Surface dressing is the term used to describe the technique of renewing a road surface with an application of bitumen emulsion and aggregate chippings. It is the most widely used road maintenance technique in Ireland.

The layer of bitumen emulsion seals the road surface from water ingress, thereby improving the durability of the pavement. The layer of chippings provides a high friction surface to increase road safety for users.


Almost 90% of the road network in Ireland is surfaced with a layer of surface dressing. Surface dressing is the most economical road surfacing technique and also has a lower carbon-footprint compared to alternative bituminous surfacing products.

COLAS Contracting has specialised in surface dressing for the past thirty years, by combining high performance bitumen emulsions with high quality aggregates using modern equipment and experienced crews. Rates of spray of the emulsion and rates of spread of the chippings are optimised to ensure minimum chip loss and a long service life.

The Surface Dressing service provided by COLAS Contracting is CE Marked, in accordance with Clause 7.2 of the TII's Series 900 (CC-SPW-00900-09), the NSAI standard recommendation SR 61 and IS EN 12271:2006 Surface Dressing - Requirements. This allows COLAS Contracting to supply an all-in surface dressing service to Local Authorities and private customers.

COLAS Contracting takes pride in offering a high-quality surface dressing product to road maintenance engineers allowing flexibility in the short seasonal programme. COLAS Contracting have the resources and technology to deliver a high-quality surfacing and provide a practical and economical solution to road asset managers.

  • A CE marked "all-in" surface dressing operation that is suitable for all road classes, both public and private clients.
  • An all-in service for road reinstatement, surface preparation and the design and application of the final surface dressing.
  • Technical guidance to advise on the best solution for each project, including specialised aggregate and surface dressing performance testing at our laboratory in Oranmore.
  • Telescopic emulsion sprayers to cover variable road widths.
  • A specialised combi-unit called the "OB Vario" and rolling floor gritters - all non-tipping.
  • Multi-wheel rubber tyred and steel-drum rollers to provide optimum compaction.
  • A road-sweeper in attendance at all times (including back sweeping).
  • A variety of high-quality CE Marked emulsions and aggregate combinations.
  • Full traffic control and full Health & Safety compliance.
  • Highly trained and experienced crews
  • High daily outputs
  • On-site sampling and testing to ensure product quality control for the customer
  • A cost effective, high quality and durable surfacing material to give value for money to the customer

  • Telescopic Sprayers
  • OB Vario and rolling floor gritters
  • Multiwheel rubber tyred rollers
  • Road sweeper in attendance including back sweeping
  • Variety of high-quality binders available
  • Combinations of aggregates
  • Full traffic control
  • Highly trained and experienced crews
  • High daily outputs
  • On-site sampling and testing
  • Cost Effective
  • Lower carbon footprint