Hot Mix Asphalt
commonly referred to as HMA, is often the go-to road maintenance solution and it’s easy to see why. Hot mix asphalt is relatively affordable, quick to apply, and much more durable and suitable for permanent repairs, unlike cold patch.
But what about the unseen costs that come with using hot mix asphalt? Is it really as cheap as it seems or is hot mix secretly siphoning your road department’s budget? Let’s take a look at some of the hidden costs associated with hot mix asphalt and why natural RockAsphalt© may be a better repair solution for your city or county.
Hot mix asphalt must remain heated above 300°F to remain workable.
Maintenance Costs of Hot Mix Asphalt
The cost of hot mix asphalt material is cheap when compared to other solutions, but the process to use it certainly is not. Dump trucks, asphalt pavers, and distributor tanks for tack coats are among the necessary pieces of equipment needed to apply hot mix asphalt.
While the upfront costs of this equipment is expensive, the maintenance costs can also begin to bleed your budget dry. A malfunctioning distributor tank can stall an ongoing project in its tracks and the price of regular maintenance on heavy machinery in general certainly isn’t the cheapest.
If you’re lucky enough to live next to an asphalt plant, sending your crew out to get material probably isn’t a big deal. However this isn’t the case for most street departments and asphalt paving trucks aren’t exactly Tesla’s in terms of fuel consumption.
Machinery maintenance is essential for proper hot mix asphalt paving
Some asphalt cleaning agents will pollute the material, making it unable to be recycled for later use
On that note, it’s no secret that gas prices are through the roof and filling up dump trucks for a trip to and from the asphalt plant needs to be calculated into your overall expenses of using hot mix asphalt.
Even when we take the price of fuel out of the equation, the time it takes to complete a trip to the asphalt plant and back to the job site eats into working hours, extending the timeline of many road maintenance projects.
One of the beneficial aspects of hot mix asphalt is its ability to become extremely hard once it’s cooled down. Compared to cold mix that could stay malleable for weeks before curing, hot mix asphalt is considered pretty quick, taking around 48-72 hours to cure in ideal weather conditions.
But what happens to hot mix asphalt that dries up before you can apply it? It does its job, it becomes solid. To maintain your paving equipment, you need to keep it clean. Consider all the equipment that must be cleaned after a road maintenance project. Hoppers, screeds, augurs, and the beds of dump trucks all fall victim to dried hot mix asphalt at one point or another.
It can take hours of manual labor to clean this equipment. Pressure washers, manual scraping, and expensive, toxic cleaning agents are common methods for cleaning up paving equipment. Again, time and money taken out of your day in order to use a cheaper, stronger material. Depending on how you clean your equipment, you may be able to salvage some dried material for future use, but many of these cleaning agents are toxic, polluting the asphalt material and making it unusable.
No one knows your road maintenance process better than you and if you’ve decided that hot mix asphalt and the lengthy process behind using it works, it is a viable road repair option. But there is one more element of hot mix asphalt to consider and that is the quantity you purchase. Hot mix asphalt plants produce astronomical amounts of material and generally require a (very large) minimum order quantity.
If you’re repaving entire roads, this won’t really factor into your decision, as you need a ton of material regardless. The problem is when you don’t. If material dries up, becomes polluted with toxic cleaning agents, or simply isn’t needed because your repairs are finished, then large amounts of your hot mix asphalt order make their way towards being thrown away.
Hot Mix Asphalt: The Real Price
While hot mix asphalt material itself is cheap, the process behind using it can cut into your road budget. From transportation, cleaning, maintenance, and large order quantities, the costs begin to quickly accumulate.
RockAsphalt© has the unique ability to create permanent repairs like hot mix asphalt without the hidden costs. Our material is clean, requires no special tools, and is delivered to your door. It also works in colder temperatures too. So the next time you’re considering purchasing that dump truck of hot mix, consider RockAsphalt© first.