Table of contentsWhat is asphalt and what is asphalt made of?How to determine your asphalt requirement?Notes to consider when applying asphaltHow much does an asphalt driveway costSome advantages of using asphalt
This asphalt calculator determines the amount of asphalt needed for any asphalt highway or airfield project. This calculator can also work as a blacktop calculator, to determine the required asphalt for an asphalt driveway project. You can also use this calculator as an asphalt driveway cost calculator, to help you have an idea how much does an asphalt driveway cost. This calculator can be used for any asphalt project, including the repair of potholes in an asphalt roadway, or any asphalt pavement repair works. If you're planning to make a concrete driveway, you can check our concrete driveway calculator for the materials you'll need for your project. But, if you're really into asphalt, keep reading to learn what asphalt is, what asphalt is made of, as well as the benefits of building an asphalt driveway.
What is asphalt and what is asphalt made of?
Asphalt, or asphalt concrete, is a paving material made out of aggregates and a binding substance called bitumen. Bitumen is a black, sticky, petroleum-based liquid that coats and bonds the aggregates together. Asphalt concrete is considered flexible when cured, unlike cement concrete, which is rigid and hard. Asphalt concrete mixtures with high aggregate-to-bitumen ratios are commonly used for driveways, parking lots, and residential roads. We call this asphalt mixture blacktop. Blacktop is less durable than regular asphalt concrete but is still durable enough for the mentioned applications. In return, blacktop is available at a lower price than regular asphalt concrete.
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How to determine your asphalt requirement?
For small projects, like repairing a pothole or a small patch in your asphalt driveway, you can buy asphalt in buckets or bags. Potholes are dangerous, and we should fix them as soon as possible to avoid their growth and any accidents they may cause. For larger projects, you can order asphalt from your local supplier. But, before contacting your local asphalt dealer, make sure you already know the total weight of asphalt you will need.
Determining the weight of the asphalt needed is as simple as obtaining the volume of the required asphalt and multiplying it by the density of the specific asphalt you plan to use. Using our asphalt calculator, you can easily determine the volume of asphalt by entering the length and width of the area you plan to pave with asphalt, as well as the required thickness of the pavement. Our asphalt calculator will multiply these values together to obtain the volume of the asphalt for your project. If you are covering an area with shapes other than a simple rectangle, you can use our square footage calculator to help you calculate the total area of your project.
Now that we know the volume of asphalt needed, we can determine the actual quantity of the asphalt required in terms of weight by multiplying the calculated volume by the density of the asphalt. Asphalt density ranges from 2,200 to 2,400 kg/m³ (or approximately 138 to 150 lb/cu. ft). The higher the density of the asphalt, the more durable it is. In our asphalt calculator, we used 2,400 kg/m³ as the default density to give a conservative estimation. You can, however, change this value if you know the density of the asphalt mix you'll use. If you want to learn more about the densities of concrete materials, you might want to check out our concrete weight calculator, as it gives some typical concrete densities.
Notes to consider when applying asphalt
As with the installation of any other construction material, the improper installation of asphalt can cause problems in the future, and could shorten its lifespan as well. While climate and weather will naturally affect the longevity of our pavements, there's a lot we can do to ensure it lasts as long as possible:
- Start with a nicely packed base material, such as crushed stones, and subgrade material, like gravel and sand. Having a stable area to install the asphalt onto will reduce the possibility of future asphalt settlement, and puddle formation. You might want to check out our gravel driveway calculator to get a glimpse of how to set up a gravel or crushed stone surface.
- Clear the area of large and small debris, like stones, rocks, and twigs. This debris could affect the quality of asphalt pavement, as they may hinder the proper compaction of the asphalt.
- It would also be excellent practice to spray some herbicides onto the area if there are traces of weeds or plants. Weeds could grow through the asphalt and could potentially crack the surface.
- Compact the asphalt well, as this will help avoid water infiltration, and ensure the proper bondage of the aggregates. This will minimize the risk of any future water damage.
- When repairing, apply an asphalt bitumen sealant to the edges of the newly installed asphalt to create a seamless transition from the old asphalt pavement to the new.
- For smaller areas, like asphalt driveway, finish it off with an asphalt sealer after the asphalt cures for additional durability.
If you plan to hire a complete service from your local asphalt contractor, they could likely help you with all these tasks, but they will charge. You may also incur a delivery charge on the delivery of the asphalt, as well as paying for the bitumen sealant. So, it is a good practice to talk about these things with your available suppliers so you can compare their prices to decide which supplier offers the best deal. With this asphalt calculator, you can determine how much it would cost if you already knew the price of asphalt per unit weight.
How much does an asphalt driveway cost
The price of asphalt per weight ranges from around $80 to $200 per tonne. The price depends on your location, the quality of the asphalt you wish to purchase, and the current price of oil. As mentioned earlier, blacktop costs less than regular asphalt concrete because blacktop uses less bitumen in the mix. To determine the total asphalt cost for your project, all you need to do is to multiply the total asphalt weight required by the cost per weight of the asphalt you are purchasing.
As a sample computation of how much an asphalt driveway would cost, let us consider a driveway that is 7 meters long, 6 meters wide, and 5 centimeters thick. Suppose we need to top the driveway with a 2,300 kg/m³ asphalt, we can calculate the total weight of the asphalt needed as follows:
Weight = length * width * thickness × asphalt density
Weight = 7 meters * 6 meters × 5/100 meters * 2,300 kg/m³
Weight = 4,830 kg or 4.83 tonnes
After obtaining the required weight, we can now finally calculate the total asphalt cost by multiplying the required weight by the price of the asphalt per unit weight. Let's say that the average price of asphalt we got from several suppliers is $120.00/tonne. We can find the total asphalt cost for our given driveway project as follows:
Total asphalt cost = weight × asphalt cost per weight
Total asphalt cost = 4.83 tonnes × $120.00/tonne
Total asphalt cost = $579.60
Some advantages of using asphalt
Aside from asphalt being easy to install, asphalt also offers a lot of other benefits as a paving material. If properly installed, asphalt can have a lifespan of up to 20 years, and it would still look beautiful with its clean, dark look. It is also a silent pavement to drive on, even at high speeds, which makes it the better material to use for highways and airfields. Asphalt also has high waterproofing capability, making it the preferred choice in freezing climates.
However, if you were aiming for water permeability, pavement patterns, or even a colorful kind of paving material, you might want to check out our paver calculator. There you will be able to determine the number of paver blocks to use for your driveway, patio or sidewalk project. You can purchase paver blocks in different colors, and you can install them in a variety of patterns.
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