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Price Your Tarmac Driveway

Snapshot of costs: fast and straightforward.

Breakdown of every cost to expect.

Pinpoint nearby experts for your project.

Tarmac Driveway Cost per M2

Are you thinking about a tarmac driveway? It’s a good choice. It’s tough, low-maintenance, and doesn’t break the bank. Tarmac driveways can handle the unpredictable British weather and daily use without much fuss. But how much will it set you back in 2024?

This tarmac driveway cost guide cuts through the jargon to give you the average cost of laying a tarmac driveway. We’ll cover everything from the basic installation process to the extra bits that might affect the final figure. Ready to find out what your tarmac driveway installed might cost?

Let’s dive in.

What is the Cost to Tarmac a Driveway?

Tarmacing a driveway involves several cost factors, but primarily, for an average-sized UK driveway of 40m², the expense starts from £3,000. This cost includes tarmac laying but can rise to £4,000 if foundational work is required. Given the variance in labour and material costs across regions, prices in the South of England, like London, could be higher.

The investment in a tarmac driveway boosts property value and ensures a durable, low-maintenance surface, making it a cost-effective choice compared to concrete driveways.

What Factors Influence the Cost of Tarmacing a Driveway?

What is the cost of laying a brand-new tarmac driveway? It’s not just about throwing down some tarmac. Several factors influence the final bill. Let’s break down what affects the tarmac driveway prices.

The Size of the Driveway

First, size matters. It’s pretty straightforward: larger driveways will cost more. But here’s a silver lining: the more square meters you cover, the cheaper the new tarmac surface becomes per square meter. Why? Once the driveway professionals and their gear are on-site, they’re ready to crack on. Scaling up adds less to the cost than you think.

Existing Driveway Surface

What’s your current driveway like? Swapping an existing tarmac drive for new is relatively easy. Concrete is more of a hassle to break up and dispose of. Block paving is surprisingly more accessible to remove than install. The type of existing surface you’re starting with can sway the cost.

Material Costs

Then there’s the tarmac mix itself, plus getting it delivered. There’s no getting around it; hot mix tarmac is what you should be getting and these materials and supply costs will be part of your overall project cost. Quick note: cold lay tarmac arrives in packs and should be used for small DIY jobs, or mainly repair work. For larger areas apply hot mix tarmac.

Labour Costs

Labour costs for tarmac driveway installations will be between 35-50%. A typical two-person installation team costs at least £400 a day. The time they need can vary wildly, from a day for a small 10m² to a week for a large 80m² tarmac driveway.

When people say shop around for competitive pricing, it usually means labour costs, and how much companies charge to fit, as tarmac driveway materials are usually the same for most local companies.

Poor Access

Have you got tight access to your property? If the installers can’t get their vehicles and materials close to the driveway, the price will be bumped up. Time is money, after all.

Weird Shaped Driveways

Do you have a driveway that returns or is odd in shape? These take longer to do than straightforward rectangles, impacting the cost due to the extra time and effort involved.

Coloured Tarmac Cost

Fancy coloured tarmac? It looks great, but expect to pay a premium. Red tarmac is popular, costing about £10 to £20 more per square meter than classic black.

A selection of colours popular with tarmac driveways

Drainage Installation Cost

Need drainage? Most tarmac driveways have a subtle fall to handle water runoff, but you’ll need to pay extra for something more substantial, like Aco drains. Expect around £50 per linear meter for channel drains; the usual place to install them is in front of the garage.

Infrequent Slopes

Sloping driveways? Tarmac’s a solid option, but trickier to lay than on flat surfaces.

Delivery Costs

Lastly, the tarmac needs to be brought to your place, and this delivery cost is always passed on to you.

What Additional Features Can Affect My Tarmac Driveway Cost?

The basic installation costs for a tarmac driveway depends mainly on the above. Several additional features could significantly impact the overall price. Let’s explore some of these potential additional costs.

Manhole Covers

Manhole covers can be a hidden tarmac driveways cost. They require inset trays that match the driveway’s finish, and fitting these neatly into your new tarmac driveway is a pain in the a$$!

A contractor might spend up to three hours per cover, ensuring it aligns perfectly with the driveway’s design, adding to your costs. Most tarmac driveways have at least one cover


Proper edging improves your tarmac driveway’s look and structural integrity. Options range from standard grey pin kerbs, which are more budget-friendly but still require precise concrete settings, to boot kerbs, which offer a superb frame but also demand meticulous installation for strength.


Proper drainage is essential to prevent water pooling on your newly installed tarmac driveway, but it does come at an additional cost. Whether you integrate slight slopes that are invisible to the eye or install specific drainage solutions to direct water flow, drainage has to be a big part of the plan in 2024.

Steps to the Front Door

While tarmac driveways are versatile, you should opt for something that looks way better, like block paving for steps leading up to your front door. Creating steps, from a simple single step to more complex multi-level entries, requires expertise and time, the corners alone are approaching £20 each.

Do You Need a Dropped Kerb?

What are the Steps to Installing a New Tarmac Driveway?


First up, we dig. The ground must be taken down to 300mm deep, ensuring it’s all set for a fresh start.


Next, we’re talking edges. They’re not just there to look pretty; they keep your tarmac where it should be and prevent it from crumbling under the pressure of daily drives.


With the groundwork set, it’s time to roll out the Geotextile membrane. This clever fabric keeps the weeds at bay and is the start of your driveway layers.


Then comes a layer of Class 1 M.O.T. hardcore. We pack it in layers, compacting it with each whacker run.


Drainage isn’t glamorous, but it’s essential. It’s slotted in to ensure rainwater finds its way out, not pooling on your new drive.

Concrete Edgings and Optional Extras

Now for the borders. Concrete edgings come in to give your driveway those neat, tidy edges. Fancy more flair? Block paving or sandstone setts can add that extra pop of colour.

Apply Tarmac

The grand finale – the tarmac layer.

A base coat goes down first, followed by the top coat, each compacted for that smooth, sleek finish you’re after.

How Much Does Labour and Equipment Hire Affect the Price?

Labour and equipment rental can account for at least 50% of the overall cost of installing a tarmac driveway. This is because the process requires specialised skills, from excavation to the final laying and compacting of the tarmac, and requires a team of experienced professionals.

Additionally, heavy machinery, such as excavators for digging and rollers for compacting the tarmac, contributes to this significant portion of the cost. The exact percentage can vary depending on the job’s complexity, the driveway’s size, and local labour rates.

How Do Different Materials Influence the Final Quote?

Materials Influence on the Final Quote

Focusing solely on tarmac prices per tonne gives an incomplete picture of the total overall costs. Tarmac is indeed a primary material, but more materials and components are crucial to the process, each adding to the overall expense:

  • Sub-base Material: Usually consisting of crushed stone or concrete, the sub-base and broken stones provides a stable foundation for the tarmac.
  • Geotextile Membrane: This fabric layer is essential for weed prevention and improving the sub-base’s durability.
  • Edging Materials: Options include concrete kerbs, timber, or block paving, which frame the driveway’s boundaries and enhance structural integrity.
  • Drainage Solutions: Components like pipes, channels, and possibly aco drains ensure proper water runoff, preventing pooling on the surface.
  • Decorative Features: For those opting for a more aesthetic touch, materials like block paving for borders or setts for aprons can increase costs.
  • Concrete and Sand: Needed for setting edgings securely and possibly for additional layers beneath the tarmac allowing a smooth surface.
  • Protective Coatings: Some homeowners opt for sealants to extend the lifespan of the tarmac and protect against wear and spillages.

Each of these materials comes with its own price tag, which can vary based on quality, quantity, and regional price differences.

How Can I Estimate the Cost of My Tarmac Driveway Project?

To get a rough idea of what you’re in for, your first step should be ringing up a few driveway installers. Ask for some ballpark figures.

Remember, these won’t be spot on. Every job’s a bit different, and they’ll need to check out your drive to give you a proper labour cost and material quote, considering everything we have gone over.

What's the Best Way to Calculate Tarmac Driveway Costs Per Square Metre?

Again, getting on the phone is your best bet. But don’t expect laser precision without a site visit. Each company will have its own tarmac driveway ideas and method of assessing the job.

Are There Unexpected Costs I Should Plan For?

Everything we’ve discussed could pop up, but watch for V.A.T. Some companies are registered, which is a good trust signal, while others aren’t, which might make them seem cheaper. This is just something to think about when planning your budget.

How Should I Plan and Prepare for My Tarmac Driveway Installation?

Do I Need Planning Permission for My Tarmac Driveway?

Straight to the point, you likely won’t need planning permission. However, if you’re thinking of laying a solid, impermeable driveway over five square metres that does not drain to a porous area, you’ll need to ask the council for permission.

How Do I Choose the Right Professionals for My Driveway Project?

Choosing the right team is crucial. Opting for the cheapest quote might tempt you, but remember, cheap is hardly ever best especially with labour costs. The world of tarmac installation has more cowboys than any other driveway type. To avoid a bumpy ride, can link you up with reliable local pros; they’ve done all the checks, and the registered professionals have come with thumbs up from homeowners like you.

How Long Does a Tarmac Driveway Installation Take?

Looking for a timeframe for installing a tarmac driveway? A proper tarmac company can install 10 square metres daily, assuming a full dig-out and installation. The size of the driveway decides everything. Patience is key; good things take time, and a top-notch tarmac driveway is no exception.

How Can I Maintain My Tarmac Driveway for Longevity?

What Are the Best Practices for Maintaining Tarmac Surfaces?

Keeping your tarmac driveway looking its best doesn’t need to be a chore. Start with a good sweep to clear any leaves, dirt, or debris. Then, hit it with a suitable cleaning product before giving it a thorough rinse with water.

Have you noticed a few cracks or potholes? Getting these fixed quickly can save you headaches later. Consider sealing or using a tarmac restorer to give it that extra layer of protection. And remember, heavy items can be harsh on tarmac driveways, so think about where you place them.

How Can I Protect My Drive From Harsh Weather Conditions?

Worried about ice and snow? Here are four savvy tips to keep your tarmac driveway in tip-top shape during extreme weather conditions:

  1. Don’t wait around – shovel snow away as soon as it lands.
  2. Seal any cracks or gaps with cold lay tarmac before the winter sets in.
  3. Pick the right de-icing product; some are kinder to tarmac than others.
  4. Regular cleaning, even in the chilly months.

A little effort goes a long way in keeping your tarmac driveway looking great and functioning well, come rain or shine.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Tarmac Driveways Any Good?

Yes, tarmac driveways are excellent for people seeking a hassle-free option with minimal maintenance, offering a smooth finish and a practical solution for many homes.

Is a Tarmac Drive Worth It?

Investing in a tarmac driveway is worth it if you want durability and a weather-resistant surface. Properly installed tarmac can last up to 25 years. In our opinion, it’s still worth comparing tarmac to other driveway materials to see if you can afford something even better.

Is Tarmac Cheaper Than Concrete Driveways?

Yes, the cost of a tarmac drives is generally more cost-effective than concrete. With tarmac costing £40-£50 per ton and concrete at £50-£60 per ton, tarmac offers both affordability and durability.

Is Tarmac More Cost-Effective Than a Block Paving Driveway?

Tarmac drives are not only cheaper than block paving but also offers a longer lifespan, making it a budget-friendly and durable option.

How Much Tarmac Do I Need for My Driveway?

To calculate the amount of hot lay tarmac needed, multiply the length by the width of your driveway to get the area in square metres (m2), then multiply by the depth for the volume in cubic metres.

How Much Is Tarmac a Ton?

The cost of hot lay tarmac per ton ranges between £40 – £50, not including delivery fees, which can add £100 – £150 to the total cost.

Does Tarmac Come in Different Colours?

Yes, hot lay tarmac is available in several colours, with black being the most common. Grey, green, blue, red, and buff are popular choices for adding a unique touch to driveways. Red tarmac is my personal favourite as it matches many of the roof tiles in homes we do.

Can You Tarmac Your Own Drive to Save Costs?

While D.I.Y. tarmac driveway installation can seem like a cost-saving option, hiring professionals is generally best. Expert installation avoids costly mistakes and ensures a durable, long-lasting driveway.

About The Author

John, owner of Easigrass North East for seven years, has lived and breathed landscaping. He evolved from running a leading paving and landscaping business to influencing the industry through online publishing. His real-world experience and hands-on background inform his genuine, insightful guidance for others navigating this space.

Meet The Author - John

The former owner of Easigrass North East, a significant landscaping player known for leading successful paving and garden companies, is now sharing his expert insights.

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