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Tarmac Driveway Cost

Tarmac driveway cost ranges from an average of £35 per m2 for resurfacing and £50£60 per m2 for a new tarmac drive.
Low Cost £1,400 – £1,800
National Average Cost £2,000 – £2,500
High Cost £2,700 – £3,000
Compare Prices for adding a tarmac driveway to your home

Tarmac driveway cost ranges from an average of £35 per m2 for resurfacing and £50£60 per m2 for a new tarmac drive. New tarmac driveway prices include gradient of the drive’s bed, supplying base material such as sand or small stone, compacting it and laying two layers of tarmac, compacting each one.

Removal of an existing driveway is labour-intensive and might push total costs above £60 per m2.

With most UK driveways being 40 to 50 m2, here are tarmac driveway cost UK estimates you can expect when you contact tradesmen for quotes based on £35 to £60 per m2.


An Overview of Tarmac Driveways

Tarmac Driveway

Re-laying a driveway in any material is a great way to add curb appeal to your home, resin driveways and tarmac are two very popular choices. Tarmacking a driveway adds instant functionality when covering a muddy dirt drive, and it certainly adds beauty to your property. Yes, it will raise the value of your property, and the return on investment usually ranges from 60% to more than 70%. In other words, if you spend £2,500 on a tarmac drive, the value of your property will rise by £1,500 to £1,750.

What is a tarmac driveway?

The first step, if needed, is to excavate and remove an existing driveway made from tarmac or other hard material such as concrete or pavers.

If there’s no driveway in place, then enough soil is removed from the location to create a bed, usually around 150mm to 200mm. Sand and/or small stone are added to a depth of about 175mm and compacted to create a stable base for the tarmac.

Then two layers of material are installed, a binder course and a surface layer, and compacted to form the tarmac drive.

Tarmac vs Asphalt

The materials are quite similar, and the terms are often used interchangeably. Both contain gravel. The difference is that tarmac combines gravel with tar while asphalt substitutes bitumen refined crude oil.

Tarmac and asphalt driveway cost is nearly exactly the same.

What will I learn?

This tarmac driveway cost guide covers all the details including an overview of tarmac drives, costs factors for materials and labour plus tarmac driveway prices for common driveway sizes. Do you need planning permissions, how much does a tarmac driveway cost – and other FAQs are addressed.

Tarmac Driveway Costs – What You Can Expect to Pay

Tarmac driveway cost UK depends on what is currently in place.

  • Most affordable: £35 – £45 per m2. If you’ve got a gravel driveway in good condition, improving it and using it as the base will save on material and labour costs.
  • Average: £50 – £55 per m2. This tarmac driveway price covers a new drive in which soils are removed, a sand and stone base is added and covered in the two tarmac layers – binder course and surface.
  • Most expensive: £60 – £70 per m2. If an existing driveway must be removed before installation of the tarmac, cost of tarmac UK rises significantly. The extra expense goes toward skip hire, equipment use and the additional labour required.

Driveway Material Costs

While few homeowners have the time, skills or equipment to install their tarmac driveway, you might be interested where your money goes when hiring a contractor.

In general, the costs are fairly equal between materials on one side and labour/equipment costs on the other. That means roughly £20 to £30 per m2 for base materials and the tarmac.

An Overview of Tarmac Driveway Material Costs
Driveway Material Average Cost per meter Squared (m2)
Sand £3 – £5
Stone £5 – £8
Tarmac £12 – £17
Total £20 – £30

Tarmac Driveway Installation & Labour Costs

Tarmac Driveway Labour Installation Costs

Labour and related costs are more variable than material costs.

First, if an old driveway is removed and disposed of, your labour costs will be up to 40% higher than if a new driveway is installed. If you have a current driveway made with pavers, this is an area you can save money – or we could say “earn the money you save,” because hand-digging out pavers and throwing them in a waste skip is hard work. Here are skip hire costs to help you determine if this would make sense for your overall costs.

The contractor or tradesman will likely have a helper or two to pay wages to. They also have the cost of running and maintaining the heavy equipment used for excavating and grading the base materials plus laying and compacting the layers of tarmac. There are travel costs and the costs to store the trucks and equipment plus insurance. These costs add up.

Finally, every tradesman deserves a fair profit for their efforts. Here’s what their total costs on this side of the ledger look like.

Installation and Labour Costs
Labour Average Cost per meter Squared (m2)
Equipment Charges £5 – £7
Miscellaneous Costs £6 – £9
Wages £6 – £8
Profit £3 – £6
Total £20 – £30
Compare Prices for adding a tarmac driveway to your home

Driveway Prices by Driveway Size (Square Metres)

In general, the tarmac driveway cost UK, per square metre, goes down slightly as the size of the driveway increases. This is due to the overhead costs of travel and equipment use/maintenance being spread over more m2.

The ranges in this chart are the result of cost factors. Remember from above, cost of tarmac UK per m2 goes up when an old driveway must be removed and when fresh soil must be removed and trucked away. The lowest tarmac driveway cost is based on a solid gravel drive already in place forming the base for the layers of tarmac.

Tarmac Driveway Prices by Size
Driveway Area Average Cost Range per meter Squared (m2)
40 m2 £50 – £65
60 m2 £45 – £60
100 m2 £42 – £57
150 m2 £40 – £55
Cost vary depending on the size of the driveway (e.g. material used, tarmac surface, size of the driveway)

These are average tarmac driveway prices based on the most common projects. When there are special circumstances such as severe sloping of the drive, very difficult removal of an old driveway, removal of tree stumps, filling of low/wet areas and similar issues, cost can exceed those given.

How much does it cost to tarmac a driveway?

As noted, it can be anywhere from about £40 to more than £60 based on many factors. Here are the major cost variables.

  • Removing an Old Driveway – Labor, trucking or skip hire and equipment use raise cost significantly.
  • Site Preparation – The more material that must be removed and added, the higher the cost. Most soils, such as clay, are not a suitable base for tarmac, concrete or paved drives. At least 150-200mm of unsuitable material should be removed. Then, sand, gravel or small stones are used to fill the driveway bed before tarmac is added. The removed material must be trucked away.
  • Site Conditions – Again, when low spots must be filled, stumps removed or steep slope reckoned with, cost will be higher. If the area is wet and drainage must be included, cost will rise.
  • Kerb Issues – If a kerb fronts the property, it will require lowering to install the driveway, and price estimates will reflect the additional labour. Dropping the kerb can cost about £500 on its own, so really should be considered a separate expense.
  • Shape – Circular drives or those with parking areas added to the side will cost a little more per m2 than straightforward rectangular driveways.
  • Location – UK tarmac driveway costs are higher in London and the South due to higher demand and generally higher costs for materials, equipment and workmen wages.

Do you need planning permission for your Tarmac Driveway?

Yes. Yes you do. That is, unless it is a very small driveway indeed. According to government regulations adopted in 2008, the drive must be 5m2 or less if a solid material such as asphalt, tarmac or concrete. The purpose of the regulations is to prevent large amounts of water, especially polluted water containing petrol from driveways, from running into watercourses causing flooding and pollution.

Your tarmac driveway contractor should be able to advise you on the matter and apply for/receive the planning permission as part of the services rendered. They will include the cost in their tarmac driveway price estimate.

Tarmac Driveway FAQ

Q. How long does tarmacking a driveway take?

A. Depending on the size of the drive and the size of the crew working, it will take 2-3 days.

The first day will involve preparing the site – site excavation, the addition of the base materials, and grading/compacting them. This might stretch into the second day for driveways above 75m2. Then, tarmacking the drive will take one to two days depending on its size.

Q. How long before I can drive on the tarmac?

A. Somewhere between 3 and 6 days in most cases. The major factor is the weather. When it is warm and dry, the tarmac cures more quickly than when it is very cool or extremely hot. A lot of rain might slow the curing process too.

Tip before driving on the tarmac: Walk on it first. If it feels tacky beneath your feet, it probably isn’t ready for driving. Consult the installer for guidance on when driving on the surface won’t cause damage. In some cases, someone will be sent out to examine the tarmac and let you know it is safe to be driven on.

Q. Do you need council permission?

A. If you plan to drop a kerb, yes. The council might offer the service – or you can hire a contractor for the work.

Q. What about a public footpath?

A. If the new drive will cross the footpath, you’ll need permission – and you might have the added expense of tearing out the footpath and strengthening it with deeper or strong material.

Q. Can I install my own tarmac driveway?

A. In rare instances, perhaps so. You would want to have ready access to the heavy excavating and compacting equipment. Hiring the equipment isn’t cheap, and you’ll likely spend more than if you were to hire a contractor for the work.

Having experience in this type of work will be important too. Failing to properly install a tarmac drive will cost you more in the end when it develops low spots, ruts from driving on it or simply begins to deteriorate before your eyes.

Q. How much is a tarmac driveway UK?

A. The average cost in the UK is about £55 per m2 in London and the South of England and about £45 to £50 per m2 in the rest of the country.

For the average 50m2 driveway, total cost will be £2,500 to £3,000.

Hiring a professional driveway installer

It is important to hire a tradesman with a good reputation for quality tarmacking work. Randomly choosing one isn’t the best advice.

Instead, we recommend getting estimates from multiple contractors with a track record of doing the job right the first time. Using the Free Quotes option on this page ensures you will receive quotes from contractors in your area who are licensed and insured and have a good reputation.

Here’s a word of warning to the wise. Tarmacking scams are prevalent. Unscrupulous contractors might add diesel or other unacceptable ingredients to the mix to “make the tarmac go further.” In the end, you’ll get an inferior driveway. That underscores the need for a reputable tradesman you can trust.


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