Milling Secrets For Asphalt Paving: What Is It & Why You Need It?

Key Takeaways:

  • Asphalt milling refers to the removal of the top layer of asphalt pavement
  • A cold milling machine grinds the asphalt down into small pieces
  • These pieces are recycled and used as reclaimed asphalt pavement or RAP
  • RAP is a fast and environment-friendly paving solution
  • It doesn’t offer the same color or longevity as new asphalt, but it is less expensive

Suppose you’re interested in asphalt paving for your business property. In that case, you should know that milling is a critical step in the process. But what is asphalt milling, and why is it so crucial for your commercial paving?

This blog post will discuss everything you need to know about asphalt milling. We’ll cover what it is, why it’s necessary for your business, and how it can benefit your property.

So, if you’re ready to learn more about this essential paving feature, keep reading!

What Is Asphalt Milling?

It involves the removal of the topmost layer of asphalt paving from a roadway or parking lot. This procedure is helpful for various reasons, such as to repair the damage caused by weather or traffic. It can also prepare an area for repaving, providing a new and smooth surface.

Milling is a cost-effective way to repair asphalt. It can also be used as a preventative measure to extend the lifespan of your pavement. It’s important to note that milling does not remove all the asphalt; typically, only the top layer is removed.

Also known as RAP, or reclaimed asphalt pavement, this procedure uses a cold milling machine to grind down the asphalt. This process is less expensive and causes less damage to the surrounding areas than traditional methods, such as asphalt removal or milling by hand.

What Is the Process?

As we mentioned, a cold milling machine removes the asphalt. This machine has a large, rotating drum to grind up the asphalt as it moves along. You can control the depth of the milling, so you can remove as much or as little asphalt as you need.

The sharp cutting teeth mounted on the drum break up the asphalt, and a conveyor belt removes the asphalt bits from the machine. The asphalt is then transported to a plant where it can be recycled and used in new paving.

How Is Asphalt Milling Recycled?

The asphalt millings are transported to a plant where they are crushed and screened. The asphalt is mixed with new asphalt and asphalt emulsion and placed back on the road.

You can use the recycled result in hot mix asphalt, cold mix asphalt, or asphalt concrete. It can also be used as a base for new asphalt paving. Some application ideas are as follows:

  • Commercial paving, such as parking lots
  • Bicycle pathways
  • Residential driveways
  • Golf course pathways
  • Trench and culvert backfill

To name a few!

Now that we’ve looked at what it’s all about let’s sneak a peek at the benefits asphalt milling provides.

What Are the Pros?

Milling asphalt is a process that can be utilized for several different purposes, as you have seen.

But what are some asphalt milling advantages? Here are a few key arguments for using this type of paving for your next commercial paving project:

It’s a Cost-Effective Solution:

Asphalt milling is often a more cost-effective solution than asphalt replacement.

This is because it can be completed quickly and with minimal disruption, which helps to keep costs down. Plus, asphalt that has been milled can be recycled and used as a base material for your new asphalt pavement!

It’s Easier on the Environment:

Worried about your asphalt paving project’s impact on the environment? Asphalt milling is a much more eco-friendly solution than asphalt replacement.

As we mentioned, asphalt that has been milled can be recycled and used as a base material, which helps to reduce waste. And because asphalt milling is less disruptive, there is less of an impact on local ecosystems.

It’s an Easy Process:

It is a relatively simple process that can be completed quickly and with minimal disruption. Compare that to asphalt replacement, a more complex process that can take days or weeks to complete.

You Can Qualify for Credits:

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a green building certification system that provides third-party verification of a building or neighborhood’s sustainability.

Investing in milling for your asphalt paving could earn LEED credits for your business or development project.

If you’d like to know how to earn LEED credits for your paving project, USGBC offers excellent insights.

What Are the Cons?

While recycled asphalt does offer several advantages, there are a few potential disadvantages to be aware of.

No. 1: Quality Concerns

Compared to brand-new asphalt paving, recycled asphalt may not be as high in quality. This is because the asphalt milling process can only do so much to restore the asphalt to its original condition.

As a result, recycled asphalt may not be as strong or durable as new asphalt. To ensure the most extended lifespan possible for your asphalt pavement, you may want to stick with new asphalt instead.

No. 2: Aesthetic Issues

That classic deep and rich black asphalt color is one of its defining features.

However, because recycled asphalt has already been used, it doesn’t always have that same deep black hue. In some cases, it may even appear gray or dull in color. If you want your asphalt pavement to look its best, you may be better off going with new asphalt.

Is Asphalt Milling the Right Choice for My Needs?

Asphalt milling is an excellent choice for many commercial paving projects. It’s cost-effective, eco-friendly, and can be done quickly and efficiently. However, it’s not right for every project. Suppose you’re unsure whether it is the right choice for your needs. In that case, we recommend consulting a professional paving contractor. We can help you determine if asphalt milling is the best option for your project.


It’s up to you to determine whether you want to pave your commercial property with recycled or new asphalt. However, we’re confident that this article has given you a better understanding of asphalt milling.

If you have any questions or want to know more about asphalt paving, check out our article on mill and overlay.

Doctor Asphalt LLC is proud to serve St Paul, MN, with tried and trusted paving and maintenance services. Get your free pavement quote today!

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