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Hot Mix Vs. Cold Mix Asphalt: What’s The Difference?

Erickson AsphaltMarch 6, 2020

Asphalt is one of the most popular materials used for pavements. All thanks to its cost-efficiency, its easy repair and maintenance, as well as its visually appealing look.

However, not all asphalt is the same. There are different ways asphalt is created and used and you’d have to know what suits your needs and purposes best to get the most out of it.

When getting an asphalt pavement installed, you have two main options - hot mix asphalt and cold mix asphalt.

In this article, we’ll discuss the difference between the two, how they are applied, when they are most suitable, and their pros and cons.

Let’s get started!

Hot Mix Asphalt - What You Need To Know

Hot mix asphalt is a mixture of aggregates like sand, gravel, and asphalt cement which is then heated before being applied. This is usually used by heating the asphalt mix up to 300-500 degrees at the production facility before being shipped and laid at the target location.

Hot mix asphalt is used for large-scale projects like roads, parking lots, and driveways.

Hot Mix Asphalt Pros

Weather-Resistant - Asphalt is known for its ability to withstand extreme weather conditions. At the same time, its heat-absorbing ability allows it to melt ice and snow quickly to keep the pavement safer.

Quick Cool Down - While hot mix asphalt is heated and poured at over 300 degrees, it cools down quickly to allow shorter installation process. This keeps road closures to a minimum as the pavement can be used in only a couple of hours.

Durability - Unlike with cold mix asphalt, hot mix asphalt allows the aggregate to bind stronger, making the finished product more durable. This works great for pavements with heavy traffic like roads and parking lots.

Flexibility - Compared to concrete, asphalt is more flexible and malleable allowing it to shrink and expand as temperature changes without being cracked or damaged. This makes it a great choice for areas with extreme temperature swings.

Hot Mix Asphalt Cons

More Expensive Than Cold Mix - While still cheaper than concrete, hot mix asphalt is the most expensive type of asphalt paving. However, it’s also more durable and can last longer.

Temperature Window - Depending on your location, you may have a small window of opportunity to properly install a hot mix asphalt. This is because hot mix asphalt requires the outside temperature to be 40 degrees or higher.

Cold Mix Asphalt - What You Need To Know

Cold mix asphalt is one of the basic asphalt types and is commonly used for repairs or small-scale patches. It doesn’t require heating and bags of asphalt can be poured directly on potholes or cracks to prevent the damage from spreading.

While not as strong as hot mix asphalt, it is much more affordable and can be a perfect choice for temporary fixes when the weather won’t allow for hot mix asphalt installation.

Cold Mix Asphalt Pros

Affordability - Cold mix asphalt is a lot more affordable than hot mix asphalt and requires less effort to install. You can also buy and use small amounts that would suit your needs perfectly.

Great Temporary Solution - When the temperature is not right for a hot mix asphalt installation, cold mix asphalt is a perfect choice to provide temporary fixes to potholes or cracks to prevent further damage and reduce risks of accidents.

Cold Mix Asphalt Cons

Temporary Fix - Cold mix asphalt is not meant to be a permanent pavement. While it is more affordable, you should only use it for temporary fixes and use hot mix asphalt as soon as possible.

Making The Right Choice Between Cold Mix and Hot Mix Asphalt

While both of them have their pros and cons, they do serve different purposes and identifying your needs will help you decide which to use and when.

If you want to learn more about these types of asphalt and how to use them, we’d be glad to work with you in making the right choice.

Call us at 1-800-ASPHALT or (763)-389-5267 Local today and let’s talk!