Tarmac is one of the cheapest, affordable and best-option materials for driveways in the UK. Apart from its low cost, tarmac is easily installed, has low maintenance, and is highly durable—it can last maintenance-free for 15 years. Also, tarmac driveway installation improves the look, appeal, and overall values of properties.
In this guide, we provide the costs and prices a homeowner can expect to pay for a tarmac driveway, factors affecting those prices, and how to reduce the cost of a tarmac driveway. But, first, what is the price of a tarmac highway in the UK?
How much does a tarmac driveway cost?
The average cost of a tarmac driveway in the UK: £45 – £90 per m2
The price of a tarmac driveway depends on several factors, chief among which is the size of the driveway. The smaller the size of the driveway where the tarmac is to be installed, the higher the price per square metre (m2 ). Large tarmac driveways, on the other hand, are considerably cheaper and cost-effective: the larger the size of the driveway, the lower the price per m2 for the tarmac installation. In the UK, depending on the size of the driveway, the average cost of tarmac driveway is between £45-£90 per m2. The table below shows how much the price per m2 decreases as the size of the area increases:
Tarmac driveway cost based on area size
|Area Size||Price per m2||Cost
| Tarmac driveway 25 m2||£82||£2,050
|Tarmac driveway 100 m2||£58||£5,800
|Tarmac driveway 250 m2||£20||£8,750
Apart from the area size, the materials to be used, whether or not drainage installation is needed, substructure and excavation of the soil, labour cost, and many more are some of what could potentially affect the cost of a tarmac driveway. For instance, a homeowner may choose to have kerbs also installed, which will increase the costs they would pay.
The table below shows the cost of a 30 m2 tarmac driveway:
An example of the cost of a 30 m2 tarmac driveway
|1 m2||30 m2
|Excavate and dispose of soil||£10||£300|
|Substructure of gravel||£25||£750|
Another important factor that affects the cost of a tarmac driveway is the location of the property where the installation is to be done. Generally, tarmac driveway installation quotes are significantly higher in London and other big cities than they are in other parts of the UK, as the table below shows:
Tarmac driveway costs based on location in the UK
|Driveway size in m2||London and surrounding areas||Sussex, Essex, Middlesex, Buckinghamshire, Kent, Surrey, Berkshire||Other regions of the UK
Tarmac driveway cost summary
Average Cost = £45 – £90 per m2
Cheapest Price = £40 per m2
Additional costs to remember when considering tarmac driveway installation include:
The sub-base is the load-bearing layer of the driveway. It enhances the strength and capability of the driveway to bear a load. This cost of sub-base depends on the material and the thickness. A 150mm per m3 of crushed concrete, MOT type 1, or mix-on-site concrete sub-base layer costs £155, £148, and £186 respectively.
Tarmac driveway installations that require excavation attracts more costs. Generally, excavation costs £15-£18 per m2.
Geotextile membranes are large sheets of fabrics that give the ground reinforcement as well as provide extra stabilization, filtration, and drainage. The installation costs of geotextile membranes start from 0.5-1.5 per m2.
Depending on the chosen disposal option—4t tipper lorry, 10t grab lorry, 30kg Rubble sack, or 2–12-yard skip—it would cost between £55-£110 to dispose of the soil and rubble.
Cost of repairing a tarmac driveway
The repairing or resurfacing of tarmac driveways is easy. Some homeowners carry out DIY repairs on their tarmac driveway using cold lay tarmac, which is suitable for fixing small holes and cracks. A 25kg bag of cold lay tarmac, which can cover up to 0.2 m2, costs between £7 and £15. On the other hand, instead of a cold tarmac, a tarmac-friendly crack filler which costs about £30, can be used. If tarmac driveway tradespeople are to be engaged for the resurfacing work: a tarmac driveway contractor could charge around £175 per day to resurface driveways.
However, for larger cracks and potholes, cold lay tarmac and tarmac-friendly crack filler are not recommended. Large cracks and potholes require hot mix tarmac, which will properly bind and blend with the existing surface. For large cracks and potholes, it is recommended that homeowners hire tarmac driveway tradespeople and contractors who can professionally get the repair job done.
Tarmac driveway removal cost
It sometimes becomes necessary to remove an old tarmac driveway and replace it with a new one, but the removal process usually comes with a cost. Removing an old tarmac driveway requires breaking it up, loading it in a truck, and disposing of all of the rubbles. Disposing of the removed tarmac could cost starting from £400 per m3. Also, if excavation is required, the cost will increase—whether or not the excavation is done by hand or by a machine. Similarly, if plants, trees, and grass need to be uprooted, more costs will be incurred. While excavation by hand will cost from £120 per m3, it will cost £280 per m3 for a mini excavator to do the job. A 5-tonne excavator will cost around £280 per m3.
Cost factors of a tarmac driveway
Following is some of the major cost factors that affect the price of a tarmac driveway:
Size of the driveway
As mentioned earlier, the size of the driveway where the tarmac is to be installed primarily decides the cost—since tarmac driveways are usually priced per m2. Generally, a large driveway will cost more than a small one. This is because larger driveways take more time, materials, and labour. However, for larger driveways, the price per m2 is lesser and more cost-effective than for smaller driveways.
The shape of the driveway
For proper draining, driveways must have some form of sloping features. Driveways without any sloping will be cost more, as the driveway will also need edging to prevent moving and cracking. Edging is usually done using concrete or timber, which can cost between £20 and £100 per m2. Generally, the more unusual the shape of the driveway is, the more the edging is needed—which will, in turn, increase the cost of the tarmac driveway.
The cost of a tarmac driveway can significantly increase if a drainage system needs to be installed before the installation of the tarmac. This is particularly so for flood-prone driveways without an effective drainage system.
Creating a draining channel or connecting the driveway to an existing soak-away will increase the price the property owner pays for the tarmac driveway. Connecting to an existing soakaway or creating a draining channel may mean an additional £500-£1000 on top of the tarmac driveway cost.
How to reduce tarmac driveway costs
Some costs can be avoided by overlaying an existing driveway with tarmac, although this is only advised if the existing driveway is in good condition and won’t give problems in the future. And since labour costs make up the largest part of the tarmac driveway cost, it’s important to review different quotations from different tradespeople before hiring one. Be sure to hire only a reputable driveway installer, ensuring you review their references and professional background before using their services. This will provide you the best price-performance ratio and save you some costs.
Additionally, avoid ‘cowboy builders’ who do poor jobs by using an unauthorised mixtures that go apart within months. Taking these steps will help save and reduce costs—short term and long term.
How to maintain a tarmac driveway
- Ensure you remove all weeds that tend to grow on the driveway
- To prevent weeds from growing, treat the tarmac driveway area with weed killer in the days leading up to the installation of the tarmac. (A bottle of weed killer costs around £5)
- If weeds begin to grow on the tarmac driveway, apply water-based weed killers on them and allow them to go dead before uprooting them. Some weeds have deep roots and removing them before they are dead can cause damage to the tarmac.
- Always avoid oil and grease stains on the tarmac driveway because they can deteriorate the tarmac and cause it to crack.
- Although they charge around £300 to hire, professional power washers are best for removing oil and grease stains on tarmac driveways. Alternatively, oil and grease stains can be removed by the homeowner using oil remover sprays on the affected area. An oil remover spray costs around £25.
Note: The costs given in this guide are estimates, they may vary significantly.