Recycled Asphalt Driveway: Pros & Cons

We’ve all seen construction crews redoing city streets by tearing up chunks of asphalt and applying a fresh layer of asphalt.

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.

This trend is so popular that a growing number of homeowners are installing recycled asphalt driveways. Homeowners and contractors like working with these materials because they are reliable and affordable while also being beneficial to the environment.

To help you make an informed decision, here’s a quick breakdown of what recycled asphalt is and the pros and cons of a recycled asphalt driveways.

Recycled Asphalt Defined

Often referred to as recycled asphalt pavement (RAP), recycled asphalt is simply old asphalt that is then ground into an aggregate size. When it’s compacted, the material is able to harden and bind together. This makes it a great pick for use on driveways because it serves as a strong and cost-efficient base or sub-base material.

For best results, the material should be professionally spread after properly grading and excavating the driveway. Once the material has been uniformly applied, it’s best to wet the RAP down and compact it with a roller. The result is an attractive, sturdy and budget-friendly residential drive.

Recycled Asphalt Driveway Pros

Many homeowners have fallen in love with their recycled asphalt driveways. Here are some of the many benefits that the material has to offer:

  • Affordable – One major advantage of using RAP for driveway construction is that it’s very low cost. Recycled asphalt requires far fewer raw resources than virgin asphalt. Considering the fact that asphalt contains a high volume of oil and that oil prices are volatile, this can make a huge difference. It’s production also requires less labor and fewer man hours, further reducing expenses to customers like yourself.
  • Environmentally Responsible – These days, all of us are trying to do our part to reduce, reuse and recycle. Asphalt is not a biodegradable material, and any waste that is thrown into landfills will remain there, taking up space forever. In addition, non-renewable resources must be used to generate virgin asphalt. It’s much more environmentally responsible to choose a material that minimizes waste by re-purposing old asphalt.
  • Excellent Bonding Qualities – Asphalt that has been recycled still has some tar in it. This means that, unlike other loose-fill driveway materials, recycled asphalt aggregate will bond together when wetted and compacted, allowing for a semipermanent driveway that remains in place and minimizes dust and dirt.
  • Percolation – The composition of an RAP driveway allows it to hold up well in rain and snow. It percolates well, preventing pooling and flooding on the driveway.
  • Appearance – In addition to being affordable and durable, driveways that are surfaced with RAP can be extremely attractive. They share a look that is a cross between a picturesque gravel surface and an asphalt surface. This unique appearance is appealing to homeowners who are looking to stand out from the other houses on the block.

Recycled Asphalt Driveway Cons

As with any driveway surfacing material, there are some minor drawbacks associated with RAP driveways, such as:

  • Coloration – After use and exposure to the sun and elements, the aggregate material that is recycled and used for an RAP driveway may be of a different coloration than of virgin asphalt. Although this does create a unique and one-of-a-kind look, some homeowners prefer the traditional, deep black of “true” asphalt materials. Keep this in mind before making a decision about the surfacing materials you would like for your home’s driveway.
  • Variance in Quality – Depending on where the asphalt is recycled, there could be some serious fluctuations in the quality of the materials. Be sure to do your research before purchasing RAP. Look for an asphalt recycling facility that is well established, is experienced and has a reputation for being reliable and delivering a consistently high-quality product to its customers.

Final Thoughts

The final decision on whether or not to use recycled asphalt for your driveway is yours. This type of residential drive is typically ideal for those that like the idea of enjoying the benefits associated with both asphalt and gravel surfaces.

Due to the fact that the finished product is only semipermanent, homeowners who prefer a smooth and polished surface might benefit from talking to a supplier about paving their driveways with a hot mix asphalt that contains a percentage of recycled materials.

We take pride in our asphalt recycling processes and offer high quality materials to our customers. We’re happy to answer any questions that you may have. Our recycled materials are available for pickup in NJ or bulk delivery to your location in most of NJ, NY, NYC or PA.

By | 2020-04-01T14:21:30-04:00 May 4th, 2017|RAP|1 Comment

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.