Despite the similarity of the names, resin bonded and resin bound surfaces have different properties, suiting them to different applications. Although both systems comprise aggregates and resin, the way they are applied differs.
Resin bonded surfaces are laid by scattering loose aggregate over a prepared bed of resin, resulting in a finish which is waterproof and offers good traction. The final appearance is similar to loose aggregate.
In contrast, resin bound systems are applied as a pre-mixed material and typically hand-trowelled to a smooth finish suitable for wheelchair access as well as foot and vehicle traffic. Such surfaces are water permeable, complying with the Sustainable Urban Drainage Surfaces (SuDS) standards, and counter the risk of localised flooding. As they allow water to percolate through, resin bound systems can even be used in tree pits.
Both types of surface can achieve decorative landscaping effects by the use of different coloured aggregates.