By Emily Rivers
Last updated 1st February 2024

Tarmac driveways are extremely common in the UK. The name comes from tarmacadam, which is a mixture of aggregates (gravel) and tar, and is not really used in domestic settings today. When people think of tarmac, they’re usually thinking of asphalt – a mixture of aggregates and bitumen.

We’ll use tarmac in this guide to talk about driveways, as that’s the most commonly-used term. So how much will a tarmac driveway set you back? Read our guide to find out the cost of the average tarmac driveway and the cost per square metre.

How much does it cost to tarmac a driveway?

If you have an average driveway of 50m2 (will fit 1 car comfortably or 2 small to medium-sized cars), expect a new black tarmac driveway to cost around £3,250. This estimate includes all labour, including digging out old materials and disposal and laying the sub-base, as well as all materials.

Cost breakdown:

Item/service

Average cost for 50m2 driveway

Excavation and waste disposal

£815

Sub-base

£685

Tarmac

£1,750

Total

£3,250

The exact cost of your tarmac driveway will vary depending on a variety of factors:

  • Size: As you’d expect, the size of your driveway will affect the cost. The larger the driveway, the more materials you’ll need and the longer it’ll take your driveway specialist to lay.

  • Shape: Standard square or rectangular driveways will cost less to lay as it will be easier to spread the tarmac. Curved or winding tarmac driveways will cost more.

  • Colour: While most people go for the standard black, you can have a tarmac driveway in an array of colours. You can get tarmac in a range of colours, but red is the most popular colour after black. Expect to pay between £10-20 more per m2 for red tarmac. Other colours could cost even more.

  • Condition of the space: If you have an old driveway in poor condition that you want to cover with tarmac, this will generally cost more than if you have a clear space that’s ready for a driveway company to excavate.

  • Where you live: Where you live has an impact on the cost of your tarmac driveway, and unfortunately you can’t do much about this one! You’ll pay less if you live in the north of England or Scotland and more if you live near London or in the south east. Check our location-based estimates further down the page for a more precise cost.

Tarmac driveway cost

Tarmac driveway cost per m2

The average tarmac driveway cost per m2 is £65, but it can range between £50-£100 per m2. We’ve broken down the average costs so you can see where your money is going:

Item

Average cost per m2

Excavation and waste disposal

£16

Sub-base

£14

Tarmac

£35

Total

£65

Is tarmac cheaper than block paving?

Yes, tarmac is cheaper than block paving. The average 50m2 block paved driveway will cost at least £5,140, making tarmac the cheaper option. This is generally because tarmac is much quicker to lay than block paving where you have to set each individual brick.

Advantages and disadvantages of tarmac driveways

Advantages

  • Quick to install: As driveway specialists must work quickly to spread hot tarmac over the prepared sub-base, it’s faster to install than materials like block paving.

  • Easy to repair: A driveway contractor can repair cracks and holes easily, and you can even resurface a whole tarmac driveway to extend its lifespan.

  • Weather resistant: Tarmac is designed to endure heat, snow, frost and any other British weather conditions, so it should last for many years.

  • Budget-friendly: A mid-range option, tarmac is cheaper than block paving and concrete but more expensive than gravel driveways, but are much easier to maintain.

Disadvantages

  • Needs maintenance: It’s important to keep your tarmac driveway dry to prevent moss or algae growth, which can make the surface slippery. Also, vehicle oil, petrol and diesel can weaken the binder in tarmac which can make it crack, so you must rinse off any spillages swiftly. It’s best to get your tarmac driveway resealed every 5 years.

  • Can get hot in summer: Tarmac can get excessively hot in the summer if the sun shines directly on it. As well as making it painful to walk on in soft shoes, UV rays can begin to degrade tarmac, making cracks and potholes appear.

  • Can develop potholes: Harsh frosts can encourage cracks in your tarmac to turn into potholes, as well as UV rays and general wear and tear. If left, weeds can grow in the holes and make them even bigger, so it’s important to get cracks and potholes repaired as soon as you notice them.

How long before I can park on my new tarmac driveway?

Like block paving, concrete or resin, you’ll need to leave your tarmac driveway to cure for a while before you park on it. It’s best to leave it at least 48 hours before you park your cars on your new driveway to allow the tarmac to harden, but 5 days would be even better.

How long will a tarmac drive last?

On average, a well-installed tarmac driveway should last around 20 years. However, it all depends on the quality of the initial installation, how well you look after it and its exposure to direct sunlight.

The best way to increase the longevity of your tarmac drive is to keep it clean and deal with any cracks or potholes as soon as you notice them.

Does a tarmac drive need drainage?

Yes, a tarmac drive does need drainage. As an impermeable surface, rainwater can’t soak into it, so will pool on your driveway and could contribute to flooding. All new driveways of over 5m2 must be SuDS (Sustainable Drainage Systems) compliant, meaning that they must have a drainage system that mimics natural drainage for water to run into. Make sure your driveway specialist speaks to you about adding soakaways or directing rainwater into a lawn or other natural surface nearby.

What time of year is best to tarmac a driveway?

It’s best to tarmac a driveway in the spring or summer, preferably when it’s not raining. While tarmac can be laid in light rain, heavy rain could wash away the tarmac before it’s cured properly.

Waiting until spring or summer to tarmac your driveway helps reduce the risk of your project being delayed due to heavy rain. Plus, warmer temperatures are optimal for curing time – 15°C up to 30°C is ideal.

Now you’ve seen the average costs for tarmac driveways, it’s time to get more accurate prices. Post your job on HaMuch now and we’ll put you in touch with driveway specialists in your area.


Estimates for common driveway specialist jobs;

Rates for other trades

Tarmac driveway cost in the UK
Tarmac driveway cost in the UK (excluding VAT or callout charges)
Location in UKTarmac driveway cost
Tarmac driveway near Aberdeen£4122
Tarmac driveway near Amber Valley£3546
Tarmac driveway near Angus£3594
Tarmac driveway near Arun£3690
Tarmac driveway near Ashfield£3578
Tarmac driveway near Aylesbury Vale£3866
Tarmac driveway near Barnsley£3738
Tarmac driveway near Basildon£3754
Tarmac driveway near Basingstoke & Deane£3882
Tarmac driveway near Bassetlaw£3546
Tarmac driveway near Bath & North East Somerset£3754
Tarmac driveway near Bedford£4010
Tarmac driveway near Belfast£2314
Tarmac driveway near Birmingham£3322
Tarmac driveway near Blackburn£3322
Tarmac driveway near Blackpool£3114
Tarmac driveway near Bolton£3322
Tarmac driveway near Bournemouth£3850
Tarmac driveway near Bracknell Forest£3978
Tarmac driveway near Bradford£3402
Tarmac driveway near Braintree£3674
Tarmac driveway near Breckland£3146
Tarmac driveway near Bridgend£3178
Tarmac driveway near Brighton£3658
Tarmac driveway near Bristol£3738
Tarmac driveway near Broadland£3018
Tarmac driveway near Broxtowe£3546
Tarmac driveway near Bury£3354
Tarmac driveway near Caerphilly£3226
Tarmac driveway near Calderdale£3290
Tarmac driveway near Cambridge£3930
Tarmac driveway near Canterbury£3370
Tarmac driveway near Cardiff£3226
Tarmac driveway near Carmarthenshire£3226
Tarmac driveway near Charnwood£3338
Tarmac driveway near Chelmsford£3738
Tarmac driveway near Cheltenham£3754
Tarmac driveway near Cherwell£3754
Tarmac driveway near Chester£3370
Tarmac driveway near Colchester£3498
Tarmac driveway near Conway£3050
Tarmac driveway near Coventry£3242
Tarmac driveway near Crewe & Nantwich£3386
Tarmac driveway near Dacorum£3962
Tarmac driveway near Derby£3514
Tarmac driveway near Doncaster£3466
Tarmac driveway near Dover£3306
Tarmac driveway near Dudley£3322
Tarmac driveway near Dumfries & Galloway£2746
Tarmac driveway near Dundee£3690
Tarmac driveway near East Ayrshire£3370
Tarmac driveway near East Devon£3226
Tarmac driveway near East Dunbartonshire£3658
Tarmac driveway near East Hampshire£3770
Tarmac driveway near East Hertfordshire£3994
Tarmac driveway near East Lindsey£3194
Tarmac driveway near East Riding£3386
Tarmac driveway near Eastleigh£3658
Tarmac driveway near Edinburgh£3946
Tarmac driveway near Elmbridge£3978
Tarmac driveway near Epping Forest£3914
Tarmac driveway near Erewash£3530
Tarmac driveway near Exeter£3146
Tarmac driveway near Falkirk£3466
Tarmac driveway near Fife£4170
Tarmac driveway near Flintshire£3338
Tarmac driveway near Gateshead£3546
Tarmac driveway near Gedling£3562
Tarmac driveway near Glasgow£3690
Tarmac driveway near Gloucester£3626
Tarmac driveway near Guildford£4058
Tarmac driveway near Gwynedd£2698
Tarmac driveway near Halton£3258
Tarmac driveway near Harrogate£3306
Tarmac driveway near Havant & Waterloo£3642
Tarmac driveway near Highland£3290
Tarmac driveway near Horsham£3802
Tarmac driveway near Huntingdonshire£4074
Tarmac driveway near Ipswich£3322
Tarmac driveway near Isle of Wight£3658
Tarmac driveway near Kings Lynn & West Norfolk£3354
Tarmac driveway near Kingston-upon-Hull£3338
Tarmac driveway near Kirklees£3402
Tarmac driveway near Knowsley£3226
Tarmac driveway near Lancaster£3258
Tarmac driveway near Leeds£3354
Tarmac driveway near Leicester£3258
Tarmac driveway near Lisburn£2410
Tarmac driveway near Liverpool£3258
Tarmac driveway near London£3930
Tarmac driveway near Luton£3930
Tarmac driveway near Macclesfield£3370
Tarmac driveway near Maidstone£3882
Tarmac driveway near Manchester£3338
Tarmac driveway near Mid Bedfordshire£3994
Tarmac driveway near Mid Sussex£3722
Tarmac driveway near Middlesbrough£3562
Tarmac driveway near Milton Keynes£3914
Tarmac driveway near Neath Port Talbot£3194
Tarmac driveway near New Forest£3802
Tarmac driveway near Newbury£3866
Tarmac driveway near Newcastle-under-Lyme£3354
Tarmac driveway near Newcastle-upon-Tyne£3546
Tarmac driveway near Newport£3322
Tarmac driveway near North Ayrshire£3770
Tarmac driveway near North East Lincolnshire£3434
Tarmac driveway near North Hertfordshire£3978
Tarmac driveway near North Lanarkshire£3578
Tarmac driveway near North Lincolnshire£3210
Tarmac driveway near North Somerset£3722
Tarmac driveway near North Tyneside£3626
Tarmac driveway near North Wiltshire£3594
Tarmac driveway near Northampton£3674
Tarmac driveway near Norwich£3114
Tarmac driveway near Nottingham£3562
Tarmac driveway near Nuneaton & Bedworth£3274
Tarmac driveway near Oldham£3370
Tarmac driveway near Oxford£3802
Tarmac driveway near Pembrokeshire£2634
Tarmac driveway near Perth & Kinross£3866
Tarmac driveway near Peterborough£3962
Tarmac driveway near Plymouth£3578
Tarmac driveway near Poole£3850
Tarmac driveway near Portsmouth£3642
Tarmac driveway near Powys£3018
Tarmac driveway near Preston£3274
Tarmac driveway near Reading£3946
Tarmac driveway near Redcar & Cleveland£3610
Tarmac driveway near Reigate & Banstead£3994
Tarmac driveway near Renfrewshire£3914
Tarmac driveway near Rhondda, Cynon, Taff£3194
Tarmac driveway near Rochdale£3354
Tarmac driveway near Rotherham£3818
Tarmac driveway near Salford£3322
Tarmac driveway near Salisbury£4314
Tarmac driveway near Sandwell£3306
Tarmac driveway near Scarborough£3082
Tarmac driveway near Scottish Borders£4170
Tarmac driveway near Sefton£3242
Tarmac driveway near Sevenoaks£3930
Tarmac driveway near Sheffield£3866
Tarmac driveway near Slough£3994
Tarmac driveway near Solihull£3258
Tarmac driveway near South Ayrshire£3418
Tarmac driveway near South Bedfordshire£4010
Tarmac driveway near South Cambridgeshire£3994
Tarmac driveway near South Gloucestershire£3722
Tarmac driveway near South Kesteven£3354
Tarmac driveway near South Lanarkshire£3386
Tarmac driveway near South Oxfordshire£3882
Tarmac driveway near South Somerset£3834
Tarmac driveway near South Tyneside£3578
Tarmac driveway near Southampton£3658
Tarmac driveway near Southend-on-Sea£3642
Tarmac driveway near St Albans£3978
Tarmac driveway near St Helens£3258
Tarmac driveway near Stafford£3434
Tarmac driveway near Stockport£3370
Tarmac driveway near Stockton-on-Tees£3626
Tarmac driveway near Stoke-on-Trent£3354
Tarmac driveway near Stratford-on-Avon£3354
Tarmac driveway near Stroud£3578
Tarmac driveway near Suffolk Coastal£3306
Tarmac driveway near Sunderland£3546
Tarmac driveway near Swale£3610
Tarmac driveway near Swansea£3306
Tarmac driveway near Tameside£3370
Tarmac driveway near Teignbridge£3322
Tarmac driveway near Tendring£3418
Tarmac driveway near Test Valley£3658
Tarmac driveway near Thamesdown£3514
Tarmac driveway near Thanet£3114
Tarmac driveway near The Wrekin£3546
Tarmac driveway near Thurrock£3834
Tarmac driveway near Torbay£3418
Tarmac driveway near Trafford£3338
Tarmac driveway near Vale of Glamorgan£3258
Tarmac driveway near Vale of White Horse£3738
Tarmac driveway near Vale Royal£3386
Tarmac driveway near Wakefield£3418
Tarmac driveway near Walsall£3338
Tarmac driveway near Warrington£3306
Tarmac driveway near Warwick£3274
Tarmac driveway near Waveney£3178
Tarmac driveway near Waverley£4026
Tarmac driveway near Wealden£3658
Tarmac driveway near West Lancashire£3226
Tarmac driveway near West Lothian£3706
Tarmac driveway near West Wiltshire£3594
Tarmac driveway near Wigan£3322
Tarmac driveway near Windsor & Maidenhead£3994
Tarmac driveway near Wirral£3258
Tarmac driveway near Wokingham£3962
Tarmac driveway near Wolverhampton£3338
Tarmac driveway near Wrexham Maelor£3434
Tarmac driveway near Wychavon£3370
Tarmac driveway near Wycombe£3962
Tarmac driveway near York£3242