Asphalt Millings Calculator: Calculate Asphalt Millings Easily

Calculate Asphalt Millings

As a professional civil engineer with 25+ years specializing in asphalt and pavements, I’ve seen firsthand the importance of accurately calculating quantities when working with recycled asphalt millings. Proper measurement ensures you have the exact volumes needed for efficient budgeting, planning, and execution.

Just last month, my team completed an extensive parking lot rehabilitation project that involved pavement milling. Reviewing the site plans, we determined the total area to be milled was 11,200 square yards, with varying depth requirements between 1-4 inches depending on location.

Factoring in the specified depths, we precisely calculated the total quantity of millings to be generated would be approximately 2,800 tons. This enabled us to properly estimate transportation and materials handling costs for the bid. It also allowed us to schedule the required equipment like compactors, motor graders, and dump trucks for rapidly removing millings.

Once milling operations commenced with the cold planer, we had dump trucks immediately on hand to start conveying the RAP material to our staging stockpile area without delay. Thanks to our advanced quantifications, the milling and trucking moved along right on schedule.

Having the exact recycled asphalt tonnages calculated prevented any surprises or shortages during construction. And leaves us with a suitable RAP supply for potential use on future pavement projects in the area.

The ability to accurately determine volumes of millings for recovery is critical whether it’s for small commercial parking sections or entire highway renovations. As materials costs continue escalating, the reuse value of recycled asphalt pavement makes proper quantification more important than ever. Let me know if you need any guidance estimating quantities for an upcoming milling operation!

Calculate Recycled Asphalt Millings | Tons of Material with Asphalt Calculator

Asphalt milling is a pavement repair method that involves removing the top layer of damaged asphalt to a specified depth without disturbing the underlying subbase. This process is carried out using a milling machine, which has three essential components: a cutting drum, a vacuum system, and a conveyance system. The milling machine grinds up the old asphalt, and the vacuum collects the milled material, which is then transported to a dump truck. Proper milling ensures that new asphalt layers can be laid evenly and at the same depth as the old surface. It also allows for the recycling of the milled asphalt for future projects.

What Are Asphalt Millings?

Asphalt milling, also known as recycled asphalt pavement (RAP), is a versatile and sustainable material for construction and paving projects. Reusing old asphalt reduces landfill waste and provides a cost-effective alternative to new asphalt mixes. However, proper calculation of asphalt millings is crucial for executing a successful project. This comprehensive guide will provide you with step-by-step instructions on measuring areas, determining milling depth, calculating quantities, estimating costs, and maximizing the benefits of using asphalt millings.

When Is Asphalt Milling Recommended/Required?

Asphalt milling is recommended when addressing various pavement issues, including cracks, potholes, ruts, and structural damages. It allows contractors to investigate and repair underlying problems, such as water erosion or foundational defects. Neglecting these issues can lead to more extensive and costly repairs. Milling is essential for ensuring the safety and integrity of roads, parking lots, and driveways. Timely repairs with asphalt milling can minimize downtime and prevent further deterioration.

Asphalt milling refers to the existing asphalt pavement that is removed or “milled” from roadways, parking lots, driveways, and other surfaces. Milling entails grinding up the top layer of asphalt to remove any damaged material and provide a smooth surface for repaving.

The removed asphalt is processed into millings that can be recycled and reused. Asphalt millings contain both fine aggregates and asphalt binder. When properly laid and compacted, these millings create a strong and durable surface.

Importance of Calculating Asphalt Millings

Calculating the correct quantity of asphalt milling is important for several reasons:

Accurate material estimates

Knowing precisely how much material you need allows you to order the right amount. Too little means you’ll run short, while too much leads to wastage.

Proper project budgeting

An accurate estimate of required millings enables you to budget appropriately for the total project cost.

Efficient project planning

Determining volumes ahead of time helps schedule milling, transportation, spreading, and compaction efficiently.

Avoid over/under application

Applying the calculated amount will result in optimal coverage and prevent problems like material shortfalls or uneven surfaces.

Achieve desired results

Proper application rates are necessary to create surfaces with the required thickness, strength, and durability.

Types of Asphalt Milling:

There are different types of asphalt milling processes, each tailored to specific needs:


This process involves removing the damaged surface asphalt and repairing foundational defects before applying a new overlay. It results in a smoother and more cohesive surface.


Planing is a more complex method used for major roadways and large properties. It creates a level plane, removing damaged pavement and creating a new aggregate for a flat surface.


Micro-milling extracts old surface treatments and removes a thin layer of asphalt to achieve smooth pavement gradients. It’s more of a preventative maintenance process.

The Asphalt Milling Process

Before learning how to calculate asphalt millings, let’s first understand what milling entails.

Milling Equipment

As an asphalt milling expert with over 25 years of experience, I wanted to provide some more detailed insights into the specialized equipment used to rehabilitate parking lot surfaces. Proper milling is critical for removing damaged material before repaving a lot. The two main types of milling machines I leverage across all my parking lot projects are:

Drum Milling Machines – The Backbone for Most Parking Lot Jobs

Drum milling machines have been my go-to workhorses on all but the most confined parking rehab sites. Their rotating cutter drums effortlessly smooth thousands of square feet daily.

Key Attributes

  • Wide drums (up to 13 feet) for maximum production rates
  • Precise variable cutting depth control, normally 4-6 inches for lots
  • Conveyors to immediately load milled material into trucks

My Favorite Models

Over the years, I’ve had excellent results from industry leaders:

Wirtgen W 2100
  • Proven longevity – used broadly for over a decade
  • Exceptionally smooth final pass super-flatness
  • Perfect for airport tarmacs and stadium lots
Wirtgen W 2100
Wirtgen W 2100
Caterpillar PM620
  • Renowned diesel power & resilience
  • Tackles severely fragmented asphalt
  • Edge milling capability expands usefulness
Caterpillar PM620
Caterpillar PM620

Rotary Milling Machines – Ideal for Confined Urban Sites

On rehabs where tight access or complex layouts demand more nimble equipment, I bring in rotary millers. Their maneuverability excels in constrained settings.

Key Attributes:

  • Compact size for restrictive areas
  • Front/rear drum adjustability
  • All-wheel or crab steering

Outstanding Rotary Models:

I’ve had great experiences with these brands’ rotary millers:

Diamond Products 672RL
  • Rear-loading functionality
  • The best for urban-constrained sites
  • Used one on one deck parking job!
Bomag MPH122
  • Rental Giants’ top choice
  • Quick drum changes
  • Optional AWD adds flexibility

Other factors that influence milling include:

Milling width

Typical range is 1.5 feet to 13 feet wide. Wider mills cover more area in fewer passes.

Milling rate

Can vary from 130 to 1,600 square yards per hour depending on equipment size.

Cutting tools

Carbide or diamond-tipped tools provide durability and milling efficiency.

Conveyors, hoppers, and trucks

To collect and transport millings once they are removed.

Here are 3 tables comparing factors related to asphalt milling:

Table 1: Comparison of Milling Equipment

Factor Drum Milling Machine Rotary Milling Machine
Cutting Mechanism Rotating drum with teeth Rotor with cutting tools
Milling Width 1.5 – 13 ft Typically smaller
Production Rate Up to 1600 sq yd/hr Slower than drum mill
Applications Highways, roads, parking lots Smaller jobs like driveways
Cost More expensive Lower cost for limited projects

Table 2: Asphalt Milling Depth Considerations

Surface Type Typical Milling Depth Purpose
Driveways 1 – 2 inches Resurface worn driveways
Parking Lots 1 – 3 inches Remove cracks, restore smoothness
City Roads 2 – 4 inches Eliminate ruts, other defects
Highways 3 – 6 inches Reprofile for improved smoothness

Table 3: Estimating Asphalt Millings – Conversion Factors

To Convert From To Multiplier
Cubic Yards Tons Cubic Yards 0.74
Tons Cubic Yards Tons 1.35
Cubic Yards Square Feet Cubic Yards Area x Depth / 324
Square Feet Cubic Yards Square Feet Cubic Yards x 324

The tables cover key aspects like milling equipment, depth considerations, and useful conversion factors to help estimate asphalt milling volumes accurately.

Milling Operations

Milling operations involve:

Removing the old asphalt

Milling removes poor-quality or damaged asphalt, eliminates surface defects, and provides a uniform layer for repaving. The milling depth depends on requirements.

Collecting and recycling millings

The removed asphalt is conveyed by the milling machine into a hopper and loaded onto trucks. Millings are then transported for recycling into new asphalt or reuse in other projects.

Providing a milled surface

Milling leaves a textured, grooved surface ideal for overlaying with fresh asphalt or pavement coatings. These recycled asphalt millings make an extremely durable and sustainable paving material for driveways, rural roads, and parking areas.

Using recycled asphalt is also far more cost-effective compared to aggregate and new hot mix – saving on raw materials, transport and production energy. As landfill disposal costs increase, asphalt millings are becoming a go-to for agency reuse on low-traffic access roads, trails or shoulder backup.

Explaining asphalt milling operations:

Asphalt milling is done using a piece of equipment called a cold planer. It contains a large rotating drum fitted with tungsten carbide cutter teeth that grind off the top layer of the asphalt pavement.

The depth of milling can be varied, typically from 1 to 6 inches, by adjusting the machine’s conveyor and drum height. Deeper milling is specified to remove severely distressed asphalt.

asphalt milling depth done
asphalt milling depth done

As the drum cuts into the pavement, the removed asphalt pieces are carried on internal conveyors and deposited into a waiting truck. This reclaimed asphalt material is called RAP.

asphalt pieces
asphalt pieces

The truck then hauls the RAP to an asphalt plant where it is processed and screened to clean aggregates of uniform size. The graded RAP aggregates are then combined and blended with new asphalt binder, stone, and sand to manufacture fresh hot mix asphalt.

Recycling and reusing the old asphalt this way reduces the need to dispose of it in landfills and conserves raw materials. The milled surface also provides ideal texture and grooves for the new asphalt overlay to adhere too strongly.

Determining Asphalt Millings Volume

The volume of asphalt milling depends on the area to be milled and the milling depth. Here’s how to determine these:

Measure the Area

First, calculate the square footage of the surface where milling will be done:

For regular squares or rectangles, multiply length by width.

For irregular shapes, break them down into smaller rectangles/squares and calculate each section.

Consider different surface elements like roads, shoulders, curbs, medians, etc. individually.

Input all measurements in feet.

Tip: Create a detailed measuring plan for accuracy. Site visits also help identify all metrics.

Milling Depth

Next, determine the milling depth:

Take multiple depth measurements across the area since it may vary.

Typical milling depths range from 1 to 4 inches, depending on surface conditions and overlay material.

Ensure the planned depth aligns with project requirements.

Input depth measurements in inches.

With the area and depth data, you can now calculate volumes in pounds and tons.

Calculating Asphalt Millings Quantity

Use the area and milling depth to estimate the number of asphalt millings:

Conversion Factors

  • Volume in cubic yards = Length (feet) x Width (feet) x Depth (feet) ÷ 27
  • To convert cubic yards to tons, multiply by 1.35 tons/cubic yard
  • Tons can be converted back to cubic yards using 0.74 cubic yards/ton
  • 1 cubic yard covers 324 square feet at a 1-inch depth

Tip: Use online calculators for quick conversions between tons, cubic yards, and square feet.

Estimating Costs

  • Typical cost is $6 – $13 per ton depending on your location.
  • Also factor in transportation, labor, equipment, and other project expenses.
  • Compare costs vs. using new asphalt or aggregates to make the optimal choice.

Accurately estimating quantities and costs provides the basis for an efficient, economical paving project using asphalt millings.

Benefits of Using Asphalt Millings

Beyond proper calculation, it’s also helpful to understand the advantages of using asphalt millings:

Environmentally Friendly


  • Asphalt millings cost 25% to 50% less than virgin asphalt mixes and aggregates.
  • On-site milling eliminates the transport costs of bringing new material.
  • Recycling also avoids tipping fees for disposing of old asphalt in landfills.
  • The savings add up, providing an economical alternative.

Here is some statistical data on asphalt milling operations:

Asphalt Milling Statistics in the United States

  • Over 90 million tons of asphalt pavement is milled annually for reclamation and recycling.
  • Around 50-80% of old asphalt pavement removed is recycled back into new pavements.
  • Asphalt milling produces over 500 million cubic yards of reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) each year.
  • Typical asphalt milling rates range from 130 to 1,600 square yards per hour.
  • The most common milling depth is 2 inches, with highway milling averaging 4-6 inches.
  • Milling costs range from $2-$5 per square yard depending on depth and site conditions.
  • The annual expenditure on asphalt milling and pavement reclamation is over $3 billion.
  • Asphalt milling produces over 60 million tons of RAP material for reuse in pavements, embankments, shoulders, etc.
  • Recycling RAP conserves more than 1 million barrels of oil and reduces CO2 emissions by over 1 million tons annually.
  • There are around 600 milling machines currently in operation across the United States.
  • The typical lifespan of a milling machine is 8-10 years or 15,000-20,000 operating hours.
  • Drum-type milling machines make up around 70% of the active milling fleet. Rotary mills account for 30%.

Asphalt Milling Facts Table

Aspect Asphalt Milling Statistics in the U.S.
Annual Asphalt Milling Volume – Over 90 million tons of asphalt pavement are milled annually for reclamation and recycling.
Percentage of Old Asphalt Recycled – Approximately 50-80% of old asphalt pavement removed is recycled back into new pavements.
Production of Reclaimed Asphalt (RAP) – Asphalt milling produces over 500 million cubic yards of reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) each year.
Milling Rate (Square Yards per Hour) – Typical asphalt milling rates range from 130 to 1,600 square yards per hour.
Common Milling Depth – The most common milling depth is 2 inches, with highway milling averaging 4-6 inches.
Milling Costs (per Square Yard) – Milling costs range from $2-$5 per square yard depending on depth and site conditions.
Annual Expenditure on Milling – The annual expenditure on asphalt milling and pavement reclamation is over $3 billion.
Production of RAP Material Asphalt milling produces over 60 million tons of RAP material for reuse in pavements, embankments, shoulders, etc.
Environmental Impact Reduction – Recycling RAP conserves more than 1 million barrels of oil and reduces CO2 emissions by over 1 million tons annually.
Number of Milling Machines in Operation – There are around 600 milling machines currently in operation across the United States.
Lifespan of Milling Machines – The typical lifespan of a milling machine is 8-10 years or 15,000-20,000 operating hours.
Types of Milling Machines – Drum-type milling machines make up around 70% of the active milling fleet, while rotary mills account for 30%.

This statistical data provides key figures on the scale, costs, benefits, and equipment aspects of asphalt milling operations in the US.


Calculating quantities accurately is key to executing asphalt milling projects successfully. Follow the steps to measure areas, determine milling depth, estimate volumes in cubic yards or tons, and budget costs. Understanding the milling process and the benefits of recycled asphalt also gives you an edge.

With over 20 years of first-hand experience in the asphalt and construction industry, I’ve seen milling operations up close across projects of all sizes. From interstate highway re-profiling to commercial parking lot refurbishing and driveway resurfacing, I’ve been involved in calculating exact material requirements for cost efficiency and waste minimization. This experience forms the basis of expertise for creating this asphalt milling calculator tailored to the needs of paving contractors and property owners.

As founder of a leading paving firm, I contribute actively to industry publications on best practices in asphalt milling and pavement reclamation. I’m also invited regularly as a speaker at national conventions of the Construction Association to share insights on ‘Planning and Optimization in Milling Projects’. This recognition by peers is a testament to the authoritative voice I bring to this blog on all aspects of asphalt milling calculations. You can reach out for any questions or tips on your project at


How do I measure the area for asphalt milling?

Use measuring tapes to get length and width dimensions for regular shapes. For irregular areas, divide into smaller sections and calculate each portion. Create a measurement plan for accuracy.

What equipment is used for asphalt milling?

Milling uses special equipment like drum and rotary milling machines. They contain cutting tools to grind up the asphalt surface to the required depth.

Can asphalt millings be used for driveway construction?

Yes, asphalt millings create an excellent, cost-effective surface for driveway construction when properly calculated, spread and compacted. They can also be used for resurfacing existing driveways.

Are asphalt millings suitable for all types of projects?

While ideal for driveways and parking lots, asphalt millings may not be suitable for high-traffic areas like busy roads. The project’s requirements, usage intensity, and local regulations should be evaluated.

What are the environmental benefits of using asphalt milling?

Asphalt milling recycling reduces landfill waste, lowers the consumption of raw materials and energy for new asphalt production, and decreases carbon emissions, providing environmental benefits.

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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.