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-Asphalt Binder vs. Asphalt Top

                                Binder vs. Top


One of the most frequently asked questions we get is; “What is the difference between binder asphalt and top asphalt, and which is the best option for me?”


Binder asphalt is a coarser grade of blacktop containing a higher percentage of larger stones. These larger stones, when added to the asphalt mix, increases in stability. This raises the load factor for which the driveway can endure before breaking or cracking. Generally the larger the stone in the asphalt, the stronger it will be and the more pounds per square inch it can support. Many driveways now are being completed with a #1 fine dense binder on residential applications. To the eye, it looks slightly coarser than top and may have different variations, but is a much stronger mix. When sealed, binder will have the same appearance as a sealed top asphalt driveway.

Top asphalt only contains fine stone and therefor doesn’t have the strength of a binder. The best application of top asphalt would be on a re-surface or as a topcoat to the asphalt binder, thus creating another layer of asphalt with an additional cost. Top asphalt is more cosmetic in appearance, being less porous than binder and will prevent water from going through and undermining the base. Top is a more expensive alternative but will not have the longevity that a binder coated driveway will. **

We ask that you keep vehicle traffic off of your new driveway for a minimum of 3-5 days. Your new blacktop driveway will harden and soften as temperatures rise and fall.

Your driveway may look smoother in some areas than in others because of the makeup of blacktop. Blacktop has various sizes of stone, sand, liquid asphalt, and other ingredients which cause a varied texture of the surface. Also, blacktop areas that have been raked and spread with hand tools may appear different in texture from those spread by machine.  The edges are the weakest part of your driveway due to the lack of side support. Avoid driving on the edges since they will crack and crumble in time. In addition, weather conditions and temperature of the asphalt from the plant also plays into effect the final appearance of your driveway.

Try to avoid gasoline, oil, anti-freeze, power steering and transmission fluid spills and leaks. These will dilute the liquid asphalt in your blacktop. Any holes left by these spills should be filled with cold patch. Expansion and contraction cracks are unavoidable in climates where weather changes are extreme. Any hairline cracks that may have developed over the winter due to the contraction and expansion of the ground should be filled with crack filler.


We highly recommend preserving your new driveway with sealer. You may apply a seal coating one year after the asphalt has been applied and then every 2-3 years thereafter. Unprotected driveways remain porous, dry out, become rough and lose their life rapidly. Sealing not only fills in all the voids in the pavement and keeps all the stones in place, but also prevents water from entering the sub-base (which can cause instability problems.)





**During your free consultation, one of our paving professionals will suggest binder or top, depending on what he believes would be the best option for your driveway. Please note that because binder is a less expensive alternative to top and does not have the same cosmetic look that top does, we require an initial or signature of this form to document that you understand the difference between the two and can know what to expect as a final result.

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