Recent developments in building surfacing materials have led to our customers asking the question “Resin vs Tarmac Driveways, which is better?”
With a proven performance record on roads, car parks, airfields and other hard standings, surfaces like asphalt and tarmac are commonly used on domestic driveways, but this doesn’t always mean they are the most durable.
Effectively glued together with the sludge from the oil refinery process, tarmac and asphalt surfaces have suffered from modern day technologies where more and more goodness is extracted from the base oil sludge before being sold on to the asphalt mixing plants.
Tarmac driveways now have 50% of the life expectancy than similar materials manufactured 20 years ago
Tarmac driveways are effective and functional until such time that they age from weathering and oxidation. At this stage, surface travelling occurs (progressive disintegration) which leaves tarmac susceptible to cracking and other weather / age related damage which is not easily repaired.
In some instances, a new surface can be laid over the top of the existing tarmac-although the viability of this option is generally determined by the state of the tarmac in question.
However, in the majority of cases, a full replacement will be required.
Adverse weather not only compromises your comfort; it can also compromise your tarmac's structural integrity as well
Tarmac Driveways: An Overview
A relatively cheap option, tarmac is quick and easy to install, making it a popular option for driveways-as well as for resurfacing roadways.
After proper preparation of the base, the tarmacadam can be applied in less than a day. This makes it a far more convenient choice, as your driveway will be out of action for only a minimal amount of time.
In the case where your existing tarmac can be overlaid, installation will be even quicker. A new layer will be simply installed over the cracked and worn layers-provided such surface protrusions aren't too deep. In the latter instance, repairs will generally be required.
If regularly maintained, tarmac driveways can last for a very long time. Although prone to cracking, this is usually due to poor installation, or improper preparation of the base.
For properties with smaller drives, tarmac may not be suitable; the product requires heavy machinery to install it which may be too large and unwieldy for the designated space.
Although flawlessly functional to start with, after a few years, the effects of both weathering and oxidation will start to take their toll on your tarmac.
One of the first key signs that all is not as it should be is the sight of 'surface ravelling', which, in a nutshell, refers to the disintegration of the surface, and, subsequently, the immediate layers below it.
Generally speaking, this phenomenon occurs for one of several reasons:
- Loss of bond between aggregate particles and the asphalt binder due to inadequate compaction during construction or...
- Mechanical dislodging by certain types of traffic (often as a result of heavy vehicle use, or larger, load-bearing vehicles stored on a driveway.)
Although such issues can be addressed, it is important to stress that this is solely a short-term solution, with the same problem likely to rear its ugly head once again at a later date. One-off repairs may seem more financially viable initially, but, over time, can be considerable due to frequency-not to mention the costs to your time as well.
Would A Full Tarmac Replacement Cost Less Than A Refurb?
On the whole, refurbishing your existing driveway is a case of too little to late. If small signs of wear and tear are spotted at the early stages then repairs are perfectly viable-but for most of us, our hectic schedules mean that we don't have the time to spot-check our driveway surfaces on a daily basis.
Soil type definitely plays its part in driveway longevity; surfaces situated on sandy or clay soil are prone to subsidence-leading to that distinct 'sinking feeling' both for your driveway itself, and the car which rests upon it.
In these cases, even if repairs are conducted to the surface, the underlying issue of the base layers below it will still need addressing, turning a minor repair into a major refurb to tackle-with the associated costs to match.
Throw some weird and wonderful weather into the mix, and you're got a recipe for fruitlessly frustrating repairs. Although failproof on the face of it, rapid changes in temperature will subject your tarmac to the age-old freeze/thaw phenomenon, creating large-scale cracks in the surface that are decidedly difficult to repair.
All in all, if the price of repair and refurbishment is on a par with the price of replacement, opting for the latter offers a longer-lasting solution, making it a considerably more cost-effective choice overall.
Resin Bound surfacing can be customised to your chosen design, making for a truly bespoke driveway that elicits some serious neighbour envy-for all the right reasons!
Alternatives To Tarmac: What Are My Options?
From main roads and thoroughfares, to airport runways, tarmac is a truly multi-purpose material. However, although it’s ideal for commercial surfaces, for projects more closer to home (such as driveways), alternatives should be considered.
For the majority of homeowners, investing in a brand new driveway is not only for a practical purpose; it’s also an undertaking to enhance the exterior aesthetics of their property as well.
If your favourite colour is black, then tarmac can be terrific, but for the majority of homeowners, choice of colour is key; especially in terms of complementing the backdrop of their building, rather than detracting from its overall appeal.
Tarmac is unable to offer diversity of colour and design that most people desire. Add to this the fact that they’re prone to both oxidisation and weathering, and you’re looking at a potential disaster if aiming to live in your property long-term.
In contrast, resin bound surfacing can be customised to your chosen colour and design, making for a truly bespoke driveway that elicits some serious neighbour envy-for all the right reasons!
Panicking about practicalities? Rest assured that resin's got these common concerns covered as well.
For those who are unsteady on their feet, extra, anti-slip traction can be incorporated into the overall design, ensuring adequate grip to reduce the risk of falls.
And for those lucky enough to live in the sunniest parts of the country?
The UV stable options may be just what your after, preventing penetrating sun glare from affecting your driveway's aesthetics (and turning your top talking point into a faded version of its former glory.)
Fed up with flooding? Resin bound surfacing is fully SUDs compliant, enabling excess water to drain away effectively
Resin Provides A Multi-Purpose Solution
Thankfully, it’s not all doom and gloom.
All the problems of asphalt are things that resin bound surfacing takes in its stride-as well as adding some benefits of its own into the mix as well!
From myriad choices of aggregates, to an ability to withstand all weathers, resin truly is a multi-purpose material.
Fed up with flooding?
Resin bound surfacing is fully SUDs compliant, enabling water to drain away effectively, and thus limiting localised flooding.
Desperate for a durable surface?
Unlike other driveway alternatives, resin is refreshingly resilient, providing a delightfully, durable surface, that stands the test of time. In fact, if properly installed by a professional, you're looking at a lifespan of 25 years or more-making it the ideal investment for your efforts!