A common question that we receive from customers, particularly in the domestic market is what is a suitable base for resin bound stone to be installed on top of? As a general rule, we advise that concrete or tarmac is the ideal option but it is necessary to explore the advantages and disadvantages of the various bases available.
Whilst it is true that resin bound stone has the potential to be installed onto any base, its durability and longevity is oftentimes the fundamental drawback in circumstances where the product is laid onto an unsuitable pre-existing surface.
Resin bound stone can be used to increase the lifespan of pre-existing concrete and tarmacadam bases which is fantastic as it economically repurposes what would otherwise be an overused, tired driveway/patio/path but many clients require the creation of a suitable sub-base/base.
Our go-to product for the base would tend to be permeable tarmac. This material is great as it tends not to expand much and therefore, there is no requirement for expansion joints. It is a flexible product which means that both the tarmac and as a result, the resin bound stone installation is less prone to cracking since the resin allows for an element of movement and will follow the shape of the base to an extent. In order to use this product effectively, it is crucial to have the required specialist equipment as it is vital to the installations longevity that it is completed with care and skill.
Concrete, whilst impervious is somewhat cheaper and can be ideal for certain installations. The difficulty with using concrete is that expansion joints have the capacity to create problems – the primary issue with using this material is that if not properly installed, it is highly likely that the concrete will crack which will later reflect through the resin bound stone itself. Additionally, for many clients, they require the disruption to their property to be kept to a minimum during the works – with concrete, it takes time to cure prior to applying the resin bound stone and is often quite messy to work with. There is now a type of permeable concrete that is only recently being retailed in the UK – although it is somewhat more costly than regular concrete, it is a perfect product for this particular purpose since it mixes the permeability aspect of tarmac with the strength of concrete. By using lime, water and stone, this system is more eco-friendly than its tarmac counterpart.
Ecogrids are lesser used however, they certainly have their place in the resin bound stone market. These ground reinforcing tiles are designed to stabilise and reinforce the ground and are ideal for patios and pathways where access is limited and it is difficult to allow for the use of either tarmac or concrete.
A lesser known base that can be used for resin bound stone is flexy-pave. As alluded to in its name, this product is highly flexible, not only that, but it is also porous. This is the most eco-friendly of all options available on the market since it is made using recycled tyres. This product is made up of rubber and stone mixed in equal quantities by weight and using a one part, high tensile, polyurethane binder. Its main drawback is that it is only suitable for medium-light traffic however it does come with the advantage that it can be overlaid fast and can be installed easily.