When planning a large driveway project in Perth, you may be considering new hot mix asphalt or recycled asphalt as possible solutions. Each has their benefits, however, many recycled asphalt companies aren’t transparent with the true cost of a recycled asphalt driveway. Initial price aside, there’s a few factors to be wary of when it comes to choosing a recycled asphalt driveway over a new one.
Expected benefits of a new asphalt surface
In Australia, we know asphalt as being the most reliable, durable, and safe surfacing material for regular use by vehicles. Its flexible nature and sturdy composition make it the ideal candidate for large driveways, car parks, roads and more. One of its key benefits is longevity, capable of lasting decades before needing resurfacing or replacement.
All of this is true for new hot mix asphalt, but you can’t expect the same results from a recycled asphalt driveway or car park.
In addition, new asphalt is manufactured to meet Australian Standards and / or other stringent specifications.
The truth about recycled asphalt driveways
Recycled asphalt may be cheaper than a fresh asphalt surface, but you receive what you pay for.
Recycled asphalt is undeniably inferior in quality compared to new hot mix asphalt. The composition of recycled asphalt can commonly be contaminated with an assortment of materials such as aggregate, glass, crumb rubber and of course reclaimed asphalt in a variety of sizes from fine aggregate to larger ‘lumps’ – among other foreign objects. This inconsistent mix of materials means the finished product is likely to be equally inconsistent. The quality of recycled asphalt depends on how and where it was recycled and by which company, because in reality, it is mainly a waste product.
In addition, it’s always best to deal with a long-standing, reliable and trustworthy supplier, such as NK Asphalt (established in 1989), who will still be operating in future to meet your future needs.
Regardless of the quality and consistency of recycled asphalt, it doesn’t last nearly as long as new asphalt. A recycled asphalt driveway can look like a loose gravel surface very quickly. This can be caused by its variable hardening over time into a combination of loose material and bound areas, which, despite what you might think, is a bad thing. It leaves the area with an uneven surface which can cause water ponding and subsequent failure. This can be a major ongoing cost, which a new asphalt driveway avoids.
Newly laid asphalt has a black or dark red appearance which slowly lightens over time, but usually maintains a consistent shade. A recycled asphalt driveway on the other hand is lighter and will gradually wear to the point it doesn’t even look like asphalt. Not to mention the loose material that tends to accumulate on top of a recycled asphalt surface – much like gravel.
As discussed, recycled asphalt driveways consist of an array of random materials. Depending on the quality of recycled asphalt you receive, you may find some of these foreign materials breaking loose and contaminating garden beds, or inside your house or car.
Water run-off on steeper driveways can lead to recycled asphalt rutting and washing away.
Newly laid asphalt is formulated without foreign materials which saves you walking driveway waste into your house or garden.
Is recycled asphalt really a greener solution?
In this current global economy, individuals and businesses are looking for greener solutions to improve sustainability. Sustainability is a topic that comes up a lot regarding paving solutions and the common consensus indicates recycled asphalt as ‘more sustainable’ than new asphalt.
However, as Dr. Mark Buncher explains in Asphalt Magazine, “performance is critical to true sustainability”. He explains how opting for an initially greener solution such as recycled asphalt can actually be detrimental to sustainability in the long run. Choosing an inferior surface such as a recycled asphalt driveway can lead to early cracking, more need for maintenance, and less time between resurfacing jobs. Dr. Buncher notes “these all result in more material and equipment usage and more emissions over the life cycle of the pavement. The key takeaway is that we need to be more holistic in our approach to pavement sustainability.”
A new hot mix driveway can last decades before needing significant work, therefore it impacts the environment far less in the long term.
Comparing new hot mix asphalt to a recycled asphalt driveway
When experiencing a recycled asphalt driveway in person, it’s easy to see its true lack of quality. Below are some examples:
The first two images show the original two-year old recycled asphalt surface on the left and a hot mix surface on the right. The hot mix asphalt on the right was installed by NK Asphalt and is 12 months old at the time the image was taken. Notice the inconsistencies and damage on the recycled asphalt driveway (left) after just a couple of years vs the clean asphalt after a year.
The following images below shows a three-year old, recycled asphalt surface (left) and a hot mix asphalt surface that is 2.5 years old (right).The hot mix surface on the right has maintained its structure and appearance despite being nearly the same age.
Think ahead with a hot mix asphalt surface from NK Asphalt
Hot mix asphalt provided by NK Asphalt is an investment that will stand the test of time. We have a reputation for providing excellent service and first-class asphalt surfaces. Opting for new asphalt on your driveway or commercial project will set your property up with a sustainable and reliable long term surface.
At NK Asphalt, we provide a free measure and quote for projects between the sizes of 150m2 and 50,000m2 in Perth and the surrounding areas. Enquire below or give us a call to discuss your project with an expert.