The ABC’s Of Paving, Paving Glossary

Many people think that paving is a fairly simple procedure, that isn’t too involved.  This is not the case.  Paving contractors must know about all types of substances and how exactly to mix and apply them.  Next time you discuss your needs with a paving contractor and they start rattling off lots of foreign vocabularly, the list below should help keep you in the know.


accelerators – Material additives used to accelerate, or reduce, the setting time of concrete causing it to harden faster.

aerated concrete – Concrete that is formed using gas-forming admixtures that form hydrogen or oxygen bubbles in the cement mix.

aggregate – A mix of sand, rock, crushed stone, expanded particles that improve the formation and flow of cement paste and improve improve the structural performance of the concrete.

aggregate base – Crushed gravel that is generally added as a foundation for the asphalt pavement.

agitator truck – A vehicle that takes ready-mixed concrete and delivers it (ready to be used) to a construction site. the truck’s bed contains a large barrel, used to continuously roll the concrete mixture – keeping it from solidifying before use.

air content – The volume of air in a concrete or mortar mix. a controlled air content prevents concrete from cracking during the freeze and thaw cycle.

asphalt – A brownish-black solid or semi-solid mixture of bitumens obtained from native deposits, or as a petroleum byproduct, used in paving. As a petroleum by-product, it is a mixture of rock and hot oil at a temperature of about 375 f.

asphalt driveways – Made up of many different environmentally safe products: stone (aggregate), fine stone, asphalt cement, & sand. these are all bonded together by the asphalt cement to form a very strong hot mix, which is usually about 350 f.

asphalt grinding – Used to remove damaged asphalt or to prepare an existing surface for an overlay. The ground asphalt makes for a good base material.  It can also be recycled into new asphalt.

asphalt pulverizing – The process of breaking up existing asphalt into an aggregate and blending new aggregate with the existing base – which is compacted, graded, compacted again and is then, ready for paving. pulverizing is a very cost-effective way to reconstruct your existing pavement.  This process eliminates the costly excavation and trucking of your existing asphalt, and adds to your base aggregate thickness – thereby giving a stronger base than what had previously existed.


ballast – A layer of coarse stone, gravel, slag, etc., over which, concrete is placed.

bedding – A prepared base for masonry or concrete.

bituminous pavement – Made with by-products of petroleum, like as asphalt.  Weather and seasonal changes can cause roads and the earth below them to rise or fall slightly. as these natural shifts take place, bituminous pavements allow the road surface to bend or flex a tiny bit, without breaking.  These materials soften when heated and can be prepared and applied in a wide range of concentrations.

blanket – Insulation for protecting fresh concrete during curing.

block out – The installation of a box or barrier within a foundation wall to prevent the concrete from entering into an area.

burlap – Material used to protect newly finished concrete from the elements.


calcium chloride – An additive in ready-mix to accelerate the curing, usually used during damp conditions.

casting – Pouring a liquid material or slurry, like concrete, into a mold whose physical form it will take on, as it becomes a solid.

catch basins – Device that directs water into the drainage system.

catch basin repair – Repairs are made to catch basins by saw cutting around it, and excavating downwards to expose the foundation and drain system to insure there are no leaks running through it.  Then the catch basin risers are inspected to see if any are cracked or have come apart.

cement – A building material made by grinding calcined limestone and clay to a fine powder, which can be mixed with water, and poured to set as a solid mass, or used as an ingredient in making mortar or concrete.

cold-planning – Typically removes 1″ to 4″ of surface asphalt or 1″ – 2″ of concrete, allowing for the application of a thin overlay, which preserves ancillary structures (e.g. curb and gutter) but allows improvements to the grade and surface of the pavement section.  When used for full roadway reconstruction, cold planning is also capable of removing up to 12 inches of paving material and base in a single pass.

concrete – A hard building material created by combining a mineral (which is usually sand, gravel, or crushed stone) a binding agent (natural or synthetic cement), chemical additives, and water. It is an excellent material to be used in road building.

concrete paving – Considered more permanent than asphalt.  Its lifespan can be indefinite if installed properly.  Concrete paving is also more costly than asphalt paving. concrete surfaces are used when asphalt paving would not be as effective such as for the following areas: forklift turning areas, truck landing gear pads or trash bin areas.

concrete wheel stops – Concrete blocks that keep vehicles in place.

consolidation – Compaction usually accomplished by vibration of newly placed concrete to minimum practical volume, to mold it within form shapes, and around embedded parts and reinforcement – and to eliminate voids other than entrained air.

crack sealing – The process where street cracks are sealed using a polymer modified ac-20 liquid (ac-20 can also contain crumb-rubber recycled tires), and other types of crack sealing products. the sealing prevents water infiltration into the road base, thus preventing potholes.  This process is done during the early spring, and late fall months. the current method used for the crack sealing process is well filling, which fills the void of the crack up to the road surface. Little or no material is placed on the actual road surface. this is a cost effective way of extending road life two to three years.


Depression – an indentation in the paving caused by water puddles.


e-road green paving material – A low cost material because it is a secondary product made from recycled waste concrete, and when it requires replacement it can be recycled again and again. It also features good economic efficiency as a product that makes use of resource-recycling technology as a recycled paving material that is making an invaluable contribution to the construction of the global environmentally friendly recycling-type society.


fabric overlays – Provides a waterproof membrane to protect the base.

full-depth hot mix asphalt driveways – Completely constructed of hot mix from your sub-grade up, rather than having a stone base with an asphalt layer on top.  Full-depth driveways have the added advantages of being more resistant to freeze-thaw actions and poor drainage problems by keeping water out of the driveway base and providing greater uniform pavement strength.


grading – The surfacing or leveling of the ground.

gravel – Probably the oldest paving material. small stones were beaten into the earth to form pavements in ancient gardens.  In modern-day parks, and gardens gravel paving has the advantage of allowing sustainable drainage.  It is important to select a high quality paving gravel.  River-washed round gravel paving is soft and looks nice, but difficult to  walk on.  Sharp gravel in a range of particle sizes (‘ungraded gravel’) self-binds to form a smooth and stable pavement.


hot mix asphalt pavement – In its simplest form, the hot mix asphalt pavement is a proportioned combination of aggregate and liquid asphalt cement that’s been heated in a central mixing “hot mix” facility.  It is then transported to a project and spread and compacted on a road surface before cooling.


impervious surfaces – artificial structures made of pavement, like roads, driveways, etc that are usually covered by asphalt or concrete.


joint – The spaces between paver units which are usually filled with sand.

joint dilling sand: the process where sand is used to fill spaces between the pavers.

joint sand stabilizer: A liquid sthat promotes joint sand stabilization, and prevents weeds from growing.

K-pattern: A paving pattern with 1-square-unit surrounded by rectangular units.

layer coefficient – A number that represents the strength of the material, per inch of thickness, of a pavement layer.

laying pattern –The sequence in which the pavers are installed

Lift – A layer of compacted soil fill or aggregate

Limestone – a sedimentary rock, composed of the mineral calcite, formed through the decomposition of marine organisms.


micro-resurfacing – The application of a polymer-modified emulsion base.  The whole road surface is overlaid  with a 1/2 to 3/4 inch of material.  The depth of material placed on the street is determined by the condition of the existing surface.  Using the micro-resurfacing process should extend the life of an existing street for about two to five years.

mortar – Used as a bond in masonry or for covering a wall.

open-graded aggregate base – Has large spaces between particles, making it ideal for use as a drainage course.

organic soil – Commonly made from vegetative matter, and are not suitable for construction use.


parking blocks – Stops car tires (and the car) from bumping into walls.

patchwork – Creates a bond with older asphalt overlays and newer durable patches to increase the strength of older driveways, parking lots, asphalt curbs, speed-bumps, trenches, etc.  Its primary function is to gain a few years of use to the existing property. If there are many cracks and broken areas of the asphalt, it may be beneficial to resurface your entire driveway.

paving – The laying of asphalt on driveways, parking lots, airports or roads.

paving blocks – A newer concept in paving material used in exterior and interior architecture.

petromat overlays – A geotextile fabric that is used to slow down reflective cracking on newly resurfaced asphalt areas.

permaflex paving – A a federally registered trademarked asphalt mix design developed exclusively for overlaying cracked surfaces.

pot hole patching – Occurs when there is a small failure in the road or parking surface, and if left unmanaged, it will start to degrade the surface.


resurfacing – By putting a new surface of hot mix asphalt over your driveway, you are increasing the overall life expectancy of the entry way to your home. resurfacing older driveways is necessary if the existing one is corroded, worn out, or cracking in many parts of the property. A newly resurfaced driveway will increase the value and durability of your property.


seal coating – Process of applying a protective coating to an asphalt pavement.  This is primarily used on driveways and parking areas, and protects asphalt from the damaging effects of the sun, tire marks, aging and petroleum products. over time the asphalt may become cracked or brittle, making the asphalt fall apart. by sealing the asphalt you will prevent as little damage to the existing asphalt as possible.  Seal coating should be done every two to four years.

slurry – a thin mixture of a liquid, especially water, and any of several fine substances, such as cement, plaster of paris, or clay particles.

speed bumps – Used to control the flow and placement of traffic in a parking lot.

striping – Directs traffic to the proper route of entrance and exit, allowable areas to park, loading zones, crosswalks, and defines drive aisles that are wide enough to avoid accidents with cars and pedestrians.

Topsoil – Surface soil, containing organic matter.


wearing course – A road’s top layer, which directly supports moving vehicles.  It is made of a solid layer of pavement, and is designed to be smooth and to withstand erosion from traffic and weather.  Bituminous pavement is cheaper and easier to construct, but it requires more maintenance., while concrete pavement lasts much longer and has minimal upkeep – but is much more expensive and time-consuming to construct.

Weave – Type of laying pattern for paver installations, where two or more pavers are placed next to one another, alternated at 90 degree angles.

How Does Your Asphalt Driveway Start Cracking?

After being exposed to sunlight for a long period of time, your asphalt driveway begins losing its fexibility.  More specifically, it is the sun’s ultraviolet rays that cause the asphalt cement to breakdown.  The mixture of the asphalt and the stone particles and sand, also known as aggregate, start to come apart.  If you live in colder climates, the asphalt cracking process is sped up.

How Do Sealers Work?

Applying an asphalt sealer to your asphalt driveway, will not only make it look nicer, it will also increase its lifespan. Asphalt sealers provide a shield for your driveway – making the elements impenetrable to it.

Which Sealer Should You Choose?


  • usually mixed with an emulsifier ( a soapy substance) and water
  • very short lifespan
  • doesn’t really protect against ultraviolet rays
  • is the cheapest

Coal Tar:

  • effective against oil and gasoline
  • consist of emulsifier and small particles of clay – making it easy to apply
  • some have polyers which help protect against the sun

Acrylic Polymer:

  • all synthetic
  • most expensive
  • provides the most protection, and has a lifespan that is twice as long as other sealers

How Often Should You Apply Sealant?

For newly laid asphalt

Apply the sealant one year after you first applied the asphalt.  Asphalt consists of certain oils, and it remains malleable, until all the oils evaporate.  Usually, the asphalt doesn’t become fully firm until about a year.

For asphalt that has already been sealed

Only apply a new coat of sealant once the previous one has worn out.  A good rule of thumb is about every three years.  Of course, this varies a bit due to weather conditions and sunlight.  If your asphalt begins to develop a grayish color though, it might be time to add a new coat of sealant, as this is a sign of intense oxidation, which leads to a break down of the asphalt.

Asphalt paved driveways are very popular and are the most cost effective choice, over other paving options.  Still, hiring the right contractor can sometimes be difficult.  With a job well done though, the work should last about 30 years!

What is Asphalt Paving Exactly?

Asphalt paving, also known as Hot Mix Asphalt paving, consists of an aggregate of stone and sand, mixed with liquid asphalt cement. The aggregate is mixed and heated, before being mixed with liquid asphalt.

Perks of an asphalt paved drieway

  • Unlike concrete, asphalt paved driveways are strong and flexible.
  • Ideal for colder temperature zones where constant freezing/thawing occur

Hiring the Asphalt Paving Contractor

  • Receive 3-4 quotes to get the best comparison of workmanship and price.  Talk it over with friends and family, and do lots of research to find the businesses in your area.
  • Have a drawing of your home and the desired driveway footprint available to the contractor in order to receive the best costs.
  • Make sure your contractor is bonded and insured, to protect you from liability and their sub-par performance.
  • It is important to walk the site with the contractor to go over any questions and concerns from both parties, before the work is started.
  • Discuss proper slopes and drainage with the contractor, or you may end up with a pool of water at the end of your driveway.

What Does An Asphalt Paving Job Consist Of?

A normal asphalt paving job consists of the application of two layers of hot mix asphalt over the sub-base layer.  For heavier vehicles, a paving contractor may suggest a full-depth asphalt application .

What Else Might the Contractor Have to Do?

  • Raise any municipal pipes to the finished height of the driveway
  • Remove and Reinstall a gate to the new finished driveway

With this information you are on your way to hiring the very best asphalt paving contractor, to create your new and improved driveway!

Though concrete once was used for paving roads, parking lots and other projects, asphalt paving is the preferred choice today. To begin to understand why asphalt paving is superior to concrete paving (also called cement paving), one should know how asphalt and concrete are made.

Concrete is made using aggregate (like crushed rock and sand), along with cement and water. The cement acts as the binder in concrete, holding the aggregate together. As the mixture dries, it forms a stiff, unforgiving solid that is prone to cracking and breaking, especially if the surface beneath it is not perfectly smooth.

Like concrete, asphalt is made using aggregate. Its binder, however, is bitumen, a dark, sticky substance derived from crude oil. When roads, parking lots or driveways are built using asphalt construction, hot asphalt (bitumen mixed with fine aggregate) is poured onto a bed of heavier aggregate and then pressed into it with a steamroller. Once the asphalt cools to the surrounding air temperature, it is strong enough to withstand automobile traffic. While asphalt is extremely hard and durable, it offers enough flexibility to accommodate imperfections in underlying surfaces, a feature that concrete sorely lacks.

The other advantages of asphalt paving over concrete or cement paving are plentiful. One of those advantages is that removal and replacement of damaged asphalt is a simple and relatively easy process compared to concrete. Asphalt is also a 100% recyclable product. Due to the heavy demand of asphalt for recycling purposes, you will rarely find this material taking up valuable and limited landfill space. Asphalt construction projects can be finished and opened for traffic much faster and with a lot less expense than concrete construction projects. Maintenance and repair of asphalt pavement is faster and less costly than that of cement pavement, as well.

Repairing minor cracks in asphalt driveways and walkways can be so easy that homeowners can tackle this maintenance project themselves. Asphalt crack repair can be done by a single person in one afternoon, and this simple, inexpensive task can increase the longevity of an asphalt surface significantly.

When more than just simple asphalt crack repair is needed, however, the solution still requires less time and money if one chooses asphalt paving over cement paving. Unlike concrete, which needs to be removed and replaced when significant cracks appear, asphalt can be resurfaced in much less time, and at a fraction of the cost.

Asphalt resurfacing simply involves applying new asphalt over the old. Damaged areas are filled with fresh asphalt, and a steamroller goes over the entire surface to yield smooth, even pavement.

Complete asphalt resurfacing is fast and extremely cost effective. Even better, asphalt resurfacing, while returning the asphalt to its original smoothness, also adds structural integrity so that it can continue to provide a durable, pleasant driving surface under higher traffic volumes and increased vehicle weights.

From new construction to all types of repairs, asphalt paving beats concrete or cement paving every time. Count on asphalt for attractive, long-lasting performance and a substantial savings of both time and money.

Dykes Paving is a leading supplier of paving supplies and services throughout metro Atlanta and southern Georgia. No job is too big for Dykes. Call them at (770) 448-3392. In Macon and surrounding areas, call (478) 745-8171. You also can email Dykes by clicking here.

Long before there were economic incentives and mandates for more eco-friendly building practices, Jim Dykes of Dykes Paving was developing products and processes that provided performance and cost savings while reducing environmental impact. Shortly after Dykes graduated from Georgia State University and founded Dykes Paving & Construction, he began experimenting with recycled asphalt. Dykes created a mini lab to test various configurations, using hot plates, cooking pots and eventually a microwave oven to heat them.

In 1978, he bought a drum mix asphalt plant and modified it to re-heat old asphalt. Dykes Paving then became the first Georgia company to recycle hot mix asphalt successfully.

The following year, Dykes purchased its first rock crusher, then adapted it to process broken asphalt. This provided the company with another important tool in the recycling process.

In 1980, Dykes introduced the Perma Flex® hot mix asphalt system, which fills, seals and preps cracked pavement to allow for an application of fresh asphalt directly on top of it. Perma Flex® not only puts an end to reflective cracking and saves a lot of money, it also is kinder to the environment because it eliminates the need to rip up old pavement, haul it away in heavy diesel-burning trucks and dump it into landfills.

The next year, Dykes became an ambassador for recycled asphalt in Georgia, donating the material for two test projects. The tests resulted in the Georgia Department of Transportation approving recycled asphalt for all Georgia roadways – a huge step forward in making our state greener.

In the years that followed, Dykes continued to improve its processes to use more and more recycled asphalt in its hot mix designs. It also bought larger rock crushers, including a mobile unit, to keep Atlanta’s old asphalt, demolition concrete and other waste out of landfills, and help transform them into useful materials for new projects.

In 2001, Dykes invented RTRTM Econo Pave, a “roof to road” paving product made from recycled asphalt, waste oil from restaurants and old roofing shingles. It was, and remains today, the only cold mix asphalt consisting of 100 percent recycled content. In addition to being a completely recycled product, RTRTM eliminates the need for asphalt plants in the counties that use it, which means fewer land disturbances, less air pollution and lower energy consumption.

Aside from being a leader in recycled hot mix asphalt and the inventor of Perma Flex® and RTRTM Econo Pave, Dykes is now the fourth largest producer of recycled aggregates in the nation. All Dykes’ aggregate materials, while meeting strict industry standards, are made from 100 percent recycled material.

Jim Dykes’ dedication to producing top quality paving products while helping to protect our earth and its natural resources has made him a true innovator in his field, and has been hugely beneficial to the environment. As of December 2008, Dykes Paving had recycled more than 28 million tons of asphalt and concrete. Most of this was processed onsite or within 5 miles of its source.

Dykes’ visionary work has resulted in the reduction of more than:

  • 18 million tons (1 million dump truck loads) of waste from metro Atlanta landfills
  • 18 million tons of aggregate mined from rock quarries
  • 64 million gallons of liquid asphalt manufactured from U.S. refineries
  • 10 million miles driven by dump trucks on Atlanta roadways
  • 2 million gallons of diesel fuel burned

What do these reductions mean for Georgians and the environment in which they live?

  • Cleaner air, because of reduced greenhouse gas emissions from work trucks and mining machinery
  • Cleaner air, thanks to the reduction of toxic volatile organic compound emissions produced by the manufacturing of traditional paving products and aggregates
  • A more plentiful water supply, due to the reduction of water consumption required in the mining process
  • Conservation of more of Georgia’s natural habitat
  • Less dependence on foreign oil, thanks to reduced consumption from work trucks and machinery
  • Less wear and tear on Georgia roads, thanks to reduced need for dump truck usage

Since its very beginning, Dykes Paving has been producing top-quality paving solutions with environmental responsibility in mind. Today, the company is a proud member of the U.S. Green Building Council, which developed the LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification process. If you have a paving need in the metro Atlanta area, and want your job done in the most environmentally conscientious way possible, contact Dykes. Call 770-448-3392 or click here to send an email now.

Weather and Asphalt Conditions Affect Private Property Owners

A recent increase in rain, snow, and moisture in Atlanta’s weather is leading to an increase in potholes forming around the city. Drivers have seen costly repairs in damage to their vehicles while property managers, who maintain paving for commercial and residential real estate, also have seen repair costs increase. Unlike the city of Atlanta, which has contractors to scout and repair potholes, private property managers don’t have the same resources to repair paving damage.

The best way to reduce cost of asphalt repairs is to help prevent them with maintenance work. Potholes are formed when moisture seeps into asphalt, causing tiny cracks that can eventually lead to potholes. Because of irregular weather conditions, the asphalt is under more stress than ever before and maintaining roads has been and increasing problem. Regular maintenance from a high quality asphalt contractors can repair cracks before they form into potholes.

Such prevention methods help save money and increase driver safety. Driver safety is important to private property owners because, like the city of Atlanta, they can be sued by drivers for unsafe roads. Not only are drivers in danger of flat tires and rim damage, the city spends money on vehicle repairs that are a result of potholes. For example, the city spent over $6,000 on repairs to five motorists who had damage on a single pothole. (

Property managers should select a contractor that use quality weather-resistant methods for laying asphalt. For example, Dykes Paving is an innovator in asphalt mixing and materials recycling. They are a local company that knows the city and its conditions. Having a contractor familiar with the cities weather and traffic conditions will allow them to better manage potholes. They also specialize in large commercial and residential property. For more information on asphalt contractors, go to