Non-slip and puddle-free: resin-bound permeable paving for pool surrounds
If you’re choosing which material to use for a pool surround, your first thoughts are probably options that have been on the market for many years: stone pavers, tiles, wood decking or concrete. However, while materials like travertine are popular, they don’t drain water very efficiently, which can lead to slip hazards. If safety is one of your top design considerations (as it should be for any project) then permeable paving should be on your list.
Resin-bound aggregate is a new type of permeable paving that’s only recently entered the Australian market. It’s essentially small pebbles that are bound together with a clear UV-stabilised polyurethane resin and trowelled to a smooth finish. Enough glue is used to bind the rocks, but not enough to block all the gaps between them. This allows water to drain through instantly without having to find the edge of a tile first.
Rapid drainage isn’t the only benefit of resin-bound permeable paving. As with exposed aggregate concrete, different coloured stones can be mixed to create a composite that complements other landscaping features, and the stones can be trowelled into unique shapes and patterns. As opposed to exposed aggregate concrete, resin-bound permeable paving has a smooth surface, which makes it kinder underfoot than exposed aggregates. While smooth to walk on, the pebbles are also non-slip. Wet pendulum testing has certified Pebble Pave as class P5 and meeting Australian Standard AS 4586. In other words, it’s proven to be safe for steps and slopes in wet areas.
All paving needs a strong base — and aggregate permeable paving is no different. For a poolside, permeable paving is typically laid on a normal concrete slab. This means that once the water has drained from the surface, it will flow through the paving in the direction the concrete is sloped, towards a drain.
For paths, driveways and other areas away from the pool, a permeable concrete base is typically used instead of a solid base. After the water has filtered through the paving stones, it travels through the concrete base to the soil underneath. This has the added benefit of hydrating the garden and preventing erosion from stormwater run-off.
Permeable paving isn’t limited to new pools. The resin used in the paving sticks to almost anything, especially concrete. So existing concrete, tiles and pavers can be resurfaced directly over, eliminating the need for costly demolition work.
Another unique property of the resin binder is its inherent flexibility. This means that the paved area can tolerate normal movement in the ground, allowing large, unbroken paved areas without control joints. By contrast, traditional cement-based paving (concrete, pavers on mortar, etc) requires saw cuts and expansion joints to prevent unsightly hairline cracking.
While the product itself is highly versatile, it’s also hard-wearing, requiring little maintenance. The resin binder we use seals the paving on application, preventing water staining. Periodic resealing with the binding resin is recommended every three years for a poolside, which costs around $5–10/m2. Reputable installers will extend the product’s warranty if you engage them to do this job.
Permeable paving is a great way to manage drainage — both in fully permeable applications such as water-sensitive urban design-friendly driveways and in puddle-free, non-slip poolsides. Using the correct permeable concrete base results in permeable paving that can be tailored to any specification. Most importantly though, we think it looks fantastic!
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