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What type of base is required for a resin driveway?

What Base Do You Need for a Resin Driveway?

Without a solid, robust base beneath your resin, your driveway’s at risk of cracking and becoming unstable. Some base options work better than others, too, regardless of your resin-bound system. In all our years of driveway laying, we know what makes a suitable base and what doesn’t!

All resin-bound surfacing needs a good base – and in this guide, we’ll take a look at the best bases for resin driveways across the board.

Keep reading and we’ll answer the question – what base do you need for a resin driveway? The do’s and dont’s of base laying for resin bound driveways, and take a look at resin bound surfaces in general.

3 Suitable Surfaces To Lay A Resin Bound Driveway

Many people choose to lay a resin bonded, or resin bound finish over existing concrete or existing tarmac. Providing it’s clean, level, and there’s no cracking, this is all well and good – but in most cases, applying resin bound aggregates to a new base is usually the best course of action. Before we dive in, why not take a look at our main resin driveways article so you can plan ahead and account for those costs you may not have thought about.

1. Concrete

Concrete is long-lasting, reliable, and is ideal as a base for resin-bound surfacing. However, you’ll need to make sure that you use a polymer-based primer if you’re working with existing concrete surfaces. That’s because the primer will help the concrete base adhere to the resin overlay.

Meanwhile, newly set concrete will need some time to set before you start applying resin-bound surfacing over the top. In many cases, a polymer-based concrete solution will take a week or so to cure fully. However, some will take longer – if you jump the gun, your resin-bound system won’t adhere properly or work with the concrete base. A concrete surface of around 100mm is perfect for most resin drives.

Concrete is a super solid base that will last years – it’s low maintenance – but it’s worth getting right the first time around. Concrete can also be permeable or porous – but not on its own. You need a specific type of concrete installed to let water drain through or to place vertical piping during the installation. This will drain, but it won’t be SUDS compliant.

Many customers ask can you pressure wash a resin driveway and although you can, you need an extremely solid base. Concrete is one of the best options for this due to its longevity and durability against high powered tools and elements.

2. Tarmac

Tarmac is great for resin-based surfacing as it’s robust, easy to use, and reliable for many years to come – much like concrete. Tarmac is also generally permeable and SUDS compliant (ideal for water drainage). It’s also a good base for resin when you don’t have the time to wait for concrete to cure (though it can still take up to two weeks to cure once laid directly on the sub-base).

Tarmac makes for a popular choice when installing a resin bound driveway as it’s also relatively affordable. However, any resin-bound driveways using this material should also have an MOT Type 3 sub base beneath the tarmac. Type 3 sub-bases are SUDS compliant and will offer the most protection, by and large, against any movement or sinking.

In terms of thickness, 70mm of tarmac will work best if you install a completely new base. A good tarmac base should also withstand high temperatures to avoid softening, therefore developing cracks or sinking. Look for tarmac with a pen rating of at least 100 and no more than 150.

3. Grid systems

If concrete, tarmac or asphalt don’t appeal to you, then EcoGrid structures might be more what you’re looking for. An EcoGrid installation is a recycled plastic structure specifically designed to bear heavy loads – such as expected traffic from vehicles and regular foot traffic. This type of system is generally easy to install and suitable for any resin drive surface.

However, you’ll need to set it up on an MOT Type 3 sub-base, with geotextile acting as a membrane in between. The grid alone won’t protect resin bound systems, so you’ll need to fill it with fresh stone for ballast. The filling needs to be completely clean and ideally consist of very small stones to compact. After this preparation, you’re clear to start laying your resin aggregate.

Options such as EcoGrid are very popular as they make for a very permeable resin driveway base. There’s also no need to wait for your surface to cure or set as long as concrete, tarmac, or anything with asphalt content. That said, you’ll need to invest in extra stone and membrane supplies before you get started.

What Bases To Avoid For A Resin Bound Surface

Block paving and flags

Can you lay resin over block paving? Yes, but you probably shouldn’t. Resin-bound systems laid over block paving, flags or other sets with lines and cracks will lead to a lot of instability. Your new resin driveway is at risk of cracking or sinking under pressure very quickly. 

While it may seem quick and easy to get your resin-bound system laid on top of your existing surface of block, it’s going to give you headaches and financial woes later on.

When looking into resin driveways, if you already have a current base of block paving in place, the best course of action is to replace it outright with a whole new surface. Suitable bases such as concrete or tarmac are easy to lay and set once you’ve removed the blocks.

Grass

All resin-bound drives need a solid base to avoid sinking and cracking after mild amounts of pressure. Grass and soil – no matter how compact it may seem – is just not going to give you the support you need.

We understand why it’s tempting to consider soil and grass and install your resin material over the top, but it’ll lead to messy results. For resin driveways that withstand vehicle and foot pressure over the years to come, get that soil dug up and lay a proper sub-base and overlay base before applying the resin.

FAQ’s

Can you lay resin on concrete?

Yes, you can easily lay resin over concrete, providing it’s mixed with a polymer to adhere properly. What’s more, you’ll need a SUDS compliant concrete mix and some drainage, for example, an aco drain, as this option isn’t water-permeable on its own.

Is a granular sub-base suitable?

No – always avoid gravel, sand or other granular sub bases when setting up a resin driveway. Granular sub-bases are prone to getting damp and therefore allowing water to seep into your surface resin.

Last Word

Once you’ve found the best sub-base for resin-bound gravel, it’s always essential to choose the best base level above that – your driveway is going to withstand some incredible pressure from day to day!

Resin concrete driveways, different types of tarmac and EcoGrid systems tend to offer the most resilience over time and won’t demand much money from you upfront. However, it’s always important to make sure your base is in good condition before you install your resin.

Ultimately, choosing the suitable base for your resin-bound driveway means the difference between a surface that sinks and cracks within a few months and one that stands the test of time, no matter who’s coming and going. Preparation is key, and we’ve got plenty more information on driveway do’s and don’ts across our site elsewhere!

About The Author

John, owner of Easigrass North East for seven years, has lived and breathed landscaping. He evolved from running a leading paving and landscaping business to influencing the industry through online publishing. His real-world experience and hands-on background inform his genuine, insightful guidance for others navigating this space.

Meet The Author - John

The former owner of Easigrass North East, a significant landscaping player known for leading successful paving and garden companies, is now sharing his expert insights.

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