What Is the Difference Between Blacktop & Asphalt?

By Jennifer VanBaren

Blacktop and asphalt are words typically used synonymously. Asphalt and blacktop are commonly used when referring to substances used for finishing roads and driveways.

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Asphalt is used on most roads because it is strong and water-resistant.

Components

Asphalt is created by mixing aggregate with bitumen, a substance found in crude oil and other natural deposits. Aggregate refers to stone and sand. Blacktop is created the same way, but typically begins with liquid asphalt being mixed with additional stone. When these two substances are made, they are heated. Once the substances cool off, they harden and remain in place for many years.

Uses

Asphalt is used primarily to cover roads. It is compressed with a steamroller making it smooth, solid and water-resistant. Blacktop is more commonly used for driveways and playgrounds.

Details

Most people consider asphalt and blacktop to be the same thing. These two items are basically identical; however blacktop commonly refers to residential driveways; whereas asphalt is more commonly used for commercial purposes such as roads, racetracks and parking lots.