Although on the surface tarmac and asphalt look nearly identical, these materials are vastly different. Across the UK, you’ll find both varieties in use on driveways. If you want to repave your driveway, you’ve probably started wondering which one is better. Here’s everything you need to know about both tarmac driveways and asphalt to help you make an informed decision.
All about Tarmac
Tarmac is made from a crushed aggregate and mixed with a tar substance. To lay tarmac surface, you must compact it. It’s then rolled with a powerful device to form a flat surface. In addition to being used for driveways, you’ll also find this material used for payment and roads. Since it’s quick to install, it’s often the choice for fast road repairs.
Tarmac has a reputation for being exceedingly long-lasting. It’s very durable and withstands the weight of many types of heavy vehicles. You don’t have to worry about tarmac crumbling under pressure. This reason is why so many commercial driveways are created from this sturdy material. However, it’s important to note that petrol spills may shorten the lifespan of a tarmac surface.
Learn About Asphalt
Asphalt is similar to the tarmac, but it’s not entirely the same. It’s still made out of crushed aggregate, but instead of being mixed with tar, asphalt is combined with bitumen. The result is something that looks just like tarmac but performs a bit differently.
While both materials are very durable, asphalt is less likely to crack due to extreme weather changes. It can withstand fluctuating temperatures, even during the harshest UK winters. Many road builders prefer asphalt for this reason. They don’t have to worry about as many maintenance needs after a change in the weather.
The Choice for Homeowners
Of course, your needs for a driveway are much different than the needs of new road construction. Here’s how you can decide which material is best for your home.
If you are short on time, tarmac is easier to install. Once the hot liquid is poured on the surface, it only needs to be rolled into place. After it dries, the driveway is ready for use. You can also lay tarmac onto existing surfaces, which makes resurfacing an older driveway a quick and easy task.
You can finish your new tarmac driveway in a single day. Tarmac is also very affordable, primarily when used for small surfaces, such as driveways.
Asphalt requires a little more to install. While asphalt costs less for larger projects—such as roads—if you only want to use it over a small area, it can cost more. It’s also a more environmentally friendly solution. You can reuse asphalt instead of starting from scratch. Tarmac, on the other hand, is not reusable.
Homeowners who want a smoother texture usually prefer asphalt. Because tarmac has larger aggregates, it has a rougher, more pronounced texture. The finish of asphalt is much more aesthetic to many people.
Asphalt is also easy to maintain. It’s simple to clean up spills or repair damage. Paving experts recommend cleaning asphalt with a hard brush at least once a year. Any cracks need filling before they spread.
The material you select is dependent on your wants and needs. Neither is necessarily better than the other, but many homeowners lean towards asphalt when laying a driveway. It only takes a few days to install and cure an asphalt driveway, and with proper maintenance, it can last for many decades.