The Roadrunner Paving and Asphalt Glossary Part 1

It is important that you understand a lot of technical terminology when you undertake a paving or concrete project. Your paving contractor will use a lot of these terms with ease, and you may be confused if you don’t ask for explanation. Educating yourself will reduce some of this confusion and encourage productive conversation.

the roadrunner paving and asphalt glossary part 1

Here are some of the top terms you might hear when talking to a concrete or asphalt contractor in Arizona or elsewhere:


An accelerator is a material additive that is mixed with concrete to make it harden faster. It is used to reduce the setting time for projects where paving needs to be completed quickly.


Aggregate can include a mix of sand, rock, crushed stone and other particles. It is mixed with concrete to improve its structural performance. The aggregate helps to improve the formation and flow of the cement paste.

Air Content

Air content measures how much air is in the concrete mix. It is important to understand the air content to ensure that the cement does not crack from freezing and thawing. Arizona doesn’t experience the same temperature extremes as other places in the country, but many areas around the state still experience freezing temperatures, causing problems for improperly mixed concrete.

Gilbert Asphalt and Paving Services by Roadrunner

Alligator Cracking

Alligator cracking is one of the most common problems for asphalt pavement. The pavement bends under wheel load, which causes the cracking starting from the underside of the pavement. The surface of the pavement features a series of cracks that look like an alligator’s skin, giving it this name.

Asphalt Grinding

 asphalt grinding prepared for overlay pavingAsphalt grinding is used to roughen the surface of pavement to prepare it for an overlay. Asphalt grinding can also be used to remove damaged sections of pavement.

Asphalt Pulverizing

When bigger sections of asphalt need to be replaced, asphalt pulverizing can be used. This process breaks up existing asphalt and turns it into smaller pieces that can be used for an aggregate mix. That aggregate can be used to lay a new base, and it will be compacted and graded so that the new pavement can be installed on top of it. Asphalt pulverizing is a cost-effective way of replacing pavement since it eliminates the need to excavate old pavement and to dispose of it. The resulting aggregate also provides a stronger base for the new pavement.


The ballast is a layer of gravel, course stone or other material that forms the base for the concrete. The concrete is poured on top of the ballast, which provides structural support.

Bituminous Pavement

Temperature changes and water penetration can cause pavement or the soil below it to shift, which can cause damage to the pavement. Bituminous pavement includes petroleum byproducts like asphalt that allow it to bend or flex without breaking.

Calcium Chloride

Calcium chloride can also be used to accelerate the setting time for concrete. It is added to ready-mix concrete, and it is usually used when conditions are damp.

contractors pouring down new pavement after casting for a parking lotCasting

Casting is the process of pouring the concrete into a mold. For pavement, the mold is often created with a wooden frame in the shape of the driveway, parking load or other paved area. Once the concrete or asphalt hardens, the mold is removed.

Catch Basins

Catch basins collect water and direct it into a drainage system. Diverting the water away from the pavement helps to avoid damage.

Crack Sealing

The process of adding a polymer-modified AC-20 liquid to cracks in the pavement to seal them. Crack sealing helps to prevent water infiltration and additional damage to the pavement, such as potholes. Most paving contractors perform crack sealing during the early spring or late fall. In Arizona, crack sealing must be planned around the monsoon season.

Dig Outs

Contractors dig out areas of pavement that have to be repaired to address structural deficiencies. Typically, the dig out is performed by using a saw to cut a rectangular section of the concrete or asphalt. All the material is then removed and replaced. This is a cost-effective way to repair pavement.

Fabric Overlay

Fabric overlays are used to protect the base for the pavement against water penetration.

Full-Depth Asphalt

Full-depth asphalt pavement relies on asphalt material to provide the majority of structural support. Hot-mix asphalt is the material of choice, and it is used for all layers rather than having a subgrade of stone with asphalt laid on top. Full-depth asphalt can better withstand weather changes and water exposure, so it experiences fewer damages.


Grading is the process of leveling out a section of the ground for paving or other construction projects.

Hot Mix Asphalt Pavement

Hot mix asphalt has been mixed together with a specific proportion of aggregate and liquid asphalt in a hot mix facility. The mixture is then transported, spread and compacted for the new pavement before it cools.

Impervious Surface

An impervious surface is one that does not allow water to penetrate. City and county officials consider most pavement made of asphalt or concrete to be an impervious surface since it requires planning for stormwater runoff.


micro resurfaced ashpalt over old pavementA polymer-modified emulsion base is applied to the surface of the pavement to renew the look and performance. The new layer is only about ½ inch to ¾ inch. Micro-surfacing can extend the life of the pavement, but it should not be used on pavement that has serious damage or structural issues.

The professionals at Roadrunner Paving and Asphalt Maintenance are happy to talk with you more about your paving needs or to answer questions you have about the process. We are the premier paving contractor in Gilbert, and we perform residential and commercial jobs of all sizes, from driveways to roadways. We also perform all types of paving repairs, including crack filling, patching and seal coating, and we perform accessory jobs like striping and building curbs and speed bumps. Call us today to request a bid from an asphalt contractor in Gilbert or to talk about your paving options.

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Roadrunner Paving & Asphalt Maintenance
1959 S Power Rd, Suite 103-419
Mesa, AZ 85206

Phone: (480) 892-7101
Fax: (480) 892-0772

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