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Tarmac Driveway Cost & Prices 2022

Tarmac is a great option as a driveway material, due to its relatively low cost and easy installation process.

If you’re looking for a long-lasting solution to the puddles and potholes on your path, having a tarmac driveway could be an excellent decision. It looks great and can last at least 15 years without maintenance.

This article will cover what you can expect to pay for a tarmac driveway, factors that affect the cost and other common questions people have before getting a tarmac driveway done.

Average Tarmac Driveway Cost

We contacted 27 different contractors for quotes on a tarmac driveway.

An average price you can expect to pay to tarmac a driveway is between £40 to £70 per m². This correlates to the following prices for different sized driveways:

Driveway SizeAverage CostTypical Range
10m²£550£400 - £700
20m²£1100£800 - £1400
30m²£1650£1200 - £2100
40m²£2200£1600 - £2800
50m²£2750£2000 - £3500
60m²£3300£2400 - £4200
70m²£3850£3100 - £4900

Depending on how big the driveway is and the complexity of the job, it can take anywhere between 1-2 days to 2 weeks. 

Tarmac Prices vs Other Materials

Let’s take a quick look at the alternatives to tarmac and how they compare price-wise. 

Gravel is cheap at around £25 per square metre or £50 if excavating is required, but it involves a lot of maintenance since it is constantly being moved around.

Block paving costs around £50 per square metre and is probably the most attractive option as it can be customised. Repairs are simple to carry out on block paving but you will need to find a skilled paver to make sure the job is done well.

Resin is like gravel but more compact, meaning it moves around a lot less and is more durable. Resin driveways cost between £40 and £70 per square metre. 

Concrete is the most expensive driveway material, costing around £85 per square metre, but it has the longest lifespan – around 40 years if well maintained. It is prone to cracks and can deteriorate quickly in poor weather. 

Factors that Affect the Cost of a Tarmac Driveway

Like with any job, there is a range of factors that will affect the cost of your new tarmac driveway.These are among the most important factors in determining the cost.

Size of the Driveway

Since tarmac driveways are usually priced according to square metre, naturally, a larger surface area will cost more than a smaller one.

Equally, larger driveways take more time and so the cost of labour will increase with the amount of days required to complete the job.

That being said, while larger driveways mean higher labour costs, the price per square metre will decrease slightly as it is more cost-effective in terms of materials.

For a smaller driveway, the price per square metre of tarmac will be higher, but labour and time costs are lower. 

Ease of Access

If your new tarmac driveway touches a public area, such as a footpath, or crosses over a grass verge, access to the job will become more complicated.

Particularly in the case of crossing over a public walkway, you may need to get permission from the Highways Agency or the local council, which can slow down the job and incur further costs. 

Shape of Driveway

Tarmac is laid in liquid form so an oddly shaped driveway won’t affect the cost.

However, it is important that the driveway be slightly sloping, for draining purposes, which can complicate planning.

The driveway will also need edging to make sure it does not move or crack. Edging is normally done using timber or concrete, which can cost between £20 and £100 per square metre.

A more unusual shape means more edging, which can raise the price. 

Drainage Costs

When having a tarmac driveway installed, one important factor is making sure that water is running off the driveway away from the house.

If there is not an adequate draining system for this, you may have to divert the water onto a public space, which will require planning permission.

Alternatively, you can connect to an existing soakaway or create a draining channel, both of which will increase the total price.

If you need to create a new soakaway or channel, that means an extra day of work and an additional £500-£1,000 on top of the driveway cost. 

Slopes

The driveway must be constructed in such a way that water flows away from the house.

A draining system of channels or soakaways can be created but if the water does not flow naturally, it will pool in areas of the driveway and gradually degrade the tarmac surface over time.

Also, the land where the driveway will be installed often comprises infrequent slops and needs to be levelled to allow for proper drainage.

Slopes can be created by adding a stone sub-base during the excavation phase before laying the tarmac and this costs around £35 per tonne. 

Location

Labour costs in London and the south of England are generally more expensive than elsewhere.

If the contractor needs to travel beyond a certain radius, then they may add an extra fee on top. Unless you live in a very rural location or want to use an electrician further afield, you shouldn’t need to pay extra.

Tarmac Driveway Repair Cost

Tarmac is known for its durability, yet it is still subject to wear and tear.

A tarmac driveway should be maintained once per year and will probably need to be resurfaced every 5-10 years.

A professional will charge around £175 per day to resurface your driveway. 

It’s easy to carry out small DIY repairs on a tarmac driveway using cold lay tarmac, which is ideal for fixing small holes and blemishes.

A 25kg bag will cost between £7 and £15 and can be used to cover up to 0.2 metres squared of tarmac. Alternatively, for small cracks, you can use a tarmac-friendly crack filler, the price of which is about £30. 

For larger cracks and potholes, cold lay tarmac is not advisable as it will not provide a long-term solution.

For bigger repairs, professionals recommend the application of hot mix tarmac, which will bind more strongly to the existing surface.

For such a job, you’re better enlisting a tarmac driveway contractor.

How to Maintain Your Tarmac Driveway

Maintaining your driveway involves keeping it clean so that it remains in good condition and looks good too.

This involves removing weeds, which unfortunately are a natural problem on all driveways, particularly those installed near a lawn or plant bed.

To prevent weeds, treat the area with weed killer in the week leading up to having the driveway installed. A bottle of weed killer costs around £5 and you should apply it regularly to reduce the chance of weeds penetrating the surface of the tarmac.

If weeds begin to appear on your tarmac driveway, treat them with a water-based product to kill them before attempting to pull them out.

Weeds often have deep roots and attempting to remove them before they are dead can cause even more damage to the tarmac.  

Cleaning a tarmac driveway also includes taking care of oil and grease stains, which, if left untreated, can cause the tarmac to deteriorate and eventually crack.

To remove oil, you can hire a professional power washer, which costs around £300. Alternatively, you can remove oil and grease yourself by spraying an oil remover onto the stained area.

You’ll need to hire or buy a power washer for this and then purchase the oil remover yourself at around £25 per bottle. After spraying, scrub the affected area with a brush and leave for 15 minutes before rinsing it with water from the hose. 

What is Tarmac?

When we talk about tarmacing a drive, the material used is often referred to as tarmac however this is actually a registered trade name for the substance tarmacadam.

Tarmacadam consists of crushed gravel mixed with natural tar. Although very similar, it differs from asphalt as the latter is made from crushed gravel and bitumen, which is refined from crude oil. 

Can You Get Coloured Tarmac?

Tarmac is normally black but it’s relatively simple to change the colour by adding a dye to the mix as it is prepared.

Common colours include reg, green, grey and blue but you can actually colour tarmac any way you like. 

Coloured tarmac definitely adds a unique touch to a driveway however it’s important to bear in mind that wear and tear will show much more easily on a lighter coloured tarmac and so it will require a higher level of maintenance.

Is Coloured Tarmac More Expensive?

Changing the colour of tarmac to red will increase the price by between £10 and £20 per square metre, with the higher price referring to a smaller area of tarmacing.

A cheaper way to colour tarmac is adding a coloured sealant after it has been laid. Coloured sealant costs around £35 for a 5 litre container. 

Can I Tarmac a Driveway Myself?

The high labour costs of laying a tarmac driveway can make it tempting to try to do the job yourself.

However this is not recommendable at all and should be left to professionals. Installing a tarmac driveway requires specialist equipment that is expensive to hire.

Although laying a basic surface can seem simple, there are many things that can go wrong when working with hot mix tarmac, resulting in a poor quality job and an unattractive look.

Besides, tarmac must reach a high temperature in order to become liquid and you run the risk of burning yourself or others if you don’t know what you’re doing. 

Advantages of a Tarmac Driveways

Quick and easy to install

Laying a tarmac driveway can take as little as 2 days and after the liquid has been applied it dries within 24 hours, although it is better to wait around one week before parking your car on the driveway. 

Durable and resistant

Tarmac repels water, which is great with regards to durability but does mean that it can involve some draining issues. It also has a long lifespan compared to other driveway materials and normally doesn’t require many repairs. 

Easy to maintain

You should maintain your tarmac driveway yearly and consider resealing it every 5-10 years. However, resealing is a simple job that fundamentally requires applying a new layer of tarmac and helps to prevent oil stains and cracks. 

Get Prices on Tarmac Driveways Near You

We’ve done our best to give you a good idea of what you can expect to pay for a tarmac driveway.

However, our guides are not a substitute for a fixed quote specifically for you.

We work with all the best tarmac driveway installers ready to price your job. Get free, no-obligation quotes in your local area and compare prices using the form below.

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About the Author

Alex Johnson is a qualified quantity surveyor and writer with a passion for conducting original research and uncovering the true cost of jobs. His cost data has been referenced by EDF Energy and the Scottish Government.