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Pros and Cons of Resin Surfacing

If you want a fresh, smart look to an outdoor space, resin-bound paving could be a quick and easy solution. Delve into the full pros and cons of resin surfacing to decide whether it’s an option worth considering for your patio or garden. 

Close-up of DIY resin patio
Review whether resin surfacing is the right choice for your project

What is resin surfacing?

Resin surfacing is a versatile and attractive option for paved areas. Around since the nineties, today’s resin solutions can be equally as hard-wearing as a standard paved patio. 

Made from selected decorative stones, a clear resin binder is mixed with the stones to achieve a smooth and durable outdoor surface. 

Resin surfacing can be laid on top of existing concrete or patio surfaces when these existing structures offer a solid base. Installation can be relatively easy, with some manufacturers offering DIY kits

With the right skills for installation, resin paving can even be installed for trafficked areas on driveways.

Resin-bound paving vs resin-bonded paving

There is an important difference between resin-bound paving and resin-bonded paving. The aesthetics of both of them is very similar, but the difference is much than semantics.

With resin-bound paving, the aggregate is mixed with the resin before installing it as the new surface.

But with resin-bonded paving, the aggregate is first installed and the resin added afterwards.

Resin-bound paving is a preferred option as it comes with more advantages. Due to the installation method, you’re likely to experience fewer loose stones and a much smoother final finish.

Plus, the fully permeable nature of resin-bound paving is certainly a big bonus and will limit puddles forming on the final surface.

Resin-bound surfaces are also frost resistant.

Due to the extra plus points of resin-bound paving, this article reviews the pros and cons of using this particular type of resin surfacing. 

Pros of resin surfacing

Let’s take a look at the pros of resin-bound surfacing. 

A smart, stylish surface with many stone options

At the top of the advantages of resin-bound paving has to be the myriad of colours and types of aggregate to choose from. 

From Tuscan Marble to Oyster Quartz, you can easily choose the colour and aggregate that offers a complementary or contrasting look to your outdoor space.

Different aggregate options can also be combined together to create sweeping changes in colour to highlight a path or centrepiece.

Resin surfacing can also be combined with block paving or other traditional paved surfaces to achieve stylish borders or special features.

A more affordable solution

Generally speaking, resin surfaced driveways are relatively cheaper than other surfacing solutions, and the finish can be much more consistent.

Resin-bound paving commonly costs between £40 and £50 per square metre for the surfacing material and resin. You must have a solid, stable sub-base to install the materials on top of.

Resin paving DIY kits are available that you can install yourself. If you are working on a driveway or a more ambitious project for the first time, we do recommend using a trusted tradesperson.

Fast installation with no specialist equipment

Compared with other surfacing options, resin-bound paving solutions are fairly quick to install.

Depending on the size of your project and state of the sub-base, it may take just a couple of days for installation.

In fact, when installing resin paving on top of an existing sub-base, it can be laid in a matter of hours and fully cured within 1–2 days. (Note: if looking for a permeable paved solution, you will need to make sure the sub-base is also permeable).

Be aware of the weather and avoid rainy days. Most resin paving should not be installed in the rain as the additional water can affect the formula if it hasn’t yet cured.

With most resin-bound kits you won’t require any expensive specialist equipment for installation. A plasterer’s style drill and mixing paddle, large bucket, gauging trowel and flooring trowel are all that’s commonly needed.

How to install a resin path
Resin paving can be quick and easy to install, and with limited equipment

A low maintenance surfacing material

Many resin-bound pations are easy to clean and don’t require any specialist cleaning products.

Whereas a concrete or paved area can attract dirt and grime, the encapsulated stones in resin paving are resistant to staining.

When cleaning, all you need to do is use a jet wash on the area. If you’ve installed a fully permeable system (see the next plus point of resin surfacing), the water will quickly drain away. 

Permeable and SUDS compliant

Last but no means least, another big plus of resin surfacing is it’s permeability.

Provided you lay the resin-bound materials on top of a porous sub-base, your project will be permeable and SUDS compliant (that’s sustainable urban drainage systems to the uninitiated).

Aside from avoiding puddles and enabling water to naturally run-off your property, being SUDS compliant has another bonus. If you’re based in the UK and working on a project in a front garden of more than 5 square metres, a fully permeable surface means the difference between having to apply for planning approval or not.

So what makes resin-bound surfaces incredibly porous?

The permeability of resin surfaces comes down to the way the materials are bound together.

While the aggregates on their own, when tightly compacted, are not porous – with resin surfaces they are bound together in such a way that allows tiny holes to be left between each stone.

Wondering which porous sub-base to use to make the project SUDS compliant?

Open-grade asphalt is one option to allow water to fully drain through. 

Another option is to install cellular grids as the sub-base, filled and compacted with MOT.

Cons of resin surfacing

While there are many benefits to resin surfacing, it’s important to have the full picture before making a final decision.

Some aggregate options offer poor drainage

Sometimes smaller stones in the aggregate mix do not allow a sufficient amount of water to drain through. Puddling can then occur if the resin surface has not been laid on a fully porous sub-base. 

While you can source your own aggregate for resin surfacing, reputable manufacturers of resin-bound kits have researched and developed their products to combat these types of problems. 

If you want to opt for a pre-made kit, look for a resin manufacturer that offers a warranty with its products. For example, Vuba offers a 15 year guarantee and says its products last upward of 20–25 years when installed correctly. 

Moss growth can occur on some surfaces

While resin-bound paving is, by its very nature, low maintenance, when the surfacing itself is not fully porous you may experience moss growth. 

Moss or algae growth can create a slippery surface. But keeping on top of cleaning the surface – as we said before, simply with a jet wash – is enough to reduce or eliminate moss growth. Cleaning the area every few months, especially in dry conditions, will be enough.  

Choosing a fully permeable resin-bound system will avoid moss growth altogether. Water will drain through when the surface is completely permeable, eliminating the conditions for moss or algae to grow.

Problems when using the wrong type of resin

While one of the great pluses of resin surfacing is the low maintenance factor after installation, using the wrong type of resin can cause surface defects and issues with fading. 

If you want your new patio to have the same wow factor for years to come, choose a product that is stable to the sun’s ultraviolet rays and will resist discolouration.

Overuse can sometimes compromise durability

Some resin-bound paving can suffer from cracks and bumps, so it’s important to choose a durable product with enough tensile strength for the job at hand. 

Durability is an important factor, especially when it comes to resin driveways. 

As a rule of thumb, resin surfacing is not ideal for areas that will attract heavy duty use. If a lot of vehicles will be using your drive, it may be best to consider a different paving solution. 

That said, there are quality products on the market with significantly enhanced tensile strength. 

As an example, Vuba’s resin-bound system offers 20 MPA tensile strength, which is 42% stronger than a standard resin system and classed as ‘Extra Hard’ on the Shore Hardness Scale.

4 common myths about resin paving

Resin paving has been around since the nineties. But the quality and durability of the product has improved in leaps and bounds since then.

Let’s take a look at the common myths about resin paving and whether they still ring true in today’s products.

This is the biggest myth to bust.

Resin paving is a very durable product. Some resin-bound systems feature an incredible tensile strength of 20 MPA and are even classed as ‘Extra Hard’ on the Shore Hardness Scale, making it an effective solution for many types of gardens and patio surfaces.

For peace of mind when buying a resin-bound system, look for a quality product from an established manufacturer that offers a warranty.

While resin surfacing is durable enough to withstand vehicle traffic on driveways, be aware that is not designed for heavy duty use. If there will be larger vehicles turning and reversing you may need to consider another surfacing option.

We explained earlier about the difference between resin-bonded and resin-bound paving.

Opt for resin-bound paving for a fully permeable solution and be sure to install it on top of a permeable sub-base. 

Some resin-bound kits have been specially designed to allow hundreds of litres to freely drain through, making them a 100% compliant with SUDS requirements.

Not all resin paving is slippery. 

If the resin surface you have chosen is permeable, water will drain through and no moss or algae will grow on the top (the major cause of slippery resin surfaces).

Choose a resin-based product that is permeable to eliminate moss growth.

In actual fact, resin paving can withstand all types of extreme weather.

While tarmac can start to soften when the temperature reaches over 30ºC, resin surfaces can withstand much hotter temperatures.

When compared with black tarmac, resin surfaces feature much lighter colours that do not absorb as much heat – and won’t generate as much heat either. That means there’s no cause for concern with resin paving when considering the paws of dogs or cats during summertime.

Get in touch for further advice

Resin surfacing has so many plus points as a stylish, low maintenance, quick-to-install and permeable solution for outdoor spaces. Resin-bound patios make an easy solution that can greatly increase the value of your home.

That said, it’s important to choose a quality resin product that will stand the test of time. While you can source your own aggregate, specially made kits often come with a warranty and increased durability.

See our resin-bound paving FAQs for more info about this smart surfacing solution, or ask your question in the comments below.

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