What is resin bound external ground covering surfaces ?

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Resin bound paving is a mixture of fine aggregate stones and two part polyurethane resin used to pave walkways, shed bases, footpaths, driveways, swimming pool surrounds, infact most external floorings. It is a kind of permeable surface solution.

It is a flexible surfacing material, so is resistant to cracking.

Resin bound requires very little maintenance and when covering a driveway this  meets the requirements of the SUDS legislation, so planning permission is not required.

The system is mixed on site and cold applied, using a high quality clear resin binder to coat the aggregate particles prior to laying. Unlike resin bonded surfacing, where a thin layer of resin is applied to the surface and then the aggregate scattered on top (which can then become loose over time and is impermeable), resin and aggregates are thoroughly mixed together prior to laying, ensuring that the aggregate is completely coated and so providing a totally bound surface. As a result, a resin bound surface is more durable and requires less maintenance – it needs to be swept or power washed at least twice a year, to avoid the buildup of detritus and prevent the growth of moss or algae.

Resin bound paving is a fully permeable paving solution which allows water to freely drain through the surface. Meeting the requirements of Sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS) standards, this helps to prevent standing water and largely eliminates surface water runoff.

Resin bound surfacing does not currently conform to any British standards apart from BS 8204-6:2008+A1:2010 Appendix B for slip resistance. Therefore, great care must be taken to research any company that is offering resin and aggregate services.

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The quality of the resin-bound surfacing is dependent on a variety of factors.

The polyurethane resin should be sourced from a manufacturer who can demonstrate that they have BS EN 9001 quality management standards. All companies conforming to this will be able to provide documentation on request. The resin bound aggregate mix will generally be a mix of natural aggregates that must be kiln dried to prevent moisture coming in contact with polyurethanes and causing discolouration and poor performance.

The resin sourced should be a two-part, quality controlled polyurethane or similar with the activator added during the manufacturing process to eradicate mistakes on site made by operatives who are not qualified chemists. Too much activator or too little can affect the performance of the product.

The ratio of resin to aggregate should be at the optimal amount depending on the application and environment type, and stone type which should be dried mixed aggregate incorporating 5-8mm sizes to ensure that the aggregate gets sufficiently coated and also to meet the standard requirements when tested to BS 8204-6:2008+A1:2010 Appendix B for slip resistance. This ration is sufficient to install at a minimum depth of 15mm at a coverage rate of approximately 4.5m2 and is suitable for pedestrian traffic. For vehicular traffic of up to 7.5 tonne a minimum of 18mm is required.

Although resin bound paving is a slip resistant permeable decorative paving system, it has the ability to last for many years if sourced and installed correctly.

Natural aggregate mix blends tested to BS 8204-6:2008+A1:2010 Appendix B for slip resistance will, when installed correctly, provide a slip resistant, permeable, decorative finish suitable for pedestrian and light vehicular traffic.

Decorative coloured recycled glass and pigmented quartzes are suitable generally for visual purposes only, as they are susceptible to damage due to having low crush values, so will become damaged if walked on.

Natural aggregate and recycled rubber blends are available from BS EN 14001 manufacturers and are suitable for pathways and nature walks where environmental benefits are required from the specifier. The resins available are predominantly polyurethanes.

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The usage of higher-quality polyurethane resins ensures greater flexural performance for external applications and the resin will not yellow in appearance when exposed to UV light, the presence also provides greater protection from UV degradation. Non light-stable polyurethanes, although strong in performance, are more suited to internal applications where they are not in direct sunlight. Internal resin-bound applications are generally known as stone carpet.

Resin-bound systems incorporating 10 mm dried aggregates and larger sizes are generally used as tree surrounds known as tree pits. These are a cost-effective and practical alternative to metal tree grilles that are stolen for scrap value, are costly to purchase and harbour litter thus increasing maintenance costs for local authorities and tax payers. Tree pit systems work in a similar way to resin-bound surfacing systems only using larger aggregates to allow more water to permeate through to feed the trees they surround.

Tree pit systems are generally installed at a depth of 40 mm to 50 mm, depending on the specification; they have a reduced ratio of 6% light stable polyurethane resin to 100 kg kiln dried aggregate.

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