Asphalt driveways are a popular option due to their fast installation process and durability. They’re ideal for cold weather since the dark surface helps snow melt faster, and they are less likely to flake or chip compared to concrete driveways.
Besides being flexible and durable, asphalt driveways can help you reduce your environmental footprint. Asphalt is a material that is very easy to recycle, and most contractors offer recycled asphalt driveways.
Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement
Reclaimed asphalt pavement is one of the most common recycled materials in the US. Each year, a total of 80 million tons of asphalt pavement are reclaimed and recycled. The majority of reclaimed asphalt comes from roads.
The asphalt recycling process helps prevent 60 million cubic yards of landfill space from being used each year! It’s a material that’s easy to recycle, and the recycling process is cost-effective.
It’s possible to recycle the same asphalt numerous times. If you need a new driveway, you can have the old asphalt removed and recycled, and choose to have a new driveway with reclaimed asphalt installed. When this driveway becomes old or damaged, the material will be recycled again.
How Does the Asphalt Recycling Process Work?
Asphalt is a mix of aggregates and cement. Common aggregates include materials like sand, gravel, and crushed rocks. In some cases, asphalt also contains recycled materials like rubber tires or the byproducts of iron and steel manufacturing.
The binder that keeps the aggregates together is a mix of hydrocarbons. Bitumen is a common type of cement used for asphalt. These hydrocarbons are formed when petroleum is distilled to make gasoline or oil. It’s a natural byproduct of that reaction, and making asphalt prevents these hydrocarbons from being wasted.
When an old driveway is removed, or asphalt is removed from a road, it’s crushed and filtered at a recycling plant. Processes like pulverization and milling allow recycling plants to crush asphalt aggregates to the desired size and achieved a specific texture for reclaimed asphalt.
The asphalt recycling process separates the aggregates and the binders. Each element is recycled separately before being remixed to form recycled asphalt. It’s possible to add new materials at this stage, but a lot of recycling plants produce asphalt entirely from recycled materials.
There are several advantages associated with recycling asphalt. It’s an effective way of protecting the environment and preventing hydrocarbons from ending up in landfills.
It’s also possible to create asphalt with better quality than the original material. Recycling plants can get precise results when crushing and milling aggregates and can mix asphalt from different sources to create new material with specific properties.
The Benefits of Recycling Asphalt
The asphalt recycling process allows recycling plants to create materials with specific characteristics. It’s possible to control how stiff the mixture is and to control the ratio of aggregates and binders. The size and type of aggregates used will influence the performance of the reclaimed asphalt and allows recycling plants to create materials with specific properties.
Recycling plants can create a material that is more flexible, durable, and easy to apply. The result is a material that is less likely to crack, and that will last for years. Innovations in the recycling process result in asphalt that is more durable and less likely to develop cracks and other forms of damage.
Recycling asphalt is a positive thing for the environment. Reclaimed asphalt comes from roads, parking lots, driveways, as well as roofing shingles. All these surfaces get damaged with time and have to be replaced. The great thing about recycling asphalt is that it’s possible to restore all these surfaces with reclaimed materials without generating any waste.
The minerals used as aggregates aren’t an issue for the environment, but the binder contains hydrocarbons that would cause severe pollution in a landfill. Recycling the aggregates is also beneficial because extracting sand, stones, or other minerals could have consequences on the environment.
Recycling asphalt is a simple process that can be done at a local plant. It’s possible to reduce emissions by transporting old asphalt to a nearby plant. Contractors using asphalt from local plants result in fewer emissions.
What to Consider Before Getting a Reclaimed Asphalt Driveway
Is your driveway old or damaged? Here are a few things to consider before getting a recycled asphalt driveway:
- Some cracks can be filled to extend the lifespan of your driveway. Cracks aren’t necessarily a sign that you need a new driveway.
- If there are severe structural cracks, pieces of your driveway missing, or water pooling, you probably need a new driveway.
- Driveways last between 15 and 30 years if you maintain them. You should consider getting a new driveway if yours is more than ten years old and shows signs of damage.
- Compare the pros and cons of asphalt and concrete driveways. Asphalt is more flexible and affordable, but concrete is a better option for heavy vehicles and high traffic areas.
- Look for a contractor who will remove the old asphalt, recycle it, and install a new driveway with reclaimed asphalt to reduce your environmental footprint.
- There are cases where concrete or another material might make more sense for you. Asphalt isn’t your best option if you have a heavy vehicle or if you want to install a driveway in a high-traffic area.
There are some benefits to consider if you’re wondering whether or not a recycled asphalt driveway is a good option for you:
- Asphalt is a durable and flexible material. A reclaimed asphalt driveway is an investment that can last up to 30 years if it’s installed properly.
- The dark surface will make your driveway safer in the winter since it helps snow and ice melt faster.
- You can reduce your environmental footprint by having your old driveway removed and recycled. It’s possible to recycle asphalt many times, which means your new driveway will be recycled again in the future.
- A new asphalt driveway will add value to your home.
- You can fix cracks and other issues quickly with a sealant or by adding more asphalt where needed.
- Asphalt is one of the most eco-friendly options available. You can reduce your environmental footprint by using recycled materials and maintaining your driveway to make it last several years.
The cost of a new asphalt driveway depends on the size of the area that needs to be covered. Reclaimed asphalt is an affordable material compared to concrete and other options, which is why it’s a popular material for residential driveways.
The cost of installing a new driveway also depends on whether or not you can keep your old sub-base. You might need a new sub-base if the old one is damaged. It’s possible to use gravel or a similar aggregate as a sub-base.
You can have an asphalt driveway installed without a sub-base. However, your driveway will probably be thicker as a result. A professional will be able to advise you on whether or not you should have a sub-base installed underneath your driveway.
Maintenance Tips for Your Reclaimed Asphalt Driveway
Your reclaimed asphalt driveway will last longer if you maintain it properly. You can prevent cracks and other types of damage from appearing by following a few simple steps.
It’s essential to keep your driveway clean. You should sweep or vacuum your driveway at least twice a year. Cleaning your driveway prevents debris from settling in the asphalt and causing unnecessary wear and tear on the binder.
Recycled asphalt driveway sealing is another maintenance option to explore. Note that you will have to wait a few years after the initial driveway installation to apply a sealant.
Sealing your driveway creates a barrier that repels water and prevents debris from settling into the asphalt. Sealing your driveway will make it more durable and help prevent cracks. You will need to apply a new layer of sealant every five years or so since it will wear off.
It’s normal for cracks, pitting, holes, and other types of damage to appear in a driveway due to wear and tear. You can prevent damage from spreading by fixing these issues. You can typically fix cracks, pitting, and small holes by applying a sealant. You might need to add more asphalt in some cases. You can perform simple crack repairs by yourself but should call a professional if there is more severe damage.
Snow and ice removal will help with driveway maintenance. Even though the black surface of your asphalt driveway will help snow melt faster, you should still remove snow buildups and take steps to prevent ice from forming.
Snow and ice removal will make your driveway safer, and preventing ice from forming on your driveway will reduce the risks of cracks appearing on the surface of the asphalt.
Asphalt is an excellent choice for your driveway because it’s a durable and affordable material. Asphalt is an eco-friendly option since your driveway will contain recycled materials, and you will be able to recycle these materials again when the time comes to replace your driveway.