Tar and Chip Driveways vs. Asphalt Driveways

There are plenty of options when it comes to installing a new driveway or walkway. With so many paving materials available to chose from, it can be difficult to know which is right for your upcoming construction project.

When it comes to asphalt driveways vs. tar and chip driveways, there are lot of differences. Each of their distinct advantages as well as considerations that need to be made before moving forward. To assist you in making the right decision we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to both asphalt and tar and chip driveways.

Asphalt Driveways

Asphalt is one of the most commonly chosen materials for paving driveways and parking lots. During installation, the area will need to be excavated and graded to be paved and allow the base to settle before applying the hot mix asphalt and compacting it with a heavy duty roller. After it has fully curated is when the driveway would be ready for use.

Advantages of Asphalt Driveways

Asphalt driveways offer a number of advantages including:

  • Longevity – When an asphalt driveway is professionally installed and properly maintained it can last for up to 30 years before needing to be replaced.
  • Durability – Asphalt is known to be strong and durable enough to support heavy loads.
  • Attractiveness – The sleek, black coloration of asphalt makes it appear very sophisticated. When an asphalt driveway is well cared for it will improve the look of the entire property and can add to a property’s curb value.
  • Flexibility – Unlike concrete and other paving materials, asphalt is very flexible. This means that it is far less susceptible to cracking as a result of weather fluctuations.
  • Cost – Compared to many other driveway paving options, asphalt is considered to be very affordable and offers a high return on your investment as it can last for decades.

Asphalt Driveways: Things to Consider

As with all paving materials, some considerations must be made with regard to asphalt driveways, such as:

  • High Temperatures – When temperatures become extremely hot, asphalt can absorb that heat and raise the temperature in vehicles that are parked on it.
  • Maintenance – In order to get the most value out of an asphalt driveway it must be maintained with care. This means that any cracks should be filled immediately to avoid bigger problems and the driveway should be re-sealed every 2-5 years.

Tar and Chip Driveways

With a tar and chip driveway your contractor will first apply a hot mix liquid asphalt cement to a gravel base or the existing driveway (provided that it is in good condition). Next, one or two layers of crushed stone will be spread on top of the hot asphalt and compacted down. The end result is a stunning and unique driveway that is customized to your specific desires.

Advantages of Tar and Chip Driveways

The benefits of tar and chip driveways include:

  • Lower Overall Cost – In terms of cost, tar and chip driveways are slightly more expensive than gravel, while being slightly less expensive than asphalt.
  • Natural Beauty – Because of the stones used, a tar and chip driveway will have a very natural and elegant appearance.
  • Low-Maintenance – A tar and chip driveway requires very little maintenance. This type of drive doesn’t need to be sealed regularly, and often, small cracks can disguise and repair themselves. When the tar becomes heated in warm weather, it will fill in the cracks and the stones will settle in to cover it up.
  • Traction – The rough surface of this type of driveway helps to improve traction for vehicles.
  • Longevity – A tar and chip driveway can typically last for up to 10 years before it will need to be re-surfaced.

Tar and Chip Driveways: Things to Consider

Tar and chip driveways are beginning to grow in popularity due to it’s unique design and appearance. It’s important to take some factors into consideration before installing tar and chip driveways, such as:

  • Snow Removal – Unless precautions are taken, snow plows may cause damage to a tar and chip driveway.
  • Contractors – As tar and chip driveways aren’t as common as others it can take a bit of work and research to find a contractor that is truly experienced and skilled enough to handle the job. We advise speaking with a Braen Stone representative to get their recommendations on the best contractors available.

Both asphalt and tar and chip driveways are excellent options that offer their own unique set of advantages. When you understand the considerations that must be made for each, as well as their differences, you can easily make a smart decision about which material to use in the construction of your new driveway.


By | 2017-06-12T11:20:40+00:00 April 15th, 2017|Asphalt, Crushed Stone|0 Comments

About the Author:

Dirk is a Project Manager at Braen Stone. He's an expert on a variety of construction materials and prides himself on helping the company meet the needs of companies large and small.