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Complete Guide: Cost of Tarmac Driveways

One of the most popular material choices for driveways is tarmac. Aside from looking very classic on the driveway, it is also affordable and durable.


You may be wondering How much a Tarmac Driveway cost and prices in the UK area


That is a good question to throw tradespeople who have years of experience in the construction and home improvement sector.Tradespeople look at a variety of factors before presenting a quotation for a tarmac driveway to their clients. Tarmac is a very popular choice when deciding to build or improve one’s driveway, but there are also other options such as:

Block Paving or also known as brick paving is one of the popular choices when creating or renovating a driveway. You should read guides about block paving before deciding if it is the right choice for you.

Pattern concrete or also referred to as stamped/imprinted/textured concrete is not a very popular option. However, if you prefer something that is very low maintenance and will keep weeds at bay, you should consider pattern concrete.

Gravel or stones are also used to pave the driveway which looks traditional and aesthetically appealing. Although gravel is a common material used in driveways, one will wonder if it is a suitable material if the driveway is steep.

Should I use Comparison Sites to get quotes for My Driveway Project?

Using a comparison site to get quotation is a simple and easy way to find out about rates when you want to hire a professional to create or improve your driveway.

Comparison sites do the research work for you so that home improvement prices are at the tip of your fingers. So if you want to have an idea of how much it will cost to build a tarmac driveway, you will benefit from using a comparison site because:

  • You can prepare by saving the money you need to spend on it
  • You can get quotes from service providers and understand what to expect
  • You will be able to compare costs and find the most reliable service provider or tradesman for the job

The best part about using a comparison website is that you can use the service without paying a dime! It is, however, very important to look for a comparison site that is unbiased or impartial. Some comparison websites only show the lowest prices available to get the customers’ contact information.

Ready to get a quote from local trades people?

What Is Typically Included in the Price Quotation?

A tarmac driveway replacement price quotation typically contains the following:

  • Survey of the site which includes locating the water, gas, and other services
  • Complete dig out plus the removal of waste
  • Installation and/or connection of drainage
  • The layout of felt to prevent weed from growing
  • Placing of type 1 base with a thickness of at least 150mm
  • Lay down and cement new edging stones into place
  • Installation or laying down of the course tarmac (binding)
  • Installation or laying down of the fine tarmac (finishing)

To give you an idea of what information you can glean from a comparison site’s price quote, here is an example:

1. Cost of new Tarmac Drive with a new base

A new tarmac driveway measuring 40 square meters will cost around £3,100. A larger tarmac driveway, say about 100 square meters will cost about £7,500. If we breakdown the costs of the 40 square meter new tarmac driveway projects, it will look like this:

  • Tarmac (top layer and binder) £600
  • Labour £550
  • Waste disposal £400
  • Type 1 base (about 12 tonnes) £290
  • Installation or repair of pipes, drainage channels £250
  • Profit and VAT, around £964
  • Felt or weed membrane £30
  • Equipment hire, edgings, and drain covers – optional

2. Cost of Tarmac Driveways with an existing overlay (or an existing base)

A tarmac driveway can be installed over your existing driveway, as long as the previous one is still structurally sound. This is usually done when you want to renovate a tired-looking driveway.

3. When is an overlay suitable?

  • The additional layer of tarmac is not going to affect the wall vents or damp course of the property
  • The existing driveway’s base has not sunk
  • The existing driveway’s base does not have cracks – applying a new layer of tarmac will be affected by the cracks underneath
  • Repairs must be done if there are potholes (in a localised area)

Overlays are cheaper and easier to install because there is no need to lay down a new base or apply for a binding tarmac course. Minor repairs should commence first before applying an overlay – usually sprayed with a primer first before a new layer of finishing tarmac rolled out.

Take note that it is not possible to install an overlay in every existing driveway. It is, thus, important that a professional surveyor inspect the existing driveway first.

A 40-square meter overlay will cost around £1,300, while an overlay for an existing 100-square meter driveway is going to cost you more or less £1,950. Take note that the price usually does not include any additional work such as drainage work.

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I Required to Pay VAT?

The examples given here include a 20% VAT but there are businesses who do not charge VAT. Opting for a smaller service provider may allow you to save money on VAT. Small to medium-sized businesses
that have lower thresholds are not required to charge VAT on top of their profit margins or labour fees.

How Can I Save Money on a Tarmac Driveway?

When you receive a quotation, always check the thickness of the layers and the quality of the materials included. Some service providers may use thinner materials and layers to lower the cost. However, saving money on your tarmac driveway will likely compromise the quality of the construction.

Can I Choose Tarmac Colours?

Tarmac colours vary and as a homeowner, the choice is mainly based on your preferences.

If you want to save on your tarmac driveway construction, however, it is best to stick to black since red and other colours are usually more expensive.

Manufacturers normally will not produce coloured variants in large quantities so unless you are constructing a large area, it is recommended to stick to the black-coloured tarmac.

Do I Need to Apply for Permission?

Every country and state will have unique rules and regulations regarding driveways. While planning permission is not usually required in the UK, to avoid getting into trouble, you should seek the help of your contractor if they can help with the construction permit.

Are There Any Rules to Remember About Drainage?

It is crucial that rainwater be diverted and emptied out onto pavements or roads. Contractors will ensure the driveway slopes so that rainwater will go to your lawn, flowerbed, or a soak away (new or existing).

If the above mentioned is not possible, you need planning permission to discharge water onto public roads. You can seek the recommendations of your contractor about permeable materials for your driveway or patio. You should consider permeable construction materials if you prefer your driveway not to have a pond of water.

Where do I get Guide or Inspiration for My Tarmac Driveway?

There are various sources for inspiration and ideas for tarmac driveways online. You simply need to do a search online and images of tarmac driveways will come up from social media pages, blogs, and service providers’ portfolios.

What If My Driveway is Larger Than 100 Square Meters?

Usually, the price for every square meter will go lower when driveways are over 100 square meters. But it is best to request a customised project quotation to make sure you are getting the right idea about the project price.

Tradesman Costs / Rates?

Tradespeople’s rates will vary depending on different factors such as level of experience or reputation. Always confirm the rates before agreeing to any contract.

How Long Will It Take to Construct a Concrete Tarmac Driveway?

Overlay constructions will only take a day, no matter what size the driveway is. Although an additional day may be required if there is additional work requires such as repairing pot holes, or cleaning the existing driveway’s surface.

A new tarmac driveway will take longer to complete. Expect to wait for a few days to complete a 40 square meter driveway, and longer for a larger-sized tarmac driveway. Laying down the tarmac is not what makes the process longer to complete, but more about the excavation of the ground, removing old cement, uprooting trees, etc.

Is a Tarmac Driveway Surface Durable?

A properly-constructed driveway can last a long, long time, so it is indeed a worthy investment. It is important that the contractor ensure that the ground is compacted well and sufficient strength for the sub-base. The binding and top layer tarmac should have sufficient thickness to ensure durability.

If you are planning to use the driveway for heavier vehicles, you should speak to your contractor about additional reinforcement for the driveway’s base.