Choosing the Right Types of Asphalt

Asphalt is one of the most popular paving materials available on the market. It is attractive, durable, long-lasting and oh-so affordable – making it a great material to use!

Asphalt is frequently selected for jobs as large as airport runways and major public road systems, or as small as a residential home driveway. Depending on the nature of the project, though, users absolutely must know the difference between the different types of asphalt and which types are best suited for specific types of work.

Do you know which kind of asphalt is the right choice for your upcoming project? This post will familiarize you with the specifics of the various kinds of asphalt available in northern NJ so that you can move forward with your work with confidence.

Hot Mix Asphalt

Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) is the most commonly used type of asphalt in the United States. In the production of this type of asphalt, the binder is heated at high temperatures in order to reduce its viscosity.

The heat also helps the aggregates used in production to dry more thoroughly, removing all moisture prior to mixing. The aggregate and asphalt binder are then mixed between 300 to 330 degrees Fahrenheit.

HMA tends to cool relatively quickly, so it cannot be transported for excessive distances before being used in paving projects for roads, driveways, parking lots, or recreational trails.

Warm Mix Asphalt

Warm mix asphalt (WMA) is another of the more popular types of asphalt, being used for approximately 30% of all paving projects. As you may have surmised, WMA is not produced at as high temperatures as HMA.

Instead, the binder and aggregates – including added waxes, asphalt emulsions and sometimes water – are heated to temperatures ranging between 200 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Because WMA doesn’t cool as quickly as HMA, it can be hauled greater distances. It can also be used for paving during off-season months or overnight projects.

Driveway Mix

As the name suggests, driveway mix is one of the types of asphalt that is specifically engineered for optimum results during the paving of project areas like driveways and parking lots. This variety of asphalt features a very deliberate mixture of aggregate materials, including crushed stone, gravel and sand.

These ingredients are then integrated into asphalt cement in order to produce a type of HMA that is ideal for making your driveway look great while also being affordable and durable. You may notice that driveway mix is sometimes referred to as I-5 or FABC.

While people may refer to it as such, it should be noted that driveway mix does differ from FABC in that it features a reduced oil-to-AC ratio. This effectively works to reduce the price of the materials further without detracting from its reliability or quality.

I-2 Stabilized Base

Stabilized Base refers to any sub-base pavement layers that are required in order to offer a strong and durable foundation for pavements. Sometimes known as “stab base”, this type of asphalt can be used in projects involving both rigid or flexible pavements, but is more frequently selected for use in work with flexible pavement types.

This particular blend of stab base is comprised of a combination of aggregates and asphalt cement. In order to guarantee true stability, the mixture must include at least 95-98% aggregate (preferably in the form of 3/4″ crushed stone, gravel and sometimes RAP) and only 2-5% asphalt binder.

This is what will result in the desired and necessary strength for stratifying loads between the surface pavement and the subgrade soil.


Medium aggregate bituminous concrete is most commonly referred to as MABC or I-4, and is comprised of a rich blend of stone and other aggregate materials. The paving product is recognized for its distinctive black coloring.

In order to meet industry requirements, I-4 MABC is engineered in a way that guarantees uniformity in size, as well as a specific consistency and quality. This is what ensures that the asphalt materials is accepted for use by local departments of transportation.

I-4 MABC is quite unique in that it most frequently acts as the middle layer between a sub-base layer and the top coat of fine aggregate bituminous concrete that is applied to the top.

This is because it has a very sticky quality and is extremely dense, which helps to create a structurally sound pavement that will hold up when subject to high volumes of traffic throughout the years. Consequently, it’s often selected for road paving and repair projects as well as airport runway paving projects.


Fine aggregate bituminous concrete, or I-5 FABC is applied in layers as a top coat for many paving projects, including roads, parking lots and airport runways. A specific blend of aggregates, binder and filler must be used in order to meet local DOT standards.

This usually includes fine aggregates, filler like stone dust and sand and bitumen. The end result is a hardy pavement that doesn’t crack or chip over time.

Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement

In recent years, recycled asphalt pavement has grown extremely popular. Homeowners and contractors alike enjoy the idea of working with materials that are not only reliable and affordable, but that are also beneficial to the environment.

With reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP), asphalt that has been excavated from old roads, driveways, parking lots and construction sites is collected and taken to an asphalt recycling plant like the one operated by Braen Stone.

The aggregate material is then cleaned in order to remove any metal or impurities, and is crushed and screened down to size. Some of this material may be re-introduced as an aggregate material in new blends of HMA. In other cases, the RAP is sold to users in aggregate form.

This is a great option for those in need of a strong and cost-efficient base or subbase material. It’s also attractive enough to act as a surfacing material for loose-fill projects like driveways, paths and walkways.

Making the Right Choice

As you can see, there are numerous types of asphalt available, but not all of them are the best fit for your specific project needs. Understanding the key differences will help you make a better informed decision so that you’re able to get as much value from your project as possible.

Should you have any questions about which variety of asphalt is the best pick for your upcoming work, we suggest that you take the time to seek out a trusted professional that has an expertise in the area of asphalt and can provide you with an honest, accurate and objective assessment.

Where to Buy Asphalt Materials in NJ

Braen Stone is your one-stop shop for all of the different types of asphalt you may require. We are the leading asphalt manufacturer and supplier in NJ and its surrounding areas, having earned the trust of our community through over a century of hard work and dedication.

All of our asphalt materials are produced from our locally owned and operated plants. We guarantee the highest quality products at the lowest, wholesale prices around.

All of the different types of asphalt we sell can be picked up at your convenience or bulk delivered to sites throughout parts of NJ, NY, NYC and PA.

Asphalt Driveways | Homeowners & Contractors | NY & NY

By | 2016-11-01T11:37:23+00:00 November 1st, 2016|Asphalt|0 Comments

About the Author:

Dirk is a Project Manager at Braen Stone. He's an expert on a variety of construction materials and prides himself on helping the company meet the needs of companies large and small.