Resin Bound Driveways
Resin driveways have become extremely popular in recent years with promises of low maintenance and no excavation or digging work it is hard to dismiss the idea of a resin driveway.
Resin surfacing has been made possible with advances in technology in polymer and epoxy resins, the surface, if installed correctly is extremely durable, fairly weed resistant and fairly low maintenance. The system uses essentially two key ingredients;
Aggregates - Particles of stone loosely compacted together
Resins - Liquid synthetic organic polymer.
However there are optional extras to add to mixes such as catalysts and crushed glass.
A catalyst activates a chemical reaction, in this case, to avoid the colour fading in sunlight.
Crushed glass adds grip and can create a non slip driveway.
We would highly recommend adding both of these into your quotations to avoid disappointment after the driveway is installed.
What is available?
There is a huge range of possibilities with resin driveways and they are available in a wide range of colours which can be mixed and combined to match or contrast with the rest of your home. Patterns and borders can easily be added using beading and a different colour aggregate.
The reason resin bound driveways are no where near as common as paving such as block paving is down to cost. In recent years however many companies have started installing this product boosting advances in technology and huge economies of scale the UK now uses a huge amount of resins, aggregates and resin related tools which has driven the cost of each item down resulting in more affordable prices for consumers. There is also, of course, the slow process of product recognition, often people like to stick with what they know such as block paving etc. in fear that a new product won’t live up to their expectations. Resin surfacing is starting to become familiar and very much a consideration for homeowners when looking to install a new driveway now that it has become affordable.
Resin Bound Vs Resin Bond
If you were to decide to choose a resin bound driveway you should be very careful as there are two methods of installing a resin based surfaces which make it very confusing for the average homeowner; Bound vs Bond
Both systems must be laid onto a cleaned solid base such as concrete or tarmacadam. Block paving and flagstones are not suitable to lay a resin bound surface due to the flexibility due to the small individual joints. Do not trust a contractor who advises you otherwise as it will lead to recurring problems in the future such as cracking, this can also be a problem with tarmacadam.
If there is not an existing base, one must be made. The most common and effective bases are still concrete and tarmacadam. If it is a large area you are surfacing without a base it will likely become very expensive and it is worth considering other paving options if cost is an issue.
Resin Bound Surfacing
For both methods the area must be cleaned of all algae, weeds and debris. Edgings must then be put in place either metal edgings can be used or block paving this is to form a small retaining edge to stop the aggregates spilling over the side of the driveway.
Always ensure that a contractor is using stainless steal beading so that it does not start to rust over time. Alternatively if opting for block paving always ensure that the blocks are set on concrete not just sand, this will prevent any movement in the future.
This is where the similarities between resin bound and resin bond stop.
At this point on a resin bond driveway a primer layer of resin is applied to the surface directly before a scatter coat of aggregates are dropped onto the surface before the resin sets
On a resin bound driveway the resin and the aggregates are mixed together in a forced action mixer then poured over the existing base and spread using hand trowels and floats. This method allows for much better quality control, installers can ensure that the thickness of the application is adequate and even. Of course the machine mixed and hand floated method is more expensive as it requires more time and more materials however it will last far longer and look a lot neater once complete.
If you were to lay a resin driveway you should only ever use resin bound never resin bond.
Resin Bound Maintenance
Resin bound driveway maintenance is a major benefit of resin bound gravel, it does not require re-colouring like imprinted concrete or re sanding and sealing like block paving. However it cannot be neglected completely it does require brushing with a stiff brush to remove any airborne weeds, algae and debris to stop moss building up from the tiny cavities between the aggregates. Any oil spills should be treated with warm water and detergent, multiple times if necessary. Resin bound driveways can be power washed to remove any dirt or grime but care must be taken with pressures etc. For more in depth detail download our Resin Maintenance guide click here
It is possible to repair resin bound driveways but only use trusted contractors as it can be difficult.
Resin Bound Pros & Cons
+ Low maintenance
+ Extremely durable
+ Easy to customise
+ Long lasting
+ Quick Installation
+ Flexible- no cracking
- Expensive if there isn’t an existing base to use
- Bad installations from laying on unsuitable bases
Resin Bound in Brief
Resin surfacing can be a very effective paving system due to being low maintenance and aesthetically pleasing. The main downside to this paving, like most types of paving, is the number of rogue traders selling and installing this product, in particular screening resin over an inappropriate base such as block paving, flagstones or very badly cracked concrete.
Please bare in mind the advantages are only applicable if an experienced contractor and the correct tools and materials are used.
To read about other types of driveways click here - Ultimate Guide to Driveways 2018.