Imprinted Asphalt


By Tim Werbstein, AIA, CSI, CCS

MasterSpec Senior Architectural Specification Writer



Imprinted asphalt (also called textured asphalt, stamped asphalt, or patterned paving) has been incorporated into the specifications of some state Departments of Transportation (DOTs). The state DOTs have found these systems to be exceptional for their aesthetics and durability. Imprinted asphalt had once been the proprietary system of a single company, but now at least one other company has developed methods to produce similar results.

Imprinted asphalt is a system that embosses patterns onto an asphalt surface to simulate a pattern such as brick joints or cobblestones, or a custom design. The process primarily consists of pressing a pattern template about 1/4 inch (6 mm) into either freshly laid and compacted, but still plastic, asphalt paving or into reheated existing asphalt pavement. Custom designs must be coordinated with the manufacturer.

The embossing process is typically followed by one of two finishing methods:

  • Coating the imprinted asphalt paving with a modified acrylic coating system
  • Inlaying and heat bonding a precut, reflectorized, thermoplastic marking material that matches the imprinted pattern formed in the paving

The imprinting system produces an integral pattern or design that will not separate and is as durable as the substrate pavement. It should not be applied to open-graded or porous pavements or to existing pavement more than five years old. For application to existing asphalt pavement, contact the manufacturers for specific limitations on the age and condition of the pavement.

For further information about this imprinting system, take a look at MasterSpec®'s Section 321223 "Imprinted Asphalt," which specifies this process.

Tim Werbstein's picture
about the author: Tim Werbstein
Timothy (Tim) Werbstein is the coordinator for MasterSpec’s Historic Preservation and Landscape Architecture libraries. He has worked primarily in the New York, Florida, and Metropolitan DC areas for over 30 years and is a registered architect. Tim was chief specifier for the historic restoration and adaptive reuse of Union Station in Washington, DC and the Grand Central Terminal in New York City.


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