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How Erinstone came about

This is an introduction to Erinstone Ltd (about us if you like) The key personnel are myself, Charly Cole who founded the company, Andy Martin who leads customer relations (Marketing and Sales) and Michal Motylinski who is the Lead Foreman. This blog is a short history of how I came to throw myself into Resin Bound Stone Surfacing.

 

                                               

Charly (and Erin)                                              Andy                                                        Michal

 

I did a Pharmacology BSc then a PGCE in Sheffield University and after teaching Chemistry for 7 years, I was made redundant when my School closed to merge with a Welsh medium school. I wanted to be my own boss and get into property development, so with a friend, I started a small building business where we mostly installed kitchens and bathrooms. When my friend found love and moved to Exeter, I started a Garden Design company where I could hone my design skills further. Having already forged great links with ground workers, carpenters and bricklayers, I was able to bring my design ideas into fruition. I have been installing Resin Bound Stone for over 4 years and found it the stunning choice for many customers. It is contemporary, beautiful, eco-friendly, easy to maintain, great for water drainage and stays in pristine condition for far longer than any other surface.

Erinstone Ltd (named after my beautiful, young daughter Erin) was set up last season after doing considerable research and tests on many of the Resin Bound Stone Systems that were being sold on the market and we feel that we have designed the best Resin Bound Stone System in the U.K. Our amazing product has a whole list of USP’s: We will only sell and use the strongest UV stable resin that is available. Being twice as strong as the nearest competitor (so won’t break up under the sawing of car wheels) the resin is still flexible enough to cope with small ground movement. Understanding that it is vitally important for strength and durability to use the correct ratio of different sized stones and percentage of aliphatic polyurethane, we have made 16 unique Erinstone blends and have had them all tested to the BBA certified standard. We have researched and developed the use of 100% recycled Resin Trays that have better drainage, are more environmentally friendly and give a better finish than using tarmac as a base and were also one of the first installers to use Resin Bound Stones on verticals surfaces, such as walls and step faces. We can also stencil unique patterns and shapes, lay contrasting coloured borders and even make bespoke blends for your individual tastes. Currently working with other tradesmen, we offer both advice and training, ensuring that installers who use our Erinstone system provide the same amazingly flat, durable and consistent surface that we do. We also supply Erinstone Kits to the trade via our sister website and through independent builders’ merchants. If you want to increase the kerb appeal of your home or use the back garden to entertain this summer, think about Erinstone for Resin Bound Stone. It’s a surface that is flat, has no pointing lines for weeds to break through, is not slippery, very easy to maintain, is strong, not undermined when jet washed and fantastic for drainage. It should look the same in 20 years as it does when first laid and is comparable in price to other good quality installations, such as slabs or block paving.

CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW TO SEE WHAT THE NEWSPAPERS HAVE BEEN SAYING ABOUT US!!!

Is Resin Bound Stone any good for drainage?

 

Ever looked out of your window and noticed the puddles all over your driveway and wondered how you are going to get to your car without the need of a boat ? Or in the Winter where all that water has frozen and you have to “Torvill and Dean” your way to the front gate. Not all concrete and tarmac surfaces are porous, so instead of the water draining away, it just sits annoyingly on the top where the surface dips and bottoms out.

 

There is a really easy solution to this problem…Resin Bound Stone.

 

It is achieved by mixing stones of different sizes with resin, thoroughly coating and binding them together into a strong but flexible blend. As the stones are angular, this will leave small gaps for any surface water to drain right through.

 

 

Resin Bound Stone is therefore, not only a more attractive alternative to these other surfaces, but has the added advantage of being porous, making it SuDS compliant. SuDS stands for Sustainable Drainage Systems and is the way that the Environment Agency monitors the successful run off of rainwater in both urban and rural areas in the U.K.

 

SuDS Systems can reduce down the level of surface water build up and increase the infiltration of water into the ground, mimicking natural drainage and reduces the risk of “flash-flooding”, often occurring when rainwater rapidly flows into the public sewerage and drainage systems.

 

The Environment Agency guidance of October 2008 states the following: (a little lengthy but quite interesting!)

 

If the surface to be covered is more than five square metres planning permission will be

needed for laying traditional, impermeable driveways that do not provide for the water to run to a permeable area.

 

Applying for planning permission will require you to fill in an application form, draw plans

(which have to be to scale) and pay a fee of £150. Planning applications for this type of

householder development should normally be decided within 8 weeks after submission.

 

So, if you don’t want to fall fowl of the regulations, it’s going to cost you a lot of time and money here. The report also looks at the Environmental concerns of poor drainage.

 

The drains in most urban areas were built many years ago and were not designed to cope with increased rainfall. Paving front gardens further adds to the problem. Although paving over one or two gardens may not seem to make a difference, the combined effect of lots of people in a street or area doing this can increase the risk of flooding.

 

The harm caused by paving gardens is not limited to just flooding. Hard surfaces such as concrete and asphalt collect pollution (oil, petrol, brake dust etc) that is washed off into the drains. Many drains carry rainwater directly to streams or rivers where the pollution damages wildlife and the wider environment. In older areas the rainwater may go into the foul water sewer which normally takes household waste from bathrooms and kitchens to the sewage treatment works. These overflow into streams and rivers in heavy rainfall. As more water runs into foul sewers from paved areas there are more frequent overflows, passing untreated sewage into watercourses.

 

So, it also looks like paving, concrete and tarmac can be pretty bad for the environment ?

 

So why choose Resin Bound Stone over concrete and tarmac? Well, you will have no more puddles, a reduced risk of slipping on ice, no planning permission needed and it is more visually beautiful than concrete and tarmac. Not only that, this surface is extremely low maintenance, is virtually weed resistant, will have minimal fade and discolour during its lifetime, will not crack in adverse weather conditions, is durable and will probably last more than twice as long as tar, concrete and paving/slabs with pointing joints. Resin Bound Stone comes in a massive variety of colours, which we at Erinstone look forward to showing you.

 

The question shouldn’t be why would you use Resin Bound Stone, it’s more likely why wouldn’t you ?

What about weed resistance and maintenance?

Did you lay that beautiful block paving just a few short months ago but now it is looking more green than the cream it should be as the moss, algae and weeds compete eagerly for your attention? And why is it uneven?

Have you also noticed that the hairline cracks in your increasingly blackened concrete driveway have started to open up so badly over the winter that it now look like some of the Amazonian rainforest is trying to break through?

And are you one of those people who has been a little too vigorous with the jet washer on those gorgeous textured slabs? Yes, you’ve got the colour back a bit and gotten rid of the weeds down the side but whoops, now you’ve washed out all the filler and support from the joints. Won’t be long before the slabs wibble wobble as you walk gingerly on them, like stepping stones across a stream.

 

                         

 

And are you one of those people who has been a little too vigorous with the jet washer on those gorgeous textured slabs? Yes, you’ve got the colour back a bit and gotten rid of the weeds down the side but whoops, now you’ve washed out all the filler and support from the joints. Won’t be long before the slabs wibble wobble as you walk gingerly on them, like stepping stones across a stream.

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, the chances are you will be one of those people who doesn’t want to be concerned with all that constant weeding and prefers a much easier life. I think most people know how that feels!

We think that Erinstone can offer the solution…

Let our Resin Bound Stone transform that dreary path, patio or driveway into a thing of beauty.

Block paving and slabs are not laid as one smooth surface so have gaps in between where any weeds are able to come through to the surface. Yes, you can get rid of these weeds by jet washing, but over time the sand between the blocks will erode away, allowing the surface to become more susceptible to weed growth or become uneven. Both surfaces also need more maintenance and tender loving care than Resin Bound Stone does. Weeds will be growing through at an alarming rate but also the gaps between the blocks/slabs may need refilling over time to keep them strong.

 

Concrete cracks occur pretty often, either in the winter when the temperature drops or in the summer when it expands. It seems to get you either way. Damaged concrete then allows water to seep deep into any holes and cracks that have developed, which then expands as it freezes, causing even more damage.

 

This is where we feel that our product wins hands down over the other options. As there are no edges or gaps with Resin Bound Stone, weeds will find it almost impossible to grow through and cause damage.

 

Smooth surface, I’d like to see weeds try and get through this!

 

 

Resin Bound paving doesn’t soften in summer, freeze in winter or fade in sunlight. Alternatives, such as asphalt, tend to soften in the heat (which can result in surface marks), may freeze in cold weather and can also experience colour deterioration due to UV exposure.

 

It can be possible to get concrete, block-paving and slabs cheaper in some cases, however, in the long run, Resin Bound Stone will be the overwhelmingly more cost effective option, due to the lack of maintenance and repair needed over the years.

 

As it is completely porous and Suds compliant, water is drained immediately. Therefore, as there is no more build up of algae around the edges, you can wave bye bye to the stepping stones forever. Being more flexible than either concrete and tarmac, the crack free approach means the Rainforest will be gone too.

As we all know to our cost, weeds never know when they are beaten, but you can keep it under control very easily. Providing any established weed growth is removed before a Resin Bound surface is laid, it is very unlikely, with regular cleaning, that any new weeds will grow. Tidy up any detritus regularly with a sweeping brush and as long as you have a deep and strong sub-base for support and give a jet wash once or twice a year on the surface, you can virtually eliminate all weed growth forever.

 

It’s this easy to maintain

 

 

It should also look just as good after 20 years than it does when first laid. And you definitely can’t say that about concrete, tarmac or block paving.

 

Why we use Resin Trays over tarmac

With tarmac, apart from the mess and potential safety issues of dealing with such a hot product, you are always in a race against time before the bitumen hardens in order to get everything straight and level. This can cause considerable pressures, particularly over a large area. The beauty of these Resin Trays is that there is no time pressure to lay them. As they all clip and unclip together to form a solid frame, it is very easy to adjust them if not totally happy or add either a bit more or bit less sub-base in certain areas to get perfectly flat.

 

 

We are based in Swansea, South Wales which is true to say has its fair bit of wet weather, however, we are able to put Resin Trays down in extreme temperature conditions where you traditionally have difficulty in laying tarmac such as heavy rain and even blistering sun (yes, we occasionally get blistering sun here!).

For us, Resin Trays are the obvious choice as they tick every box for us…

 

  • They are so easy and quick to lay.
  • Coupled with our layer of Resin Bound Stone, we have over 2 inches of porous materials going down so water will drain away fully and we are therefore SuDS compliant.
  • It provides a sturdy and solid base for both small and large vehicles to drive on.
  • Strong load distribution and able to be driven on even if the Resin Bound Stone is not laid straight away.
  • Ability to apply the Resin Bound Stone on top immediately. There is no need to wait for tarmac to cure..
  • They are considerably cleaner and greener than tarmac as not only are they made from recycled low density polyethylene, they are also fully recyclable.
  • It also allow us to bury what carbon footprint we have underneath the surface for a long time.
  • There is less mess and less messy tools on site.
  • They have a longer lifespan than tarmac and have a 20 year guarantee.
  • Having a low surface area of exposed plastic allows a greater bond between the stone infill and Resin Bound Stones, providing a more solid top layer.

Alternative surfaces erode over time and crack under extreme conditions necessitating costly repairs. The integrity of the Trays keeps it all solid and will move and adapt to the conditions along with the Resin Bound Stone, allowing a crack free surface.

 

Below is a picture showing a recent job that we have completed using Resin Trays. After the sub-base was put down and compacted, the Trays were added easily and quickly to allow us to apply Resin Bound Stone on Day 3 to keep up with our busy scheduling.

 

Day 1. Putting Sub-base down and compacting.

 

Day 2. Laying 140 sq mts of Resin Trays and getting perfectly flat.

 

Day 3. Lay chosen Resin Bound Stones.

 

 

Finished Effect !

Resin Trays - ideal for wet weather preparation

We were called in by a couple who had been let down at the last minute and asked to transform their drive and back patio. They chose Resin Bound Stone as the new surface for their driveway after hearing about its’ many advantages over block paving, slabs and patterned concrete, such as water permeability, hard wearing, the amazing choice of colours and low maintenance. They also wanted their front wall widened and driveway extended in order to fully maximise their space up to 85 sq mts.

 

The existing concrete driveway was cracked in far too many places for us to overlay. Coupled with the fact that we needed to take up a grassed area in both the front and back gardens to extend, it meant that we needed a full dig out to fully prepare the surface ready for applying the Resin Bound Stone.

 

Our dedicated team of groundworkers worked tirelessly to dig up both the concrete surface and grass and then to put down the required 150mm compacted sub-base to build back up to the required finished height. For reasons of superior drainage, ease of use and narrow driveway access, we chose Resin Trays over tarmac for this vital supporting layer.

 

We like using Resin Trays where we can as not only are they easy to put down, we can also lay in any weather conditions. In this lovely summer weather wise, we were unlucky enough to hit quite a bit of rain during the preparation so to be able to not lose any time putting these down was valuable with our planning.

 

Sharing the work with a local bricklayer, we were able to dovetail both workloads to ensure that we both maximised our time and just as importantly, didn’t get in each other’s way. Once the Resin Trays were down and filled with chippings, we were able to lay Resin Bound Stone, in this case Daltex blend “Alpine”, white with flecks of silver that beautifully complemented the house and new brickwork.

 

We’ll leave the last word to the customer…

 

“We are delighted with our drive and patio area recently competed by Erinstone and would happily recommend to anyone. They provided a very professional service from quotation through delivery”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can you overlay onto block paving ?

 

Do you overlay on top of a block paving drive or do you carry out a full dig out?

 

This is something that very much divides Resin Bound Stone companies across the land and depending on what they say to this question, it can show you their competency to do the job properly.

 

Overlay is cheaper by far but fraught with potential problems further down the line.

 

As the saying goes, it all comes down to the preparation. The Resin is usually the third layer needed on any surface:

 

  1. Good, compacted sub-base
  2. Tarmac or concrete middle layer
  3. Resin Bound Stone

 

If the sub-base and tarmac/concrete isn’t solid enough, it may move underneath the Resin Bound Stone in time, when vehicles go over it. This may in turn cause cracks to appear in the Resin surface. It is reparable but not straightforward, so really important to get it right first time.

 

All good tarmac/concrete surfaces should already have a suitable sub-base down so it is fairly ease to decide whether we can overlay or not. If the tarmac/concrete is in a solid enough condition or only needs minor repairs, it would make sense to finish off with a Resin Bound Stone overlay. This is by far the easiest and cheapest option. The decision to overlay is therefore straightforward as you know that the surface underneath is solid enough and isn’t likely to cause cracking.

 

Block paving is a very different beast altogether. If you look down any street, you will always find a high percentage of block paving driveways. They do look nice, so are popular. Unfortunately, if the ground underneath has not been prepared properly or if, like where I live, the blocks are put down on a sand base, this could potentially cause movement slightly over the years. Add any jet washing to rid yourself of green moss which can also undermine the blocks and you will almost certainly have problems in time.

 

Some Resin companies will automatically go over the top of the block paving, without knowing what is underneath. This is a very short term view as although it may look solid on the surface, it could move at any stage and for any reason.

 

It is very easy for customers to take the cheaper option. If one supplier is half the price of another and telling you everything you want to hear, then it is very difficult to ignore. We all want to save some money where we can, right? The problem may come if there is a problem at some later stage. Can you get hold of the supplier again? Will they be willing to make the repairs or re-lay the surface, and more importantly at their expense.

 

Be very, very wary if a Resin company says they can go straight over the top of block paving or slabs. No-one knows for sure what is under the surface, whatever they say. They can only make assumptions on how well they think it has been prepared and hope that it will last. There will be some companies who won’t care as they have no intention of coming back in the future so they can more or less say what they like to get the sale. By all means, if you want to go with these companies, you certainly can but buyer beware. Do your homework and research who you want to use. If you go for a dig out, as long as reputable companies are involved with the preparation, there shouldn’t be this risk in the future.

 

So what is best?

 

Almost always, the most sensible course of action where block paving is concerned is to remove them totally, make sure that 150mm of sub-base is down, then lay down either tarmac or Resin Trays for the Resin Bound Stone to go over the top of. Granted, it is more expensive than an overlay but at least you have peace of mind that the job is going to be carried out professionally. You will only be paying for it once and not once now and once when you need the supplier to come back and they can’t be found.