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What is a resin bound driveway?
Resin bound driveways are often referred to as stone carpets and this is a very accurate description. Resin driveways are a mixture of resin and aggregates or stones combined together in a forced action mixture to create a consistency that can be laid onto a driveway to form a smooth, flat surface. However, resin bound driveways are not the same as resin bonded driveways. This still doesn’t answer the question “are resin bound driveways any good?”
What are the advantages of resin driveways?
When people ask “are resin bound driveways any good?” to a driveway professional, you can expect them to mention the following points:
- Easy to install although it is important to take time and care over the excavation and sub-base to achieve a really top-class finish
- In the middle of the range in terms of cost, there are plenty more expensive, but a good resin bound surface professionally laid can compete with these in terms of practicality and visual appeal and, at a fraction of the price
- They offer exceptional drainage but do need to be laid directly onto a proper sub-base
- Even in the wet, resin bound driveways are non-slip, perfect for small children or elderly relatives who may not be as stable on their feet. Compare this with loose gravel which can cause tremendous walking difficulties for some people as well as nasty injuries if you do fall
- The styling of resin bound driveways is a mixture of contemporary and classic, so they work with both new and traditional properties and won’t date. The colour choices can suit the different tones of period home architecture
- The look is clean, neat and uniform and this can make small driveways look bigger because there is no delineation between paving stones or bricks which can create a more fussy and cluttered appearance
- Quick and easy to install, most resin bound driveways can be completed in under a week
- Resin driveways are low maintenance and just require brushing from time to time with a stiff broom to remove surface dust and debris and occasional hosing down with a garden hose or jet washer on a low pressure
- The way a resin bound driveway is constructed, there should be minimal weed invasion particularly if you include a weed membrane in the sub-base
- Resin bound driveways are very frost resistant because they are laid as one continuous piece compared to slabs, cobbles or brick weave driveways which can experience movement between the different components
- Slip resistant, even in icy conditions, resin bound driveways are a safe surface. Because the driveway is permeable, there will always be less build up of snow and ice compared to a non-porous material
The drawbacks of resin bound driveways
No surface is 100% perfect for every situation so what are the potential pitfalls with a resin bound driveway?
It’s important to get the right mix. Use stones which are too small, and the water will not be able to permeate as easily. This may not flag as an issue if the sub-base has a drainage system but if you are overlaying concrete or another solid surface then it can become a problem. Always choose a mix with a larger aggregate if you are overlaying a solid surface otherwise you run the risk of ponding on your new driveway. It is better to start with a proper excavation and suitable sub-base but this is not always possible or within the budget.
Some people experience problems with moss, especially if some of the driveway is shaded by large shrubs or trees. Moss is easy to deal with but will require some care and maintenance.
One of the main drawbacks with resin bound surfaces is that they are not designed for heavy use. If you have a busy family with several cars, then this might not be the right surface for you. This also extends to heavier vehicles like large 4x4s or commercial vans. If you need to store a motorhome or trailer with a boat, then you should check with your installer whether the driveway can bear this weight without creating indents.
Cars that have to turn or reverse regularly may cause marks and affect the durability of the surface.
It is really important to use the right type of resin if you are opting for this driveway material and find the right contractor to install it.
How to find the right driveway contractor
Ask friends, family or work colleagues for a recommendation. It is really important to find someone who has demonstrable experience of installing resin bound driveways. Social media is a good place to ask for some names and numbers, there are lots of neighbourhood forums and community groups who may be able to recommend someone. Try and find someone who has actually had a resin driveway installed, if they are local then you may be able to go and take a look at it and talk to them about the installation.
Trader platforms or portals are another option if you don’t want to spend hours trawling the internet or phoning and emailing loads of companies. Just key in a few details like your contact data, the size of the area and whether there is already an existing driveway in place and wait for the quotes to roll into your inbox. Always obtain at least three quotations and never accept a quote from a contractor who has not been out to do a site inspection and measure up.
Ask installers for the names and numbers of previous, satisfied customers who have had a resin driveway installed. It’s very important that the contractor can demonstrate experience with resin as a product.
There may be a requirement for planning permission although a resin-bound surface is permeable and so there will be less concerns about drainage than if it were a non-permeable material.
If your property is listed, then there will be an additional requirement to seek consent under the listing’s regulations. Listed building rules don’t just apply to the house but to the land that surrounds it.
Listing conditions may relate to the type of material used and the aesthetic appearance of the finished driveway design which must be in keeping with the property and sometimes the houses that surround it.
Checkout this video on resin bound driveway installation:
There are a many more reasons to help answer “are resin bound driveways any good?”, and many more questions that arise from homeowners seeking more information related to resin like how to clean resin driveways, whether resin cost more than tarmac and how much it costs to remove a concrete driveway ready for a resin driveway installation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a difference between resin bound and resin bonded?
Resin bound and resin bonded driveways will look similar in appearance in terms of the finished article, but they are, in fact, quite different. Resin bonded driveways have the resin laid on the driveway first and then the aggregates are added afterwards. This is distinct from resin bound when the two materials are combined together and then laid on the ground.
Resin bound driveways are more popular because they are easier to install, and they have a few more plus points in that they are more permeable than resin bonded and also offer better frost resistance.
Why is a resin bound driveway so permeable?
It’s a good question as neither resin nor aggregates taken separately are porous. The permeability comes from the way the mixture is combined with tiny holes left between each stone to offer drainage to the sub-base below.
How long will a resin bound driveway last?
This will depend to some degree on how much vehicle traffic there is and also on how professional the installation has been. 20 years is not an unreasonable lifespan, but it also depends to some degree on how well you look after the driveway and whether you protect it from things which cause damage.
Can I get my resin bound driveway professionally cleaned?
Many driveway installers offer a follow up service for an annual clean and check. Keeping the driveway clean will allow you to spot any cracks or defects which should be dealt with as soon as they appear. However, regular sweeping with a stiff broom and occasional washes with a garden hose or power washer will do the job just as well. Try and clean up specific stains or spillages as soon as they happen. If you need to remove oil or a chemical product, then check with the installer or the resin manufacturer about an appropriate cleaning agent to use which will not damage the surface.