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Why Use Asphalt Instead of Concrete?

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.