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Asphalt Paving Vs. Chip Sealing

By Stephanie Rempe ; Updated September 21, 2017
Asphalt-paved road.

Fairly common while traveling along the nation's roadways is to see road construction and improvements. In fact, most travelers along the highways can attest to waiting at one time or another in a long line backing up a single lane of a four-lane highway while crews lay down new road materials. These crews are working on an asphalt paving project or a chip sealing project to repair existing roadways for smoother travel.

Asphalt Paving

Asphalt paving consists of using a premixed emulsion, or oil and rock combination, and rock mixed inside a commercial asphalt plant to create warm or hot asphalt. A truck transfers the asphalt to the paving location. The truck dumps the warm mixture into an asphalt paver, which lays the asphalt in a smooth path along the pavement. You complete the process by using a compaction roller to create the required density of asphalt.

Pros and Cons of Asphalt Paving

Asphalt overlays typically last years longer than chip sealing in high-traffic areas as it can retain its integrity better. Paving a large, wide area such as an airport runway, rather than chip sealing, is advantageous as you can cover a much larger area with the equipment. Conversely, the cost of asphalt paving can be higher due to the cost of the machines or equipment you need to complete the process and due to any increase in oil prices.

Chip Sealing

Chip sealing involves a layered process where you complete all aspects out on the roadway. The process consists of applying a coat of oil to the existing pavement and using a chip spreader machine to cover the oil with small washed rock. You use a pneumatic roller to adhere the rock to the oil on the roadway.

Pros and Cons of Chip Sealing

Chip sealing uses less expensive materials and equipment when compared to asphalt paving. You can cover a longer area quickly due to the lack of large machines, such as trucks and pavers. According to the Ohio Department of Transportation, chip-sealed roads help in the safety of navigating roads by providing better skid resistance. Conversely, chip seal has difficulty maintaining its integrity in higher traffic areas that can alter the profile of the roadway, which will need grinding and paving to fix.

 

About the Author

 

After attending the University of Missouri St. Louis, Stephanie Rempe worked as a documentation manager in the finance industry 10 years before turning to her first love, writing, which she's been doing professionally since 2008. She currently divides her time between Missouri and her fiance's hometown in Oregon. In addition to her freelance writing, Rempe is working on a romance novel and short stories.