Benefits of preserving pavements is considerable

Rough chippings left after pavement resurfacing at Ivydale, Exmouth. Ref exe 9760-26-15AW. Picture:

Sealing helps to preserve the structure of pavements - Credit: Alex Walton

Following a hectic couple of months I’ve actually found time in my busy schedule to get into my column writing mode. 

As many areas are now starting to see work being carried out on footways/pavements, I thought it important to help all the readers understand that the work being carried out is not a resurfacing process, it is the application of a sealing coat to prolong the life of the existing materials. Devon County Council uses this process on surfaces which are still structurally sound but showing signs of deterioration. It is designed to seal the existing surface to stop water penetration which can lead to failure of the surface and would then require full reconstruction to be carried out. It is a maintenance operation in the same manner as regular painting of wooden window frames for example.
The material is laid in the form of a slurry which is bitumen based with various additives to assist adhesion and setting of the material, it also has a small-sized aggregate component to provide surface texture and regulate small level differences. The initial appearance is very ‘black’ but this will soon tone down to a ‘grey’ colour similar to other surfaces. It is a gradual change as the material hardens and weathers during a couple of months, the surface finish will also become somewhat smoother during this time. To prevent water ingress to the underlying surface our contractors do try to cover the joints at front and back of the path which is why you may see a small ‘lip’ against the walls.
An information sheet is also distributed to residents where the work is being carried out explaining the process.
Devon County Council carry out a substantial programme of footway sealing work each year and the benefit of this in delaying the need for reconstruction of footways is considerable. The appearance of the work carried out is as we would expect for a newly applied treatment, the work will be inspected after the initial settling down period and any defects found will be attended to by the contractor as part of their programme.