What is Asphalt Milling? Process and Benefits

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One of the most important parts of the paving process is asphalt milling, which occurs before laying asphalt. The milling process is relatively new, though paving is one of the oldest urban developments. Pavement milling began in the mid-1970’s and as the equipment has evolved, so has the process. It’s now a reliable, affordable, and sustainable way for paving contractors to provide pavement restorations for businesses, governments, and homeowners.

There are different material options available for pavement surfaces, asphalt being the choice of preference for most projects. Most effective asphalt pavement repairs require asphalt milling.

This article describes the process, and its benefits as an alternative for paving.

What is Asphalt Milling?

The short answer is that asphalt milling is the process of partial or full removal of asphalt surface. Most of the removed material can then be process to become recycled asphalt. Asphalt first began to be repurposed as interstate or airplane tarmac lost its usefulness.

Asphalt removal

One can obtain recycled asphalt after initial asphalt product is removed, crushed, and redistributed. Recycled asphalt is similar to fresh asphalt or gravel but with different advantages. Recycled asphalt keeps the same characteristics are as other paving materials.

Pavement milling is an affordable solution for asphalt pavement restoration due to it being a recycled product; often used as an inexpensive alternative for complete demolitions and repaving.

Removing asphalt pavement

It is important to consider that recycled asphalt can be a great alternative to stone gravel and hot asphalt. Due to its resistance to harsh weather elements it’s a more cost-effective alternative than other paving materials.

If you’re unsure of the benefits of asphalt milling, contractors are able to guide your asphalt pavement needs.

What is the Asphalt Milling Process?

The process for milling asphalt refers to the grinding and removal of the topmost layer of asphalt pavement. When milling blacktop a large capacity grinder crushes asphalt to remove the topmost layers of existing pavement before overlaying. This allows contractors to provide a smooth and even repaved surface.

recycled asphalt

You should consider asphalt milling if you’re intending to remove only the top layer of asphalt without disturbing the underlying sub-base. The way contractors do this is by crushing the asphalt to a specified and even depth.

After proper milling the new asphalt can then be laid down without increasing the height of roads. This saves time as the sub-base of the pavement doesn’t need fixing.

Other existing structures, such as drainage, stay undisturbed thanks to the asphalt milling process. As stated above, pavement milling is a way to prevent asphalt from getting too high. This allows it to be a cost-effective alternative to a complete removal and replacement of pavement.

Some other reasons for milling asphalt is to recycle road surfaces. Crushed asphalt serves as aggregate in fresh pavement. Therefore, recycling asphalt allows for a positive environmental impact

How do You Use Millings?

Is pavement milling useful in instances where you would use concrete, fresh asphalt, or gravel? Yes! Crushed asphalt is a perfect alternative to use for parking lots, footpaths, or act as a landscape or hardscape filler.

Other infrastructures that recycled asphalt is useful for are:

  • Uneven and bumpy paved surfaces
  • Damage from accidents and fires
  • Components used to make asphalt becoming separated from one another and compromising a road’s surface
Asphalt milling material | limitless golden construction

Created from milling blacktop are rumble strips; these offer great utility for pre-existing roads and surfaces. Prevention of overlays is another use that contractors give to milled asphalt.

Great contractors know that overlaying increases pavement height, so crushing asphalt to restore pavement is more beneficial. Especially as having multiple overlays in structures adds height that will create issues in the long run.

Can you use recycled asphalt to pave your driveway? Yes, millings won’t offer the same smoothness as new asphalt or concrete, but the benefits are still there. Moreover, blacktop milling is affordable, which makes it the better choice for price-conscious homeowners. Talk to your preferred local contractor if you have a milling project in mind. They will guide you in your decision to use recycled material instead of just applying new asphalt material over your driveway.

What are the Benefits of Asphalt Milling?

When laying down crushed asphalt it’s vital to place high pressure to form compacted roads or driveways. While asphalt millings are generally not suitable for streets with heavy traffic, they work perfect for driveways and small private roads.

There are many benefits to using recycled asphalt. Benefits include eco-friendly options for repaving.

Rolling pavement surface

Improved Surface

One benefit of asphalt milling is that it allows for restoring pavement, getting rid of bumps, ruts and other surface irregularities. Asphalt milling also removes pavement layers to the correct depth so that its level to the rest of the pavement.

Another benefit of milling asphalt is that it restores drainage flow, providing textured surface for skid control.

If any of your asphalt structures have significant damage, our contractors can use asphalt milling to correct the damage effectively.

Durability & Low-Maintenance

After milling pavement, is the recycled material durable? Yes, and it’s also low-maintenance.

Asphalt hardens over time, strengthening the surface of your asphalt parking, driveway lot or private road. This makes it less likely to need refinished, resurfaced, or replaced surfaces. Recycled asphalt is durable against harsh weather, which is useful in northern states like New York where the weather can damage pavings. This allows you to save money in the long-run.

Driveways made of recycled asphalt are also relatively low-maintenance since they don’t need to be routinely raked or refinished. Weeds and grass struggle to grow through asphalt millings, leaving your driveway looking great without having to constantly upkeep it.

Contractors know that a well-installed driveway made of asphalt millings can be extremely beneficial to your property.

Weather Resistant

The versatility of asphalt is unparalleled, becoming brittle during extreme cold and soft during extreme heat. This ability makes pavement milling extremely valuable in places where extreme temperatures make new asphalt more susceptible to damage.

road paving

Blacktop milling is more porous than traditional asphalt, making it an efficient drainer in areas prone to flooding or snow and ice accumulation. Great contractors know that snow and ice melt much faster on asphalt millings. Making recycled asphalt an excellent paving choice for cold-weather states. Familiar with New York winters? Then you know that having durable asphalt is important for extending the life of your pavement and the value of your property.

Cost Efficient

Proper asphalt maintenance requires constant inspections, maintenance, and resealing of the blacktop every five to six years. Blacktop millings, on the other hand, don’t.

Once compacted, asphalt millings only require periodic grading and re-compaction. This is a less expensive upkeep process. Therefore, recycled asphalt is a perfect choice if you want less costly maintenance.

Crushed asphalt makes the material cost significantly lower than that of new materials. Most importantly, this whole process costs less than reconstruction. Thus, maintenance budgets can cover a larger area for less.

Environmentally Friendly

Concerned about the environmental impact of paving projects? Then asphalt milling is the right material for you., as recycled asphalt can be retained for future use. Milling offers a great green alternative as it doesn’t generate smoke nor flame. 

Specific recycling facilities received the removed asphalt product to the use it as aggregate in new hot-mix asphalt. 

Asphalt paving results

If you use it for your paving project you may qualify for LEED credits. This is depending on the scale of the job. Ask your contractors if this is an option for your project.

When do You Know You Need Asphalt Milling?

When should you look into milling for your paving projects? Any good contractor will tell you that asphalt milling is perfect for your project when:

  • Your pavement has started to “unravel” from the top down
  • There’s cracking on your paving surface allowing water to penetrate and cause deterioration from the top down
  • The top layer of asphalt is shoving
  • Your pavement is in a drainage area and drainage swales need to be cut to allow water to drain properly
  • Pavement shows signs of low and moderate severity cracks caused by overloading traffic or loss of base
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Asphalt walkway, road, or driveway…pedestrian and driver’s safety should be a priority on any property.

If you need to upgrade your pavement, talk to our contractors and find out if asphalt milling is the right project for your needs. Contact our professionals for a quote on asphalt services and more!

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