What makes a good paving surface?

If you’re thinking of upgrading an existing paving surface or simply designing a new hard landscape area, how do you know which is the right one? Alasdair McMillan from Sureset looks at the options available

Before deciding on your paving material, it is important to take into account which base would be most suitable by considering its intended load and use after installation. It’s not so much the weight of the paving, but rather whether the selected paving can withstand its intended traffic type such as a driveway for vehicles.

Another factor is the number of joints in the surface – either day joints for very large areas or expansion joints for base materials that may be prone to move or crack, such as concrete. Tarmac bases are good examples of sturdy surfaces that don’t have many joints.

With that in mind, let’s explore suitable surfaces for laying a resin drive. Some of the best surfaces for resin driveways DIY or professionally installed include concrete, tarmac, and grid systems.

The different suitable surfaces available each have their own characteristics and individual base requirements.


Block paving has become very popular over recent years and is the main growth area in the UK. The price of the blocks has been reduced due to mass production and a stunning driveway can be created while getting value for money. Ideal for driveways, patios, and pathways, it can also be sealed to protect the surface. Block paving can be highly durable and attractive, and can also come in many different colours, textures and styles.

However, there are some downsides to block paving such as it is prone to moss and weed growth, requiring a fair amount of maintenance.


Pattern imprinted concrete is very common and is one of the most popular decorative stamped concrete techniques used in the UK. It is also known as stamped and pressed concrete. It’s probably a surface that needs the least attention as it is very low maintenance.

Ideal for many areas including driveways, patios, and pathways, it allows you to have the look of stones, cobbles, brick, or slate.

You do have to take into consideration however that this surface can be very slippery when wet.


Tarmac will provide the ideal surface for most driveways. If it is going to experience heavy usage, then tarmac has the properties required to endure large amounts of activity which is why it is used on most roads. The surface can provide a flat surface with sufficient ‘grip’ in most conditions. It is naturally dark coloured, consisting of tar and broken stone bituminous material and can be laid on almost any surface with the right preparation.


Resin bound is a single layered material that is mixed with a UV resin and applied to a smooth compacted finish. Ideal for pedestrian and vehicular traffic, it’s incredibly hard wearing.

Resin bound permeability means that water simply drains through the surface back to the natural water table, making it an ecofriendly option.

Its design capabilities are probably the most flexible out of all of the surfaces allowing for incredible designs, emblems and logos. The result is an extremely hard-wearing surface that is fairly resistant to weeds and requires relatively low-maintenance.

The only downside is that it can be expensive as it is said to be the most durable and long lasting surface.


A resin bonded surfacing system is a coloured two-part surface dressing adhesive that is designed to bind to natural aggregates. It is available in a variety of colours to suit any particular application, and the finish is considered attractive and quick to install.

Resin bonded surfacing systems are designed to have the appearance of natural, loose stone, but are bonded. It can be applied to many different substrates, including concrete, wood and steel.

A disadvantage of this material is that over time the stone will become loose.


Aside from general maintenance, when looking for the right surface for your home, make sure you research all of the options. Once you have decided on your surface, look for companies that are proven to have delivered a good product and service and are registered with awarding or trade bodies. Ask for recommendations and read online reviews of the companies. If their websites have a case study section, make sure you read those too.

Alasdair McMillan is head of sales at Sureset