Types of specialist surfacing materials

There is a wide range of road surfacing materials available to suit various needs, offering durable surfaces to suit areas intended to sustain vehicular or foot traffic, such as roads, walkways or school playgrounds. But which types are appropriate for your requirements?

Stone mastic asphalt

This is a dense wearing course material developed to overcome rutting caused by heavy vehicles on road surfaces. The distinct advantage of stone mastic asphalt is its high resistance to fatigue and rutting.
This improved binder durability is a result of higher bitumen content, a thicker bitumen film and lower aid voids content. Stone mastic asphalt (SMA) is a mineral aggregate skeleton that is gap-graded; the voids are then filled with a mastic of fine aggregate, filler and binder.
SMA is commonly used as a heavy duty solution for large traffic volumes.
Benefits of mastic asphalt include durability, reduced noise levels, reduction in water spray and consistent appearance.

Coloured asphalt

The conventional colour of asphalt is usually black or deep red as a result of the black colour of the bitumen used in the mix. However, the discovery of a pigmentable clear binder has meant that a greater variety of colours are now available to suit different needs.
Coloured asphalt can be used for a multitude of purposes. However it is commonly used for visual awareness such as traffic or cycle line delineation, or simply to enhance the surface to blend into the surrounding areas.
Other uses for coloured asphalt can include marking out footpaths, brightening parks, play areas and sports grounds, highlighting roundabouts and bus stops or even enhancing entrances to historical sites.

Polymer modified binders

Modified bituminous can bring real benefits to road maintenance and construction. Modified bitumen through the addition of polymer can change the physical properties of bitumen such as the softening point and the brittleness of the bitumen, improving the elasticity and ductility.
The way polymer usually affects bitumen’s characteristics is by dissolving into certain components of the bitumen, spreading long chain polymer molecules to create an inter-connecting matrix throughout, making the bitumen more elasticated.
With so many types of road surfacing available these days, it is becoming easier to find a particular solution that can accommodate surface requirements.
Read more: Road surfacing and Quantity Surveyors