Surface Dressing

Surface Dressing Contractors

As one of the UK’s leading surface dressing contractors, we offer all types of specialist surface dressing to provide carriageway, footway, driveway, canal towpath or car park operators with a cost-effective solution to seal and protect the highway surface, increase skid resistance and/or provide enhanced aesthetic value through the use of decorative aggregates. 

We use polymer modified binders (PMBs) on all our surface dressing operations to ensure maximum shear strength, maximum chipping bond, and to reduce sensitivity to higher road temperatures. 

We offer aggregate sizes ranging from 6mm and 10mm, to 14mm available in a variety of colours and can be combined through double dressings, racked in dressings and alternative scheme layouts. 

Our specialist, bespoke plant for footway surface dressing is designed and constructed at our in-house, specialist workshop, using our expert knowledge and experience in this area. 

All plant is fully calibrated to ensure an accurate rate of spread (ROS) of the bitumen emulsion binder and chippings and an onboard heating system ensures that the polymer modified bitumen is applied at an optimum temperature.

Our Techniques - Click to find out more

Targeted Surface Dressing

We are pleased to bring the Targeted Surface Dressing technique to the UK market from mainland Europe, where it has been used extensively in France and Germany. Target dressing is the ability to apply surface dressings to selected areas of the carriageway surface. An in-cab video/computer allows the operator to select the defective sections of carriageway in advance of the combination sprayer. The surface dressing is then applied to those selected areas as the vehicle passes over them. This fast and targeted approach to surface dressing provides large savings in resources, carbon, cost, time, and inconvenience to road users.

By using target dressing as a means to seal all existing NRSWA reinstatements, patches, cracks and fretting, the highway authority and asset owner is eradicating the formation of potholes in the future (at 10% of the cost of treating potholes).

Benefits include:

  • Works completed quickly (application is up to 3,000 sq.m./day) with only 2 vehicles and 4 operatives required, creating much less disruption.
  • Will move amber roads to green or at least maintain a light amber condition and enables a reduction in the long-term, whole-life cost of repairs.
  • Seals and protects existing patches, reinstatements, and joints in the carriageway surface.
  • Avoids costly third-party insurance claims for pothole damage.
  • Improves public perception by minimising the need for disruptive road closures and traffic congestion.
  • More environmentally friendly when compared to traditional options used.
  • Provides an excellent system for the reinstatement of surface dressings to NRSWA trench reinstatements.
Surface Dressing SAMI’s (Stress Absorbing Membrane Interlayer)

This technique offers a robust alternative to a carriageway ‘plane and patch’ solution. A 200 pen straight-cut bitumen binder is applied directly onto the pre-swept carriageway surface. The SAMI forms a protective barrier between the new surface dressing and the defective carriageway.

By combining the SAMI application with the surface dressing operation, highway engineers can eliminate pre-patching costs and the associated traffic management and public disruption.

Benefits include:

  • When laid in conjunction with the main surface dressing scheme, it reduces public disruption, traffic management costs and the need for road opening notices.
  • A much faster and more cost-effective alternative to pre-patching.
  • The increased bitumen levels provide improved waterproofing and flexibility to the carriageway surface, especially during the winter months.
  • Note – this process is not suitable for high stress points, e.g. hills, bends, junctions.


when compared to other surfacing options

Local authority

NHSS13 surface dressing or private decorative surface dressing

Highly effective

traditional preventative maintenance solution


and new UK CE Marking process


dressing solutions – single, double dressing and racked-in dressing available


of contract types, e.g. NRSWA reinstatements, Footways, Estate Drives, Carriageways, Dual Carriageways

A reliable Surface Dressing Contractor

Our efficient, cost-effective, and professional surface dressing services preserve and seal the surface of asphalt and protect it against a broad range of issues, including frost damage, with improved skid resistance.

We apply a custom-blended aggregate and polymer-modified binder surface dressing depending on the nature, size, and location of the road, with multiple options, including larger aggregates for public carriageways.

Contracting Henry Williams & Son for your surface dressing project, whether for a private compound or public highway, ensures your preventative maintenance is completed quickly and to the highest standards, with access to our bespoke surfacing plant operated by highly skilled roadway engineers.

What is Surface dressing?

Surface dressing ensures that roadways and traffic routes are durable and can withstand surface water, heavy rain, and humidity – all conditions that can lead to fast-developing potholes, cracks, and deformities. In higher-speed carriageways and roads used by HGVs, such defects can cause an uneven texture and increase the risk of vehicle damage and collisions.

The process includes comprehensively calibrated equipment deployments, which ensure your aggregate and binder are applied at the perfect rate, volume and temperature for long-term durability and safe roadway surfacing.

The Benefits of Professional Surface Dressing

Any work on a carriageway or highway should be carefully planned with adherence to driving regulations, roadway safety legislation, and safe working practices for engineers and surfacing crews. Normally, surface dressing requires a short-term road closure or temporary closure of one lane at a time.

Our experienced planning teams provide civil engineering and highway maintenance services to a wide variety of clients. We can advise on the ideal approach to improve the road surface as quickly as possible and with a durable, robust outcome.

Surface dressing is a cost-effective solution and far speedier and less disruptive than excavating defective asphalt and investing in a completely new surfacing project; it also offers several other advantages:

  • Reduced maintenance, with professionally applied surface dressing able to extend the lifetime of a conventional asphalt road surface by around 15 years – double that of alternative solutions.
  • Efficiency – surface dressing simply involves applying an additional layer above the current infrastructure, although using specialist equipment, techniques, and skills to achieve a level, smooth and stable finish. The process takes only a few hours, which is a fraction of the time required to resurface.
  • Applying surface dressing to a road can prevent potholes, ridges, gaps, and weaknesses, ensuring the carriageway is fit for use, less likely to experience accidents and provides a safe environment for all traffic users.

Where roads have become heavily patched, this may be a sign of a weakness in the substrate or can mean an unsightly road surface that develops cracks, potholes, and gaps with little warning, where surfacing is ageing at a different rate and exposed to pressures in overtaking lanes.

As your professional surface dressing contractor, we will ensure the roadway surface is safe and even in appearance, with surface dressing costing around three or four times less than alternative maintenance techniques.

surface dressing contractor in action
civil engineering

Why Choose Henry Williams & Son as your surface dressing contractor?

As a highly experienced family-run business, we have decades of practical knowledge and uphold exceptionally high standards, whether working for a private client to improve the condition and appearance of residential parking areas or surface-dressing public motorways and carriageways.

Our consultants can liaise with roadway planners and local authorities to schedule work programs around other ongoing repairs, or to ensure minimal disruption, normally phasing surface dressing in stages to avoid large-scale road closures.

We can supply micro-asphalt aggregates for residential roads and commercial centres and heavier base aggregates to help manage road conditions on higher-speed motorways. The right blend can maximise anti-skid properties and extend the usable lifespan of pre-existing asphalt surfacing.

Henry Williams & Son can dispatch work teams to address urgent highway maintenance requirements and are always happy to organise a convenient site visit or road assessment programme to determine whether surface dressing is the most appropriate solution.

Road surfaces already subject to severe damage may require additional repairs before surface dressing can be carried out. We offer the full breadth of our experience to help you make budget-conscious, efficient decisions to ensure maximum returns and minimal ongoing maintenance.

Related Services

We are a trusted highway maintenance contractor, providing a range of services, many of which can be combined to address deficiencies in longer stretches of motorways or heavy traffic routes. 

For example, some elements of the road surface may require replacement, others a surface dressing, and potentially a preventative treatment to protect the surface from further damage.

  • Asphalt Surfacing: specialised, hand-laid, and machine-laid surfacing for roadway repairs or new road surfaces for commercial developments, housing construction or the development of new highway systems.
  • Asphalt Preservation: a professionally applied treatment that can multiply the lifespan of surface asphalt or make pavements and private roads more durable and resistant to water ingress.
  • Civil Engineering: earthworks, groundworks, foundations, access and estate roads, service provision, asphalt surfacing and drainage work for public or private sector projects of any size.

If you’re looking for a trusted surface dressing contractor, please get in touch to discuss any related services or for independent advice about the best solutions to expedite your roadway repairs or maintenance.

Frequently Asked Questions

When Is Surface Dressing Carried Out?

The weather can impact the effectiveness of roadway repairs, and we normally recommend scheduling surface dressing in the summer months when temperatures are warmer, and there is less likelihood of rain.

What Are the Benefits of Surface Dressing for Highways?

There are several reasons highway planners opt for surface dressing or that we’d recommend this option to restore and preserve a private path or parking area. The process seals the road and acts as a waterproof layer, making it safer and less skiddy. 

Surface dressing extends the durability of the road surface and can make sure it lasts for an additional decade or more. This is a cost-effective way of restoring the road surface in comparison to resurfacing the road. 

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