Tarmac Driveway

More and more homeowners across the U.S. are coming to realize the popularity of tarmac driveways, though many aren’t sure whether tarmac is the best driveway material for their needs.

Homeowners who are looking for a quick and easy driveway installation process should know that a tarmac driveway is one of the best options on the market. Tarmac driveways are reliable, easy to install, and can hold up for many years on end with less maintenance than some other popular driveway material options.

If you’re on the fence about using tarmac to build a driveway for your home, come with us as we explore the costs, advantages, and disadvantages of using tarmac. 

What Is A Tarmac Driveway?

Tarmac is short for ‘tarmacadam.’ The name for this material came from John Loudon McAdam, who, in 1820, introduced a unique technique he created called “macadamizing.”

The procedure involves pouring a coat of gravel atop a base of the pavement. However, this simple procedure is not the only thing that makes the modern tarmac we know today. 

In the modern world, the main component of tarmac is tar, which we use as an additional layer on top of the pavement base. Of course, because tar is a very sticky substance, pavers will also use an additional coating of gravel up top to create durability, sturdiness, and dust-free characteristics. 

A new tarmac driveway surrounded by plans

Advantages of Tarmac Driveways

Easy Installation

One of the primary reasons homeowners use tarmac for their driveways is that it is one of the easiest materials to install. Many homeowners will complete their tarmac driveway project within a single day, depending on the size of the driveway. The material is easy to lay, and it takes about 2 to 3 days to solidify or cure before it can be driven on.

Compared to other materials, this installation time is significantly short. For example, if you were to install a concrete driveway, you would have to wait around seven days for it to cure before you could drive on it. 

Low Cost

Tarmac is also a low-cost material, which is why so many homeowners prefer it over other options. In fact, it is one of the most cost-effective solutions on the market today. Compared to brick, concrete, sandstone, and other types of pavement slabs, you can save a good amount of money. 


Tarmac driveways, if poured and installed properly, can last for a very long time. While a tarmac driveway under good circumstances can last anywhere from 12 to 13 years, many last up to 20 years or longer before they need to be repoured. 

There’s not much upkeep to be done with a tarmac driveway either, and many pavers will tell you that these types of driveways almost watch out for themselves. All you need to do as a homeowner is keep your tarmac driveway clean. This means removing dirt and debris to keep it looking fresh and new. We also recommend applying the sealant to your tarmac driveway every four or five years. 


UV Light

Tarmac is able to withstand heat pretty well, though UV light is one of its worst enemies. Constant UV exposure can cause tarmac to degrade, making it brittle. Eventually, if left without any care, potholes will start to appear. 

Beyond UV light, automotive oils such as petrol and diesel can be very damaging. Similar to UV light, these oils can loosen the binding and result in cracking. 

Weed Growth

Weed growth is a big problem that many tarmac driveway owners experience. If you have a crack in your tarmac driveway and you don’t repair it immediately, there is a good chance that weeds will pop up through it. When weeds start popping up through your tarmac’s cracks, they can make the cracks much bigger and more difficult to repair. 

A newly tarmac driveway with leaves on the surface

Tarmac Driveway Cost

The average tarmac driveway cost is around $4,500. This cost includes labor and tarmac material that costs anywhere from $7 to $15 per square foot. If you purchase your tarmac material in tons, you can expect to pay anywhere between $100 to $200 per ton of tarmac. 

Of course, the overall cost will depend on where your source your materials from, the labor you hire, and the size of your driveway.

Further reading: How much does it cost to pave a driveway? (Pricing Guide)

How To Clean a Tarmac Driveway

Cleaning a tarmac driveway and maintaining that brand-new look requires very little effort. Of course, it’s important that you take the right approach when cleaning your tarmac driveway, or else you could end up damaging the base layer and surface.

One of the best approaches for cleaning a tarmac driveway is to sweep off any dirt and debris that are on the surface. If there is debris that you’re unable to get off using a broom, you can also hit your tarmac driveway with a bit of low-pressure water. 

We never recommend using a high-pressure water source, as this can remove loose stone chippings and create additional damage that is difficult to repair. 

How To Get Rid of Moss On a Tarmac Driveway

One of the things many tarmac driveway owners deal with, especially if they live in wet locations, is moss growth. Moss can present potential problems with your tarmac driveway, making it very slick and slippery to walk on or expanding cracks that can be difficult to repair. 

It’s best to get rid of moss at the source. Luckily, the solution to ridding your tarmac driveway of moss is very simple. 

Start by diluting some vinegar with water and spraying it onto the algae or moss deposits on your driveway. Let the vinegar and water solution soak for around 15 to 20 minutes before washing it off with low-pressure water. You can repeat this process every day for a week until the algae or moss disappears. 

If this vinegar and water solution doesn’t work, you can also try bleach or baking soda. 

How To Remove Oil From a Tarmac Driveway

One of our favorite DIY remedies for removing oil stains from a tarmac driveway is baking soda. Start by sprinkling a generous amount of baking soda atop your oil stain. To get it slightly wet, add a little bit of water. 

Allow the baking soda and water to soak in for a few minutes before brushing the stain with a cleaning brush in small circular motions until the stain begins rising. You can repeat this process as many times as you need if the stain doesn’t come up right away. 

Some other materials you can try this same method with include:

  • Cat litter
  • Coca Cola
  • WD-40 
  • Oven cleaner
  • Dish soap
A new tarmac was installed over the concrete driveway.

How To Repair Cracks In a Tarmac Driveway

If you’re dealing with cracks in your tarmac driveway that are less than ¾ inch wide, you can use an asphalt patching product to repair it. 

Start by cleaning your surface to get rid of dirt and debris. Make sure the crack itself is clean too. You can use a screwdriver or wire brush to clean out the crack. Remove any remaining debris using a low-pressure hose. 

Next, prep your filler according to the instructions on your bottle. Once the filler is ready, fill the crack flush to the surrounding tarmac and smooth it out to that the height is the same as the rest of your driveway.

How Long Do Tarmac Driveways Last?

There are several factors that have an impact on how long a tarmac driveway will last. Some of these factors include: 

  • The climate of the surrounding area
  • The amount of traffic the driveway handles
  • The general wear and tear of the driveway

If you have a tarmac driveway that is under relatively good circumstances, such as nice weather and low-volume traffic, you can expect it to last anywhere between 12 and 13 years. 

Can You Resurface a Tarmac Driveway?

Yes, you can resurface a tarmac driveway. While there are some methods for resurfacing on your own, these depend on the size and quality of your driveway. If your tarmac driveway is in need of serious repair, we recommend getting in touch with a resurfacing professional. 

Tarmac Driveway Ideas

This multi-car driveway uses tarmac to provide plenty of space while blending in with the road out front.

Surrounded by paver stones, this tarmac driveway blends a modern and traditional look, accompanying the red brick material in a uniquely contrasting manner.

This tarmac driveway is sectioned using brick, breaking up the monotony of what would otherwise be a long, plain, black driveway.

With stones around the circumference and driveway lights to lead the way, this tarmac driveway has a more upscale aesthetic.

This tarmac driveway provides contrast to the surrounding gravel and brick material, perfect for a simple yet aesthetically-pleasing look. 

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Final Thoughts

Tarmac is a wonderful material for paving driveways and is quick and easy to install, perfect for any homeowner looking for a cost-effective driveway. 
We hope you feel more confident in your driveway-paving choice after reading our article. Make sure to get in contact with one of the many top-rated companies in our paving network here at Paving Finder.