If the front of your home has space in front of it, it’s likely going to be one of two things – a lawn or a driveway.
Both of these can suffer from puddles forming when it rains, excessive mud, or potholes. Additionally, they may not provide adequate parking space which forces your vehicle onto the curb.
Tarmacking your drive could be the solution.
Tarmacadam provides you with a very long-lasting surface, often with a life span of more than 15 years. Maintenance is easy and the price is cheaper than other surfacing options.
For a new tarmac, driveway prices may vary between £45 and £60 per square metre. Of course, this depends on who you choose to install your tarmac driveway. A number of factors can be evaluated onsite, including:
- The gradient of the land – how much work will need to be done in order to create a viable slope degree for tarmacking to take place?
- The condition of any existing driveway surface/lawn – will this require excavation work, and to what extent?
- The size of the area to be covered
When you requests quotes from Tradesmen Prices for a tarmac driveway, you’ll be put in touch with 3-4 trusted tarmac installers. You can compare the estimates offered to you and get further insight into how your existing driveway will affect the cost of your new tarmac driveway. Just fill in the form below.
Tarmac Drive Cost FAQ
Why would someone want a tarmac drive?
Tarmac driveways are a relatively cheap, durable driveway surfacing option.
They make the front of your home look modern and clean and can be easily maintained. Often, tarmac driveways can last 15 years maintenance free.
If your existing driveway is old or you don’t have one, having a tarmac driveway laid is a great way to add value to your property. Sometimes, houses in busy residential areas with both front and back gardens (and no driveway) can decrease in value due to the demand for private parking spaces.
Though some homeowners are hesitant to tarmac over their front lawns, it can be a lucrative decision – owning a private driveway is better than having to park on the street.
What are the disadvantages of a tarmac drive?
Tarmac driveways now have 50% less life expectancy compared to those laid 20 years ago. Tarmac is short for ‘tarmacadam’ and should not be confused with the brand of the same name. Essentially, it’s glued together with the biproducts of the oil refinery process.
However, modern day technologies focused on making the oil refining industry more efficient have made it possible to extract more goodness from the biproducts. This means the sludge left over is barely fit for use, and what ends up sold to asphalt mixing plants for tarmac production makes it less durable than it used to be.
Tarmac driveways suffer from weathering and oxidation brought about by ‘surface travelling’, also known as progressive disintegration, which leaves the tarmac prone to cracking.
Additionally, should your tarmac driveway require a repair, it would be impossible to simply blend in a patch job. In some cases, the entire driveway may need resurfacing.
Are there alternatives to a tarmac drive?
If you’re looking to emulate the smoothness of a tarmac driveway, but want a more durable and attractive finish, a resin driveway may be the solution.
Resin driveways come in a range of colours and choices of aggregate, are fully SUDS compliant meaning you don’t need planning permission for them, and most importantly – they have a longer lifespan than tarmac.
If you’re willing to go the extra mile for aesthetic reasons, you may want to consider block paving for your driveway. A popular choice in the UK since the 1980’s, block paving is a versatile choice for your driveway, coming in hundreds of styles, colours, arrangements, and price points.
Other options include:
- Paving stones
- Slabs and flagstones
What are the main benefits of a tarmac drive?
Tarmac driveways are easy to install compared to other types of driveway surfacing. Though of course it’s advisable to dig out your driveway and install a sub-base before laying your tarmac, in some cases it may be possible to simply apply the tarmac to an existing surface. It’s a hot liquid and can be easily levelled.
Tarmac is a cheaper choice per square metre than other surface options, whilst lasting just as long by comparison.
When choosing a tarmac driveway, you may be pleasantly surprised to discover that black isn’t the only colour you can choose! Many surfacing companies will offer a range of tarmac colours, and some may be able to provide a border in a contrasting shade around the perimeter of your driveway for a striking effect.
Maintaining tarmac may require a little more attention than other surfaces, but it’s easy to do. Should you start to see scratches or marks in your tarmac, you may be able to have another layer of tarmac laid directly over the top to give the appearance of a brand-new driveway. However, tarmac is typically very durable, and easily holds the weight of heavy vehicles
Will I need planning permission for a tarmac drive?
If the tarmac you choose is made from a porous asphalt, you won’t need planning permission to lay it. If it isn’t, as long as you can prove there is sufficient drainage off the tarmac (for example, into a lawn, gutter, or border) you won’t need to apply for planning permission either.
However, if you choose to lay impermeable tarmac over an area more than five square metres, which doesn’t drain into a permeable area, planning permission will be necessary.
Who can I buy a tarmac drive from?
Surfacing and driveway companies in the UK have, unfortunately, gained a bad reputation over the years.
There are hundreds of different tradespeople who will be able to offer you a relatively cheap tarmac driveway, but how can you be sure that you’re being quoted the right price for the work?
In addition, when choosing a tarmac surfacing company, you want to know they’re using high quality materials and doing a good job – worst case scenario is your new tarmac drive cracks a week after it’s been laid.
Using the Tradesmen Quotes form at the top of this page, you can get 3-4 competitive quotes from reliable surfacing companies local to you. Making sure you choose a trusted company can be difficult, so we’d like to give you peace of mind that everyone we work with for quotes has been thoroughly vetted and checked.
After all, when a tarmac drive is laid well, it can be a fantastic investment.
Should my tarmac drive layer be a member of anything (trade body, government registration scheme, etc?)
The Tarmac brand offers a list of accredited tarmac surfacing companies registered with them, but it will put the price up.
However, you may be able to find genuine tarmacadam installers in your local area who aren’t Tarmac (the company) affiliated. The best way to ensure their credibility is to ask them about their experience, what exactly they offer, and whether they have insurance.
Before I get a tarmac drive laid, what should I ask a potential layer?
Because there are always going to be ‘cowboy’ companies vying for your custom, you should ask potential installers a few questions regarding the job at hand.
Contractors who only offer overlays should be avoided. If you find a tarmacadam installer who lays roads as well as driveways, they may be a better choice.
You could evaluate them by asking the following questions:
- Will any damage be covered by my insurance or yours?
- Are you going to use heavy machinery? What is the weight of this machinery and will my existing driveway be able to cope with it?
- Is my new tarmac driveway covered by warranty against erosion or fading?
- Do you have public liability insurance in place?
- Has your company ever had claims made against you?
If the company you’re looking to go with doesn’t have public liability and other damages insurance, walk away.
How long does it take to lay a tarmac drive?
Depending on whether your driveway is a new tarmac installation or a resurfacing job, the time taken to complete the work will vary.
For a new tarmac driveway, the steps taken will be as follows:
- Excavation/Removal of current surface
- Laying of geo-membrane which prevents weed growth
- Laying of edging on sand and cement base
- Laying of sub-grade base
- Binding course tarmac laying
- Binding course tarmac compaction
- Surface course tarmac laying
- Surface course tarmac compaction and final touches
Often, a 30-metre square tarmac driveway can be dug out, installed, and laid in 3-4 days. You’ll need to leave it to cool for a while before driving over it, regardless of whether it’s a full job or a simple resurfacing.
The tarmac itself is laid quickly because it needs to be rolled whilst still hot, so a resurfacing job will take significantly less time than a driveway required excavation and sub-grade base layers.
Ask your contractor how long they think you’ll need to wait before driving over your new tarmac driveway. This will likely depend on your vehicle, the weather, and which type of tarmacadam has been used.
The driveway industry is unfortunately home to many ‘rogue’ traders who operate without proper public liability insurance and offer work at ‘great prices’ – often, they’ll use budget materials, and do a less than satisfactory job.
This can make finding reputable surfacing companies difficult, and if you’ve never had your driveway done before, you might not know of any local companies who can give you great results at competitive prices.
Using the Tradesmen Prices form below will give you 3-4 quotes for your tarmac driveway from genuine contractors from your local area. We’ve checked their history and credentials, so you can experience peace of mind.
You can use the quotes to compare against ones you’ve already received, meaning you’ll be more likely to get a better price for the same high standard tarmac driveway.