The Ultimate Guide to Tarmac: A Deep Dive into the Ideal Driveway Solution

In the vast landscape of driveway surfacing options, one material has stood the test of time for its durability, cost-effectiveness, and versatility. Tarmac. Our comprehensive guide will take you on a journey into the world of tarmac, exploring what makes it the top choice for driveways across the country.

Written by

Karl Garnham

With over 30 years of experience, Karl and his team of qualified experts undertake a wide range of surfacing construction projects. Specialising in Tarmac, Tar And Chip, and Asphalt for residential driveways, private or shared access roads, public car parks, as well as footpaths.

/ 07.12.2023

Understanding Tarmac:

Tarmac, derived from “tarmacadam,” is a composite material consisting of crushed stones, gravel, and tar. This combination creates a robust and smooth surface, making it an ideal choice for various construction and surfacing applications. Its flexibility and adaptability have made tarmac a staple in the construction industry, particularly for driveways.

The Benefits of Tarmac for Driveways:

Durability Beyond Compare:

Tarmac is renowned for its exceptional durability, making it increasingly popular for driveways. Its ability to withstand the weight of vehicles, heavy foot traffic, and adverse weather conditions ensures a long-lasting solution that requires minimal maintenance.


Another standout feature of tarmac is its cost-effectiveness. Compared to other surfacing options, tarmac boasts relatively low installation and maintenance costs. This makes it an attractive choice for homeowners seeking a high-quality driveway without exceeding their budget.

Quick Installation:

As you may know all too well, time is often of the essence when it comes to home improvement projects. Tarmac’s quick installation process is a significant advantage, allowing homeowners to enjoy their newly surfaced driveways in a relatively short amount of time. If you’re looking for a speedy turnover, tarmac is the choice for you.

Weather Resistance:

Tarmac’s resistance to adverse weather conditions, including heavy rain and temperature fluctuations, ensures that your driveway remains in optimal condition throughout the seasons. This is particularly crucial for homeowners in areas with diverse weather patterns (such as those that the UK is notorious for!).

Versatility in Design:

Tarmac not only provides durability but also offers flexibility in design. Whether you prefer a classic black finish or want to explore decorative options, such as coloured aggregates, tarmac can be customized to complement the aesthetic of your home. This versatility ensures that your driveway isn’t just functional but is also visually appealing, and maybe even features your own unique flare.

Low Maintenance:

Homeowners also appreciate the low maintenance requirements of tarmac driveways. Regular sweeping and occasional resealing are usually sufficient to keep the surface looking fresh and well-maintained. This ease of maintenance further adds to the overall cost-effectiveness of tarmac as a driveway solution.

Environmental Considerations:

Tarmac is considered an environmentally friendly option due to its recyclability. The materials used in tarmac can be recycled and reused, reducing the environmental impact compared to some alternative materials. This eco-friendly aspect adds another layer of appeal for homeowners who are conscious of their environmental footprint.

Exploring the Installation Process:

Understanding the installation process of tarmac provides insight into its quick turnaround and durability. Our process typically involves the following steps:

Site Preparation:

Before laying tarmac, the site needs proper preparation. This includes excavation and grading to create a smooth and even surface.

Base Installation:

A sturdy base layer is crucial for the longevity of a tarmac driveway. This layer typically consists of crushed stones or aggregate, providing a stable foundation.

Binder Course:

The binder course is the middle layer, composed of coarse aggregate mixed with bitumen. This layer enhances the structural integrity of the driveway.

Surface Course:

The final layer is the surface course, which consists of finer aggregate mixed with bitumen. This layer creates the smooth and durable finish that defines tarmac driveways.


Throughout the installation process, compaction is essential to ensure a solid and stable driveway. Proper compaction enhances the load-bearing capacity of the tarmac surface.


Once installed, the tarmac needs time to cure and set. Curing time may vary depending on factors such as weather conditions and the specific type of tarmac used.

Customisation Options:

One of the distinguishing features of tarmac is its adaptability to various design preferences. With KDG Surfacing, you can customise your tarmac driveways in the following ways:

Colour Options:

While the classic black tarmac is a popular choice, homeowners can opt for coloured aggregates to add a touch of personality to their driveways. This customization allows for a seamless integration of the driveway into the overall aesthetic of the property.

Patterns and Textures:

Tarmac driveways are not limited to a standard smooth finish. Various patterns and textures can be achieved during installation providing additional design elements to suit individual preferences.

Edging Options:

Edging plays a crucial role in the overall aesthetics of a driveway. Tarmac driveways can be bordered with different materials, such as bricks or stones, enhancing the visual appeal and attractively defining the boundaries of the space.

Incorporating Landscaping:

Tarmac driveways can be seamlessly integrated with landscaping features. Consider adding greenery, such as flower beds or shrubs, along the edges to soften the look of the driveway and create a harmonious connection with the surrounding environment.

Maintaining Your Tarmac Driveway:

While tarmac driveways are known for their low maintenance requirements, the following care practices can ensure their longevity and pristine appearance:

Regular Sweeping:

Keep your tarmac driveway free from debris and leaves by regularly sweeping the surface. This simple practice prevents the accumulation of materials that can lead to staining and deterioration.

Periodic Resealing:

Over time, the protective seal on the tarmac surface may wear off, leaving it more exposed. Periodic resealing helps maintain the integrity of the surface, providing an extra layer of protection against the elements.

Addressing Cracks Promptly:

If you notice any cracks in your tarmac driveway, address them promptly. Cracks can allow water to penetrate the surface, leading to more extensive damage. Quick repairs can prevent the need for major renovations, saving you precious time and money.

Avoiding Heavy Loads:

While tarmac is highly durable, avoiding excessive or concentrated heavy loads can prevent unnecessary stress on the surface. Distribute heavy loads evenly to maintain the integrity of the driveway.

Weed Control:

Keeping an eye out for any weeds attempting to take root in the cracks or edges of your driveway is also essential. Regular weeding prevents these unwanted plants from compromising the integrity of the surface.

Professional Inspections:

Periodic inspections by professionals can identify potential issues early on. Engaging in regular assessments ensures that any emerging problems are addressed before they escalate.

Tarmac has rightfully earned its place as a premier choice for driveways due to its durability, cost-effectiveness, quick installation, weather resistance, design versatility, and low maintenance. At KDG Surfacing, we recognize the unique needs of homeowners and proudly include tarmac in our comprehensive range of surfacing solutions.

Whether you’re looking to enhance the curb appeal of your home or you’re seeking a practical and resilient driveway option, tarmac stands out as the optimal choice. So, please do get in touch with us here at KDG Surfacing to explore how tarmac can transform your driveway, providing a reliable and aesthetically pleasing solution for your outdoor space. As you embark on the journey of driveway transformation, let tarmac be your guide to a durable, stylish, and low-maintenance solution that withstands the test of time.