The term bitumen is often mistakenly used to describe asphalt. So we thought we’d put this specy guide together so you have all the facts before laying down the road rules on your new driveway.

A bitumen-sealed surface is a layer of bitumen sprayed and then covered with an aggregate. This is then repeated to give a two-coat seal. Asphalt is produced in a plant that heats, dries and mixes aggregate, bitumen and sand into a composite. Here’s a comparison of each material’s pros and cons.

Asphalt vs bitumen – how do they stack up for driveways?


Asphalt: 20 years plus

Bitumen: 5 -10 years



Asphalt: More Expensive

Bitumen: Less Expensive



Asphalt: Smooth and fine

Bitumen:  Coarser with exposed loose aggregate



Asphalt: 25 – 40 mm

Bitumen: 10 – 20 mm


Noise Factor

Asphalt: Minimal

Bitumen: Noise occurs as stones get tracked by tyres


Bitumen – the nitty gritty for driveways

Now that you know the difference, let’s take a fork in the road and look at each material separately.

When considering its use as a driveway surface, bitumen is your less sexy option. Its main drawcard however, is that it’s cheap, which can be a necessary factor if your driveway is particularly long. Also, because of its grainy, pebbly finish, some people enjoy the organic nature of its stony top layer and the sound this creates when driven over – the sort of sound you’d expect to hear as you drive up the long road to a rustic, country manor.


Asphalt – what’s beneath the surface of this smooth criminal?

Deriving from the Latin and Greek words meaning ‘flawless’, asphalt is probably your best choice if longevity is your main destination. Also, because of its sleek, smooth finish, it’s a winner when it comes to creating curb appeal.

Asphalt is also the best option when it comes to sloped paths due to its non-aggregate finish and will hide a plethora of sins, unlike concrete, which will show up stains and discolorations at the mere splash of a drop of Castrol.


Need your driveway done – what’s the road ahead?

We at All About Bitumen and Asphalt are specialists at residential and rural driveways and laneways. We’ll help you decide which material is best for your location and budget, so that, whichever surface you choose, you’re on top.


Contact us for a free no-obligation quote today.


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