like asphalt, instead they offer a cross between gravel and asphalt surfaces.

#5. Great Bonding Material

Recycled asphalt contains tar, which helps it bond better than other loose-fill materials. With proper moisture and compaction, recycled asphalt bonds well enough to create a semi permanent driveway surface that sticks in place and reduces dust and dirt.

Cons To Asphalt Millings

There are some drawbacks to relying on recycled asphalt. These drawbacks can help you understand why RAP is more commonly used for residential applications as opposed to commercial.

#1. Inconsistent Quality

The quality of RAP depends on the quality of the asphalt it originates from. Therefore, depending on where asphalt comes from, there can be major discrepancies in overall quality and how well it stands up. The savings might be worth the risk for a residential home, but commercial properties tend to have more at stake.

#2. Does Not Have Asphalt’s Traditional Black Coloring

After exposure to sun and the elements, repurposed asphalt is not going to be the same color as virgin asphalt. Some people enjoy the unique appearance RAP provides, while others prefer the traditional dark black coloring of asphalt.

#3. Semi-permanent Finish

The finished product is only semi-permanent, so if you are looking for something that offers a smoother and more polished finish, this might not be the right option.

Are Asphalt Millings the Right Material For Your Project?

If you are trying to save money and care about reducing your ecological footprint, you might want to consider using asphalt millings to pave surfaces. By adding asphalt millings you’ll enjoy the combined benefits of asphalt and gravel surfaces. 

If you like the eco-friendly ideology behind asphalt millings, but you’re not sure they’re right for your project, you might want to consider using hot mix asphalt made from a percentage of recycled materials. 

If you are interested in using alternative materials for your next project, we are more than happy to discuss options with you. Contact us today to learn more.