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Flexible & Inflexible Pavement Types: Which Type Is Suitable for You?

Pavement is vital to our infrastructure, providing a surface for vehicles and pedestrians to travel on. There are many types of pavements, each with advantages and disadvantages.

In this blog post by Paradise Asphalt Maintenance, we’ll look at the two main types of pavements: flexible and inflexible.

As their names suggest, the key difference between the two is that flexible pavement can flex or bend under pressure while rigid pavement stays intact.

We’ll discuss the pros & cons of each type and try to determine which one is best for various applications. Read on to learn more!

· Inflexible/Rigid Pavement Types

Rigid pavement is made of cement concrete slabs that rest on a prepared granular subgrade. The slabs flex and transmit the load to the underlying subgrade through flexure.

Pros:

  1. Rigid pavements are strong & durable.
  2. They are used for roads, high-speed highways and airports, parking lots, and other high-traffic areas.
  3. Rigid pavement is less likely to be damaged by weather conditions like freezing temperatures and severe drought.

Cons

  1. Rigid pavements are also very inflexible. It can crack if the ground underneath it shifts or settles.
  2. In addition, rigid pavement can be subject to “reflective cracking,” where cracks form in the pavement surface due to changes in the underlying material.

· Flexible Pavement Types

Flexible pavement comprises several layers of materials, including a subbase, base, and surface course.

  • The subbase is the layer that sits on top of the existing soil and provides stability and support for the other layers.
  •  The base layer comprises compacted gravel, crushed stone, or recycled concrete, which helps distribute weight evenly and prevent the pavement from cracking.
  • The surface course is the top layer of the pavement. It is made up of asphalt, a mixture of bitumen (a sticky black substance), and aggregate (crushed stone, sand, or gravel).

Pros

  1. Flexible pavement material can withstand small amounts of movement without cracking. This makes it ideal for roads and parking lots that experience a moderate amount of traffic.
  2. It’s also relatively easy to repair if it does crack.
  3. Flexible pavement can be made from recycled materials, making it more sustainable.

Cons

  1. Flexible pavement can’t handle large amounts of weight or traffic and will start to crack under too much pressure.
  2. It’s also susceptible to damage from weather extremes, such as heat, cold, and moisture.
  3. The flexible pavement must be regularly maintained (usually every 3-5 years) to prevent cracking and extend its lifespan.

Bottom Line: Which Type Is Suitable for You?

The type of pavement that’s right for you depends on several factors, including the amount of traffic your site gets, the climate, and your budget.

Flexible pavement may be a good option if your pavement receives light to moderate traffic and you live in an area with a mild climate.

However, suppose your site gets heavy traffic or is located in an area with extreme weather conditions. In that case, the inflexible pavement may be a better choice.

Paradise Asphalt Maintenance specializes inconcrete and asphalt pavement in Shawnee, KS, and offers various services, including seal coating, crack filling, pothole repair, patching, line striping, and more.

We understand that pavement is important to any business, home, or city because it is what you drive daily.

Get a free estimate now!