In the past, contractors typically built driveways out of tarmac or gravel. However, in recent years an increased number of contractors are using resin instead.
The average resin driveway will set you back £2,400. However, the price can vary depending on the driveway’s size and the quality of materials used.
Resin Driveway Cost Calculator:
What is Resin?
Resin is a rather fantastic substance secreted by plants, usually when they are hurt, to protect themselves. It can shield plants from harmful insects and pathogens while allowing them to heal. This organic type of resin is tough and resilient.
In recent years humans have made significant advances in producing synthetic resin. The availability of the synthetic version has allowed us to use some of the amazing natural resin properties in constructing our driveways.
What are the Advantages of Resin Driveways?
Resin has unique advantages. It combines a great deal of strength and resilience with permeability and adaptability.
What does this mean in practice? As a homeowner, you will have to do very little to maintain a resin driveway.
One of the significant advantages of resin in this regard is its ability to deal with rain or moisture of any kind. Water and other liquids easily pass-through a resin-based driveway.
That means you will not have to deal with any of those pesky puddles gathering on the driveway. Instead, rain flows through the driveway immediately without damaging it or undermining its integrity. Therefore, it is probably the best surface to use if you live in a rainy area.
Contractors can also set resin in a wide variety of patterns. The best news is that once you have settled on a look, it will not change for a very long time. Resin does not oxidize and rarely becomes discoloured. As an additional bonus, the resin mixture is odourless.
The traditional materials used for driveways are not as durable as they once were. Keep in mind that tarmac and asphalt are byproducts of oil refinement. As the refineries have improved over the years, they use more quality material, and the remaining residue has decreased in quality. As a result, the asphalt and tarmac available today are inferior to the ones commonly used twenty years ago. Resin has not suffered a similar fate
Finally, the resin is an exceptionally customizable material. The blend used can come in different colours and consistencies. Driveways are generally not particularly pretty. However, with some imagination, the resin variety can be quite attractive.
With these advantages, you can see why resin is an increasingly popular choice in the UK and elsewhere.
What are the Disadvantages of Resin Driveways?
Resin is significantly more expensive than most materials. Contractors require expertise in the material, and working with it can be challenging. Also, the installation of resin driveways requires specialized equipment. These factors all raise the cost significantly. The average concrete paved driveway costs about £10 less per square metre, and that adds up.
Not all resin is suitably able to sustain sun damage. Resin with a darker finish tends to hold up fine in the sunlight. However, the lighter finish is not always that durable in the face of persistent UV rays. The stones are likely to turn significantly darker over time unless you take suitable precautions. Therefore, make sure that you ask your contractor about that and follow their advice.
Regulations are another problem. As we will discuss further, there are no recognized certifications for resin installers, and many municipalities and counties have not developed guidelines yet. Therefore, it is crucial to hire a contractor with experience installing resin driveways.
All driveways are vulnerable to weeds and other vegetation such as moss. However, vegetation can be more slippery and problematic on resin than on different surfaces. Therefore, you may want to consider installing a sub-base layer or a geotextile fabric.
The installation of resin is quite complicated. It is challenging for contractors without a great deal of experience with the mix. Therefore, it may take more than a day to install your new driveway. In comparison, contractors typically install tarmac or asphalt driveway within a few hours.
Finally, a resin driveway may not provide the ideal surface if you expect heavy traffic to occur regularly. It can also begin to crack if weighty vehicles such as lorries regularly frequent your driveway. Resin is a wonderful material for handling regular traffic and average vehicle weights. If your driveway is taking more than that, consider using asphalt or concrete instead.
How Much Does a Resin Driveway Cost?
A square metre of resin pavement can range in price from £40-70, including all materials. The larger the area you want to be paved, the lower the quote you will get for a resin square metre.
The average British driveway is less than 40 square metres. An owner of a driveway of this length can expect to pay around £60 per metre. However, owners of larger driveways can expect contractors to charge them less per metre (but more overall, of course). A 100 square metre job usually fetches quotes of £50 per metre.
When calculating costs, do not forget to include Value Added Tax and add it to the final estimate. As you probably know, VAT is a good 10%-20% higher in London and the surrounding areas, so take that added cost into account.
Resin driveways do not usually cost much less than that unless the contractor is using lower grade materials.
We calculated the prices cited above, assuming that you will require a fairly straightforward job. If you need an old driveway removed or surface cleared, labour costs could significantly raise the project’s cost.
Since every worksite is different, do not expect the quote you received from the contractor to be final. Once the contractor gets a good look at the terrain, they should give you a more accurate price.
Here are some factors contractors take into account when calculating the price of a job, aside from the size of the driveway:
- Slope: If your driveway has a steep slope, it can complicate the installation. Resin is an excellent choice for uneven or sloping driveways as they are excellent at preventing moisture accumulation. However, installing resin (or any other material) on a steep sloping driveway can be challenging.
- Thickness: Generally, the thickness is determined by the largest aggregate size. A contractor will typically prefer to lay the resin at least three times the thickness of the diameter. However, the ground underneath may require added thickness. If so, the price will rise accordingly.
- Weeds: If you have a mild weed problem on and around your driveway, it should not cause severe obstacles for installation. Resin is usually resistant to weeds. However, a severe weed problem could require some extra work. The contractor may have to install a geotextile fabric to protect your driveway fully. Prepare to pay accordingly.
- Edgings: If your driveway has existing kerbstones or another form of edging, the contractor may be able to install resin while maintaining the current boundaries. If not, the job may require the installation of kerbstones. You can also ask them to install a wall on the edge of your driveway. Either way, it will cost some extra cash.
- The State of your Previous Driveway: Resin is an adaptable and robust surface. Therefore, in most cases, it can be installed over the previous material without too much preparation. However, in some cases, the driveway is in disrepair and requires either smoothing or complete removal before installation. If the task of removing the previous driveway is significant, you will also need to take care of waste disposal. These extra tasks will incur, you guessed it, additional charges.
- Installing a Sub-base: The previous driveway condition can also determine if you need a sub-base installed below the resin. You may also want to ask for a sub-base for further insulation and your peace of mind. Typically, contractors will use tarmac, asphalt, and concrete.
Types of Resin Driveways
There are two types of resin commonly used for construction and, specifically, to build driveways.
Epoxy Resin: This is a synthetic compound made of a mixture of liquid resin with a hardener. It is more rigid and, therefore, less porous than other types of resin.
Although it was quite commonly used in driveways a few years ago, it has faded in popularity as it is not best suited for handling heavier vehicles. Corrosive materials such as oil can also take their toll on the surface.
Because of this drawback, epoxy resin has a shorter shelf-life than other types of resin. Epoxy wears and gathers stains and discolouration over time. You will probably have to replace an epoxy resin driveway within a few years.
Polyurethane Resin: This form combines liquid resin with aggregate stones to provide a durable material.
The first thing you will notice is that polyurethane resin is softer and far more pliant than the epoxy version. However, this does not mean that it is a less substantive material. On the contrary, scientific testing shows that it is four times stronger. It is also far more resistant to stains and discolouration, and therefore will still appear presentable in the long term.
The strength and pliability of polyurethane resin renders it the ideal material for a driveway. Polyurethan is remarkably resistant to oil and even battery acid. Therefore, it can stand up to the constant pressure of supporting vehicles.
Which Should You Choose?
The epoxy resin variant may seem attractive to you since it has a significantly lower initial cost. But in truth, it is more cost-effective to opt for Polyurethane Resin. It will most likely last about twice as long and demands a significantly lower amount of upkeep. As you can see, there is no reason to prefer epoxy resin for your driveway. It remains a useful material for other purposes, but not for this.
Finding a Good Contractor
The installation of a resin driveway is not the most complicated job a contractor can do. However, it requires experience and skill to complete properly. As we have seen, there are also several ways a contractor can charge you extra. The last thing you want is an unscrupulous individual who will take advantage of this leeway in pricing.
Perhaps the main problem with hiring a contractor for this role is that they lack sufficient experience. Resin has become very popular in recent years. However, it is not quite established enough for most contractors to understand its finer points.
Unfortunately, there are few established credentials for British resin driveway specialists. This situation differs from resin flooring’s more established practice, which has a fully certified professional guild. Therefore, it can be challenging to check the credentials of your contractor.
The best action you can take to guarantee that your contractor is a quality one is to check if they are members of one of the more respected UK contractor builder societies. We advise that you look for individuals who are members of the Guild of Master Craftsmen or the Federation of Master Builders.
As we have discussed, resin driveways are exceptionally durable. Once a suitable contractor has installed it, you will probably not have to think about your driveway again for years.
However, things can always go wrong, and it is better to be safe than sorry. Make sure that your contractor is willing to guarantee their work. The funny thing about guarantees is that the contractors who offer solid ones usually get the job done the first time. After all, a contractor confident of their work quality will be more likely to provide far-reaching guarantees.
If so, try to hire a contractor who will guarantee the following:
- Cracking and loose materials
- Weather damage
- Petrol damage and discolouration
In sum, resin is the best option for most residential driveways. The cost is somewhat higher, but not enough to counter the value resin provides in terms of longevity and durability it offers. Just make sure you find a trustworthy contractor with experience in installing resin driveways.