The surface dressing process is very weather dependent and cannot be applied to wet or cold roads or during high air humidity levels or very high road temperatures.


  • Careful and detailed planning – Before work commences is an essential element of successful surface dressing.
  • Defining the site and Its characteristics – Before any design, planning or dressing is undertaken, it is important to identify the lengths of road to be dressed and to draw up a schedule of works.
  • Determining the specification – The selection of the right type of dressing, size of chippings and rate of spread of binder is a key design consideration to make sure the dressing is right for the job it has to do.


  • Publicity – Leaflets and posters are distributed in good time to inform the public of the impending works.
  • Traffic management – Risk assessment is undertaken and any required traffic regulation orders obtained to ensure the safety of workmen and the public and minimize disruption to traffic flows. Traffic control and signing are installed.
  • Car Lifting – Cars are carefully lifted and moved to a neighbouring street by professional, fully insured car lifters if residents have ignored communication not to park vehicles.
  • Sweeping – The road is swept thoroughly by mechanical sweepers to prepare the site for surface dressing.
  • Environment protection – To protect the environment and street furniture, drains, gullies, manhole covers and dropped curbs are taped in advance of the surface dressing.


  • Bitumen spray – The spray tanker is driven slowly along the road spreading an appropriate intermediate or premium bitumen emulsion evenly across the width of the box.
  • Chippings – 6mm chippings are applied at a rate of between 7-10kg per sq m as per road note 39. An excess of chips is spread on the road to prevent traffic or pedestrians from picking up wet bitumen.
  • Double dressing – In some circumstances there may be two coats of bitumen and chippings applied or two layers of chippings.
  • Rolling – All sites are rolled with a pneumatic tyre rubber roller. To ensure good embedment is achieved each site is rolled a minimum of 3 times.


  • Speed restrictions – Traffic will help with the embedment of the chippings but this must be at low speeds so traffic signage advising of the risk of loose chippings and showing an advisory speed limit is installed.
  • Remove tape – Once the dressing is complete, the taping crew will remove the tape from the environment ready for the traffic management to open the road to traffic.
  • Post surfacing sweep – On the 7th day after surface dressing the road is prepared once again. It is swept mechanically and two operatives sweep the pathways.


  • Locking the chippings – Armaseal Lockcote is sprayed over the surface dressing to lock chippings in place and give the appearance of the newly laid surfacing.
  • Temporary traffic sign removal – Once the Armaseal Lockcote has been applied all temporary traffic signs can be removed.
  • Road markings – Finally road markings are reapplied.