Surface dressing: what you need to know

9th December 2019

Hazell & Jefferies surface dressing lorry laying down surfacing material on a road.

When the surface or sub-surface layers of the road have deteriorated to the point that they have to be replaced, you will need to take away the existing layer and put down a new surface. Resurfacing is an investment and will normally last you at least 15 years.

Many roads are surface dressed; this will involve treating the road surface to prevent it getting worn. These treatments are often cheaper than costly rebuilding works so you can maintain more roads for the same price.

What is surface dressing?

Surface dressing is a cost-effective way of restoring the road surface and sealing it in one process. The surface dressing can be beneficial in many ways:

●improves skidding resistance which makes the roads safe

●helps the road be waterproof

●protects the road against frost and water damaging

We spray the road with a bitumen binder, followed by a layer of chippings. The chippings are pressed into the surface by a rolling machine. To make sure a uniform coating of the emulsion, more chippings are deliberately applied to the surface than is actually required to complete the dressing process.

Prior to the road being open to traffic, it is swept to remove around the excess chippings. The road then receives further sweeps to remove any loose chippings that result from the action of road traffic.

Advisory speed limits are used to keep traffic speeds to 15 mph until we are confident the dressing has settled.

What’s the difference between surface dressing and resurfacing?

Surface dressing is preventative, for roads which are in relatively good condition. It can last around ten years, roads can be re-dressed up to three times, and is very cost-effective. Also, the work is done relatively quickly, minimising the inconvenience for residents and motorists. Resurfacing is a more extensive structural maintenance treatment which involves digging down and removing the top layer of a worn-out road surface, and replacing this with new material.

Here at Hazell and Jefferies, we provide extensive road surfacing services. Please get in touch to find out more.

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