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SureSet Resin Bound Aggregate Surfacing Course
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On this page, the methods and materials used in laying a resin bound wearing course are considered. As described on the Resin Intro page, resin bound aggregates use the resin to 'glue together' the individual aggregates and to bond the lot to the substrate, which is usually bitmac or concrete. The resin hardens in next to no time and you have a hard-wearing surface that can take foot or vehicular traffic the same day.

The methods and materials shown on this page have been provided by SureSet UK Ltd, one of the country's leading Resin Bound Surfacing specialists. SureSet can supply all the materials necessary for this type of project, as well as having their own in-house crews of highly skilled craftsmen to undertake contracts for private, civil and commercial projects the length and breadth of the nation.

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SureSet Surfacing to a Pedestrian Area
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18 year logo
SureSet are now offering a no-nonsense 18 year guarantee on all its installations, covering:
  • Loose Stones
  • Oil Damage
  • Colour Change
  • Cracking
  • UV Degradation
  • Frost Damage
  • Workmanship
More information on the range of specially selected aggregates, the resins, tools and their contracting services can be found on the SureSet website.



A resin bound wearing course offers a number of advantages:
  • There are no loose stones - the decorative aggregate can't be scattered or kicked about. It's firmly and permanently bound

  • It's a full-thickness system, minimum 12mm thick and can be considerably thicker depending on aggregate size and application

  • It has a long lifespan as the resin and the aggregates are specially selected for durability

  • It can be laid very quickly - a 2 man gang can lay 30m² or more per hour and, with good weather conditions, a gang of 5 men would expect to cover 250m² in a single day

  • It can be used to overlay existing 'tired-looking' surfaces

  • Unique designs, logos and patterns are easily incorporated

  • There's a huge choice of aggregates available including rounded or crushed stone and tumbled coloured glass. Aggregates can be 'blended' to produce a particular shade or tone as required

  • The finished surface is UV stable and is not affected by oil or fuel spillages

  • Once set, the wearing course exhibits some flexibility enabling it to resist cracking

  • It's wheelchair friendly, making it ideal for DDA schemes


Uses & Applications:

SureSet resin bound wearing courses can be used for all kinds of surfacing projects
  • Driveways
  • Access Roads
  • Car Parks
  • Pedestrian areas
  • Plazas, Atriums and other amenity areas
  • Cycleways and Footpaths
  • Tree Pits
  • Schools
  • Pool surrounds
  • Patios, Terraces and Roof Gardens
  • Show Rooms and Display areas
  • Internal Floors

A range of options...

SureSet Surfacing offers a wide range of possible uses, and consequently, there are a number of different construction specifications. The typical construction for, say, a pedestrian only footway will not require as much "build-up" as that for a vehicular area. Tree pit installations will require specific aggregates to ensure a porous surface while internal flooring might use a very small aggregate.

In all cases, the SureSet Technical Department can offer full advice on construction detail and suggest most suitable 'Build-Ups" for any application.



Resin bound paving is a wearing course, or, as Brussels says we now have to call them, a "surface course". It's a self-contained layer that is laid over a suitable base.

The basic premise is that the selected aggregates are mixed together with the resins and then spread, levelled and compacted over an existing surface to create a decorative surface that is exceptionally hard-wearing. The base, which is also known as the 'substrate' needs to be firm and sound, and because resin-bound surfacing is at least 12mm in thickness, there needs to be some form of 'edge restraint' to contain the surfacing.

SureSet Cross Section

The base

The base, or substrate, is essential in providing the strength and load-bearing capacity of the pavement, and so a number of typical bases are used, depending on the planned application. For Pedestrian and low-speed occasional traffic use (driveways) a minimum 50mm compacted thickness of 14mm or smaller sized dense or close-graded bitmac is the preferred substrate. This substrate will need to be laid over a prepared sub-base - fuller details of bitmac/asphalt bases are given on the Bitmac Construction pages of this website.

For heavier applications, particularly for vehicle overrun areas or tree pits, SureSet will be able to recommend a suitable base.

The substrate is laid in advance by a specialist blacktop gang. The usual standards for bitmac construction are followed and the completed substrate should be firm and laid to levels within the accepted tolerances for the type of substrate material that is used. As the SureSet Resin Bound surfacing is a full thickness layer, any minor deviation in the surface level of the substrate can be regulated with the resin bound material. Obviously, significant dips or low spots covering larger areas should be regulated with bituminous material, in order to achieve best values from the resin bound material. regulating


Resin bound surface courses are generally at least 12mm in thickness therefore some form of edge restraint becomes essential. Where edgings or kerbs are being used, the base course material can be left slightly low to accommodate the surfacing, but where no edging is present, it may be necessary to install a small edging-like strip, such as the aluminium edging shown below, to provide a working edge for the surfacing. These edgings are normally laid by the blacktop surfacing gang prior to the arrival onsite of the specialist resin bound surfacing team.
divider edging low bitmac forms edge
edgings in-situ
The aluminium edging gives a neat and distinctive finish to panels of different materials

Access Covers

Access covers such as Stop Tap boxes, Manholes, Cable Ducting Covers and the like will need to be left 'proud' of the base course layer. Where a new base layer has been laid, this is easily done as part of those works, but when an existing surface is to be overlaid, it will be necessary to 'lift' the covers, by breaking them out and re-seating them to an elevated level roughly 10mm or so above the base layer. On projects where such accommodation works are necessary, then they should be done at least 24 hours before the resin bound surfacing is due to be laid to ensure adequate time for any bedding mortars and patch repairs to cure/harden.
manhole cover
recess tray An alternative and possibly more aesthetically pleasing approach would be to replace existing access covers with recess tray covers which can then be in-filled using the resin bound material. This helps render the covers less immediately visible within the streetscape whilst maintaining accessibility.

Most recess tray covers tend to be 80mm or more in depth and so can be partially filled with concrete or bitmac and then simply have the topmost 12-20mm or so surfaced with the same resin bound material as is being used to surface the rest of the area.


The resin

The SureSet resin mixes two components with a hardening agent. The amount of hardening agent added to the blended resins is varied to adjust the working time of each batch. Working times can be varied from a few minutes up to 80-100 minutes depending on the complexity of the project.

The hardener is carefully added to the resins before mixing with a high speed paddle attached to a drill or other suitable power source. Thorough mixing is essential to ensure full distribution of the hardener through the resins so that curing time is equalized when the resin is added to the aggregates.

Hardener is added to resins and then using the mixing paddle the resins are thoroughly mixed

safety Safety Note: Once cured, the resins used in the SureSet surfacing present no hazard other than a danger of inhalation if the surface was to be burned or used as a base for a fire. Before curing, the resins present a small risk from inhalation and exposure to skin and eyes, and so it is imperative that appropriate safety equipment is worn when handling the resins, including eye protection, gloves and suitable overalls.


Mixing the Materials

When the resins have been mixed, the selected aggregates are added to the pan mixer, agitated by the paddle and then the resin mix is added.

SureSet prefer to use electronically powered forced action mortar mixers although petrol and diesel mixers have also been used. Whichever mixer is chosen it is essential that it operates to give a consistently well mixed product.

baron mixer
The aggregate comes pre-packed in weighed bags, so that a precise amount of aggregate can be added to the mixer for each batch. Although a single aggregate could be used, it is also possible to mix (or 'batch') different aggregates to achieve a blended look.
mixing aggregate
The aggregates are added to the mixer...
The SureSet system is a Cold Mix & Lay Process - no heat is required or generated during the mixing and laying process.

The aggregates and the resin are stirred for approximately 2 minutes, to ensure the resins are evenly distributed and the aggregates are fully coated.

When the operative is certain the mixing is complete, the resin-coated aggregate is discharged into lined wheelbarrows via the hatch built into the mixer unit.

Note that the wheelbarrows are lined with polythene. This is done not only to prevent a build-up of resinous material accumulating on the skip of the barrow, eventually rendering it worthless, but also to prevent aggregate from different jobs or different colour blends contaminating the current mix. At the end of each batch of colour, or at the end of the shift, the polythene line can be stripped from the barrows and binned, leaving the barrow ready for the next job.
adding the resin
...and then the resins are poured in.
mixing sureset
The mixed material is discharged into barrows


Laying Method

As soon as the resin coated aggregates have been discharged, they are delivered to the laying site and distributed by shovel over the prepared base. Note that a primer is not usually required as the adhesive qualities of the SureSet resins are more than adequate to ensure a firm and permanent bond to the substrate.
using the lute
The material is spread with the lute...
laying with lute
...working it to a uniform level.
The aggregate is then worked back and forward, side-to-side, from a number of different angles using a lute to evenly spread the material while achieving a level surface. This is very similar to the way in which a bituminous wearing course material ("tarmac" to the non-trade readers) is worked prior to rolling.

However, unlike a bitmac, the resin bound material is not rolled, but is floated, that is, it is pressed and rubbed smooth with a bull float trowel, to create a smooth, even, tightly knit surface. The float operative will also work to fill any minor hollows or eliminate any minor humps that have been missed by the lute, as well as working the material close up around any access covers, lighting columns, sign-posts and the like.

A float is used to 'polish' the material....
smoothing with hover trowel
....creating a smooth, level surface.
Once trowelled smooth, the resin may be lightly sprinkled with an exceptionally clean silica sand to reduce any surface tackiness and, more importantly, to enhance traction of the surface for foot and vehicle traffic alike during the first few weeks of use.

And that's it. The actual curing time varies from job to job but in roughly six hours it will be usable by pedestrian traffic, although SureSet advise that the surface is given 24 hours before being trafficked by vehicles.

completed job
Completed Surfacing
Tools are cleaned with white spirit which acts as a slip coat for the resin mix until it has cured, after which it becomes immune to white spirit or any other oil-based solvents.


The Aggregates:

SureSet are able to offer a huge choice of aggregates, ranging from natural gravels and crushed rock, as well as recycled glass, metallic flake, glass beads and a whole lot more. New aggregates are constantly being tested and evaluated for use, and, if you have some special material in mind for your project, the Technical Boffins at SureSet will be delighted to consider its potential.

The images below illustrate only a small selection of the range of aggregates that area available. Contact SureSet's Technical Department for a full listing.

Natural Aggregates

winter frost
6mm Winter Frost
6mm Apollo
6mm Sterling
Barley Beach
6mm Barley Beach
Tuscan Barley Beach
6mm Tuscan Barley Beach
6mm Bronze
Tuscan Terracotta
6mm Tuscan Terracotta
6mm Midnight
6mm Chestnut
6mm Maple
Norwegian Pearl
6mm Norwegian Pearl
6mm Chocolate


6mm Almond
Forest Green
6mm Forest Green
Sterling Forest
6mm Sterling Forest

Spectrum Recycled Glass

3mm Cobalt
light blue
3mm Light Blue
water blue
3mm Water Blue
mint green
3mm Mint Green
yellow green
3mm Yellow Green
pure orange
3mm Pure Orange
Ruby Red
3mm Ruby Red
Traffic Red
3mm Traffic Red
silver dazzle
3mm Silver Dazzle

3mm Squirrel Grey
zinc yellow
3mm Zinc Yellow
daffodil yellow
3mm Daffodil Yellow
lemon yellow
3mm Lemon Yellow
fawn brown
3mm Fawn Brown
light pink
3mm Light Pink
signal violet
3mm Signal Violet


Contractor or DIY?

On the vast majority of projects, the clients elect to use SureSet's trained technicians to lay the material. This choice ensures the highest possible standards of laying with the added wealth of expertise that allows them to deal with any on-site difficulties or unforeseen problems. SureSet also operate an Approved Installer Network for homeowners who can provide a local service under the SureSet umbrella. However, for smaller, residential projects where the budget may not allow for a team of trained operatives, SureSet have now made available a DIY package which makes it possible for the competent DIYer to lay their own surfacing.

The kits come pre-packed with the selected aggregate, blended to the client's specific requirements, and a specially-formulated resin. The mixing and laying takes place just as described above, and if there are any problems or difficulties, the SureSet Technical Advisers are only a 'phone call away!

read more Further information about SureSet Trade Packs can be found on their website


A Designer's Dream

SureSet's resin bound surfacing allows intricate designs and motifs to be created within the pavement.

Small edgings, such as the aluminium units mentioned above or specially created stencils, are sometimes used to delineate areas of different colour. Each colour is individually prepared and applied, one colour at a time, until the design is completed.

The project beneath was installed using a number of custom-made stencils. A selection of colours and materials from the standard product range along with a number of bespoke mixes made especially for the project were used to create the original design. This is a great example of SureSet's unrivalled ability to bring any design to life.

decorative design
design detail
An excerpt from the original design drawing


The stencil in position >>


template In the example shown opposite and below, an aluminium template has been used to create the outline of a complex design which was then surfaced using several different SureSet materials.
completed design
Completed design

In the design to the right, the project involved creating a seating area which was to incorporate the client's logo. To achieve the colour-changing effect in the customer's design, SureSet designed a number of colour blending mixes and some colour panels were intended to be glow-in-the-dark. Stencils were used to create the design, with the paths and seating area being installed first, the stencils lifted out and the resulting voids in-filled with the contrast colours. seating area

Two further designs - a contemporary decorative design outside a university on the left and an aesthetically simple park pathway on the right.
decorative design pathway


Video from SureSet


Further resources:

Further information on SureSet's surfacing products and services are available from the website.

Tel: 01985 841180

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