Kane Construction

What are the Differences Between Asphalt and Tarmac Driveways?

When it comes to driveway surfaces, two popular options are asphalt and tarmac driveways. These material names are sometimes used interchangeably but are actually distinct materials with different characteristics. This post will be used to explore the key differences between asphalt and tarmac to help you make an informed decision for your driveway. 

What are the Composition differences?

Tarmac driveways are made of a combination of aggregates, bitumen and additives such as tar. This mixture undergoes a heating and compaction process to create a durable and solid surface. On the other hand, asphalt driveways are only composed of a mixture of aggregates and bitumen. Asphalt offers a slightly better finish and smoother surface compared to tarmac. This is due to the tarmac consisting of larger aggregates. 

Do Asphalt and Tarmac look different?

Both driveway materials typically have a sleek black colour due to their bitumen content. However, the tarmac may appear slightly lighter due to the presence of tar. Both driveway surfaces have a similarly smooth and uniform finish which provides an appealing aesthetic to your home. 

Are there differences in the Installation Processes?

Asphalt driveway installation involves various steps. The existing surface is cleared and levelled first. Next, a layer of gravel or crushed stone is laid down as a base. Then, hot asphalt is poured and compacted to produce the final driveway surface. Tarmac driveways have a similar installation process. The previous surface is prepared in the same way, followed by the application of a layer of gravel or crushed stone. However, the different tarmac mixture is then laid which consists of additives. Due to the difference in composition, tarmac is able to cure more quickly so the installation process is slightly faster. 

Which driveway is more durable?

Both Asphalt and Tarmac driveways have similar lifespans. With regular maintenance, they can last anywhere from 15-30 years. They are both resistant to heavy loads and extreme weather conditions. However, tarmac is more likely to damage from diesel or petrol spills. 

How do I maintain an Asphalt or Tarmac driveway?

Asphalt driveways require regular maintenance to ensure their longevity and preserve their quality. This involves resealing to protect the surface from oxidation, water damage and UV rays. If cracks or potholes appear these should be repaired promptly to prevent further damage. 

Tarmac driveways have similar maintenance requirements to maintain the integrity of the surface. 

What are some other similarities between the driveway materials?

  • Asphalt and Tarmac surfaces have been used for several decades 
  • Both can withstand large loads and heavy vehicles 

Whilst Asphalt and Tarmac may appear similar at first glance they have distinct differences in their composition, appearance and maintenance. When deciding between the two options, consider factors such as environment, budget, desired appearance and maintenance preferences. Professionals can provide valuable information and help you make the appropriate choice to suit your specific requirements.