Tarmac Driveway Cost 2022: UK Price Guide 

Tarmac Driveway Cost 2022 UK Price Guide

First impressions matter, especially when it comes to your house’s exteriors, so having a sleek and modern driveway is a great way to bring out the beauty of your landscape and house. However, choosing the right material for your driveway is tricky. One of the materials that guarantee an appropriate result is tarmac; some people refer to it as asphalt, but though similar, they are technically not the same.

A tarmac driveway gives your home a retouched look — though simple and plain, they provide a chic ambience and can accommodate various styles. Tarmac is durable, resistant to weather damage, and long-lasting, providing homeowners with the same look and pristine condition even ten years later.

Tarmac driveways do not require an intense maintenance process when installed correctly, and unlike concrete, it increases the value of your property. Combined with easy installation and cost-effectiveness, tarmacking your driveway is a great move and an excellent investment for your property.

This article will discuss the cost of tarmacking your driveway and some important factors that affect its prices. We will also highlight the advantages of tarmac over other materials and whether to choose a hot or cold lay. At the end of the article, you will have an estimated cost and enough information to decide if a tarmac driveway is right for your home.

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How Much Will It Cost to Tarmac My Driveway?

Creating a tarmac driveway often leaves many homeowners wondering how much it would cost to make and maintain them. The cost of constructing a tarmac driveway also depends on the contractor, labour fee, and the type of gravel. We will discuss the factors that increase the cost of building a driveway in a later section.

Generally, black tarmac costs about £60-£80 per square metre. For installing the driveway, there are other expenses to consider, including excavation, if needed, and labour charges. Here are some estimates to guide you when evaluating contractor quotes. Note that the actual costs could vary depending on other factors.

Single car driveway(15 square metres) £900 £800 1-2 days £1700
Double car driveway (30 square metres) £1800 £2000 4-5 days £3800
Triple car driveway (45-50 square metres) £2700 £2800 6-7 days £5500

*The figures in the table do not show the true cost but are estimates of what to expect. The estimation can help you get started on planning and budgeting your driveway.

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What Affects the Cost of a Tarmac Driveway?

Besides the actual cost of installing a tarmac driveway, specific factors can affect the prices. They may be general things or features unique to your project. It would be best to consider these factors when planning your budget for an accurate estimate.

Driveway Size and Scale

As you can see from the cost estimate table above, the larger the driveway, the higher the cost. This is a general principle for most of the factors involved in a tarmac installation. It leads to an increase in other factors, including the amount of material needed, labour, and the number of days to complete.
Unique factors such as the number of cars in your family or if you have a front garden or trees you don’t want disturbing can cause additional diversions resulting in more material needed.

However, since the contractors need many supplies, there are also discounts on bulk buying of these materials, including tarmac. Always ensure you are getting the best price for your driveway needs.

Land Gradient

The slope of your driveway is an essential feature to consider as it determines the drainage capacity. There is an established ratio for such spaces to allow proper flow. Therefore, the land must have a specific gradient and levelling so that water runs down when rain falls instead of pooling. That determines the amount of work before installing the tarmac.

The contractors you hire will have more work to do if your space does not have the required gradient ratio. Hence, the professionals will create the necessary slope before they start the process of installing the tarmac. That results in an increase in the cost of materials and labour. This will also increase the number of days required to finish the job.

Current Surface

Besides the presence or absence of an adequate slope, the current state of your driveway plays a part. The cost increases if the surface has another material or an old tarmac due for removal. That is because the contractors must excavate that layer to prepare the area for work.

On the other hand, the cost will reduce significantly if the current surface is already a tarmac driveway. That is because the driveway would not require any excavation and may only need resurfacing. In that case, the contractors only need to work on the top layers, which is cheaper and less time-consuming.


More people are getting tarmac driveways in 2022 because of the durability and aesthetics. Therefore, the material is in high demand worldwide. Companies and contractors involved are also getting various calls during this period. That usually results in increased cost, so you should consider that for your budget.

Type of Tarmac

There are two types of tarmac materials, and the one you desire to purchase has an effect on the cost. The two types of mixes or lay for tarmac are cold and hot. A cold lay does not require special skills or heating before pouring, so it is great for repairing patches and potholes. You can buy them in small amounts, which is perfect for a quick fix.

Meanwhile, the hot lay requires professional help due to the technique; tarmac in this method is first heated to 150°C and then poured onto the driveway. Unfortunately, you may not have much controlling power over the type you use because they serve different purposes.

Tarmac Colour

Tarmac is natural tar with black colour, but you can change that if you desire. There are various shades available, and obtaining them involves a process of adding a dye to the material. Getting coloured tar would increase the cost for your driveway, and the prices differ for each hue. The average cost per square metre is an additional £10 to  £20 to your base cost. 

A less costly method of getting a coloured tarmac driveway is adding the hue to the sealant instead. This process is less time-consuming, and you still have the same aesthetics.


Drainage is essential for a tarmac driveway to ensure water does not pool in the space but flows out. It is possible to work with the existing systems in place and set up the right connection. However, if you live in an area which is frequently susceptible to heavy rains and water logging, you might require a new setup. In this case, the contractors might have to build new drains to enable smooth installation.

Additional Costs and Work Done

Labour charges are another factor that determines the cost, and it depends on the contractors. Though there is a standard range, there is usually no fixed price for their work. You may pay less for a single-person contractor than a company, and the location also plays a part in determining the price.

Besides the standard labour fee, there might be additional costs for other work that the basic package does not cover. That includes drainage installation, excavation, changing tarmac colour, waste disposal, and obtaining planning permission. Ensure to get a quote and discuss all charges before the work begins.

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How Can I Save Money on the Cost of Driveway Tarmac?

There are several ways to save money on the cost of your driveway tarmac, so you do not break the bank. First, you should consider repairs if you are not installing a tarmac driveway from scratch. You can even handle the project without having to hire a professional once you know how to carry out the process.

Buy a cold lay because they cost less, and you can get them in smaller quantities. They come in ready-made packages and do not require any special skill or knowledge to apply. You can pour the cold tarmac over the cracks and potholes in your driveway as smoothly as possible to repair them. You could also use a sealant to refinish, although that has no effect on holes.

Meanwhile, if you are installing a new driveway and want a different hue, buy black tarmac and use a coloured sealant. A coloured tarmac is more expensive, so you get to save and still have the desired aesthetic. Hire experienced professionals or an established company to avoid spending money on bad quality work.

What’s Involved in Tarmacing a Driveway?

Tarmacing a driveway is an intricate but straightforward process, which makes it easy to understand. The professionals must first check to see the amount of work needed. They determine the required procedures and take the following steps:

  • Excavation of the existing surface’s top layer
  • Geotextile membrane installation to prevent weed growth and provide stability
  • Connecting or establishing a drainage system
  • Creating edging using a high-quality base material. Kerbstones, bricks, or concrete edge blocks are ideal
  • Laying and compacting the tarmac driveway sub-base
  • Laying and compacting the first layer or binding course
  • Applying and compacting the top or surface tarmac layer
  • Finishing and sealing the tarmac driveway
  • Clearing the waste and debris from the driveway site

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Should I Choose Tarmac or Concrete for My Driveway?

Tarmac and concrete are the top driveway materials; therefore, homeowners have difficulty deciding between them. Tarmac is cheaper and has a smoother finish, making it easier to maintain. On the other hand, concrete is more expensive but is an excellent option for longevity.

Advantages of Tarmac

  • Cheaper- Costs less than other driveway finishing materials
  • Weather-resistant- Excellent in both wet and dry conditions if drainage is adequate
  • Easy to install- The process is straightforward and done easily by a professional
  • Less maintenance- Does not need constant small repairs compared to other driveway surfaces if taken care of
  • Durable- Does not crack easily and lasts for at least ten years with proper care

Disadvantages of Tarmac

  • Periodic maintenance- Requires sealant every five years to increase durability
  • Absorbs heat- Gets hot in summer, so tyre marks show easily
  • Degrades over time- Susceptible to cracks and potholes in extreme weather conditions or if not properly taken care of

Advantages of Concrete

  • Heat-resistant- Unlike tarmac, it does not absorb heat even during warmer months
  • Sturdy- Concrete maintains its structure, and sealing gives extra protection in harsh weather
  • Long-lasting- Lasts for as long as 25 years with proper maintenance
  • Easy to clean- The cleaning process is straightforward and not tedious as with other materials
  • Versatile- Concrete can have various designs and colours, adding aesthetics to the function

Disadvantages of Concrete

  • Expensive- costs more than other driveway finishing materials
  • Not resistant to cracking- Concrete cracks to create potholes and shows patches on repair
  • Requires preparation- The contractors must prepare concrete appropriately before pouring

Should I Use Cold Lay or Hot Lay Tarmac?

There are two main types of tarmac- the hot and cold mix. While the former requires heating before application, the latter does not. The hot lay applies mostly to large areas like driveways, roads, and parking spaces. Meanwhile, contractors use the cold lay for small areas like covering patches and potholes.

Advantages of Cold Lay

  • Cheaper- Cold lay is more affordable and is available for purchase in small amounts
  • Repair solution- Provides an easy way to fix cracks and potholes and prevent further damage
  • Easy to use- Does not require much effort to pour and install
  • Not affected by cold- You can lay this type of mix even in cold weather

Disadvantages of Cold Lay

  • Temporary- Cold lay provides only a short-term solution for repairs and patching
  • Lower value- It has less value if the crack or pothole is large
  • Longer setting- Cold lay takes a longer time to set, so it requires care

Advantages of Hot Lay

  • Cost-effective- Hot lay saves cost in the long run because of bulk purchase
  • Weather-resistant- It resists various weather conditions
  • Lasts long- The hot lay is durable and lasts long when handled right
  • Quick setting- Sets faster than the cold lay, so it does not need much “out of commission” time
  • Flexible- It is flexible and malleable and is not easily cracked by temperature differences

Disadvantages of Hot Lay

  • Not easy to handle- Requires high temperature, so only professionals can work with it
  • Must buy bulk- It is nearly impossible to buy small amounts of hot lay
  • Installation temperature- Cold temperatures affect the pouring and installation process

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How Do I Find and Hire Someone to Tarmac My Driveway?

Based on the costs involved, tarmac driveway installation is a significant undertaking. Therefore, hiring the best person for the job is essential to ensure its success. It is also necessary because even if you oversee the project, you need a reliable professional. That is vital, especially if you do not know much about tarmacking.

Therefore, you must check out the company you wish to hire to know if they are great. Ensure they have experience with installing tarmac driveways before considering other features like proximity and cost. It is also essential to read customer reviews and testimonials to know their reputation.

One of the best ways to find the best driveway installers is using Bark. It is a free website for getting contractors who will do the job perfectly. Insert details about your project on the site, and you’ll get a list of companies to review and choose the best fit. It enables you to compare profiles and read comments from previous customers.

Another great way to find someone to fix your tarmac driveway is through referral. If you know someone who got tarmac repair services, they can introduce you to their contractor. That guarantees you’ll get a great deal as they would not refer to an unsuitable person.

Ensuring the Professional is the Right Fit

While there are many contractors or companies you can hire to install your tarmac driveway, it is necessary to ensure the professionals are the right fit for you, so you must consider several factors. Firstly, they should be near you as that determines both the cost and duration of the job.

Secondly, check the contractor’s experience to ensure they have adequate knowledge of the project. They must also have the necessary registration, insurance, and other documents that show establishment. It serves as a precaution in the case of any eventualities or unplanned events.

The terms of service should be clear and understood by both parties to avoid hassles. It would be best to get a signed quote, whether written or an electronic copy, containing the cost of all services offered. That way, you both know the prices and conditions and have a solid agreement beforehand.

We advise that you get two or more quotes from different sources to compare the prices before picking a contractor. That enables you to know if you are getting the best possible rates or at least something close to the standard. Ask questions and discuss anything you feel might be an issue so the professional can explain. It helps you gain information and understand the process.

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Final Checklist

Tarmacing your driveway is an excellent investment for your home because it is an aesthetic and durable option. It lasts between fifteen and twenty years with adequate maintenance and allows for easy repair and resurfacing. There are specific things to consider in ensuring a smooth installation process, and here is a checklist:

  • Ensure you hire the best possible contractor while considering the cost and your budget
  • Ask the professionals questions to find out enough about the process before they begin
  • Get at least two quotes for comparison purposes
  • The contractor should outline any additional work like excavation and drainage construction in the quote
  • Allow enough time for the tarmac to set and dry before usage

FAQs Regarding Tarmac Driveway

  • How thick should a tarmac driveway be?

A tarmac driveway is usually about two to three inches thick, and that is why compacting is essential. The aggregate for creating the material ranges from about half to three-quarters of an inch. However, the ones used for residential spaces are smaller to give a smoother finish.

Ideally, larger aggregates provide a stronger tarmac, but the sub-base does not add to the thickness. The lower layer, made of crushed rocks, serves as a foundation and only helps to pack the soil. The top layers and the sealant are what comprise the two to three inches.

  • What is the best method for cleaning a tarmac driveway?

There are various ways to take care of your car space, and the first and easiest thing to do is sweep. That gets rid of all the moveable dirt and large particles before you can focus on stains. Pressure washing is one of the most accepted ways to clean your tarmac driveway. You first spray a degreasing agent and rub with a hand brush.

After degreasing, apply detergent and leave it for about five minutes to get any stains out. Then you use the pressure washer by holding it about 15 inches from the driveway. It would be best to maintain a consistent pattern for thorough washing. You can also use bleach, but you must ensure an appropriate ratio when mixing with water.

  • What is the ideal tarmac driveway maintenance process?

Tarmac driveways are long-lasting if you maintain them well, ensuring they are worth the money spent. After installation, it is vital to allow complete drying before usage. Though setting takes about 5-8 hours, professionals recommend you give it a few days so that it does not crack from the beginning.

Another great and easy way to maintain your tarmac driveway is to keep it clean. Wash out stains appropriately, especially oil spills and other things that may affect the integrity of the material. Also, ensure you use a compatible detergent, so it does not eat up the layers. Lastly, apply a sealant frequently- every three to five years to protect the surface.

  • Can you remove and change a tarmac driveway?

Yes, you can remove and change a tarmac driveway. Removal is through a process called excavation, where the experts dig the surface material. That exposes the soil underneath and frees up the land to either re-do the tarmacking or use a different finishing material. You can even use it for a garden as long as the contractors carry out the procedure appropriately.

However, you cannot do it yourself, so you need a professional for this job. Other finishing materials you can change to include concrete, brick, bluestone, and resin. Know that you can still maintain your tarmac driveway without removing it. There are ways to refurbish the surface and make it look as good as new.

  • What is tarmac resurfacing?

Tarmac resurfacing is the process of changing the surface of your driveway material. It involves removing the top layers and pouring a new surface about one to two inches thick to replace the old one. It provides a new look at a lower cost because it is not a total restoration project. It also increases the lifespan by another eight to fifteen years.

Resurfacing is a great option for you when the driveway is getting old and has cracks and potholes. It provides a better and more cost-effective solution than constant patching and repairs. However, you must ensure that there are no issues with the drainage and sub-base before going ahead with this process.

  • What are the different grades of tarmac?

There are two grades of tarmac classified based on density: open-graded and close-graded. The former has a few smaller particles and more of larger aggregates in the mixture. That makes the driveway permeable and prevents water from pooling at the surface. Hence, this class is prone to spoilage and cracking.

On the other hand, the close-graded tarmac is denser, containing smaller aggregates. The particles are typically about three millimetres or less and allow water to run off instead of going into the spaces. It also has better aesthetics compared to its counterpart.

  • What do you put under the tarmac?

Like other driveway materials, the primary purpose of tarmac is to finish up the car space. Therefore, a solid foundation is vital to improve the quality and durability. Hence, the reason for excavation, which involves digging to between 16 and 18cm deep. It creates enough space to lay the base for the material, so it does not create an artificial elevation.

The professionals remove the initial layer before pouring the sub-base. This part is essential to ensure a good hold, and they use rollers to flatten this portion to compact and level it. The contractor then uses some materials to create a boundary in a process called edging. Finally, they pour the tarmac layers and compact and seal them.

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