When we talk about NatraTex, we often refer to it as a surface course. But what does that mean exactly?

In this knowledge hub article from NatraTex, we’ll answer this question and explore the different surface courses that are used in the creation of footpaths, highways, access roads and driveways in the UK.

What is a surface course?

Before we explore exactly what a surface course is, it is first necessary to explore how areas such as roads and pavements are constructed. As you can imagine, roads and pavements aren’t made of one simple layer of asphalt. Instead, they are created with multiple layers to ensure strength and longevity.

How many layers and the thickness of the road is determined by several different factors. Generally, roads consist of the following layers:

  • Compacted sub grade
  • Sub base course
  • Base course
  • Binder course
  • Surface course

The surface course is the very last layer of road construction (prior to markings). It is the part of a road that endures direct contact with traffic. Occasionally, you will encounter materials, such as self-binding gravel, that disrupt this list. 

Likewise, the surface course may have an additional decorative coating in order to produce colour variation on the new surface. In general, though, this list is accurate to all surfaces. 

What is the function of a surface course?

While the layers beneath a surface course provide stability and shape for roads, the surface course provides durability, safety, and resilience. Therefore, it should be hardy enough to withstand heavy loads and abrasive forces.

The main functions of the surface course are to provide sufficient tire friction, skid resistance and prevent ingress of rainwater to the surface beneath.

What are surface courses made of?

A surface course is typically composed of asphalt. Asphalt is an industrial material made by mixing aggregates such as sand, gravel or crushed rock with binder and filler. Bitumen is most used as the binder in the formation of asphalt.

There are a wide range of potential surface types that can be utilised as a surface course. These include hot rolled asphalt, asphalt concrete, soft asphalt, porous asphalt and NatraTex– to name just a few. 

Unlike the other previously mentioned materials, NatraTex is a class of materials to itself – one which does not use bitumen as part of its manufacturing process.

NatraTex As A Surface Course

As previously mentioned, NatraTex is another kind of surface course. It is a coloured tarmac-alternative that is created by mixing natural aggregates with a clear binder. This clear binder is similar to traditional resin, although there are differences between it and NatraTex. 

When applied to different levels of thickness, NatraTex products can be used as a surface course in the creation of footpaths, playgrounds, cycle routes, decorative driveways, car parks, residential roads, decorative landscaping, main carriageways, and other forms of coloured paving. 

The biggest benefits of NatraTex as a surface course are that it is resilient, durable, low maintenance and attractive. Available in both neutral tones or vibrant colours with NatraTex Cotswold and NatraTex Colour respectively, it lends itself to a wide variety of projects from retail to regeneration and residential.

Types of NatraTex Surface Course

NatraTex comes in a few different varieties. NatraTex Colour is our option for developers looking for a bright surface, one which is ideal for bus lanes, coloured playgrounds, and MUGA pitches. Meanwhile, our NatraTex Eco is known for being extremely ecologically friendly. Meanwhile, our NatraTex Cotswold material is a good choice for those looking for a good, neutral surface. 

For More Information About NatraTex

To learn more about NatraTex surfacing and its application in retail, regeneration, recreational and residential projects, please look at our Portfolio or contact us to arrange a CPD session.