What is Micro-Surfacing?

Published on Jun 12, 2022

Micro-surfacing is the application of a special coating to the top layer of asphalt. It is 10 – 15 mm thick and creates a protective layer that preserves the underlying pavement by preventing oxidization and moisture penetration. It is a cost-effective treatment that prolongs the life of the road and helps to avoid costly and disruptive reconstruction.

The process of micro-surfacing has low energy requirements and is environmentally safe.

How is micro-surfacing done?

Micro-surfacing is made and applied to the existing pavements by a specialized machine. It mixes an asphalt emulsion on-site and spreads the mixture onto the road surface.

Micro-surfacing does not use rollers like paving, so the surface retains the rough texture of the aggregate. This means the roadway will look a little different than you’re used to. The new surface is initially a dark brown colour and will gradually change to the finished black surface as the surface cures, permitting traffic. This typically takes about two to three hours in most cases.


If the road is being micro-surfaced, will it still be repaved in the future?

Micro-surfacing is a preventative treatment to extend the life of the pavement, but this doesn’t mean that the roads will not be repaved in the future. All roads in Sturgeon County are monitored as part of an asset management plan that assesses vehicle traffic type, load, volume, and the condition of the pavement to determine the priority of repairs. Roadways will still be resurfaced and rehabilitated as required.


When is micro-surfacing not a good option?

Micro-surfacing is best suited for long stretches of level road. It is not an ideal process to use in approaches or driveways. There are a few reasons for this:

  1. The equipment is large and difficult to navigate through the approach/driveway without substantial damages to the existing landscape.
  2. The equipment is too heavy to go into approaches/driveways and will most likely break or crack the surface pavement and damage the subgrade material.
  3. The product is a slurry, it is viscous and moves around freely upon application. Many approaches and driveways are designed with an inclination to allow for water to drain away which would also cause the micro-seal to run down the driveway.
  4. This product is not intended to fill cracks. It is a thin lift with 10 – 15 mm thickness and would settle into existing cracks, and would not fix them.
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