Our kids love to shout to their friends “see you on the blacktop at recess!” Maul is made up of many fathers, and we always love striping school parking lots – see our social feed for some cool examples we just did, then get on our hopscotch level (we’re also taking bets on who would win in a foursquare game, Chris or Eric Maul). But in the spirit of education, we’d like to take this blog to explain how blacktop and asphalt are not interchangeable: there is a difference between them.

You may remember from elementary school that a square is a special type of rectangle – well in a similar way, blacktop is a special type of asphalt. Let’s review the difference between asphalt and blacktop.


Asphalt is composed of two main mixed ingredients: crushed stone, and bitumen. Bitumen is the black binding agent that holds the stones together, a viscous material made from petroleum distillation that we superheat in order to apply. You can also find it in roofing materials, and no, we never get tired of how satisfyingly dark it looks or applying it.

Blacktop paving on the other hand, despite being asphalt, uses a different mixture. It’s more stone than bitumen. It has to be heated 300 degrees higher than other kinds of asphalt. Both types are heated and added to a graded roadbed after a pre-mix. Asphalt emulsion can also be used in 24 hours, while concrete is less ideal for driving surfaces and much better for other structural purposes.


The two types also vary in use. We primarily use asphalt for highways and streets, where blacktop is for residential use. Asphalt pavement has fortitude and asphalt surfaces make for smooth driving. We primarily put down blacktop on areas that won’t receive as much vehicle traffic, like a driveway, or a playground.

The mixture of blacktop just isn’t as durable as commercial hot-mix asphalt, but it doesn’t need to be – the foot traffic of elementary school kids is much different than delivery trucks in a parking lot. It’s all about fitting your custom needs. Residential and commercial clients alike can benefit from asphalt sealcoating or blacktop sealcoating.

If you learn one thing from Maul Elementary here, it’s that getting your asphalt sealed is essential: driveway sealer will be one of your best investments. The black finish of asphalt can retain heat from the sun to help melt snow and ice, but here’s another similarity between blacktop and asphalt – water will always be a threat to structural integrity, and scheduled sealcoating services are essential. Asphalt sealer also keeps your blacktop or your asphalt looking attractive and protects it from the bleaching effect of UV rays.

Maul is your new paving company of choice. We work to be cost effective and always operate with the highest quality. As one of the region’s top asphalt sealcoating companies, we’ll navigate these options for you and pave the way for your success. Whether you just need your driveway sealed, or serious asphalt paving of 3 million square feet, we’ll see you on the blacktop.


When you join a tradition that’s changed the industry’s landscape for more than 30 years, your position demands hard-earned respect.



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