Polymer Modified Asphalt Surfacing

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Polymer Modified Asphalt, often referred to as PMA is a surfacing type used for roads, pavements and other surfaces that are likely to encounter high volumes of traffic and/or poor weather conditions. It can also be found being used as a sealant on roofing.

Chosen by those looking for a commercial resurfacing project to be completed, the application of PMA delivers a cost-effective and long-lasting solution to car parks, roads, playgrounds and more.

At Tidey & Webb, our team of Sussex surfacing specialists have many years of experience laying polymer-modified asphalt for a host of businesses as well as for those in need of a residential resurfacing refresh.

What is Polymer Modified Asphalt?

If a new surfacing project such as a new road, race track or carpark you will likely be looking for a surface that provides durability, affordability and longevity, choosing a polymer-modified asphalt surface could be your best option.

Some class polymer-modified asphalt as a surface type that breaks boundaries and is literally, a game changer, thanks to its impressive durability and versatile use. With resistance to cracks and deformation being key benefits, it stands to reason that many looking for a durable surface for a high-traffic area opt for such a surface type.

Polymer Modified Asphalt is made by combining asphalt with polymer additives that increase the asphalt’s strength and durability.

Various additives can be used during the mixing process to create PMA and it is fairly common to find either styrene-butadiene-styrene, also known as SBS or styrene-acrylonitrile (SAN) used in the creation of it.  With these added to the common asphalt, you find a product that has a dramatically enhanced shelf life and outperforms asphalt as well as many other surface types.

Common uses of Polymer-modified asphalt

You will most likely find polymer-modified asphalt used in commercial projects rather than residential ones. Where a resin-bound driveway for example may only encounter one or two vehicles a day and remain in great condition for a long time, a polymer-modified asphalt surface, thanks to its durability will be used in areas where traffic flow is consistently high.

This would include:

  • Motorways
  • Airport runways
  • Racetracks
  • Cycle paths
  • Heavy industrial traffic areas

Thanks to its ability to withstand constant traffic as well as heavy loads, polymer-modified asphalt is a strong choice for many commercial resurfacing projects. With better resistance to cracking, stress and environmental factors, it stands to reason that many are choosing it ahead of other surface types.

Benefits of Polymer Modified Asphalt

At Tidey & Webb, we understand that those looking for a new surface require something that proves to be cost-effective as well as possess fantastic qualities that keep the surface operating at its best for years to come. Polymer Modified Asphalt offers that and a whole lot more.

Its durable nature means that local authorities can keep the purse strings tightened as the maintenance jobs that often appear due to the faults of other surfaces, rarely, if at all become present. Potholes, bumps, lumps, and cracks can all be forgotten about when your surface is composed of polymer-modified asphalt and whilst they may still occur in some instances, it is far rarer than in other surfaces.

Weather resistance

Polymer-modified asphalt has proven to be an incredible surface type for handling all that Mother Nature can throw at it.

An impressive resistance to temperature fluctuation means that when the summer sun makes an appearance, it will not soften, expand, or weaken and when winter comes it can handle the low temperatures without cracking or proving to be a slip hazard. This alone provides contractors with a huge cost benefit as the repair costs often associated with roads, paths and car parks are more or less removed.

Water resistance

Whether it be through rain or cleaning, polymer-modified asphalt can withstand incredible resistance to water intrusion. With reduced permeability, water does not seep into the lower layers and disrupt the foundations of the surface. Whilst surfaces like porous asphalt are built with permeability in mind, PMA allows water to naturally disperse and spread, reducing the possibility of under-surface freezing that could crack other surface types.

Added cohesion and adhesion

When laying any surface type, we look for the ideal bonding between surface layers and in many cases, we find that PMA offers some of the best. Polymer-modified asphalt offers a bond between layers that delivers superior structural integrity when compared to many other surface types. As a result, not only do you have a strong and durable surface, but you have one that can far outlast many others.

Benefits to the environment

Whilst some surfaces are chastised for the potential environmental impact they create, polymer-modified asphalt is seen to be a benefit to many nations, and businesses’ green ambitions. With its enhanced durability, and as a result, longer lifespan, there is less need for resurfacing or maintenance. This, in turn, means less use of raw materials for additional construction and less energy use as well. This results in savings for the businesses and a reduction in the environmental damage they may be creating.

Costs of polymer-modified asphalt

Polymer-modified asphalt is a surface type that costs slightly more than others to have installed but its long-term benefits and lack of maintenance mean that over time, it delivers a much more cost-effective method of resurfacing than many others. Costs will vary significantly on whether the surface is needed for a road, a playground or a pathway but contacting the team at Tidey & Webb means we can give you a full insight into the expected costs for your commercial or residential surface to benefit from PMA. We can even give you a free resurfacing quote so you can assess whether this is the surface type to match your budget. Should it not be a viable option for you, our dense bitumen macadam or concrete surfacing solutions may prove to be a worthwhile option.

How long does polymer-modified asphalt last?

The lifespan of a polymer-modified asphalt surface will vary based on traffic levels, how well it is maintained and the construction of the surface. Whilst PMA can withstand high levels of traffic and variable weather conditions, they do affect the longevity of the surface. That being said, even with exposure to sun, rain, snow or ice, a polymer-modified asphalt surface will tend to last longer than its other asphalt counterparts.

If well-designed, and expertly laid, you can expect your surface to last for anywhere from 15-25 years, perhaps even longer!

Maintenance of polymer-modified asphalt

Whilst cracks and potholes are not all that common on a polymer-modified asphalt surface, they can still happen so it is advised to remain on top of these should they occur. Periodic inspections should take place and if problems are spotted, they should be tackled right away. This can further increase the lifespan of your PMA surface delivering you much more value for money.

In addition, regular sweeping of the surface will be of benefit as will keeping it free of oil spills, dirt and other debris. Maintenance such as this increases skid resistance as well as removes the potential for damage to the surface.

Occasionally consider surface rejuvenators to keep it looking as good as new and consider seal coating especially if in areas where hot weather may be more frequent.

If PMA has been used for a road surface or a surface that requires markings, opt for those that are thermoplastic. These are preferable for their durability and visibility which in turn helps keep traffic flow consistent and compliant.

Depending on where your PMS surface is, you may also find that plants, weeds and other vegetation are growing nearby. Manage this well by weeding frequently. This will stop underground weed penetration which could cause damage to the PMA surface.

Where the weather is particularly cold, try and steer clear of de-icers as the chemicals may affect the surface. Instead, opt for more conventional methods that may stop the build-up of snow or ice.



Polymer-modified asphalt is a premium choice for commercial resurfacing. Why not contact Tidey & Webb today to see how we can help enhance the high-traffic surfaces in your area?


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