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Are Resin Driveways Better Than Tarmac?

Choosing the right driveway material for your home can be a challenge. There is a wide range of options to choose from and each has its advantages and disadvantages. Tarmac driveways are a popular and durable surface option but resin driveways are starting to surpass tarmac as the surface material of choice for many homeowners. Let's take a look at whether a tarmac or resin driveway would be the best choice for you.

What Is Tarmac?

Tarmac is a hard-wearing and practical surface that is often seen in large commercial car parks, airport runways, and roads. It is made from tar mixed with broken stones and this creates a smooth surface that can withstand strong forces.

What Are Resin Driveways?

A resin driveway surface has a similar process to a tarmac driveway surface in that it is created by binding aggregate stones together but that has also become popular for domestic driveways. Rather than using tar, however, resin surfacing uses a clear resin to bind together carefully cleaned natural stone.

Resin-Bound Driveways Vs Resin-Bonded Driveways

Resin-bonded surfaces are a cheaper but less resilient option. They are created by putting down a layer of loose stones and pouring clear resin over the top.

Resin-bound surfacing, however, mixes the aggregate particles with clear resin before laying the mixture. This creates a more sturdy surface than resin bonded. A resin-bound driveway is a reliable surfacing material that will last for decades.

Resin Vs Tarmac Driveways

Cost

Tarmac Driveways

A tarmac driveway isn't the cheapest option. It will cost more than something like concrete or gravel but it is still a fair bit cheaper than block paving. We also recommend taking a look at our post "Are Resin Driveways Cheaper Than Block Paving?" for valuable insights.

The overall cost will depend quite heavily on whether or not you need to carry out excavations. New tarmac driveways need to be laid to an excavation that is at least 175 mm in depth. If you are overlaying the tarmac onto an existing driveway, then the price will be a fair bit cheaper.

According to CheckATrade, the average cost of tarmac alone is £60 per square metre. If you need excavations and other work, however, the average cost can go up to around £110 per square metre (£28 for excavations and disposal and £23 for the sub base).

Tarmac is not SUDS compliant so you may also need to obtain planning permission before installing your new driveway. For more information, you can check out our post "Do You Need Planning Permission For A Resin Driveway".

Resin-Bound Driveways

Resin-bound driveways are often seen as a much more expensive option than tarmac but the difference between tarmac and resin cost can be quite small, especially because you don't need to factor in excavations for resin.

The average cost of a resin-bound driveway alone is £110 per square metre, which is comparable to a new installation of a tarmac driveway. If you need a new sub base, then the average price does go up to around £180.

Resin-bound paving is also SUDS compliant, which means that you often don't need planning permission to install your new driveway.

Ease Of Installation

Tarmac

Laying tarmac is fairly quick and easy, which is another factor that makes it an attractive option. You can expect it to take 1-2 days for an overlaid tarmac driveway and around 2-3 days if excavations are needed.

Resin

Like tarmac, laying resin-bound surfaces is a quick job. It can be completed in a single day if it is overlaid over an existing driveway or 1-2 days if it is a new driveway.

Durability

Tarmac

Of course, tarmac is well-known as a tough material. One of its selling points is that it can withstand daily use by a heavy vehicle, which many other driveway surfaces cannot.

It can be surprisingly prone to damage, however. When the weather warms, the surface softens at particularly high temperatures. Oil stains from vehicles can dissolve some of the tar and cause stones to loosen, which over time can create holes in the surface.

Because of these factors, a tarmac driveway may end up needing more maintenance and repairs than you might expect.

Resin

Resin is a surprisingly hardy material compared to traditional surfaces. It can't withstand the weight of heavy vehicles like tarmac can but it is less prone to damage in other areas.

It is oil-resistant so oil leaks from cars won't damage it and its melting point is around four times higher than tarmac so it won't be affected by a sunny day.

Safety

Tarmac

One of the many benefits of tarmac is that it creates a very smooth finish. This makes it an obvious choice for people who may have prams or wheelchairs that will need to be pushed to the house.

On the other hand, however, some issues can make tarmac dangerous. It can get very hot to touch in the sun which means that pets and small children are at risk of burning their feet.

It can also get very slippery, particularly in wet weather conditions. Tarmac is only a semi-porous surface which means that surface water can collect quite easily. It is also prone to weed and algae growth, which can make the surface even more slippery again.

Resin-Bound

Resin-bound driveways also have a smooth finish that is suitable for prams and wheelchairs. The material also isn't prone to the safety issues that tarmac is.

It doesn't get hot in the sun so there is no danger of burning bare skin. It is also an anti-slip surface which makes it safe and stable in all weather conditions. Because the resin is a fully-porous material, you won't see any surface water. Weed and algae are also unable to grow through it. Don't also miss our article "Do Weeds Grow Through Resin Driveways" - it offers valuable insights into this important topic.

Aesthetics

Generally speaking, the resin will have greater kerb appeal than tarmac. There are far more texture and colour options that allow you to create the exact look that you want.

The Bottom Line

If you can, it is often better to choose resin-bound gravel surfacing over the tarmac. It tackles many of the common issues seen with tarmac driveways and, although it can be more expensive to install, it also requires less maintenance and often fewer repairs. So it can work out cheaper in the long run. And it usually looks a lot better too!

If you would like a resin driveway installed by experienced professionals, don't hesitate to get in touch. Our experienced team is ready to help give you the driveway of your dreams.

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