Thin-Surfaced Course Systems Surfacing

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Thin-surfaced course systems, often abbreviated to TSCS, are the terms given to surface course materials that are of no more than 50mm in thickness.

These materials are often used in high-volume traffic areas thanks to their rut resistance, low noise and skid-resistant properties. They are often preferred in areas that encounter hot, dry climates as opposed to wet and cold ones.

Mixtures of TSCS normally comprise aggregates, filler and a bituminous binder that can be modified if required with rubber, resin, polymers or cement. This hot bituminous bound mix is then machine-laid onto a bond or tack coat to form it.

The bond coat may be polymer modified and then sprayed either hot or cold depending on the proprietary system used.

Often adopted by local authorities for car parks and road surfaces, thin-surfaced course systems are an ideal solution to commercial surfacing problems.

Should you be looking for road resurfacing or alterations to an existing surface in a commercial property, contact Tidey and Webb. Our expert team can ensure that a premium quality, thin-surfaced course system fulfils your surfacing requirements.

Types of thin surfaced course systems

Proprietary thin surfaced course systems can be applied as either a new surface construction or as maintenance on an existing surface. They are classified into three types depending on the thickness of the surface used.

Type A- Under 18mm

Type B- 18-25mm

Type C- 26-50mm


They were first seen on road networks in the UK in 1994.

Benefits of a thin-surfaced course system

With any resurfacing project, whether it be for commercial or residential surfacing, you will want to ensure that its benefits at least match those of the original surface type or exceed them. With a thin-surfaced course system, you have many. Each adds a quality to the finished surface that you may not have been able to benefit from before.

Quick installation

Whilst we take every care and work to an extremely high standard, when we lay a thin-surfaced course system we can get it done much faster than many other surface types. Should conditions suit, large stretches of road can be completed within a day. This not only helps traffic management but also helps to keep both the costs of road maintenance down as well as the costs associated with orchestrating rerouting, temporary traffic lights and more.

Reduced working area

A thin-surfaced course system requires less working width than rolled asphalt. With less space required for working, traffic flow is disrupted less and only the areas requiring treatment are occupied by the surfacing engineers.

Noise reduction

Noise pollution from traffic is often a source of many complaints in residential areas. Should the road surface that requires resurfacing be in an area of high population density, it is often best to source a surface type that minimises noise. Thin-surfaced course systems help facilitate this due to the uniform negative surface texture. These will be much quieter than brushed concrete or hot rolled asphalt or dense bitumen macadam for example.

Reduced tyre spray

In wet conditions, visibility is so important. The addition of thin surface course systems helps enhance that when rainfall is fairly low. When the surface has an adequate texture depth, it demonstrates spray suppression due to the nature of the surface. This should though, not be confused with porous asphalt which offers properties more suitable to different conditions and surfaces.

Resistance to rutting

The structure of the surface, formed by the coarse aggregate particles has a strong resistance to rutting caused by tyre tracks.

Uses for thin surface course systems

Thanks to the low noise, safety benefits and resistance qualities, TSCS will often be found on car parks, roads, pathways, and other areas that may exhibit fairly high levels of traffic. However, due to the nature of the material, roundabouts and areas that encounter heavy turning vehicles, require additional considerations to be made. TSCS can still be used but its application and product type may need altering to deliver the best results. Simply speak to us and upon assessment, we will be able to determine what surface works best for the traffic load the road encounters.

Should the surface have already shown signs of structural deterioration or cracking in the underlying layer, TSCS is not always the best option. If cracking or structural deterioration has been seen spotted in a layer beneath the TSCS they will quickly propagate to the surface. This then harms the quality and the lifespan of the thin surface course system.

However, should your surface just need to be replaced, speak to our team to see if a thin surface course system would be beneficial to you.

Installation of a thin surface course system

Some surfacing projects can be taken on independently of a surfacing specialist but when applying a thin surface course system, you would need the professional expertise of a surfacing contractor like Tidey & Webb.

TSCS should only be laid when the temperature specified for its application is met. This will vary depending on its make-up. In addition, the surface it is being applied to must not be wet. This can often lead to delays in laying the surface, especially if rain is forecast.

In some circumstances, a thicker TSCS can be applied when the weather is at a temp as low as 2C and rising rather than falling. To do this we will need to ensure the substrate is dry and there is little to no wind. Should winds reach just 5km/h, the air temperature will need to be at 10C or more for full compaction of the surface to take place.

Studies have also shown that due to the bituminous materials used within TSCS, thin surfaces should ideally be laid outside of winter months. April- October is best. This gives it the best chance of being more durable and benefiting road users for the long term. The ambient conditions and that of the surface the TSCS is being applied to are much more likely to be in the prime condition to deliver the best results during this period. In some cases, surfaces can be laid outside this window and deliver good results, as long as temperatures suit and the surface is in good enough condition. When this is the case, type C materials with a 40mm or greater depth would be optimal.

To ensure the best possible surface result, we will not lay TSCS below the minimum temperatures stated in the product certification.

How long will a thin surface course system last?

With any surface, you are hoping for it to provide you with a durable, long-lasting road, pavement or carpark. However, climate, poor installation, and lack of preventative maintenance can see the original lifespan of your TSCS surface reduced dramatically. If installed correctly, you can enjoy a 15-year serviceable life from a TSCS surface.

However, it is important to have the original surface, any underlying layers and the general climate assessed first as should these not be suitable, a TSCS surface may not last much longer than five years in good condition.


If you are a local authority or business looking for a new, easy-to-install, easy-to-maintain surface that also benefits the local community through its low noise capabilities and safety aspects, then speak to Tidey & Webb, your Sussex surfacing specialists about TSCS today. We can attend your location and give a detailed assessment of what needs to be done to give you the results you require.

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