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There are two types of paving systems that use resin to adhere aggregate (stone) to the surface: resin bound and resin bonded.

Because they sound similar they are usually confused, we will explain the difference…  

Resin Bound  

A resin bound system delivers a permeable, durable, smooth, multi-layer surface.    Different sized and shaped stone and clear resin are cold mixed on site, ensuring each particle is completely coated with resin.  The mixture is immediately laid onto a sound and stable base to a nominal depth of 12–18mm (depending on application and stone size).  

Resin Bonded  

The resin bonded system delivers a non-permeable, single stone layer surface.   A film of resin is applied to a non-porous asphalt or concrete base which is then scattered with clean, dry stone until the surface is completely covered. Stones range from 1-6mm in size and are installed at an approximate depth of 4-6mm.  

The comparison  

Permeability

Resin bound – is permeable; during the laying process large interconnecting voids are formed that mimic natural drainage by allowing water run-off to flow straight back through to the water table. Resin bound paving is compliant with SuDS (Sustainable urban Drainage Systems).

Resin bonded – is non-permeable; because it has to be laid on a non-porous base, a SuDs compliant soakaway and/or drainage scheme must be installed to deal with the water run-off effectively for resin bonded to be SuDS compliant.  

Installation

With both systems the resin sets relatively quickly. The installation must be well organised with a consistent method of working to ensure the resin and stone is spread, levelled and smoothed before it cures.  

Resin bound – a good installer will have undergone extensive training and be highly skilled, especially if they are incorporating logos or themes into the surface. Because it is multi-layered, any (slight) irregularities in the underlying surface can be corrected during installation.  

The finished surface is durable, UV stable and completely smooth, with no loose stone to migrate to adjacent areas.  

Resin bonded – is quick and easy to lay so less installers are generally needed, which can be reflected in the cost.  Because the system is a single stone layer, any irregularities in the surface cannot be corrected during installation. These would need to be rectified before installation which may increase the preparation cost.   

After curing, loose stone is removed to prevent damage to the new surface or migration to other areas. The single layer leaves a textured finish that is vulnerable to changing weather conditions.  

Appearance

Resin bound – because of the variety of different stone sizes, appearances and textures the surface is more aesthetically pleasing. A resin bound surface is completely smooth and complex and effective designs can be inlaid into the surface.  

Resin bonded – due to scattering of stones of limited size, a resin bonded surface has a rougher more textured finish.  Designs can be achieved using stones of different colours, although these tend to be simple block shapes.  

Advantages

Resin bound

  • Permeable – SuDS compliant
  • Value for money – the multi-layered surface makes it long lasting
  • Versatile – can incorporate designs, logos and patterns
  • Smooth surface  

Resin bonded

  • Non-permeable – not generally SuDS compliant unless designed with other SuDS features
  • Cheaper - because the resin is used only at the base
  • Versatile - the resin can be applied to awkward areas, such as steps
  • Fast to install