Here we share our asphalt millings driveway guide including what is, how much they cost, the different types, the differences over gravel, how to harden and seal one, and where to buy.
Asphalt millings are a practical and inexpensive way to layout or restore your driveway much more if you use the recycled gravel from asphalt pavements. These are cost-efficient loose pavement that can act as your gravel bed when you plan to upgrade your driveway in the future.
Know more about asphalt millings in their application as driveway material and why it is a viable alternative to gravel and other pavement materials.
What Are Asphalt Millings?
Asphalt millings, pavement millings, or asphalt gravel are the ground-up form of asphalt with mostly having less than an inch of particles. The pavement millings are mainly from roadway projects where the topmost material is removed to repair or improve the hardscape surface.
The removed surface is mainly composed of asphalt. It serves as the binder with other quarry materials such as stone, rock, silt, and sand.
With 45 million tons of asphalt millings produced every year, it is a continuous resource of recycled and reusable material used in repaving roads. It is also used for other hardscape surfaces for driveways for homes, commercial, and government projects. Read more about our guide on the different types of driveways here.
The bituminous material can be recycled many times and has the same life expectancy as the brand-new asphalt, with an average of around 20 years.
Asphalt milling (process) is the recycling and repaving process used to remove the top layer of an asphalt hardscape without interfering with the sub-base.
Asphalt Millings Cost
The Asphalt Millings Cost range from $7.80 to $11.90 Homeadvisor meanwhile lists $7 to $60, where the higher the percentage of RAP (Recycled Asphalt Pavement) the lower the cost. Factors that can significantly affect the price include the source and the process used.
Asphalt Millings Cost Per Ton
According to the Federal Highway Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Asphalt millings cost per ton:
$7.80 – 50% RAP
$8.62 – 40% RAP
$9.44 – 30% RAP
$10.26 – 20% RAP
$11.90 – 0% RAP
*RAP or Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement refers to the reprocessed pavement materials that consist of asphalt and aggregates.
The amount of coverage per ton varies depending on the thickness of your hardscape. The thickness required by your asphalt millings depends on the purpose.
Another factor to consider is the weight and size of your roller. The heavier the roller, the more compact your asphalt millings will be.
Types of asphalt are HL3 commercial, HL3 fine, HL3, and HL1. Typically, you’ll need two to two, and a have inches thick for residential use where 1 ton of asphalt millings has a coverage of 80 to 100 square feet.
Types of Asphalt Millings for the Driveway
Recycled asphalt millings are crushed. Screened asphalt sourced from hardscapes in reconstruction or resurfacing. The black gravel is usually broken down to a uniform size of 1 ½” or less, which are excellent materials for driveways.
Asphalt milling is a great alternative to gravel because of its better traction, durability, and cost-efficiency. The sustainable asphalt milling gravel also performs well when it comes to different weather conditions.
The recycled version of asphalt pavements has a more grayish color instead of the jet-black color of asphalt. Read more about our guide on the different types of gravel here.
Asphalt Millings Versus Gravel
Grind asphalt is an excellent substitute for gravel, but there are differences to consider.
Adaptability to Weather Conditions. As asphalt millings and gravel are both loose pavement materials, you won’t have problems with cracks or fractures on your driveway pavement. But compared to the two materials, asphalt millings have the better performance when it comes to various weather conditions.
These pavement millings melt faster when covered with snow, and do not runoff easily during floods, and prevent water pooling.
Stability and Durability. Over time, driveways made of asphalt millings hardens and only get more compact whenever pressure is applied while gravel can sink into the soil after use or can easily runoff during a flash flood.
For durability in general, both asphalt millings and gravel are hardy materials. The difference is that gravel can break into pieces under immense pressure whereas asphalt millings will bond and compress as the bituminous material retains its oils and tar.
Upfront Costs. The average cost of a gravel driveway is between $1.25 and $1.80 per square foot, while asphalt driveways can typically cost from $2 to $5 per square foot to install. This makes both materials the most economical driveway material available.
Cost-Efficiency. While gravel is marginally more affordable than asphalt millings, the latter is the more cost-efficient material as you get a material that can be reused and recycled many times over.
Moreover, since asphalt millings create a very stable driveway surface, there’s no need for constant replacement and concern for surface runoff during flooding or dust although out the dry months.
Maintenance. Weeds, mud, and debris can get in between the gravel stones, which will require regular cleaning. There are available chemicals to prevent weed from growing, but regrowth is still unavoidable, especially during the rainy season.
Meanwhile, asphalt millings are less to accumulate debris over time, thus unlikely for weeds to grow on your driveway. Both do not need refinishing or resurfacing but will need replacement and leveling due to material runoff or displacement.
Surface Performance. Gravel can cause ruts or holes on your driveway surface, which means you’ll need to refill and re-trowel the gravel stones often to achieve an even surface. Asphalt millings tend to bend.
On the other hand, they have a better traction grip between your tires and with less displacement as the bituminous material tends to bind together and further compact when enough pressure over time. Although asphalt millings can melt when exposed to extreme heat.
Longevity. Both gravel and asphalt millings can last for a lifetime with proper maintenance. Though you’ll need to refill your gravel driveway every 2 to 3 years as gravel can imbed itself to the ground or get displaced due to water runoff.
For asphalt millings, you’ll need less refilling and troweling the surface and enjoy your driveway throughout the year but will need compacting every five years.
Read more about asphalt vs gravel driveways here.
How to Harden Asphalt Millings
Unlike your Hot Mix Asphalt, your asphalt millings are laid without using heat. The asphalt millings can be laid and cured using ambient temperature. But to ensure a stable driveway, a compactor or steamroller is used.
But before deciding to use asphalt millings for your driveway project make sure to check your housing regulations in your community that may limit or restrict your use of asphalt millings.
Typically, a contractor will initially run a 25-ton pneumatic-tired roller then a 12-ton or a larger drum vibratory roller. The roller drums are usually wet before running them through your asphalt millings to prevent them from sticking.
Asphalt Millings Driveway Sealer
DIYers can opt for a small amount of diesel sprayed on your new asphalt milling driveway, which will soften the oils in the asphalt and help the granules bind together.
Contractors usually spray with chip seal mix over your asphalt driveway, which is usually done every two or three years.
You can also add another layer of recycled asphalt millings of around 1.25 inches in thickness before sealing off your driveway.
Where to Buy Asphalt Millings
You can purchase asphalt millings from landscaping companies, recycling centers, paving companies, or gravel shop and asphalt production plants with standard delivery fees depending on your location.
Some contractors can offer pavement services, who can source the asphalt millings for your driveway. Check your area for tax credits and incentives in using recycled asphalt pavement in your area.
See more related content at our article about concrete driveway finishes on this page.