Resin-bound driveways are fast becoming popular for homeowners all over the UK. They are quick to install and have a wide variety of colour and style options. They can also be UV-, stain-, and slip-resistant. Plus they will last for decades. As long as they are installed correctly, that is. The most common reason for a resin-bound driveway to crack is due to improper installation. Cracks appearing isn't common when your driveway is installed by properly trained professionals.
There are two types of resin driveway: resin bonded and resin bound. A resin-bonded driveway is created by applying a layer of resin and then pouring onto it an aggregate of small stones, gravel, and other materials.
Resin-bound surfacing, on the other hand, is created by mixing the clear resin and aggregate before applying it to the substrate. A resin-bound surface creates a more durable driveway than a resin-bonded material.
Installing a resin-bound system is not a DIY job. Many factors need to be taken into account before, during, and after installation to ensure that the resin surfacing is properly applied and will last for a long time. Generally speaking, a small team of at least three people is needed to lay resin-bound paving correctly: someone to mix, someone to pour, and someone to trowel.
The sub-base is the most important element of laying a resin driveway surface to get right. Most cracks come from the substrate not being stable enough. The resin-bound surface can be laid on top of an existing surface layer, as long as it is made of a stable and flat material. Suitable materials include a Tarmac, asphalt, or concrete base (as long as the concrete is one continuous layer).
If your current driveway surface is block paving, grass, or loose stones then this will be unsuitable for overlaying a resin surface and a new sub-base made of Tarmac or a specialised grid will likely be needed. For more learnings, you can also check out our article "Are Resin Driveways Better Than Tarmac?".
If the substrate isn't stable then this can lead to reflective cracking. Movement of the base layer can shift the surface layer of resin which will cause cracks to appear. These cracks aren't just an eyesore, they are also a safety hazard so will need to be dealt with quickly.
Another way in which the substrate can cause cracks is when a resin-bound paving surface is laid on top of two different substrate materials. These materials can behave differently under conditions like heat or a heavy load which can cause movement in the resin-bound surface layer.
The conditions in which a resin-bound driveway can be laid are also very specific. Many resin-bound driveway problems come from the surface being laid in the wrong conditions.
Getting the conditions wrong when laying a resin surface can cause it not to adhere properly to the substrate beneath. And when this happens, it can cause the resin layer to lift which can cause cracking.
The ratio of resin to aggregate and sand needs to be very precise. Some of the most common problems with resin-bound driveways come from incorrect mixing of the aggregate and resin. If there isn't enough resin to aggregate, then the aggregate can chip away leading to loose stones and holes.
Loose stones and holes will mean that the resin surface is no longer a complete layer and the extra stress on the damaged parts of the surface can cause cracks to appear.
It is important to plan ahead in terms of how the resin-bound driveway will sit if it isn't a simple rectangular shape. One of the many benefits of a resin-bound driveway is that it can conform to a wide variety of shapes, angles, and curves which makes it a versatile driveway surfacing system.
If there are sharp angles that will jut into the resin-bound surface, from steps for example, then careful planning needs to be made.
Any sharp angles protruding into the resin surface can lead to re-entrant cracking. This looks different from reflective cracking and is caused by issues with the resin-bound surface rather than the substrate underneath.
It occurs because an acute angle causes stress forces to be concentrated on a small area which leads to stress cracks. This can be avoided by laying joints that will help to spread the load of the force over a wider area.
There are a few reasons why cracks may appear in your new driveway some of these driveway problems are relatively easy to fix and some aren't.
Reflective cracking is a serious problem brought on by poor installation of the foundation of the driveway. In this instance, the problem isn't fixable without completely digging up the resin-bound driveway, excavating, and installing a new substrate. If you are dealing with reflective cracks, these should be dealt with quickly before they become a safety issue.
Cracking that stems from the resin-bound surface itself, rather than the sub-base, can often be fixed without tearing up the whole thing. Using an epoxy mortar, cracks can be patch repaired and then sealed. A fibre reinforcement mesh can be used to strengthen the area where the cracks occurred which can prevent them from happening again.
The affected area that has been repaired and the rest of the resin-bound driveway will often be starkly different colours at first, which can interfere with the attractive finish but over time, they should start to blend. For more information, you can check out our post "Can You Repair Resin Driveways".
Cracking isn't the only issue possible with resin-bound driveways. Other problems can include:
If you are experiencing resin-bound driveway problems such as cracking then our team can help. We have a wealth of experience in investigating and tackling problems with resin-bound driveways. We will keep you in the loop every step of the way and work with you to develop a plan of action for how to move forward with your driveway surface.
Alternatively, if you need a resin-bound driveway installed and you want to make sure that you won't encounter cracking, it is always best to approach an established professional company. Our highly trained team of experienced installers will always ensure that your driveway is installed correctly so that it will last for years to come. If you're interested in learning more, feel free to check our article on "How Long Do Resin Driveways Last".