chip seal vs asphalt

Chip Seal vs Asphalt – What’s The Difference?

Chip seal and asphalt are both used as pavers. When you need to choose a type for your driveway to the house, you will search for the best fitting. We will help you with this by discussing all the things you need to know about chip seal vs asphalt. 

Understanding the structural differences, pricing, and maintenance is important when choosing the best match for your paving requirement. Hence, it will also help determine the material that goes hand in hand with your budget. At the same time, if you own heavy-duty vehicles that regularly visit your yards, the durability check is one of the foremost considerations. 

What is Chip Seal?

Chip seal is a method of paving that uses asphalt and fine aggregate. One or more asphalt layers may be combined with one or more fine aggregate layers. Fine aggregate consists of any kind of natural stones crushed into small particles less than ¼ inches and sand.

Chip sealing is performed with a first layer of heated asphalt liquid and, lately, chip stones. These stones are also covered with asphalt and adhere well to the road. These tiny stone particles are game changers that increase the traction of your premises while also acting as a protective layer for the underground asphalt layer. 

The chip seal is nicely coated with a layer of natural stones. There is a wide variety of options you have got here. You can choose granite, brownish river rocks, brick, slate, white stone, or pink stone. If you use it for a driveway or in the front of your home, you can use an attractive type of stone to make a unique appearance.

The chip seal is not wiped off in heavy rains. But the innermost layer will come into contact with water and snow. You can choose a light color stone and reduce the heat absorption on warming summer days too. 

Chip seal is widely used in countryside roads and farmlands, where heavy-duty vehicles like tractors and trucks drive often. It creates huge traction and therefore is an excellent solution for handling loaded heavy trucks in winter. If you have watery surrounding around your house, a chip seal is best. We can also see a protective coverage of the underlying asphalt layer from moisture and sun rays by the stone layer above.

What is Asphalt?

Asphalt is a top pick in paving materials all over the world. It is a mixture of sand, gravel, stone, binders, and fillers. A binder is a substance used to adhere the aggregates to each other. You can find three types of asphalt according to their temperature: hot, warm, and cold. 

What is Asphalt

More than 90% of roads in the US are covered with asphalt. Why is that? It is because of the high standard of the durability of asphalt paved roads.

Those are resistance to water, snow, and high heat in summer. The degrading is minimal even though it is open for heavy vehicles carrying loads all year. The cost of maintenance is meager when compared to other popular methods . Asphalt roads can withstand the collision of snowplows and spreaders. 

Asphalt is mainly used on public roads. The airport runways are also paved with asphalt. Not only that, but you are also free to use asphalt pavers in your driveways, sidewalks, parking slots, and even in garden patios. 

Chip Seal vs Asphalt Differences

Chip seal combines an asphalt layer or layers with small stones and sand. Asphalt is totally a mixture of aggregates, binders, and fillers. It will last for more than 25 years with good maintenance. You can expect a chip seal paved project last in good condition for about 7 – 10 years.

The time will vary according to the loads and number of vehicles traveled daily. Chip seals come in various color options, and lighter colors are considered the best if your area is under sunlight in most periods of the year. This is because of less heat absorption. But the asphalt’s identical black color has made the material a high heat absorbent.

Hence, you could feel more heat on your feet when walking along an asphalt road in summer. Chip seal pavers are the winner when it comes to cost-effectiveness. Asphalt surfaces are highly resistant to water and harsh weather conditions. But the chip-sealed roads come into contact with water, snow, and storms as they are covered with rolled stone layer with spaces. 

When selecting the best out of chip seal and asphalt, you have to consider the weather conditions that your location often goes under. It would help if you also considered how long you need the project to last, plus the total cost for the paving project. Go through the above paragraph carefully and distinguish the best match for your necessity. 

When to Use Chip Seal and When to Use Asphalt?

Chip seal is good for sunny climates. That is because of its availability of options with less heat absorption rates. The black color stones and granules of asphalt absorb more heat than a chip seal project done with white stone, for instance.

The pedestrians and the passengers will expose to less dust when traveling along an asphalt road. Therefore, asphalt is the best option when it comes to roads in urban areas where a lot of vehicles pass daily. On the contrary, chip seal is the commonly used paving method in rural countryside as there is less traffic.

If you live in an area with climate changes like storms, snow, and heavy rains, you must rely on asphalt, as it is a highly durable method of paving. Chip seals are not a match in those areas as water contaminates the bottom asphalt layer in a high percentage.

Whether to use chip seal or asphalt depends on the project type, location, and expected budget. Is the project permanent, or do you just need it for a few years? This is also a matter to concern. For instance, if you need a paver that lasts nearly 30 years, asphalt is your way ahead. You can go with a chip seal if it is a temporary parking slot or a sidewalk. 

Cost Comparison

You can expect $2- $5 per square foot for chip seal paving. But the asphalt layering is about 30% – 40% higher than the chip seal. If you use hot asphalt in your driveway, it will cost you nearly $20 – $50 per square foot. 

The prices may vary according to the material type you use, the location, the project size, and the labor costs. The depth of the material or the number of layers you use directly fluctuates the price per square foot.

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