How Much Asphalt Do I Need?
Our handy asphalt calculator makes it quick and straightforward to calculate how much asphalt you’ll need for your project.
From simple square or rectangular shapes to more intricate designs consisting of circles, triangles, or even octagons, our asphalt calculator will help you determine the volume or weight of asphalt needed.
We’ve included a step-by-step user guide below the calculator that will answer any technical queries. You’ll also find several calculation guides showing you how to calculate the quantity of asphalt needed for various examples if you’d prefer to calculate these manually.
How to Use the Asphalt Calculator
With our asphalt calculator, you can calculate the volume or quantity of asphalt required for various area shapes. You can choose the relevant profile for your calculation using the ‘Select a Asphalt Profile’ dropdown.
The following profile types are available via the dropdown:
- Square Area
- Rectangular Area
- Circle/Round Area
- Hexagonal Area
- Octagonal Area
- Triangular Area
Use the ‘Asphalt Type’ dropdown in box (2) to choose the type of asphalt for your calculation.
You can find out more about the various types of asphalt later in the article, but if in doubt, we’d recommend sticking with the default ‘Standard Asphalt’ option.!
We’ve based our ‘Standard Asphalt’ option on hot mix asphalt, the most widely used type for roads, pavements, and driveways.
You can also choose ‘Custom Asphalt’ if you’d prefer to use a different type of asphalt, but you’ll need to insert one of the density figures for the calculator to work.
The ‘Density’ box will automatically be populated based on the type of asphalt you choose.
You can update the ‘Density’ figure if needed, although this is based on industry guidance for each asphalt type. However, we would recommend using a custom density value if you have a specific value available from the supplier of the asphalt that you’re planning to use. Doing so will improve the accuracy of your calculation.
Depending on the asphalt profile chosen, you’ll need to enter various dimensions, for example, ‘Length’, ‘Width’, and ‘Diameter’. You’ll also need to enter the planned ‘Asphalt Depth’ value in the relevant input box.
The calculator will automatically reformat depending on the asphalt profile type chosen, meaning only the relevant dimensions will be shown.
You can select the relevant units (in both metric and imperial) for each measurement using the ‘Unit’ dropdowns.!
Note: If you choose ‘inch’ as a unit, you’ll need to use either whole or decimal numbers instead of fractions. For example, 0.50 instead of 1/2.
- Use the ‘Calculate’ button to complete the calculation, and the ‘Reset’ button to reset the asphalt calculator.
How to Calculate How Much Asphalt You Need
The easiest way to calculate how much asphalt you need is by using the calculator above.
It’s pretty straightforward to calculate the amount manually if preferred, though, and you can do so via the equations below.
The first step is to calculate the volume of asphalt you need using the following equation:
If you’re happy working with a volume figure, you can stop here and use the figure you got from the above equation.
If you’d prefer to know the weight of asphalt required, you can multiply your volume figure by the density of your chosen asphalt to work out the overall weight required.
We’ve provided sample densities for various asphalt types in the calculator above, but for the most accurate calculation, we’d recommend using the density value supplied by the manufacturer or supplier of your asphalt.
The above equations will remain the same whether you’re working with metric units like meters or imperial units like feet or yards.
Let’s look at some real-life example calculations to show you step-by-step how to work out how much asphalt you need:
How Much Asphalt Do I Need for My Driveway?
To calculate how much asphalt you need for a driveway, you will need to know three dimensions, as shown in the following diagram:
L = The length of the driveway
W = The driveway’s width
T = The thickness or depth of asphalt required
Let’s assume the following dimensions for the driveway in this example:
- Length: 15.24m (50-feet)
- Width: 3.66m (12-feet) (
- Asphalt Depth: 0.075m (3-inches)
First, we need to calculate the volume of asphalt required, and we can do this by multiplying the driveway’s area by the depth of asphalt.
To get the area, we can multiply the driveway’s length by its width as per the following equation:
Driveway Area = 15.24m x 3.66m
Driveway Area = 55.78m2
Now that we’ve worked out the driveway’s area, we can calculate its overall volume of asphalt required using the following equation:
Asphalt Volume = 55.78m2 x 0.075m
Asphalt Volume = 4.18m3
As shown, you would need 4.18m3 for the driveway in this example.
A further step is required to calculate the weight of asphalt needed for the driveway in our example.
It involves multiplying the volume we calculated above by the density of asphalt (we’ll assume the use of hot-mix asphalt with a density of 2,340 kg/m3 or 146.08 lb/ft3).
Here’s how the calculation works:
Asphalt Weight = 4.18m3 x 2,340 kg/m3
Asphalt Weight = 9,781.2 kg (21,563.85 lbs)
As shown, if we multiply the driveway’s volume by the typical density of hot-mix asphalt, we end up with a final weight of 9,781.2 kg or 21,563.85 lbs for the asphalt in this example.
How Much Asphalt Do I Need per Square Meter?
To calculate how much asphalt you need per square meter, you’ll need to know the following dimensions:
L = The length (i.e. 1-meter)
W = The width (i.e. 1-meter)
T = The thickness or depth of asphalt required
The first step to calculating the volume of asphalt required is multiplying the length by the width to figure out the general area. For this example, we already know the area – 1m2 (i.e., 1m x 1m).
The second step is to calculate the overall volume of asphalt required per square meter using the following equation (assuming an asphalt depth of 0.075m or 3-inches):
Asphalt Volume = 1m2 x 0.075m
Asphalt Volume = 0.075m3
As shown, you would need 0.075m3 per square meter on this basis.
To calculate the weight of asphalt required per square meter, we need to multiply the above-calculated volume by the density of asphalt (again, we’ll use a hot-mix asphalt here with a density of 2,340 kg/m3 or 146.08 lb/ft3).
Here’s how the calculation works:
Asphalt Weight = 0.075m3 x 2,340 kg/m3
Asphalt Weight = 175.5 kg (386.91 lbs)
As shown, if we multiply the per-square-meter volume by the typical density of hot-mix asphalt, we end up with a final weight of 175.5 kg or 386.91 lbs per square meter of asphalt.
Quick Reference Information
- What is Asphalt?
- What is Asphalt Made Of?
- What is Asphalt Used For?
- Types of Asphalt
- Asphalt vs Tarmac: What’s the Difference?
- Asphalt vs Bitumen: What’s the Difference?
- What Is the Density of Asphalt?
- How Heavy Is Asphalt?
What Is Asphalt?
Asphalt, or bitumen as it is also known, is a composite material consisting of aggregate, binder, and filler used for surfacing roads, driveways, and parking lots. The binder typically used in asphalt is bitumen, a by-product of crude oil production.
Asphalt is the name given to this material in the United States, whereas it is generally referred to as bitumen throughout the rest of the world.
The vast majority (around 70%) of the asphalt produced today is for road production.
What is Asphalt Made Of?
Asphalt is a composite material consisting of:
- Aggregate – Usually consisting of crushed rock, gravel, or sand, the aggregate assists with the asphalt’s stability and load-bearing strength.
- Binder – Often referred to as asphalt cement, the binder holds the asphalt mix together. A popular asphalt binder is bitumen; a sticky, black by-product of crude oil production.
- Filler – These consist of fine substances used to fill the voids in the asphalt mix, producing a denser and more stable end-product. Cement and limestone are examples of commonly used asphalt fillers.
What is Asphalt Used For?
Some common asphalt uses include:
- Roads and Highways
- As a waterproofing agent (for example, for flat roofs)
- Driveway Sealers
- Roof Repair Materials
Types of Asphalt
As with any composite material, it’s possible to tailor the core ingredients of asphalt and even its production process to optimize its performance.
With asphalt, it’s possible to adjust various mix aspects, including the binder to aggregate ratio, the aggregate type, and even the production temperature.
There is no shortage of asphalt types available to suit a user’s end requirements, including:
- Hot Mix Asphalt – With hot mix asphalt, the aggregate, filler, and binder get heated at the production facility to a temperature of 300-350°F (149-177°C). The hot mix is then transported and compacted on-site, where it cools quickly, speeding up installation.
Hot mix asphalt typically has a 5% binder to 95% aggregate ratio and is best suited to large-scale applications such as roads or large driveways.
- Warm Mix Asphalt – With warm mix asphalt, the aggregate, filler, and binder are heated at the production facility to a temperature usually between 30-120°F lower than an equivalent hot asphalt mixture, without degrading the quality or performance of the end product.
Reducing the temperature has numerous benefits, including reducing the overall cost, improving sustainability by reducing emissions, and allowing for the transportation of the mixture further from the production facility.
- MC Cold Mix Asphalt – Unlike hot or warm mix asphalt, cold mix asphalt does not require any heating ahead of installation.
Cold mix asphalt is best suited to small-scale applications, for example, localized or temporary repairs, such as filling potholes until a permanent repair is made using hot mix asphalt.
- Dense-Graded Asphalt – For situations where increased resistance wear-and-tear or load-bearing capacity (i.e., strength) is required, it is possible to specify the use of a dense-graded asphalt.
- Porous Asphalt – Typically used in parking lots, porous asphalt allows water to drain from the surface, eliminating surface water or ice build-up, which could otherwise cause dangerous conditions for drivers and pedestrians.
Asphalt vs Tarmac: What’s the Difference?
Both tarmac and asphalt are popular choices for road and driveway surfaces. While they may look similar, tarmac and asphalt are very different materials.
Tarmac is the shortened name for tarmacadam, a composite material dating back to 1902 that consists of macadam (small, crushed stones) coated, mixed, and bound together by tar (tar + macadam = tarmacadam).
Asphalt is a modern alternative to tarmac, with several notable differences:
- Whereas tarmac is a relatively basic mix of stone, sand, and tar, asphalt is a more advanced material combining specifically-sized aggregates, fillers, and binders to reduce voids and increase the strength of the end product.
- Asphalt uses bitumen, a non-organic by-product of petroleum of crude oil production, whereas the tar in tarmac can come from organic sources such as wood and peat.
- Asphalt is generally longer-lasting than tarmac and has better chemical and stain resistance, making it harder-wearing.
- Asphalt is generally more expensive than tarmac for both material and installation costs.
- Asphalt has a smoother finish than tarmac, providing a gripper surface that can be safer on which to drive or walk.
Asphalt vs Bitumen: What’s the Difference?
You may notice the names asphalt and bitumen interchangeably, so a logical question would be: what’s the difference between asphalt and bitumen?
As discussed above, asphalt is the name typically used in the United States, whereas bitumen is the favored term throughout the rest of the world.
So, when it comes to the material used to surface roads, driveways, and pavements, there is little to no difference between asphalt and bitumen other than geographical preferences in terms of name.
It’s important to note that the name bitumen is somewhat ambiguous (in other words, it can have more than one interpretation).
Bitumen is the sticky, black substance that is a by-product of crude oil production, and it forms the ‘cement’ that holds an asphalt mix together. By referring to asphalt as bitumen in the United States, the entirety of the mix adopts the name of this single ingredient.
Where asphalt and bitumen do differ significantly, however, is where the sticky bitumen by-product is used in isolation, for example, as a waterproofing agent or sealer on flat roofs and driveways. In this case, the bitumen features none of the filler or aggregate as commonly used in an asphalt mix.
What Is the Density of Asphalt?
The most common type of asphalt, hot-mix asphalt (as used for roads, pavements, and driveways), has a typical density of 2,340 kg/m3, or 146 lb/ft3.
Several factors influence the finished density of asphalt, including the size and type of aggregate used, the mix temperature, sub-base conditions, and environmental factors such as air temperature and wind velocity.
How Heavy Is Asphalt?
The most widely used type of asphalt, hot-mix asphalt, weighs the following (based on a typical density of 2,340 kg/m3, or 146 lb/ft3):
Weight of Hot-Mix Asphalt
|Measurement||Typical Asphalt Weight|
|1 Cubic Foot (1 ft3)||145.36 lbs (65.94 kg)|
|1 Cubic Yard (1 yd3)||3,944.16 lbs (1,789.06 kg)|
|1 Cubic Meter (1 m3)||5,158.77 lbs (2,340.00 kg)|