Is Resin Bound a DIY Job?
Is Resin Bound a DIY Job, or should it be left to the professionals? This is a blog post I’ve been looking forward to writing. And it’s jumped the queue because of some recent comments on our Facebook page.
a) Resin Bound Awareness
b) DIY Resin Bound isn’t a Bind
c) DIY Success Stories
d) The Problems with some Professionals
e) Choosing a Professional Contractor
Resin Bound Awareness…
The problem with resin bound is that there is a lack of understanding as to what it is, how you install it, what is a fair price and how long it should last.
Resin bound has been widely installed for decades. Around 14 years ago (before I started Vuba) I installed a trial section of resin bound at York University Derwent Bridge. I worked for a company called Nottingham Industrial Flooring Ltd, and they began dipping their toe in resin bound after 35 years installing industrial resin flooring systems (my background).
The project took place so that numerous university staff, architects and surveyors could view and give their opinion on it as the surfacing for the rest of the university grounds. It’s worth noting the resin bound market was already starting to flourish at this point – I was by no means involved from the start.
We went on to install another 15,000m2 of resin bound on the back of that sample area – resin bound surfacing really does sell itself. I could see that it would become mainstream, but that it would need to be made much cheaper, more easily accessible and easier to install (requiring less kit) – and that’s why I moved from contracting to start Vuba over 10 years ago now and did just that!
When we put a post on our Facebook page showing a genuine DIY user who has done a fantastic job on their pathway, driveway or a garden feature, we hope to inspire people to embrace resin bound surfacing for themselves. But we always get all sub section of comments like these…
There’s a few red flags about this post. Most people in the industry wouldn’t refer to installing a resin bound screed as ‘supply and fit’. Carpet possibly, but you don’t ‘fit’ an in situ resin screed. Secondly, you don’t use a float on a resin bound screed. Thirdly, here’s a photo of our DIY Resin Bound Kits below…you don’t need a ‘full size mixer’ for one of these.
And lastly he talks about high standards. I had to check out his business facebook page to see these high standards…
By contrast, here’s the Vuba product installation he was commenting on above…
This type of comment usually comes from a guy who has seen a few videos online (most likely ours, see below…), remembered the phrase ‘SUDS Compliant’ but forgot what it means, and away they go – resin bound keyboard warrior status.
So are they right? Yes and no.
Yes because to install a full driveway like in the photo above you would need to have experience, skill and expertise for that to go successfully. Most of our business does go through contractors. Good, professional and trustworthy contractors are the lifeblood and future of the industry.
But there are many types of projects, and many tradesman with crossover skills and expertise where a DIY installation would work just fine. By DIY, we don’t mean we’ll send your Gran and Grandad 40 DIY Kits and hope for the best. But what we do mean is you don’t have to be driving around in a van with ‘ACME Resin Driveways Limited’ on the side to be able to join in the resin bound revolution.
DIY Resin Bound isn’t a bind…
DIY projects in any other sphere of building are praised and lauded, but there’s definitely a different view in the world of resin bound. That’s partly due to lots of people vying to be the ‘expert’ and partly down to some people preferring to keeps the mystique of resin bound alive. But for it to grow, it needs to become understood and trusted.
We know that you do need skill and expertise for larger projects, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a professional. And perhaps that is the part that is lost in translation, and why there is so much confusion over the issue. The DIY users who use our DIY Resin Bound Kits for larger projects are typically:
Builders / Property Developers
Handymen / Odd Job Men
Alternative Driveway Contractors
We give you the training courses (optional), video tutorials, installation guidance booklets (with each order), telephone technical advice and easy to use, manageable products which do not require specialist mixing equipment. And with that help and advice, our experience tells us that these projects go well.
But what about smaller resin bound projects….can they be done by ‘anyone’? Yes, definitely.
Maybe you want resin bound beneath your hot tub? Maybe you have a pathway you’d like to resin bound? Perhaps you’re thinking of having your driveway done by a contractor but you’d like to try some of this out first to see if the hype is true? Almost anybody can try out our resin bound kits for small areas and pet projects as just mentioned.
Here is the entire process of our resin bound DIY kits to cover 1m2 at 15mm thickness.
DIY Resin Bound Success Stories…
We sold 25,000 DIY Kits last year, and in the 10 years since we’ve offered resin bound online – we have sold millions of pounds of resin bound kits – and the results are fantastic. We wouldn’t offer them if it didn’t work. Some people love the sense of achievement from DIY projects, and resin bound DIY projects can be especially rewarding because the end result is so transformational. So if people are doing it anyway – why not give them the best possible chance with our DIY Kits.
The Problem with some Professionals…
Another reason people choose DIY is because of horror stories regarding resin bound installations that have gone wrong. These occur in every industry sector, but with the relatively new feeling about resin bound – it is judged more than most.
From experience I would say most contractors involved in resin bound will do a fantastic job, are very conscientious and want to do a brilliant job for the customer. But the most common errors we see in the installation of resin bound surfacing is contractor error, and usually before the job has started. Here’s some common causes of a dissapointing resin bound driveway installation:
1) Contractor using none UV resin in the resin bound mix. None UV resin is much cheaper to buy, saving £5 per m2 on average. A resin screed being none UV isn’t immediately apparent, and often the client has paid before the driveway starts to discolour.
2) Contractor not installing the resin bound surfacing at sufficient thickness. Again, not apparent on first sight, but if you drop below the minimum thickness required you could be in trouble. Resin bound surfacing ought to be a minimum of 2.5 x thicker than the size of the largest stone in the mix – or it will be too weak (and a minimum of 15mm for vehicle traffic). Cutting corners with thickness is a common problem.
3) Contractors who use gravity mixers (e.g Belle Mixers) to mix resin bound – which is one of the bigger red flags. Gravity mixers cannot successfully mix a resin bound product.
4) Resin being used from eBay or elsewhere. This is becoming ever more popular, and worrying. ‘Cheap’ resin usually misses a component which creates flexibility in the resin bound screed. These types of resin products do not often last the winter.
3) Leave very little to no accountability for the customer, or recourse in the event of a problem.
How do we know about these problems? Because we’re often supplying products trying to fix them from installations not using our materials originally.
We speak to many customers everyday who want to purchase a 1m2 resin bound kit product from us to repair their failing driveway, or buy a strengthening sealer to hold the resin bound in place where it’s failing.
How do I make sure I don’t suffer from any of the above? Well, since you asked…
Choosing a Resin Bound Contractor…
1) Use the Vuba Approved Contractor Scheme. We run bimonthly training courses here at our training facilities in Beverley. We vet our contractors and keep regular contact with them as they carry out projects.
2) Buy the materials yourself. Buying direct from Vuba means you can be assured of quality UV stable materials, and somebody to contact in the event of an issue. You can then hire a contractor locally as you see fit.
There are some brilliant contractors out there. You can contact us on 01482 778897 and ask for advice on choosing a contractor, to get a quotation for the materials or anything else you may need help with when it comes to resin bound.
But if you’re the type of person who likes a challenge, you’d like to save some budget, you’d like to expand your skills or you believe you can turn your hand to most things, then why not try out your own resin bound installation? It’s extremely rewarding.
Thank you for taking the time to read this weekly blog post.
We’re not championing cutting out the contractor. We’re championing full awareness, knowledge and accountability. Everyday we receive multiple enquiries for contractors and we recommend those that purchase from us regularly, have attended our courses and who we believe will demonstrate accountability to the customer.
We hope we cleared up a few misconceptions, and unfortunately there is no definitive answer. Like many things in the world of resin, and resin bound surfacing, it is down to discretion. I have more controversial topics planned for my blog in upcoming weeks!
Vuba Building Products Limited