We have all had the experience of tripping over an uneven cobblestone, a sunken paver or a cracked stone surface. And we’ve all seen newly built roads, streetscapes and public spaces deteriorate much faster than they should - with defects unravelling the original design intent, and often expensive repairs affecting the flow of traffic.
But it doesn't have to be that way. Invisible to the naked eye, solid foundations can significantly prolong the life-expectancy of a streetscape or public space, improving its safety, reducing the required level of maintenance, and discarded materials that end up in landfill. Engineered with durability and longevity in mind, the Sika Streetscape System is an extra heavy duty range of products designed to do just that.
Designed to be used with natural stone, pavers and cobblestones, the Streetscape System comprises Davco Streetscape Bond Plus Primer, Paving and Adhesive, Fine Bedding Concrete and Fluid Grout.
Davco Streetscape Bond Plus Primer is a high-strength bonding agent for natural stone paving slabs, sets and paving units. The product is resistant to oils and chemicals, and is easily applied with a brush or a trowel. Davco Streetscape Paving and Adhesive is a commercial grade, high-performance adhesive engineered to adhere concrete paving units and natural stone pavers on paths. Characterised by high bond strength, the product has been designed to reduce efflorescence and achieve an even finish. Davco Streetscape Fine Bedding Concrete is a pre-blended, cementitious bedding mortar with added polymers and plasticising agents; and Davco Streetscape Fluid Grout is a high-strength pre-blended fluid grout which consists of sand, special cements and additives.
The products are designed for a broad range of urban installations including streetscapes, public spaces and paved roads. “They can be used in any mixed-use applications where people are interfacing or walking,” explains Karen C. Amery, Specification Consultant at Sika Australia. Karen adds that the system is classified into two main categories – a more heavy-duty one, designed to account for the more intense traffic, like heavy load buses and light rail; and one that centres around pedestrians, scooters or bikes. “It can even be something as simple as cobblestone streets which the system is often used for in Europe.”
Originally designed and manufactured in Europe, Sika’s system brings the extensive European experience in this sphere Down Under. “In Australia, there isn’t a standard that stipulates what bedding must be made of,” Karen points out. “In Europe, on the other hand, this system has been used for many years, and there is a British Standard that reflects requirements for compliance. Our system has been designed to exceed the minimum requirements of the BS 7533, while most of the systems available in the market aren't designed with that in mind.”
In line with that, all mortars in the range are available as low modulus formulations to ensure full compliance with the standard – but that’s not the only characteristic that sets the Streetscape System apart from other products available locally. These compliant materials for bedding, bonding and jointing are engineered, formulated, prepared and packaged to ensure that every bag contains the exact same mix, of the exact same proportions. “Traditionally, the sand and cement would be mixed on the site in order to create a blend. As a result, there may be inconsistencies between the mixes made on different days,” Karen adds. “With the Streetscape System, today’s mix is the same as the mix used tomorrow.”
Apart from taking guesswork out of this crucial process, the products bring certainty where durability and longevity are concerned. “You can't underestimate the importance of knowing how long your streetscape will last,” Karen says. This level of durability is also a guarantee that the design will look good for longer. “You might have beautiful pavers and elaborate designs, but unless you've actually thought about how it works together and the foundation underneath it, you may not be able to achieve the outcome you’re after,” she says.
Beyond the clear design benefit, stones and pavers used for public spaces and streetscape paving get sourced from quarries, which means that repair can have additional environmental impact. “They're not only expensive to replace, but replenishing them has a real impact where sustainability is concerned – so has throwing the replaced materials into landfill,” Karen highlights. “So there is real value to doing it only once – and getting it right the first time around.”
Sika’s Streetscape System products come with a 10-year warranty, and this commitment to longevity is incredibly important, considering the fact that the urban environments and infrastructure that supports it – such as roads, streets, pedestrian areas or railways – have to handle the exponentially increasing traffic and logistical pressures of modern life. Whether its heavy traffic or light footprint of e-bikes and pedestrians, reliable foundations underpinning these modes of transportation are crucial to supporting the infrastructure in a safe, efficient and sustainable way, and reducing the need for repairs.
Compliant, durable and reliable, Sika's high-performance Streetscape System is also very easy to use. The mixes come in the form of a grey powder that’s ready to use and be mixed with water materials. That means this signature range takes both the inconsistency and the labour-intensive aspect traditionally associated with this area of the industry out of the equation, even in the most challenging of applications.