DIY Resin Driveway: Can You Do It Yourself or Is It a Professional Job?
- What’s involved in a DIY resin driveway
- Reasons for and against a resin driveway DIY job
- What a kit consists of
A resin drive is a statement that comes at a price. Some people may be tempted to fit this home improvement themselves to reduce how much they pay, but could this turn into a costly mistake? Despite the fact that DIY resin driveway kits are available, there are many different reasons why you should avoid using these.
This article will delve into DIY resin driveways and the elements involved. From what kits include to how much work would be required, it will cover the aspects you should know. The article will also explain the dangers of doing it yourself, so you can decide whether to go ahead with the job.
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How a Resin Driveway Is Laid
Even before the resin drive can be installed, the surface needs to be prepared. Depending on your existing driveway surface, suitable drainage needs to be present, which may mean excavation. You need a stable sub-base first, whether you’re installing a DIY resin driveway or having it done professionally.
If your current drive surface needs to be removed, suitable substrates will be placed to help spread the weight. This will be followed by asphalt, tarmac or concrete. Without expert knowledge, you may not be able to lay a DIY resin driveway.
Mix the Resin
The resin is then prepared to either mix with the aggregate or be poured straight onto the surface. This difference depends on whether you’re opting for a resin bond or resin bound drive. Mixing resin requires precision, and different batches can produce variations in colour.
At slow speeds, the mixing process allows both parts of the resin to bond properly. When ready, it needs to be laid quickly, efficiently and uniformly. This is one reason why a DIY resin driveway can fall apart.
With a resin bound system, the aggregates and resin are then mixed together, followed by special sand. This mixture is what is laid onto your drive. Every time the aggregate is mixed, it needs to be done in exactly the same way to avoid colour variations and drying issues.
With a resin bonded system, the resin is poured onto the surface and the aggregate is then scattered on top. This replicates the feel and look of loose gravel.
Once on the surface, the aggregate-resin mix is smoothed and trowelled into an even thickness. The job is planned thoroughly to eliminate variations and ensure the finishing touch is as expected. The whole process is usually completed with a team of three, which would make a DIY resin driveway much more difficult to manage.
Factors to Consider Before Installation
Because of the amount of time it takes to install a resin bound driveway, you can’t expect to be able to have one fitted any time of year. The resin needs to cure for a full 24 hours before foot traffic can use it, so it also needs to be fitted when it’s dry.
Heat and Moisture
What you won’t necessarily understand with a DIY resin driveway is that humidity levels can put off an installation. A hygrometer can help with humidity levels in the air; over 80% is a no-go. This excess moisture can interfere with the resin and compromise the surface.
The ground temperature also needs to be monitored as excess heat can interfere with the curing process. When the resin is mixed, a certain amount of catalyst is needed to ensure it cures within a specific time. Too little or too much heat can cause an imbalance that isn’t noticeable until afterwards.
Specialist Tools and Equipment
Even though you may be considering doing the job yourself to keep costs down, the equipment needed for a DIY resin driveway isn’t the everyday kind you’d find in the garage.
For starters, the following are necessary:
Forced action mixer
Resin bound trowels
You may also need trowel lubricant or white spirit to clean the trowel between applications. Similarly, reflective blankets and gazebos may be necessary to cover the areas in hot weather. There is also the need for safety equipment, such as cones and warning tape.
The bottom line is, while you can procure the equipment yourself, it is a big outlay, especially the forced action mixer. This will take up the most amount of funds with a DIY resin driveway. To really know if you’re saving money on how much a resin driveway costs, you’ll have to consider all elements beforehand.
What Can Go Wrong With a DIY Resin Driveway?
This is the main question associated with a do-it-yourself job. Even if you do manage to secure all the necessary tools, you will still be lacking the experience and expertise that you’re paying a professional for.
If you’re not accurate at every stage of your DIY resin driveway job, you can expect to see the following issues:
Colour inconsistencies (patchy or fading)
Mixing the resin and the aggregate sounds like an easy job, but it’s incredibly time-sensitive and needs to be done in exactly the same way every time. Failing to do this can cause colour variations.
What’s known as reflective cracking can occur if you install your DIY resin driveway on top of an unsuitable sub-base. Any shifts or cracks that form underneath can then be shown on top as the resin drive moves with it.
Crumbling can happen if too much moisture has been present during the installation process. This weakens the resin and affects its structural integrity.
Shading can occur inconsistently with a non-UV stable resin, especially if objects are placed on top for long periods of time. While you should expect even your DIY resin driveway to fade over time, it should happen evenly.
One of the other main issues you could face with performing the installation yourself is that aggregate can become loose. This may not have bonded with the resin. While it could at first only appear to be a few stones, this could quickly turn into an unsightly patch.
Disadvantages of a DIY Resin Driveway
When looking at the issues you could potentially face, it does seem difficult to justify laying a resin drive yourself.
DIY Resin Driveway Kits – What’s Included
If you’re completely set on installing your resin drive yourself, you can go some of the way by purchasing a DIY resin driveway kit. These try to remove some of the hard work by providing shortcuts, such as resin containing the necessary catalyst. While they can be useful, there are still elements that can go wrong.
Inside a DIY resin driveway kit, you’ll usually find:
Resin (UV resistant or non-UV stable)
Some companies only provide you with the bare minimum, such as the resin, activator and aggregate. Before you begin your project, you need to make sure you have all of the correct tools. It’s highly likely that you will need to hire or purchase a drill paddle and an industrial mortar mixer.
Make sure you look at how much aggregate is delivered in DIY resin driveway kits, as these are usually best reserved for smaller areas, such as patios or landscaped areas. A 25kg bag will not cover the entirety of your drive. Professionals use force action mixers, which can hold at least 100kg of aggregate at a time.
Before You Begin
You need to judge whether your existing driveway surface will be suitable for your DIY resin driveway to sit on top. Block paving, for example, is not a good choice. Without a structurally sound base that allows for drainage, you will have problems later down the line. This will also be the case if your existing drive is likely to shift because of cracks or an uneven surface.
Read the Instructions Carefully
You can only blame yourself if something goes wrong and you didn’t fully understand what you were doing. A DIY resin driveway is not an average person’s task. While it is possible to lay a resin drive yourself, it is also difficult because so much can go wrong at every stage. Make sure you have read up on what you need to do, and understand fully.
Why a Professional Is Best
Enough Material for the Job
DIY resin driveway kits can only go so far, especially when it comes to supplying the right amount of aggregates and resin. If you need to order multiple kits, this defeats the purpose of having a resin drive laid in the first place, as different batches are likely to show colour variations. They may not be present during the installation stage, but will show up once the job is done.
If any problems arise from your DIY resin bound driveway, it’s often costly or intrusive to put right. More often than not, your efforts will need to be dug up and a new surface will need to be laid instead. You can avoid overspending by simply opting for a professional installation instead.
As a team of at least three people, you’ll be paying for an effective and streamlined process that will give you the result you want. Where so many variations can happen when it comes to a DIY resin driveway, each section of the job is designated to a specific team member, which ensures consistency.
Once your new resin drive has been laid, it doesn’t take much in the way of maintenance. It should look pristine for years to come.
Advantages of a Professional Installation
Besides the above, there are a whole multitude of reasons why you should never choose a DIY resin driveway installation. These even include the ability to use multiple sizes or colours of aggregate.
If you’d like to find out how much it would cost to install a resin driveway, click on the button below. You’ll receive tailored quotes in your area. Take away the guesswork from a DIY resin driveway and choose a professional.