Dense Bitumen Macadam, also known as DBM, is a material commonly used for roads or driveways where heavy vehicles are likely to be more prominent. Extremely durable and strong, a Dense Bitumen Macadam surface provides the user with a material that is not only weather resistant but can provide a striking surface for your driveway or commercial property if applied correctly. Like asphalt in its makeup, DBM contains a much greater concentration of sand and filler than asphalt.
Dense Bitumen Macadam is often seen as the best choice when compared to many other surface types due to its resilience. As surfacing specialists, our team at Tidey & Webb can help advise on the best option for your driveway and show you just how beneficial a DBM driveway, carpark or pathway could be.
Dense Bitumen Macadam vs. Asphalt Concrete
If you are considering a new residential surfacing project such as a new driveway or a play area for the children, you will likely be looking for a surface that provides durability, safety and low maintenance. Choosing a dense bitumen macadam surface could well be your best option.
As we mentioned above it provides you with many valuable attributes but how does it compare to another popular surface?
Asphalt concrete is commonly used for many surfacing projects in both residential and commercial surfacing and for a lot of people has often been the go-to surface for their needs. Each comes with its benefits and for us, much depends on what you need your surface to be able to do for you. Some just prefer an aesthetic that appeals, others want durability.
Dense bitumen macadam compared to asphalt concrete
You will often see both now labelled as asphalt concrete but both surface types do exhibit some significant differences from each other. Dense Bitumen Macadam (let’s call it DBM for now) consists of a mixture of mineral aggregates, filler material and a bitumen binder.
The aggregates used tend to be crushed rocks, stones and gravel with the filler consisting of limestone or cement. Compare this to asphalt concrete which is made up of mineral aggregates, filler and an asphalt binder. Aggregates are both coarse and fine in asphalt concrete.
Things change though in the production, for DBM to be produced, the components are subjected to a process called hot mix asphalt production. This sees the bitumen binder and mineral aggregates heated to a high temperature and then mixed. With Asphalt concrete, the process of hot mix asphalt is again carried out but instead, the mixture is allowed to cool first. This results in a more porous structure.
DBM will not only be used as a surface material itself but will also serve as a base or binder course layer. It is most often laid in two or more layers with each being compacted to form a strong, durable surface.
Advantages of Dense Bitumen Macadam over Asphalt Concrete
With any surfacing project you will be wanting to find the best possible product to match your needs and with dense bitumen macadam and asphalt concrete commonly being the most popular to choose from it can be a tough decision working out what works best for you.
People tend to favour DBM due to its durability, water resistance, lack of need for regular maintenance and high skid resistance among a few other features. A dense bitumen macadam surface in fact outperforms asphalt concrete in all of these factors.
- The durability of DBM can see it withstand heavier and more frequent traffic than an asphalt concrete surface.
- The resistance to weather that dense bitumen macadam provides helps avoid the potential risk of cracking, potholes and more. Compare this to asphalt concrete which can allow water in much easier and you could be saving yourself significant money in repair jobs.
- The skid resistance may not be a major factor on a driveway due to the slower speeds you use but this can still be hugely beneficial if the surface is icy or snow-covered for example.
- The upkeep of any surface is always a key factor when investing in a new surfacing project and DBM allows for much less frequent maintenance when compared to asphalt concrete. With it having a high level of durability, and resistance to wear it is less frequent to show signs of damage and need repair.
These benefits listed above show several reasons why a DBM surface should at least be considered for any driveway project. That being said, asphalt concrete does also provide some benefits that may be more suited to your needs or budget. Simply speak to us to learn more and then find what works best for you.
Our Dense Bitumen Macadam Services
At Tidey & Webb, we know you want a surface laid that lasts and with a dense bitumen macadam driveway, that is exactly what you get. Our team can carefully and professionally transform the area you wish to have resurfaced with minimal disruption but maximum effectiveness. Should you look to have such a surface installed see below just how we can help reinvigorate your driveway.
- Firstly, we prepare the driveway surface by cleaning and levelling it to ensure it is smooth and even.
- We then apply what is known as a tack coat to ensure good adhesion between the current surface and the dense bitumen macadam.
- The coarse aggregate is then spread over the tack coat to a thickness determined by the needs of the job.
- A binder course of bitumen will then be applied over the coarse aggregate to help bond the materials together.
- Using our specialist machinery the DBM will then be compacted to achieve the required density and ensure the material is well bonded.
- The surface layer will then be applied using bitumen and fine aggregates to provide you with a smooth and durable surface.
Please note that in some cases additional steps may need to be carried out to ensure the best possible DBM surface for you.
Customisation options for your driveway
Our team can work to your exact specifications, curved edges, straight lines, and even colour! Pigment can be added to the DBM to give an altogether different look to your driveway and different finishes can be applied to also give you a little bit of variation so that you stand out as the best driveway in Sussex and Surrey!
What’s more though is that Tidey & Webb know you want to create something special with your home so should you want your driveway to be complimented with paving, walls or more simply contact us to see how we can help make the transformation something spectacular.
Maintenance and repairs
Once installed, your dense bitumen macadam driveway shouldn’t require much maintenance work or repair work at all! In fact, with it being so durable you may only want to give it a sweep or a hose down now and then. At the time of installation, our team will brief you on all the general maintenance you may need to know, which in the case of a DBM driveway won’t be much such is their low need for maintenance. Should there ever be a need for repair though, just get in touch and we can carry out a full assessment to help you get things back to how they should be.
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