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How much is a tarmac driveway?


8th December 2023

How much is a tarmac driveway?

Are you considering having a tarmac driveway installed at your property? With the increasing cost of home renovations, it's important to take into consideration how much something like this would set you back. We've done the homework for you and compiled all the information about pricing and installation so that you can make informed decisions when planning your next big project. Keep reading to discover everything there is to know about tarmac driveways in the UK.

What is a tarmac driveway?

Tarmac is made primarily from a mixture of aggregates (such as crushed stone, gravel, or sand) and bitumen. Bitumen is a sticky, black, and highly viscous petroleum-based substance that acts as a binder to hold the aggregates together.

The specific proportions of aggregates and bitumen can vary depending on the desired properties of the tarmac, such as its strength, durability, and resistance to weather conditions. Additionally, other additives may be included in the mixture to enhance certain characteristics of the tarmac, such as improving its flexibility or reducing the risk of cracking.

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So, how much does a tarmac driveway cost?

The answer to this question depends on several factors, including the size of your driveway, the type of tarmac you choose, and the labour costs in your area. On average, however, a tarmac driveway can cost anywhere from £40-£60 per square metre.

Keep in mind that this is just an estimate and prices can vary significantly depending on your location and specification.

The cost of a tarmac driveway in the UK can vary based on multiple factors. Here are the approximate cost ranges for small, medium, and large tarmac driveways in the UK:

Small Tarmac Driveway:

  • Size: Up to 50 square meters.
  • Average cost: £3,250 to £4,500.

Medium Tarmac Driveway:

  • Size: Between 50 and 100 square meters.
  • Average cost: £4,500 to £8,500.

Large Tarmac Driveway:

  • Size: Above 100 square meters.
  • Average cost: £8,500 to £15,000+.


What can affect the cost?

Cost of Living: Different regions in the UK have varying costs of living, which can influence the overall pricing of construction projects, including tarmac driveways. Areas with higher living costs tend to have higher labour and material costs, which can lead to increased prices for driveway installations.

Availability of Materials: The availability and accessibility of tarmac materials can vary across different regions. If a particular area has limited local suppliers or transportation challenges, it can result in higher material costs, ultimately affecting the overall pricing of tarmac driveways.

Local Competition:  The level of competition among contractors in a specific area can impact pricing. In regions with a higher number of contractors, there may be more competitive pricing as contractors try to attract customers. Conversely, pricing may be slightly higher in areas with fewer contractors due to limited options.

Local Regulations and Permits: Different regions may have specific regulations and permit requirements for driveway installations. Compliance with these regulations can involve additional costs, such as obtaining permits or meeting certain construction standards. These factors can vary from one region to another, influencing the overall pricing.

A permit may be required if the tarmac used is not a permeable surface. You can opt for a permeable tarmac, which can avoid permits and extra drainage costs, but doing so can usually result in a higher material cost than a non-permeable tarmac.

Transport and Travel Costs: If the location of the driveway installation is in a remote or hard-to-reach area, it can result in increased transport and travel costs for contractors. Contractors may need to account for these additional expenses when quoting prices, potentially affecting regional pricing differences.


How the pricing works

Quotes for tarmac prices are typically calculated by assessing the project's specific requirements and estimating the associated costs. Let's take a look at these below:

  • Materials: The expense of materials is a significant factor in the pricing of a tarmac driveway. This includes the cost of the tarmac itself, which can vary based on the quality and quantity required for the project. Other materials, such as base layers, aggregates, and binders, may also be included in the quote.
  • Labour: Labour costs involve the fees charged by the contractors for their skilled workforce to carry out the installation of the tarmac driveway. The project's complexity, driveway size, and estimated completion time are all considered when determining labour costs. Hourly rates or fixed project rates may be used to calculate labour expenses.
  • Site Preparation: Site preparation is essential in constructing a durable tarmac driveway. It involves excavation, clearing vegetation, levelling the ground, and addressing any drainage issues. The extent of site preparation necessary can impact the overall cost, as more extensive preparation requires additional time, equipment, and labour.
  • Waste Removal: During the construction process, waste materials will be generated, such as excavated soil and debris. The cost of waste removal, including disposal fees, is often factored into the overall quote. The volume and type of waste generated will influence the cost of removal.
  • Additional Features: If you opt for other features like edging, decorative elements, or drainage systems, these will be included in the pricing structure. Each extra feature will have associated materials, labour, and installation costs.

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What are the benefits of a tarmac driveway?

A tarmac driveway is a sleek and modern solution for homeowners looking to update their property's exterior. Tarmac is a durable and resilient material that is made from a mixture of crushed rock, tar, and other materials. Let's take a look at the main benefits that come with choosing a tarmac driveway.

A tarmac driveway offers several benefits that make it a popular choice for homeowners. Here are some of the advantages:


Tarmac is known for its exceptional durability and resilience. It can withstand heavy loads and constant use without cracking or breaking, making it suitable for parking vehicles.

Low maintenance:

Tarmac driveways require minimal maintenance. They are resistant to stains, oil spills, and weeds, making them easy to clean and maintain their appearance over time. 

Quick installation:

Tarmac driveways can be installed relatively quickly compared to other options. The process involves preparing the ground, laying the tarmac mixture, and compacting it. Once installed, it cures and becomes ready for use within a short period.


Tarmac is a cost-effective option for driveways, unlike concrete driveways or block paving driveways. Its lower installation and maintenance costs make it affordable for many homeowners.

Smooth surface:

Tarmac driveways offer a smooth and level surface, providing a comfortable driving experience. They are also suitable for people with mobility devices such as wheelchairs or strollers.

Weather resistance

Tarmac is designed to withstand various weather conditions effectively. It can endure hot summers, freezing winters, rain, and UV exposure without significant damage or deterioration.


Tarmac can be customised to suit different aesthetic preferences. It is available in various colours and finishes, allowing homeowners to choose the option that complements their property's overall look, making a driveway and its driveway apron benefiting from kerb appeal.

Why is tarmac a popular choice?

Tarmac is widely available in the UK, making it easily accessible for installation purposes. This availability contributes to its popularity as a driveway material choice. Tarmac is used for many surfacing applications, including driveways, roads, and commercial spaces. While exact statistics on popularity may not be available, several indicators highlight the tarmac's significant presence:

Market growth:

According to an analysis of the Great Britain asphalt industry in 2021, the market size was estimated to be nearly 28 million tonnes, reflecting a year-on-year increase of approximately three million tonnes since 2020. This suggests a steady demand for tarmac in the UK.

Revenue and profitability:

As a leading supplier of aggregates and asphalt in the UK, Tarmac has reported growth in its revenue and underlying profitability. This indicates a sustained demand for their products, including tarmac, in the construction industry.

Common road surfacing material:

Tarmac is widely used for road construction in the UK. With over 95% of UK roads and more than 90% of European roads utilising this material, it demonstrates the popularity and preference for tarmac as a road surfacing solution.

Advantages and versatility:

Tarmac's popularity can be attributed to its durability, cost-effectiveness, low maintenance requirements, and ability to withstand various weather conditions. These advantages make it a popular choice among homeowners and businesses alike.

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Factors that affect the cost of a tarmac driveway

The quality of the tarmac used for a driveway can affect its cost. Higher quality tarmac, which is more durable and resistant to wear and tear, may come at a higher price point. Contractors often offer different grades of tarmac, and opting for a higher-quality option can increase the overall cost but provide long-term benefits in terms of durability and lifespan of the driveway. Lower-quality tarmac may be more affordable upfront but could require repairs or replacement sooner, leading to additional expenses in the long run.

The size of the driveway is another factor that influences the cost of a tarmac driveway. Larger driveways require more materials, labour, and equipment, which can contribute to higher prices. On the other hand, smaller driveways may have lower material and labour requirements, resulting in a relatively lower cost.

Site preparation is an essential aspect that can impact the cost of a tarmac driveway. Proper site preparation, including excavation, levelling, and ensuring a solid foundation, is crucial for the longevity and performance of the driveway. If extensive site preparation is required due to uneven terrain or poor soil conditions, it can increase the overall cost of the project.

Additional features or customisation options can also affect the cost of a tarmac driveway. For example, incorporating edging or drainage systems may add extra expenses to the project. These additional features can enhance the aesthetics and functionality of the driveway but may come with additional costs.

Ways to help with costs

To help homeowners save money when installing a tarmac driveway, here are some tips and potential cost-saving measures:

DIY Site Preparation:

Consider handling the site preparation yourself if you have the necessary skills and equipment. This can help reduce labour costs associated with excavation, clearing vegetation, and levelling the ground. However, ensuring that you have the expertise to carry out these tasks safely and effectively is important.

Obtain Multiple Quotes:

To ensure competitive pricing, obtain quotes from multiple reputable contractors. Comparing quotes will allow you to identify any significant price variations and negotiate a better deal. Remember to evaluate the total cost and the breakdown of materials, labour, and additional features included in each quote.

Opt for Standard Tarmac:

Choosing standard-grade tarmac instead of premium or speciality options can help lower costs. Standard tarmac is still durable and suitable for residential driveways while being more budget-friendly than higher-quality variations.

Minimise Additional Features:

While additional features like edging or drainage systems can enhance the aesthetic appeal and functionality of your driveway, they can also add to the overall cost. Consider whether these features are essential or if they can be postponed for future upgrades to save money initially.

Consider Shared Projects:

If neighbours or nearby homeowners are also interested in installing or renovating their driveways, consider pooling your resources and hiring the same contractor. Shared projects can often result in discounted rates as the contractor can optimize their time and resources across multiple jobs.

Explore Financing Options:

Some contractors may offer financing options or payment plans that can help distribute the costs over time. This can benefit those who prefer to pay only part of the amount upfront and want to manage their expenses more effectively.

Different Driveway Materials

Alternatively, if homeowners are looking for cheaper alternatives to tarmac driveways, they can consider the following options:

  1. Gravel Driveways: Gravel driveways tend to be more affordable compared to tarmac. They require less material and labour for installation. However, it's important to note that gravel driveways may require more frequent maintenance and can be susceptible to erosion and displacement.
  2. Concrete Driveways: Concrete driveways are another cost-effective alternative to tarmac. While the initial installation costs may be higher than tarmac, concrete driveways tend to have a longer lifespan and require less maintenance in the long run.
  3. Permeable Paving: Permeable paving solutions, such as grass pavers or permeable concrete, allow water to infiltrate the surface, reducing the need for additional drainage systems. While the upfront costs may be slightly higher, permeable paving can provide long-term cost savings by minimising the need for separate drainage installation.

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The right contractor

Selecting a reputable contractor is crucial for the success of your tarmac driveway project. Take the time to research, gather information, and compare your options thoroughly. Making an informed decision will help ensure a smooth and satisfactory experience from start to finish.

Obtain quotes from multiple contractors to compare pricing, services, and inclusions. Ensure that each quote is detailed and covers all aspects of the project, including materials, labour, site preparation, and any additional features requested. Avoid contractors who provide vague or incomplete quotes.

Pay attention to the contractor's communication skills, responsiveness, and overall professionalism. A reputable contractor will be attentive to your questions, provide clear explanations, and maintain open lines of communication throughout the project.

Sometimes you pay for what you get

Verify that the contractor has the necessary credentials, licenses, and insurance to carry out the work. This ensures they meet the required standards and have the appropriate qualifications for tarmac driveway installations.

Here at Henson Surfacing, we have over 20 years of experience - making it our mission to create an amazing new driveway for every client. Your dream driveway deserves to be made with expertise and care. Whether it's creating a new or existing driveway, our tarmac driveway prices withstand our quality.

You can check out our website and view our before and afters for tarmac surface driveways as well as:

  • block paving driveway
  • concrete driveway
  • gravel driveway
  • brick driveways

Final things to remember

In conclusion, determining the cost of a tarmac driveway involves considering various factors such as materials, labour, site preparation, waste removal, and any additional features. Homeowners can make informed decisions when planning their driveway project by understanding the pricing structure and how quotes are calculated.

While tarmac driveways offer durability and a sleek appearance, exploring ways to save money without compromising on quality is important. Homeowners can consider cost-saving measures like handling DIY site preparation, obtaining multiple quotes, opting for standard-grade tarmac, minimising additional features, and exploring financing options.

By understanding the pricing structure and following the tips outlined in this blog, you can make an informed decision and achieve a beautiful, durable tarmac driveway that fits your budget and meets your expectations. If you have any questions or queries please do not hesitate to get in touch