Resin bound surfaces for driveways are a relatively new product on the UK market. They aren’t used domestically a great deal because they are fairly expensive and not that well known. But resin bound surfaces are very flexible, particular in terms of colour, and can be laid on top of an existing surface if it’s in good enough condition.
Often where you see colour being used on the streets, that will be done with a resin bound or resin bonded surface. Red bus lanes, green cycle paths and other designs marked out on existing roads are likely to be resin based.
How Resin Based Products Work
The resin acts as a top surface layer to which Gravel, or another aggregate, can be laid. Being effectively a glue, the aggregate will stick to that layer. There are two main categories of resin drive systems, resin bonded and resin bound, and the difference is in the method of applying the aggregate.
In resin bonded systems, the gravel is scattered onto a pre-applied resin layer before it sets. In resin bound systems, the aggregate and resin are mixed together and then applied to the surface together. Either way, the drive or path will set pretty quickly and be able to accept light traffic in an hour or two. Of course, this also means that the job needs to be planned properly so that everything goes smoothly and the surface can be completed before the resin dries out.
The main reason why resin based driveways are more expensive than other drive coverings is that it has to be laid on a solid base like Concrete or Tarmac. So you have to lay a driveway and then lay the resin product on top of it, which for many people is a waste of time. But if you want the look, which can be very professional and smooth, then that’s what you have to do.
Of course, if you have an ugly concrete or tarmac drive but it has no cracks or other structural defects, than you can lay resin on top of it. This is where resin bonded or resin bound products really do score. Not only can you cover up the old surface, but you can mix colours, create patterns and other designs. Application is a specialist job but can be done by someone who’s a dab hand at DIY, as long as health and safety warnings are heeded, as the fumes from the resins are not toxic.
Laying a Resin-Bonded Drive
Resin bonded products are easier to lay and cheaper as the resin layer is thinner. Assuming the base is in good condition and has been prepared, the resin, which comes in two or three parts, is mixed thoroughly then poured on to the base and spread out evenly. Many manufacturers provide specialist tools for applying and spreading the resin.
The aggregate can then be spread over the resin. Some manufacturers supply spreaders but it can also be scattered on by hand from scoops. Aim to put on more than you think you need, as you can always sweep off the excess once the resin has set. Applying more if there’s a bald patch is not so easy. After an hour or so, depending on the weather, the loose aggregate can be swept off, and then it’s ready for use, although some systems then require a sealing layer.
Resin-Bound Drive Laying
Resin bound products have a deeper resin layer, at least a centimetre, so there is a need to put an edging course around the area of the drive. This can really be anything you fancy, so refer to our Edging Article in the Block Paving section of this site for details. Once this has been prepared, empty the various parts of the resin mix and the chosen aggregate into a mixer using the proportions dictated by the manufacturer’s instructions. After mixing for the prescribed amount of time, the mix can be turned out into a wheelbarrow and poured over the drive site.
The mix is then spread over the site, working side to side and backwards and forwards to ensure even distribution, using a spreader known as a ‘lute’ (also used in tarmac laying). It is then rubbed smooth with a float trowel and dries in about an hour.
Be Careful when Selecting Contractors
Finally, if you decide on a resin based drive and want to get contractors to do it for you, make sure they have done this type of work before. Many of them have training and accreditation schemes so you will know that the staff are not complete newcomers to the method.