So you're thinking about installing a new patio or upgrading your existing one? The idea of having a smart new resin patio is appealing, but you need to weigh up the pros and cons and see how far your budget will stretch.
If this sounds like you, you're among hundreds of thousands of people who are going through the same thought processes, and that means doing your homework to find out information about resin patios, including the cost factors.
Resin driveways, patios, and footpaths have become hugely popular in a very short time, so it's only natural to want to know what it's all about, but there's a lot of information online and not all of it is particularly helpful, accurate, or honest!
As premium resin-bound driveway and patio installers, Guardian Resin is here to make your life easier with an in-depth guide to all things related to resin patios and the costs involved.
Although there's a lot of information to cover, we'll start with the main point of this guide, that's to give you an idea of what you should expect to pay for your new patio.
The price for a resin-bound surface in the UK will probably be somewhere between £40 and £170 per square metre. If you're looking for an average cost, it's going to be around £70 or £80 per square metre.
Now, that seems like a very wide margin! So what could affect the price so much? We'll come to that in a moment and explore some of the cost factors.
First, we'll cover the basics...
While you've probably heard about resin surfacing, it's possible that you're not exactly clear on the details, so let's take a moment to explain.
When any resin surface is laid, it has to be installed on a stable sub-base. The base is prepared carefully, and then a mixture of polyurethane resin and loose gravel (aggregates) is applied.
However, there are two different systems: resin-bound and resin-bonded, and it's important to know the difference as it will influence the overall price.
With this system, the loose gravel is thoroughly mixed with a polyurethane resin and laid on a prepared sub-base to create a smooth, level surface. Each of the tiny stones is completely covered by the resin, forming a remarkably tough shell that will last for a good few decades.
This can be used to make driveways, footpaths, paved areas, tree pits, and patios. Basically, it's an excellent way of making hard, outdoor surfaces attractive.
The clever thing about resin-bound surfaces is that they are permeable, allowing rainwater to soak through and into the ground - provided that the sub-base is also porous.
We'll come across this later in the section that deals with the importance of drainage!
The key difference here is that a layer of resin is applied first and gravel is scattered across the top, leaving the top exposed to the elements.
While a resin-bonded driveway is generally thought to be able to withstand heavier traffic than a resin-bound driveway, they aren't as popular and often don't have the same appeal, even though they tend to be cheaper!
One common problem is that the exposed stones can become detached from the surface, so you get bare patches where the loose stones have been dispersed.
Another issue is that they aren't permeable, so any rainwater that falls on your patio will run straight into the local drains.
Now, as promised, we're going to go through some of the issues that will affect the total cost of your new patio.
Good quality gravel is always worth paying for as it will look amazing and produce better results than inferior gravel. That said, your resin specialist should only provide gravel that's been washed and kiln-dried to remove any contaminants like dust and dirt that might otherwise ruin the effect.
The aggregates come in an impressive variety of colours and colour blends, but some of the stones are more scarce than others and will carry a higher cost as a result.
It's worth checking out colour charts and sample boards, as there are some stunning examples out there that will look amazing on your patio.
You'll find examples such as:
And many more! Any of these beautiful colours would transform your patio space and make you the envy of all.
Although some colour blends will use assorted sizes, the size of the stones is something to consider carefully. This will alter the appearance and texture of the finished product, and will also affect the price if the ground has to be excavated.
As a rule, the sub-base is prepared to a depth at least three times the size of the largest stones, and this can make quite a difference over a large area.
You guessed this much, of course; the bigger the area to be covered, the more expensive it will be because more raw materials will be needed and the work will take longer.
Yes, the workers expect a fair rate for their services. While this might vary between companies, you should expect to pay between £150 and £250 per day in labour costs. This usually accounts for about 40% of the overall bill.
If you are having the patio fitted from scratch, the contractors will need to prepare the ground and install a suitable sub-base. Resin surfaces cannot be installed on grass or soil.
You could make a saving by having your new patio installed on the existing surface, but only if it is suitable. Unfortunately, paving slabs don't qualify, and you can find out more about this in the Guardian Resin article called Can You Put Resin Over Patio Slabs?
A solid concrete slab may be okay, but tarmac or asphalt is better as they are permeable whereas concrete isn't.
Whatever the surface material, it must be completely clean and free from weeds. It also has to be in very good condition, without cracks or significant damage. The contractors will need to make necessary repairs before laying the resin mix, and this will affect the overall cost.
In most cases, polyurethane resin is used as epoxy resin isn't as flexible. Each company has its own preferred brands, but they are essentially the same in all but one respect and that's their ability to handle sunlight.
So, they are split into two types: UV-stable resin (known as aliphatic resin) and Non-UV stable resin (also called aromatic resin).
It's always advisable to opt for UV-stable resin, as this is resistant to the powerful ultraviolet rays from the sun and the colour won't fade or go cloudy. An aromatic resin, on the other hand, will eventually start to take on a yellow hue and will become dull.
UV-stable resin is more expensive, but worth investing in if you want your patio to continue to look fresh and vibrant for many years.
Are you planning to show off your patio to guests? Do you want a real showpiece that makes friends and neighbours green with envy?
This is within your reach if you install a resin-bound patio! The design is entirely up to you, and you can make this as plain or as elaborate as you wish. You can have multiple colours, geometric shapes and patterns, and different textures - the possibilities are only limited by your imagination!
However, the more complex your design specs, the higher the costs will be as the skilled workers will use more materials and the job will take longer.
A resin surface has to be contained or it will spread and the edges will be exposed and at risk of damage.
Professional resin driveway and patio installation experts, like Guardian Resin, always lay resin-bound driveways and patios up against a solid surface, like the wall of your house or kerb stones.
Where these aren't present, special edges are installed to contain the resin. The cheapest type of edging comes in the form of aluminium strips, straight or flexible. But if your budget allows, you might want something a little more aesthetically appealing, like granite setts or block edging.
Of course, these options will add to your overall costs, so it's something to consider.
If the preparation involves removing excavated soil, rubble, and other waste, then a skip will be needed and this will be included in your final bill.
Depending on the skip size, your location and the company used, it will cost you between £150 and £450.
Skip hire is usually for a standard two-week period, although each company has its own policies and these can be negotiated if necessary. In most cases, the resin installation company will deal with the skip-hire company on your behalf.
While a resin surface looks fantastic, some can become slightly slippery in wet conditions, and the last thing you want is for anyone to slip over on your new patio!
To prevent this, you can have an anti-slip coating added to the surface during the installation process. This is usually made from glass crushed to a fine powder, and it provides an excellent grip without affecting the aesthetic appeal of your patio.
Some companies include this in the price, while others provide it as an optional extra, so it pays to ask when you book your appointment.
We covered the differences between these two earlier, but you'll need to choose which one you prefer.
Bonded resin is the cheaper option, and is ideal for period properties and sites of historical importance as they allow for neat, smart-looking paved areas that are easy to maintain. The gravel effect looks great but without the headache of having to rake it back into shape and gather up loose stones.
The smooth upper surface of a resin-bound surface might look out of place in such a setting, which is why most owners of listed or heritage buildings avoid this option.
However, in a contemporary setting, resin-bound surfacing looks right at home!
Also, there's the question of permeability, as we'll discover further along.
Most jobs involving resin driveways, footpaths, or patios take place in the warmer seasons as the contractors need to avoid moisture getting into the mixture.
Even so, if it's too hot, the resin will start to set too soon, and if it sets hard before the project is completed the whole thing could be ruined. To avoid this eventuality, some companies will assign extra workers to get the job done quickly, and this might be added to the cost.
On the whole, this isn't likely, but it's worth checking with your chosen provider to see what their policy is on the matter.
As always, those in the southeast should expect to pay more - possibly up to 40% more - for this service.
The general rule is that the further north you go, the cheaper the rates. In urban areas, where there's likely to be more competition, you may find that the costs are slightly lower, but in rural regions, the reverse may be true.
It depends - a simple slab of plain, grey concrete is definitely a cheaper way to go, and it might even be practical. But as a patio, it's not going to be very exciting or particularly appealing.
You could try pattern imprinted concrete, which is a fantastically versatile product that can be customised to incorporate a massive range of designs, colours, and styles. It's often shaped to resemble other materials, like natural stone block paving and it has been popular for some time now.
However, its popularity has dipped over the past few years, partly due to widespread issues with cracking and structural problems, but also due to the fact that other options, like resin-bound surfaces, have taken over.
Another factor to note is that concrete is not permeable (it might be semi-porous in some cases, but rainwater can't soak through easily), and this goes against it, as we'll see in the next section.
As for price comparison, pattern imprinted concrete costs, on average, about £70 per square metre. This compares favourably with resin-bound surfaces, which come in at around the same price on average.
Even so, when you consider the pros and cons, a resin-bound system will always offer a better investment, even if it does cost slightly more. If you're interested in learning more, feel free to check our article "Is A Resin Patio Cheaper Than Slabs, Tiles, Block Paving".
We said earlier that we'd come back to this subject, and it's an important one as it will affect the final cost. It also might mean the difference between needing to seek planning permission from your local authorities or not.
But why is it so important? The answer is localised flooding.
With so many urban areas being developed over the decades, with tarmac roads and concrete driveways taking the place of soil or grass, rainwater doesn't get the chance to drain away. Instead, it is diverted into local drains that struggle to cope, and this frequently causes floods.
The government introduced a scheme to tackle this, called the Sustainable Urban Drainage System (SuDS for short). This regulates new building developments and home improvements to ensure that they don't contribute to the problem.
In relation to our quest, a resin-bound surface is preferable as it is permeable, whereas a resin-bonded patio would probably require planning permission. You might avoid this if your patio is smaller than five square metres, but if not, you'll need to prove that you are having adequate drainage fitted.
In theory, a resin-bound surface can handle 850 litres of water per square metre per minute.
Now, the UK is famous for its wet weather, but the chances of rain being this heavy are absolutely zero! This means that it will handle whatever is thrown at it and surface flooding (at least on top of your patio) won't be a problem. Any rain that falls will simply soak through into the ground and drain away naturally.
The bottom line is that a permeable patio is the better option, even though it will probably cost more.
Without hesitation, we can state that they definitely are!
However, if you're still not 100% convinced, here are some of the plus points:
Check out the before and after photos online, or better still, visit friends, family, or neighbours who have a resin driveway or patio. Compared with a tarmac or concrete driveway or patio, there's no competition.
Unlike gravel, paving slabs, or block paving, a resin-bound surface doesn't let weeds thrive. So, there's no weeding to be done, nor will you need to apply weedkillers. Compared to these, they require very little maintenance. All that's required is a light sweeping with a brush every week or so to get rid of surface dust and dirt, and maybe you could hose it down every month or so. Some people spray their patio down with a pressure washer on a light setting a couple of times a year to keep it fresh and clean.
And we mean this! The resin sets extremely hard, making a durable surface that can withstand the worst of the weather.
That's if you choose resin-bound over resin-bonded, and make sure your sub-base is porous.
Compared with concrete and tarmac, resin patios offer a much greener solution as they often use recycled plastic and recycled stone. There are also far fewer volatile compounds in the matrix.
Resin-bound patios are guaranteed for between 10 and 20 years, but in reality, they'll last for much longer. It's likely that your patio will be going strong in thirty years' time! For more information, you can check out our post "How Long Do Resin Patios Last".
Depending on your specifications, you can buy a stunning patio without breaking the bank, and for much less than some other options. Compared with block paving, resin surfaces are much cheaper in the long run, especially when you consider repairs and maintenance.
Few other systems are as versatile as resin-bound paving! You can have whatever design you choose with as many colours as you wish. Where some other options restrict you to blocks of colour and straight lines, resin surfaces allow you to use organic, flowing designs and incorporate symbols or motifs with personal meaning.
These are some of the reasons why resin-bound patios are surging in popularity right now, and it's easy to see why!
In the interests of fairness, seeing as this is your money that's on the line, we'll list some of the less positive points about resin patios for you to consider.
Having all of the facts to hand allows you to make an informed choice and feel confident that you have invested wisely, or at least that the risk to your investment is minimal.
So, here are some of the cons of resin-bound surfacing for you to ponder on:
The initial outlay for a resin-bound patio can be fairly expensive. Even so, this is a long-term investment that adds value to your home and will look fantastic for several decades!
It's possible that the resin will become cloudy and faded, maybe even taking on a yellowish tinge. However, this is only going to be a problem if you choose non-UV stable resin. To be frank, opting for non-UV resin is a false economy, as your patio will be vulnerable to damage from UV light. It's always better to go for UV-resin whenever possible.
This is never an issue with resin-bound systems as the aggregate is held securely within the matrix. However, resin-bonded surfaces can shed stones over time, leaving unsightly bald patches.
Minor surface damage is fairly straightforward to fix. Shallow scrapes and dents can be filled with a resin mix of the same colour - the trickiest part is matching the colour, and this can be made more difficult if a bespoke blend was used.
The major headaches start if big cracks appear along the patio, as this means that your sub-base has shifted. This is bad news, as the entire surface may have to be lifted and re-installed after the base has been fixed.
As always, prevention is better than cure. The best way to avoid this scenario is to hire a qualified professional, like Guardian Resin, to do the job as they will ensure that the sub-base is laid correctly.
Aggregates can contain natural iron content, usually in the form of iron pyrites. This can leach rust into the resin matrix that discolours the surface and ruins the look of your patio. The usual treatment for this is to clean the area with oxalic acid, but the best way to avoid it is to ensure that the installer uses high-quality gravel that has been washed and kiln-dried.
If you notice that water isn't flowing away as it should and is pooling on the top, then you have a problem.
First, if you have paid for a resin-bound patio, it should be completely free of surface water - remember that figure of 850 litres of water per square metre per minute? If something is preventing the rainwater from getting through, the most likely culprit is a concrete base. And if the water is pooling, then the resin hasn't been angled correctly to allow it to flow away.
The second possibility is that you have a resin-bonded patio instead of a resin-bound. Again, if water is gathering on the surface, then the patio hasn't been laid correctly. This is, potentially, easy to fix by building up the dips with extra resin to create a sufficient angle.
Also, when a resin driveway installation company fits a resin-bonded surface, they should always include drainage methods to cope with rainwater runoff. If they don't do this, they haven't done the job properly!
Kits are available that make this a real possibility if you are keen to make this a DIY job. The main reason for doing this, let's be honest, is to save cash, but it's not always a good choice.
You can pick up a good-quality DIY resin kit for between £30 and £100 or maybe more, and this immediately shows you that it's a cheaper option.
However, you need to consider this very carefully, as it's not going to be as easy as the manufacturers perhaps suggest it will be! Let's examine the sticking points that might make your life difficult:
Of course, this is your choice, and it's always tempting to go for the cheaper option. But in terms of achieving the results you want, as well as avoiding all the stress and hassle, it's almost always better to find a professional resin driveway installer to lay your patio!
Installing a resin patio is one of the best investments you can make for your home, but you need to be aware of the facts before you go ahead.
This guide, compiled by Guardian Resin, give you most if not all you need to know in order to make a common-sense decision.
But before you go, let's have a quick recap of the facts:
Now it's down to you as you have all the information you need.
Pinning down an exact price is never an easy task, and consumers have widely different budgets. However, it's safe to say that a beautiful resin-bound patio is within reach of most people these days.
While the initial outlay might seem high, this is a long-term investment that adds to the value of your home by 5-10%. And if you can stretch your budget further you could even upgrade your existing driveway surface to match the patio, adding more value and enhancing your home even more.
When you've made your mind up, let Guardian Resin take care of the rest and we'll transform your home with as little fuss as possible leaving you to enjoy your fabulous new patio!