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How Many Types Of Asphalt Is Used For Paving?

Key Takeaways:

  • Several types of asphalt cater to specific project requirements and environmental concerns.
  • Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) is most commonly used and is cost-effective and versatile.
  • Warm Mix Asphalt (WMA) is a more sustainable alternative to HMA, requiring less energy to produce and transport.
  • Porous and Permeable Asphalt reduces the risk of flooding and water pollution by allowing water to pass through them.
  • Stone Matrix Asphalt (SMA) is ideal for areas with heavy traffic loads and harsh weather conditions, providing durability and longevity.
  • Perpetual Pavement, Quiet Pavement, and Thin Overlays are specialized types of asphalt pavement that cater to specific project needs, such as durability, noise reduction, and minimal disruption to traffic.

Asphalt is popular due to its durability, flexibility, and low maintenance requirements. It is commonly used for roads, parking lots, driveways, and other surfaces that experience high traffic volumes. However, not all types of asphalt are created equal. Several different types of asphalt have unique characteristics that make them suitable for specific applications. This blog post will look into the different types of asphalt pavement and their uses.

1) Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA)

Hot Mix Asphalt, or HMA, is the most commonly used type. It is made by heating and mixing asphalt binder with aggregates like gravel or sand. The hot mix is spread and compacted to create a smooth, durable surface. HMA is versatile and can be used for various applications, from highways and interstates to driveways and parking lots. It is also relatively cost-effective and easy to install, making it suitable for most paving projects.

2) Warm Mix Asphalt (WMA)

Warm Mix Asphalt, or WMA, is a relatively new type of asphalt that has recently gained popularity. WMA is similar to HMA in that it is made by mixing asphalt binder with aggregate but produced at lower temperatures. This results in a lower environmental impact, as less energy is required to produce and transport the asphalt. WMA is also easier to work with than HMA, as it can be compacted at lower temperatures and is less likely to stick to equipment. WMA is ideal for projects that require a high degree of sustainability, such as green building projects.

3) Porous Asphalt

Porous Asphalt is a type of pavement designed to allow water to pass through rather than run off. It is made by mixing asphalt binder with aggregate and adding a special additive that creates a porous structure. This allows rainwater to penetrate the pavement and filter into the ground below, reducing the risk of flooding and water pollution. Porous asphalt is suitable for areas with high rainfall, as it can help reduce the impact of heavy rains on the environment. It is also helpful in areas with poor drainages, such as parking lots and driveways.

4) Permeable Asphalt

Permeable Asphalt is similar to Porous Asphalt, allowing water to penetrate the pavement and filter into the ground below. However, it is made using a different process that involves mixing the asphalt binder with a special additive that creates a permeable structure. This allows water to pass through the pavement faster, making it ideal for areas with heavy rainfall or poor drainage. Permeable asphalt is also more durable than porous asphalt, making it suitable for high-traffic areas such as highways and interstates.

5) Stone Matrix Asphalt (SMA)

Stone Matrix Asphalt, or SMA, is a type of pavement designed to withstand heavy traffic loads and harsh weather conditions. It is made by adding a high percentage of stone to the asphalt binder, creating a dense, strong pavement structure. SSMA (Stone Matrix Asphalt) is exceptionally well-suited for regions experiencing significant vehicular traffic, including highways and interstates, due to its ability to endure the rigors of heavy vehicle use. Additionally, it proves to be an excellent choice for areas characterized by challenging weather conditions, encompassing extreme temperatures and substantial snowfall.

6) Perpetual Pavement

Perpetual Pavement is designed to last a long time with minimal maintenance. It is made by layering multiple asphalt layers, each with a specific function. The bottom layer is typically made of a strong, dense mix that provides structural support, while the top layers are made of a more flexible combination that can withstand traffic loads and weather conditions. The idea behind perpetual pavement is to replace only the top layer when it wears out without removing and replacing the entire pavement structure. This saves time and money in the long run and reduces the environmental impact of pavement construction and maintenance.

7) Quiet Pavement

Quiet Pavement, or Low-Noise Pavement, is an asphalt pavement designed to reduce traffic noise. It is made by adding a special additive to the asphalt binder that absorbs sound waves and reduces noise levels. Quiet pavement is ideal for areas with high traffic volumes, such as highways and interstates, as it can reduce noise and enhance the quality of life for nearby residents. Quiet pavement is also helpful in urban areas, where extensive noise can be a significant issue.

8) Thin Overlays

Thin Overlays are a type of asphalt pavement designed to provide a smooth, durable surface with minimal disruption to traffic. They are typically used as a maintenance solution for existing pavements that are starting to show signs of wear and tear, such as cracking and rutting. Thin overlays are made using a unique mix of asphalt binder and aggregate applied to the existing pavement surface in a thin layer. They provide a cost-effective solution for extending the life of pavements without removing and replacing the entire pavement structure.



When choosing an asphalt pavement type for your project, it is essential to consider the project’s specific requirements and the pavement’s environmental impact. Some projects may require a sustainable pavement solution, while others may need pavement that can withstand heavy traffic loads or extreme weather conditions. By understanding the different types of asphalt pavement available, you can make an informed decision that will ensure the longevity and sustainability of your project.

Overall, asphalt is an excellent choice for various paving projects, and the different types of asphalt pavement make it a versatile and sustainable option for many applications. Whether you are paving a highway, a parking lot, or a residential driveway, an asphalt pavement type will meet your needs and provide a smooth, durable surface for years.

Check out our blog post about what paving professionals look for when considering repaving.

Atkins Paving is a reputable asphalt paving company serving Fort Mill, SC, and the surrounding areas. We have built a solid reputation for providing high-quality asphalt paving services, including repair and sealcoating. We have the expertise to handle any paving project, big or small, and we use the latest techniques and equipment to ensure that every project is completed to the highest standards. 

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