Last Updated on January 15, 2022

Tar and Chip Driveway Cost – UK Prices for 2022

Zac Houghton

Zac Houghton

Construction expert and founder of Loftera.

Did you know that tar and chip driveways are more affordable than asphalt driveways?

Tar and chip driveways are made of asphalt and gravel and come in at an average cost of £17.50 per square metre, or just under £2 per square foot. The exact price to lay a tar and chip driveway varies depending on factors such as the size of your driveway and your location.

Tar and chip driveways benefit from being cheap to install and low maintenance, making them a popular choice of driveway material.

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tar and chip driveway cost

Table of Contents

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What Are Tar And Chip Driveways?

Tar and chip are used in the installation of a number of surfaces, including roads and parking lots. Tar and chip driveways are installed using hot liquid asphalt and gravel. You can expect a tar and chip driveway, also known as a chip seal driveway, to last for approximately 10 to 15 years.

Tar and chip driveways give a rustic finish, so they’re ideally suited to properties in rural areas. The relatively low cost of a tar and chip driveway makes them suitable for long driveways because you won’t need to spend as much per metre. 

You can customise the design and colour stone layers to give your driveway a unique finish.

Benefits Of A Tar And Chip Driveways

Low Cost

While gravel remains the cheapest driveway material, tar and chip driveways are another cost-effective option for people on a budget. You can expect to pay much less for a tar and chip driveway than you would for materials such as resin or concrete.

Easy To Maintain

Tar and chip driveways require little upkeep. Unlike other driveway materials such as asphalt, tar and chip driveways don’t require regular sealing, and any small cracks mend by themselves.

tar and chip driveway uk

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Good Traction

The texture of a tar and chip surface makes for good traction, even in wet or cold weather. Because the stones are firmly held in place, there’s less risk of the stones skidding or migrating under wheels.

This better traction reduces the risk of injury caused by falling in slippery weather, making tar and chip driveways accessible for wheelchairs and prams. Chip seal driveways are less slippery than surface materials such as concrete and asphalt.

Durable

Tar and chip drives create a durable surface that is harder than gravel alternatives. Tar and chip driveways are weatherproof and can withstand high temperatures better than asphalt.

Appearance

Tar and chip driveways have curb appeal. Their rustic finish makes them perfect for rural properties. Because you can choose loose stones with unique colours and shapes, tar and chip driveways allow flexible design and ensure that your driveway is one of a kind.

Tar And Chip Driveway Costs

When getting a tar and chip driveway installed, you can expect to pay labour costs and the cost of the materials. You can opt for a single chip seal or a double chip seal, with the double chip seal tar and chip driveway cost being slightly higher.

Single Chip Seal

Single chip seal driveways are best suited for resurfacing projects rather than new installations. Single chip seal driveways cost between £1.50 and £3 per square foot, including labour costs.

Double Chip Seal

Double chip seal driveways are more durable and protective than their single chip seal counterparts, so you can expect to pay more for them. Double chip seal driveways cost between £1.50 to £4.50 per square foot, including labour costs.

Other Costs

The overall cost of your tar and chip driveway can vary depending on the type of stone you choose to finish the driveway surface. Where you live in the country can affect the amount you pay for labour costs, with areas in South East England typically being the most expensive.

If the driveway area requires excavation, you can expect to pay around £150 for mini digger hire and £50 for skip hire.

You may want to factor in the cost of driveway gates to add an elegant finish and extra security to your driveway.

The table below highlights the average costs of a tar and chip driveway, based on the size of your driveway in square feet:

 

 

Driveway Size

Square Feet

Average Cost

10”x20” Driveway (1-car)

200

£250 – £750

20”x20” Driveway (2-car)

400

£550 – £1,500

24”x24” Driveway (2-car)

576

£750 – £2,100

24”x36” Driveway (3-car)

864

£1,100 – £3,000

 

tar and chip driveway

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Tar And Chip Driveway Installation

The installation of tar and chip paving is a simple process that typically takes a few days.

Firstly, a gravel base is laid. Once the gravel base is in place, hot liquid asphalt is poured over it. The hot asphalt is followed by a layer of loose stones, which are then rolled into hot bitumen to form the finished driveway surface.

The loose stones for this top layer come in various shapes, sizes and colours, so you have a choice of finishes for your driveway.

Once your tar and chip drive has been installed, you should allow the surface to dry for 48 hours before allowing foot traffic. The tar may only become fully cured after a week, so it’s best practice to leave your new driveway for a week before parking your car on it.

Tar and chip driveways are less common than asphalt or gravel driveways, so competent tar and chip driveway installers can be harder to find.

Firms that specialise in asphalt installation may not specialise in chip sealing, so you should do your research and check online reviews and testimonials before working with a local tradesperson.

FAQs

How do I maintain my tar and chip driveway?

The surface of your tar and chip driveway can be renewed every ten years by applying fresh layers of hot bitumen and loose stone.

If you experience high snowfall in your area, be wary of using a snowplough on your tar and chip driveway because they can damage the surface. Using a shovel or snow blower to remove the snow is a better option.

To keep your driveway looking its best, consider the cost of a professional driveway clean. You should consider having your driveway cleaned once a year to keep it in good condition and extend its lifespan.

Are tar and chip driveways the same as asphalt driveways?

Tar and chip paving gives a similar appearance to asphalt. However, the two surfaces are distinct. Unlike asphalt driveways, tar and chip drives are mixed with layers of gravel and loose stones. Because of these crushed stones in tar and chip paving, asphalt driveways have a smoother surface.

Asphalt driveways are more expensive than their tar and chip counterparts, but asphalt driveways last longer.

Are there any disadvantages to tar and chip driveways?

Tar and chip driveways have a limited lifespan of around 15 years. The cost of asphalt driveways is higher than the tar and chip driveway cost, but an asphalt driveway boasts a longer lifespan.

While tar and chip driveways require minimal maintenance, they can be damaged by snowploughs or extensive snow removal.

Depending on where you live, tar and chip contractors may be difficult to find. It’s worth searching for quotes from a local driveway installer before committing to opting for tar and chip.

Can I install a tar and chip driveway as a DIY project?

Installing a tar and chip driveway yourself is not advisable because it requires specialised equipment and previous experience. The best way to ensure a successful installation is to contact a professional with years of experience.

tar and chip driveway price

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How do I check that my contractor is competent?

Because tar and chip driveway installers are less common than asphalt driveway installers, you’ll need to make sure that the contractor has adequate experience before committing to labour and supply costs.

You should ask your contractor for proof of their experience installing tar and chip driveways. This evidence could consist of a portfolio or online reviews from previous clients.

Do I require drainage for a tar and chip driveway?

You must show evidence of adequate drainage of your driveway to be compliant with UK regulations. Tar and chip surfaces are not naturally permeable, so you should arrange for adequate drainage when installing a chip driveway.

The water must be channelled to a garden or stream, or if that isn’t possible, you should get in touch with a contractor to install a simple drainage system.

How much do tar and chip driveways cost compared to other driveways?

The cost of a gravel driveway is typically cheaper than other driveway surfaces. Resin driveways cost more than tar and chip driveways because the stones are bound in resin instead of liquid asphalt. Tar and chip driveways are a better option for people on a budget, but resin driveways boast a longer lifespan.

Asphalt driveways cost more than tar and chip driveways but provide a similar finish. Cobblestone driveways are one of the most expensive driveway options but are perfect for rural locations and traditional properties.

Can you tar and chip an existing driveway?

You can tar and chip an existing driveway if the driveway is made of gravel or asphalt. Installing tar and chip on your current driveway can increase its lifespan by up to seven years and increase friction on the surface. This extra friction reduces the risk of injuries caused by cold or wet weather.

You can chip and seal over concrete, but first, you should check that the sub-base is stable and the concrete hasn’t cracked. 

The Bottom Line

Tar and chips driveways boast an affordable price and minimal maintenance requirements, making them ideal for anyone with limited time and a tight budget.

Tar and chip driveway installers can be more difficult to find than contractors for other driveway surfaces, so make sure to conduct thorough research before choosing tar and chip for your driveway surface.

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