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What are the key benefits of bound and unbound paving?

By Stephanie Bennett
3 min read

Understanding the benefits of bound and unbound paving is essential for anyone involved in construction. All Tobermore products can be laid both bound and unbound. By examining these two methods, we aim to provide readers with insights into their respective strengths.

Unbound paving is utilised more widely in the industry and involves using a sharp sand (known as grit sand or builders’ sand) laying course below the paving. On the other hand, Bound paving requires use of cementitious mortar (cement based binding material) between all joints. Whether you’re a contractor, designer, or housebuilder, this article should help you appreciate the advantages of both bound and unbound paving.

What is Unbound Paving?

Previously known as the flexible installation method, unbound installation refers to paving that is installed without the use of a cement binder in the laying course or jointing material. Instead, it has a sharp sand laying course which the blocks are then laid on top of with a close joint of between 2-5mm. Kiln dried sand is then brushed into the joints providing the structural interlock.


What are the benefits of unbound Paving?

  1. Lower Cost:
    • Materials used in the unbound installation method are more cost-effective compared to the materials required for bound installation, making it an economical choice.
  2. Movement:
    • Paving installed using the unbound method reduces the risk of cracks appearing which can sometimes be seen in areas of bound paving. This is due to the flexible nature of the installation method.
  3. Easy Repairs:
    • If damage occurs, repairing unbound paving is simpler and more cost-effective than repairing cracks in bound paving.
  4. Versatility:
    • Unbound paving is versatile and can be used in various applications, including driveways, walkways, car parks, and roads.
  5. Quick Installation:
    • Unbound materials can be laid and compacted relatively quickly, reducing the time and disruption associated with construction projects.

It’s important to note that the suitability of unbound paving depends on factors such as the specific application, traffic load, and maintenance considerations. Each type of paving has its advantages and limitations, so the choice should be made based on the specific requirements of the project.

Mayfair Sandstone Flags laid unbound


What is bound Paving?

Bound installation previously known as rigid installation refers to paving surfaces where the units are primed, bedded, and jointed with a cementitious mortar. The joint widths will typically be between 6 – 12mm.

Braemar Paving laid bound

Here are several benefits associated with bound paving:

  1. Strength and Durability:
    • Bound paving provides a strong and durable surface capable of handling heavy loads and frequent traffic.
  2. Long Lifespan:
    • Properly installed and maintained bound paving can have a longer lifespan compared to unbound, offering a more lasting solution.
  3. Low Maintenance:
    • Once installed, bound paving typically requires less maintenance.
  4. Versatility:
    • Bound paving can be used in a variety of applications, including roads, car parks, driveways, and walkways, providing a versatile solution for different needs.
  5. Reduced Weed Growth:
    • Bound surfaces inhibit weed growth, providing a cleaner and more manicured appearance compared to some unbound materials.

While bound paving offers many benefits, it’s important to consider factors such as initial cost, maintenance requirements, and environmental impact when choosing the right paving solution for a specific project.

Should you choose bound or unbound paving for your project?

The choice between bound and unbound paving often depends on the intended use, budget, and site conditions.

If you are unsure on whether bound or unbound paving is most suitable for your project, get in touch with our technical team today!

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Tobermore’s Technical team is on hand to answer any queries you have.

Stephanie Bennett

Stephanie is an integral part of the marketing team at Tobermore, where she focuses on supporting commercial marketing initiatives. She is dedicated to enhancing brand visibility and ensuring that marketing strategies align effectively with the company's goals.