Duncan Andrews of Sureset explains the impact a driveway surface can have on kerb appeal, exploring the pros and cons of different surfacing materials.
In what is a highly competitive market, it is vitally important to make a good first impression to grab customers’ attention and give them something special to remember, essentially make a property stand out from the crowd. When you’re looking to add a ‘wow’ factor and a strong selling point to a project, choosing the right driveway surface can be a big deal.
There are several popular driveway surfaces available in today’s market, with a multitude of associated pros and cons.
Over the last 30 years, block pavers have seen a huge increase in demand across the UK paving industry, and with demand comes improved production techniques and a reduced price of manufacturing. Block paving does offer the ability to complete design work and detailing, with a variety of colours and materials available, but with the natural stone nature of pavers, designs are normally limited to patterns and borders.
Laying of block pavers is usually completed by hand over an unbound (usually sand) base, and although the joints are filled with a fine silica sand, once the paving has established itself it is virtually impermeable, meaning suitable drainage should be installed to deal with any
Maintenance wise, as with any external surface, regular sweeping is advised to keep the paving clean of dust and detritus. It is possible to seal the paving to protect against oil and weak acid spills, dirt and weeds, however weeds and algae may
still develop by growing into the gaps in the paving.
Tarmacadam, or ‘Bitmac’ (tarmac) is one of the most popular surfaces for larger areas and driveways. Although it is a tried and tested surface, fit for purpose and readily available, it somewhat lacks the ‘wow’ factor most property developers would seek when trying to make their project stand out. For best results, Bitmac should be installed by machine using a trained team, meaning installing smaller areas such as garden pathways/patios can be complicated and not particularly cost-effective. For a designer looking for consistency in external areas around a property, this can cause issues.
That being said, if Bitmac is being used over a large area/development it can often be a more cost-effective option than other surfaces, and the use of specialist machines means it can be installed much faster and more consistently.
Resin-bonded paving is typically known as a ‘coat and scatter’ system, whereby resin is applied directly to a substrate and aggregate scattered across the top to completely coat the resin. Once cured, the thin, impermeable single stone layer will offer a rough textured finish, however there is the potential for the aggregate to become loose and scattered as the stone only adheres to the resin on one side.
Resin-bonded systems are beneficial as they provide the look of loose aggregate without some of the associated issues such as movement/migration of aggregates, ingress of weeds and rutting from traffic. However, over time and under heavy trafficking/vehicle movement/turning the surface can break down and the aggregate may become loose. Also, as a resin-bonded surface is impermeable, suitable drainage should be included in any installations.
Resin-bound paving is made by fully mixing and coating a two-part resin formula with dried aggregate. Once trowelled, it creates a fully permeable, smooth, hard wearing surface.
Resin-bound paving can be laid over several permeable and impermeable surfaces and can also be installed over existing surfaces if they are in good condition. When installed over a permeable sub base resin-bound paving is fully SuDS (sustainable urban drainage system) compliant, meaning water is free to drain straight down into the natural water table meaning there is no need for planning permission or additional drainage solutions.
With the aggregates being fully coated in resin during mixing, once installed there is no possibility of any aggregate becoming loose. Resin-bound paving manufacturers are also able to offer almost limitless design possibilities, so if there is a company logo or specific design to incorporate into the paving, then this can be easily facilitated, as per requirements.
Resin-bound paving ranges are also vast, with many sizes, types and colours of stone available, meaning it is far more versatile than other types of paving. And, with companies offering as much as 21 year guarantees on the paving, you are getting long term peace of mind.
Duncan Andrews is marketing communications manager at Sureset.