Asphalt Terminology


A dark, highly viscous material composed mainly of petroleum; when refined and combined with aggregates and other fillers, it forms a cement-like substance used primarily for road and other hard surface construction. The most common form used is also referred to as “hot mix asphalt”.

Emulsified Asphalt

Suspended asphalt particles in water that forms a more fluid asphalt mixture. Emulsified asphalt is most commonly used as a sealant or tack coat layer.

Cold Asphalt Mix

A temporary material ideal for emergency patching projects as it can be applied in a wider range of weather conditions.

Fatigue Resistance

The ability of asphalt pavement to resist crack initiation caused by repeated flexing of the material.


The ability to conform to the settlement of foundation; generally enhanced by higher asphalt contents.


The ability of an asphalt surface to resist the passage of air and water into or through the pavement; generally decreases as a function of time and usage.


Failure in the asphalt structure caused by water entering soil underneath asphalt, usually through cracks that have not been sealed, in an area that sees traffic.

Pavement Structure

The entire pavement system of selected materials from sub-grade to the surface.

Road Base

A crushed aggregate material used under asphalt installations to increase stability.

Tack Coat

A form of liquid asphalt or asphalt emulsion applied to an existing surface to promote bonding of new asphalt installation.


1. What are asphalt’s benefits in comparison with concrete?

In general, asphalt is cheaper to install and repair, adapts to temperature changes more easily, and cures within hours. Concrete lasts longer and requires less maintenance but damage is more noticeable and repairs are costly.

2. How can I make sure the company I hire will do a good job?

There are many individuals or companies that go door-to-door offering quick asphalt services at deeply discounted rates. Unfortunately, most of these instances result in incomplete or sub-par asphalt work or, worse, a stolen deposit without any work completed. To protect yourself and ensure a quality asphalt job, keep the following in mind:

  • A respectable asphalt company will never sell their services door-to-door or ask for payment up front.
  • An asphalt company should be insured, bonded, and licensed (where necessary).
  • Ask for references of recently completed, local jobs and check them out.
  • Check for accreditation through organizations like the Better Business Bureau or the local Chamber of Commerce.
  • A trustworthy company will guarantee their work with some kind of warrantee.

3. Why does my asphalt surface need maintenance?

A regular maintenance program that includes crack sealing, seal coating, and asphalt repair (if needed) can more than double the life of your asphalt investment and contribute to aesthetic appeal. Furthermore, proper maintenance may protect business owners and HOA’s from liability for damages that could result from unmaintained lots, roads, or pathways.

4. How often do cracks need to be sealed?

Cracks should be sealed as soon as they begin to appear and on a yearly basis after that. This helps to prevent water from enlarging existing cracks, which may lead to pothole formation. In general, cracks will begin to form two to three years after installation depending on factors relating to weather, traffic, and maintenance.

5. How often should asphalt be resealed?

Asphalt should be resealed every three to four years depending on the level of traffic. This will protect the surface from oil spills and damage resulting from intense sunlight and heat. As a cosmetic bonus, it will also give your asphalt a like-new appearance.

6. When can my new pavement be driven on?

New pavement should be allowed a minimum of four hours to cure before it is driven on. There are several factors such as asphalt depth and weather conditions that may influence this time frame so ask the foreman how long you should wait.

7. Why can’t we give you a general price per square foot over the phone?

Every project is unique and requires custom preparation, installation, and finishing details. For this reason, it is best that we send one of our expert estimators to the job site so that we are better informed of your project’s specific requirements.

8. What weather conditions are ideal for pavement installation?

Typically, asphalt plants in Western Colorado are open from mid-March to late November when daily minimum temperatures are high enough to allow the pavement to cure properly. The minimum temperature ranges depending on the thickness of asphalt required for a project. While pavement cannot be installed over a wet base material, precipitation immediately following a project’s completion is acceptable.

If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to contact us directly at 970.242.8487 or [email protected]. You may also request a FREE estimate here