How many square feet will 1 ton of asphalt cover

As a licensed civil engineer and construction specialist with over 25+ years of experience, I have dedicated my career to understanding the intricacies of asphalt materials, specifications, and roadway construction. In my experience, I will tell you how many square feet 1 ton of asphalt can cover, providing you with the knowledge and expertise to make informed decisions for your upcoming projects.

Calculating Asphalt Coverage

To determine the coverage area of 1 ton of asphalt, you’ll need to consider the following factors:

Asphalt Weight

1 ton of asphalt is equivalent to 2,000 pounds (907 kilograms).

Asphalt Thickness

The desired thickness of the asphalt layer will depend on the specific application and local building codes or regulations. Common asphalt thicknesses range from 1 to 4 inches (2.54 to 10.16 cm).

Asphalt Density

As mentioned earlier, the density of asphalt typically ranges from 140 to 150 lb/ft³ (2,240 to 2,400 kg/m³).

Using these factors, you can calculate the coverage area of 1 ton of asphalt using the following formula:

Coverage Area (ft²) = (2,000 lb / Asphalt Density (lb/ft³)) / Desired Thickness (ft)

Or, if you prefer the metric system:

Coverage Area (m²) = (907 kg / Asphalt Density (kg/m³)) / Desired Thickness (m)

Asphalt Coverage Examples

Let’s look at some examples to illustrate how the coverage area of 1 ton of asphalt can vary based on the desired thickness and the asphalt density.

1-inch Thick Asphalt Layer with 140 lb/ft³ Density

Using the formula: Coverage Area (ft²) = (2,000 lb / 140 lb/ft³) / (1 in / 12 in/ft) = 1,142 ft²

2-inch Thick Asphalt Layer with 150 lb/ft³ Density

Using the formula: Coverage Area (ft²) = (2,000 lb / 150 lb/ft³) / (2 in / 12 in/ft) = 889 ft²

3-inch Thick Asphalt Layer with 145 lb/ft³ Density

Using the formula: Coverage Area (ft²) = (2,000 lb / 145 lb/ft³) / (3 in / 12 in/ft) = 741 ft²

4-inch Thick Asphalt Layer with 148 lb/ft³ Density

Using the formula: Coverage Area (ft²) = (2,000 lb / 148 lb/ft³) / (4 in / 12 in/ft) = 568 ft²

Factors Affecting Asphalt Coverage

Several factors can influence the coverage area of 1 ton of asphalt, and it’s important to consider them when planning your project.

Asphalt Mix Design

The specific mix design of the asphalt, including the types and proportions of aggregates, binders, and additives, can impact the density and, consequently, the coverage area.

Compaction and Installation

The level of compaction achieved during the installation process can affect the final density of the asphalt, which in turn impacts the coverage area.

Project Requirements

The desired thickness of the asphalt layer may be determined by local building codes, the specific application (e.g., residential driveway vs. commercial parking lot), or the project engineer’s recommendations.

Site Conditions

Factors such as the slope, terrain, and substrate conditions can also influence the coverage area, as they may require adjustments to the asphalt thickness or density.

Asphalt Coverage Tables

To help you better understand the coverage area of 1 ton of asphalt, I have created the following tables with different asphalt density and thickness combinations.

Table 1: Asphalt Coverage Based on Density and Thickness (Metric)

Asphalt Density (kg/m³) Asphalt Thickness (cm)
2.54 (1 in)
2,240 (140 lb/ft³) 84 m²
2,320 (145 lb/ft³) 81 m²
2,400 (150 lb/ft³) 78 m²


Table 2: Asphalt Coverage Based on Density and Thickness (US Customary)

Asphalt Density (lb/ft³) Asphalt Thickness (in)
140 1,142 ft²
145 1,103 ft²
150 1,067 ft²

Considerations for Estimating Asphalt Quantities

When estimating the quantity of asphalt required for a project, it’s important to consider several factors beyond just the coverage area of 1 ton.

Waste and Overage

To account for potential waste, uneven surfaces, or the need for overlapping applications, it’s recommended to add a 10-15% overage to your asphalt quantity calculations.

Site Preparation

The preparation of the site, such as grading, excavation, and the installation of a suitable base, can also impact the overall quantity of asphalt required.

Project Specifications

Local building codes, project requirements, and the recommendations of the project engineer may dictate the specific asphalt mix design, thickness, and other parameters that will affect the quantity needed.

Delivery and Logistics

It’s essential to consider the availability of the asphalt supplier, delivery schedules, and the logistics of transporting the material to the job site, as these factors can also influence the overall quantity required.

How many square feet will 1 ton of How Mix Asphalt Cover?

While the answer depends on a few factors, we can determine an accurate value with some basic calculations. Here is the Answer:

The first key parameter we need is the density of the hot mix asphalt (HMA). Typical densities range from 140-160 pounds per cubic foot based on the aggregate gradation and asphalt binder content. For our purposes, let’s assume an HMA density of 150 pounds per cubic foot.

Next, we calculate the volume that 1 ton of asphalt occupies using its density:

  • 1 ton = 2,000 pounds
  • 2,000 pounds / 150 pounds per cubic foot = 13.33 cubic feet

Now we can determine the area that 13.33 cubic feet will cover when paved at a depth of 3 inches:

  • Volume = Area x Depth
  • 13.33 cubic feet = Area x 0.25 feet (3 inches converted to feet)
  • Area = 13.33 cubic feet / 0.25 feet = 53.32 square feet

So 1 ton of asphalt paved at a 3 inch thickness will cover about 53 square feet (with rounding).

To validate this result, we can also calculate in square yards since HMA is often ordered in tons per square yard. At 3 inches thick, each square yard will require 0.25 cubic yards of asphalt (3 inches / 12 inches per foot = 0.25 feet). With a density of 150 pounds per cubic foot, each cubic yard weighs 4,050 pounds. So each square yard will need 0.25 * 4,050 = 1,012.5 pounds of HMA per inch thickness.

For a 3 inch layer, each square yard requires 3 * 1,012.5 = 3,037.5 pounds. With 2,000 pounds per ton, each square yard at 3 inches thick will need 3,037.5 / 2,000 = 1.52 tons of asphalt. The inverse of this is that each ton of asphalt will cover 1 / 1.52 = 0.66 square yards. At 9 square feet per yard, 0.66 yards equates to 5.94 square feet per ton. Rounding, this matches our original math of 53 square feet per ton.

Both methods confirm the calculations and logic. Understanding the relationships between weight, density, volume and area is an important skill for civil engineers when estimating quantities for asphalt paving projects. This example highlights the typical process for determining coverage rates from known material masses and thicknesses.

Case Study 1 – Asphalt Driveway in Arizona

For a client in Tucson, I designed an asphalt driveway able to withstand the region’s extreme heat and sun exposure. Given summer temperatures exceeding 100°F, I recommended a polymer-modified asphalt mix less prone to rutting and softening. The subgrade was stabilized with lime to prevent moisture-related weakness. A 4-inch thick asphalt layer was specified based on the clay soils. During paving, temperatures were monitored to ensure an ideal viscosity for placing and compacting. The schedule avoided the hottest mid-day hours. Considering local conditions, we created a durable, high-quality driveway for the client.

Case Study 2 – Permeable Asphalt in Seattle

A client near Seattle wanted an eco-friendly permeable driveway. Due to the wet climate, I advised an open-graded porous asphalt mix to maximize drainage. A 6-inch aggregate subbase with high void content was installed to store and transmit water. Edges were contained with concrete curbs to prevent lateral water seepage. After curing, the driveway’s permeability was tested to validate performance. Through strategic material selection and testing, we delivered an effective sustainable driveway suitable for the Pacific Northwest.

Case Study 3 – Asphalt Overlay in Minnesota

A Minneapolis client hoped to resurface their worn, 15-year-old asphalt driveway cost-effectively. I first evaluated the existing base and drainage capacities. The base thickness proved sufficient but the subsurface soils were compromised from poor drainage. To restore structural integrity, I recommended 4 inches of new granular base material. Drainage swales along the driveway edges were added. Tack coat helped bond the new 3-inch asphalt overlay to the original driveway. By combining repairs and a thoughtful overlay, I restored longevity and functionality within the client’s budget.

Common Queries

How does the desired thickness of the asphalt layer affect its coverage area?

The desired thickness of the asphalt layer is a key factor in determining the coverage area of 1 ton of asphalt. As the thickness increases, the coverage area decreases, as the same amount of material will cover a smaller area.

What are the typical asphalt thicknesses used in different applications?

Asphalt thickness can vary depending on the specific application. Common thicknesses range from 1 inch (2.54 cm) for residential driveways to 4 inches (10.16 cm) for heavy-duty commercial or industrial parking lots.

How does asphalt density affect the coverage area?

Asphalt density, measured in pounds per cubic foot (lb/ft³) or kilograms per cubic meter (kg/m³), is directly proportional to the coverage area. Higher-density asphalt will cover a smaller area compared to lower-density asphalt, given the same weight.

What is the difference between coverage area and yield?

Coverage area refers to the square footage or square meters that 1 ton of asphalt can cover at a specific thickness. Yield, on the other hand, refers to the amount of asphalt required to cover a given area at a specific thickness, usually expressed in tons per square foot or tons per square meter.

How do I account for waste and overage when estimating asphalt quantities?

It’s recommended to add a 10-15% overage to your asphalt quantity calculations to account for potential waste, uneven surfaces, or the need for overlapping applications.

What factors should I consider when preparing the site for an asphalt project?

Site preparation factors include grading, excavation, and the installation of a suitable base, all of which can impact the overall quantity of asphalt required.

How do local building codes and project specifications affect asphalt coverage estimates?

Local building codes, project requirements, and the recommendations of the project engineer may dictate the specific asphalt mix design, thickness, and other parameters that will affect the quantity needed.

What logistical considerations should I keep in mind when ordering asphalt?

Factors such as the availability of the asphalt supplier, delivery schedules, and the logistics of transporting the material to the job site can also influence the overall quantity required.

Can the slope and terrain of the site impact the asphalt coverage area?

Yes, site conditions such as the slope and terrain can affect the asphalt coverage area, as they may require adjustments to the asphalt thickness or density to ensure proper installation and performance.

How do I ensure I have accurately estimated the asphalt quantity for my project?

Accurate estimation of asphalt quantities involves considering factors like density, thickness, waste, site preparation, and project specifications. It’s also important to consult with the project engineer and experienced construction professionals to validate your calculations.

What should I do if I encounter unexpected conditions that affect the asphalt coverage during the project?

Suppose unexpected conditions arise that affect the asphalt coverage during the project. In that case, it’s important to communicate with the project manager, engineer, and asphalt supplier to adjust the estimates and ensure the availability of sufficient material.

How do you determine asphalt driveway thickness?

The subgrade strength, traffic loads, climate, and pavement type factor into recommended thickness. We also reference industry standards from NAPA and AASHTO. Typical driveways range from 2-4 inches for light vehicles. Rigorous testing and engineering ensure optimal durability.

How soon can vehicles drive on a new asphalt driveway?

Curing time depends on mix characteristics and weather. In warm conditions, carefully limited traffic may be allowed after 24 hours. But it’s ideal to wait several days to a week for full strength gain. Rushing trafficking increases the risks of surface marring or cracking. Patience pays off.

Should driveways have edge restraints? What types work best?

Yes, edge restraints help prevent asphalt edges from cracking or unraveling. Concrete curbs or metal, plastic or wood edging materials all work. The restraint should be stable, durable, and installed level with the finished surface to support the driveway edges.

How do you repair alligator cracking in asphalt driveways?

Alligator cracks require sealing cracks to prevent water infiltration, then overlay patching deeper fissures. If cracking is widespread, reconstruction may be needed to address foundational issues. Prevention through proper base preparation is ideal. But timely repairs preserve driveways.

What causes potholes in asphalt driveways and how can you fix them?

Excess moisture, poor compaction, thin layers, and weak bases cause potholes. We patch small holes with compacted hot mix. Larger areas need square cutting, cleaning, tack coating edges, and filling with dense asphalt. Addressing water infiltration and structure gives long-term fixes.

How long does a properly constructed asphalt driveway last?

With a sufficient base, quality materials, and proper drainage, an asphalt driveway should last 15-25 years with periodic maintenance like crack sealing and minor repairs. Regular upkeep, timely fixes, and repairing base issues maximize longevity. The key is proper construction.

Should homeowners seal coat new asphalt driveways? When is the optimal timing?

Yes, seal coating within the first year helps protect the asphalt and prevent oxidation/aging. Allow 60-90 days for curing before applying the protective coating. Re-application every 2-3 years maintains performance. Proactive sealing brings durability.

What causes asphalt driveway depression or sinking?

Insufficient compaction, weak bases, and poor drainage lead to settled areas over time as the materials compress under loading. Excavating and re-compacting the base provides long-term solutions. An overlay alone will eventually sink again if base issues aren’t addressed.

How can seal coating improve the longevity of asphalt driveways?

Sealers are waterproof and protect the asphalt binder from oxidation and weathering degradation including raveling cracks, dryness and UV damage. Routine reapplication every few years maintains the protective barrier. Sealing extends driveway life significantly.

Why does asphalt driveway thickness matter?

Thin asphalt is prone to cracking, indentations and faster breakdown from weathering and vehicles. Adequate thickness based on engineering provides structure to withstand loading and environmental stresses. Insufficient thickness leads to premature issues. The base and drainage must also be adequate.

Can you apply new asphalt over an old driveway? What are the downsides?

Surfacing over old asphalt is common but risks reflective cracking without proper prep. We address major cracks, clean thoroughly, and apply a tack coat before overlaying. But longevity will be limited if the old base is deficient. Full reconstruction is preferred for long-term solutions.

Should driveway asphalt mix differ from road paving asphalt? What mix of attributes matters most?

Driveways can use standard road mixes. Key attributes are similar – durability, stability, flexibility, and skid resistance. Smaller aggregates help achieve a smooth finish. But driveways mainly require proper compaction and thickness for longevity, more than mix modifications.

What causes asphalt driveway raveling and surface erosion?

Insufficient asphalt quantity, poor bonding of the lifts, oxidation from aging, inadequate compaction, and lack of seal coating all can cause unraveling and erosion. Quality control during paving prevents raveling. Timely sealing maintains the surface.

How soon can you seal coat a new asphalt driveway?

Sealcoating too soon risks trapping volatile components in the new asphalt. Wait 60 days minimum for the asphalt to fully cure first. Cooler weather may require longer. Testing can validate readiness. Rushing seal coating often causes issues down the line.

Can you change the color of your asphalt driveway? What options work best?

Yes, color tinting additives or specialty aggregate blends create colored asphalt driveways. Beige, brick red, or even blue are options. The color should run through the full thickness for longevity. Dyes fade quicker than integrated colors.

How do you prevent asphalt staining on concrete driveway edges?

Careful form placement, aggregate screening, and cleanup during paving help avoid transfers. But it’s hard to prevent entirely. Aged stains can be cleaned with solvents but may require repainting the edges. Asphalt overlays for attached concrete driveways minimize staining.

Why does asphalt driveway thickness vary by project?

Many factors like soil conditions, traffic loads, climate, and types of vehicles influence thickness needs. Heavier vehicles require thicker asphalt for durability. Weaker soils need more structure too. Custom engineering ensures optimum thickness for each driveway’s demands.

What maintenance tips help maximize asphalt driveway lifespan?

Crack sealing, vegetation removal, re-sealing every few years, patching localized flaws early, and avoiding gasoline/oil spills reduce wear. Pressure washing improves drainage. Restoring sealants and addressing base issues prevents major repairs. Timely care prolongs service life.

How soon can precipitation fall on new asphalt driveways without damage?

Avoid rain for at least 24-48 hours after paving for best results. Water inhibits proper asphalt curing, compacting and bonding. Tenting for 1-2 days is ideal if rain threatens. Once cured, precipitation is fine. Proper planning prevents problems.

What causes differential settling in asphalt driveways and how can you fix it?

Weak base materials, poor drainage, and insufficient compaction lead to uneven settling over time. Excavating and re-compacting or stabilizing bases provides effective remedies. Overlays eventually re-settle without base fixes. Addressing underlying causes lasts.

Should you seal coat both asphalt and concrete portions of a driveway?

Yes, the benefits of sealing apply to both materials – preventing oxidation, weathering, surface erosion and moisture damage. Match sealers to each material’s needs. Uniform sealing provides consistent protection across the driveway and avoids delineation.

How do you know when an asphalt driveway needs repaving vs repairs?

Once cracking, rutting and flaws exceed ~25% of the surface, repaving becomes more cost-effective than continual repairs. But addressing base and drainage issues first is key for long-term success. Total failure indicates a full reconstruction need. Timely preservation maximizes value.

Should you use a roller on asphalt driveways? What type works best?

Yes, rollers are critical for compacting asphalt driveways. Ride-on equipment works well for larger projects. Plate compactors suit tight homesites. Proper rolling prevents density issues leading to cracks and dents. It’s a necessary investment for quality outcomes.

What causes cracks parallel to concrete driveway edges? How can you prevent them?

Reflective cracking from the concrete joints often propagates into the asphalt. Installing foam joints, geotextile wraps or reinforcing fabrics helps counter this.

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I'm Steve Axton, a dedicated Asphalt Construction Manager with over 25 years of experience paving the future of infrastructure. My journey with asphalt began by studying civil engineering and learning about core pavement materials like aggregate, binder and additives that compose this durable and versatile substance. I gained hands-on experience with production processes including refining, mixing and transporting during my internships, which opened my eyes to real-world uses on roads, driveways and parking lots. Over the past decades, I have deepened my expertise in asphalt properties like viscosity, permeability and testing procedures like Marshall stability and abrasion. My time with respected construction companies has honed my skills in paving techniques like milling, compaction and curing as well as maintenance activities like crack filling, resurfacing and recycling methods. I'm grateful for the knowledge I've gained about standards from Superpave to sustainability best practices that balance longevity, cost and environmental friendliness. It's been an incredibly rewarding career working with this complex material to build the infrastructure future.

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