If you’re looking for a durable, easy to lay and relatively cheap driveway material, then tarmac might well fit the bill. A cheap and easy alternative to clock paved driveways, tarmac is laid as a hot liquid then levelled to form the right gradient for your driveway. In just a few hours, tarmac will cool to form a hard-wearing surface. Even better, unlike paving driveways, tarmac can usually be laid on top any existing surface with no bedding layer required, although if the existing surface is grass or any other very uneven surface, then this will need to be removed and a tarmac base layer created.
Tarmac drives are very quick to lay, the entire job - mixing the tarmac at a high temperature, laying and levelling - takes just a few hours, so less disruption and inconvenience than other popular driveway materials. But even though tarmac is quick and easy to lay, it is also incredibly strong and durable, even when subjected to the weight of heavy vehicles which would crack paving or concrete drives.
The cost of a tarmac driveway laid by a professional will depend mainly on the size and shape of the area to be covered, but expect to pay £1,400 or more for a professional to lay a small drive for you. Irregular shaped drives with unusual gradients will bump up the cost, as will coloured tarmac. Any tree roots, drains or other problems will also increase the cost. To get the best value you need to shop around and compare a number of quotes before you settle on a contractor. But remember that going for the lowest price is not always best because you want a good tradesman with experience to make sure that the job is done correctly.
The time taken to complete a tarmac drive will depend on the number of workers, but as a general guide, a typical small UK driveway would take a couple of days to complete. This is assuming a complete new base is required and the contractor cannot simply tarmac over the existing surface, if a new base is not required, then the job can be completed in less than one day. Depending on the size of your driveway it can take as little as 3 days to complete. The first 2 days will be excavating and the last day will be laying the tarmac and allowing it to dry. If you are just laying the tarmac straight on top of your current driveway then this can be done within a day. It all depends on what your job requires.