Updated in 2023 and written by an landscape gardening project manager

Written by Daniel Woodley. Fact Checked by Paul Farley. Published to Prices. Updated: 9th March 2023.

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Tarmac driveways are a popular choice and if laid to a high standard will last for decades. 

I have personally overseen dozens of tarmac driveway installations in my role as a project manager.

The key benefits you can expect are:

  • A tried and tested product.
  • Choose from red or black tarmac or add white stones for effect.
  • Edging blocks look great next to smooth black tarmac.
  • Tarmac is usually cheaper than block driveways and quicker to install too.

I’ve been researching what others are charging for new driveways and I’ve also looked at concrete, gravel and blocks.

On this page, I’ll answer common tarmac driveway questions such as:

How much does it cost to lay a tarmac driveway?

Is an overlay possible?

How long does it take to construct a tarmac driveway?

My Tarmac Driveway Price Guide

The cost of a tarmac driveway will depend on whether you want a replacement or an overlay.

There are two main options to consider:

  1. An overlay – this involves laying tarmac over an existing driveway and is only suitable if the driveway is in good condition.
  2. A complete overhaul of the driveway, digging out the existing material, installing a new base and finishing off with a layer of tarmac.

Based on my experience, sometimes an overlay is viable and sometimes it isn’t; the only way to tell is to have it inspected by an expert.

A anyway, this is how much I believe a tarmac driveway will cost:

Driveway Project 1: 60 Sq Mtrs Overlay Tarmac

The work includes:

  • Overlaying 60 square metres (driveway for 2/3 cars) with 35mm of tarmac overlay.
  • No new drainage channels or pipework required.
  • The driveway is in good condition with no cracks (movement cracks often transfer through to new tarmac).
  • The price includes a bonding layer and the removal of any waste material, not that there will be much.
  • The price assumes there is scope to raise the driveway by 35mm without fouling door entrances, drains, adjacent footpaths, etc.

This is for a standard driveway overlay and excludes items listed further down the page under the title “extra costs to consider”.

Location:Price inc VAT:
London and South£2750 - £3250 (£45-£55 psm)
Midlands and North£2250 - £2500 (£38-£40 psm)

Driveway Project 2: 60 Sq Mtrs Replacement Tarmac

This project is more complicated and this is reflected in the price, which also includes a new base:

  • Excavate the existing driveway material, including the base.
  • Level the ground.
  • Lay a weed proof membrane to prevent weed growth.
  • Bed edging cobbles onto concrete.
  • Install cobbles to the driveway apron at the very front of the driveway.
  • Install adequate drainage channels that connect to existing soakaways.
  • Lay the sub-base material and compact.
  • Lay the 1st tarmac course (called a binding course) and then compact.
  • Lay the 2nd course of tarmac (known as a surface course) which is compacted with a roller to leave a neat finish.
  • Remove and dispose of all waste material leaving the site clean and tidy.
Location:Price inc VAT:
London and South£7000 - £7500 (£115-£125 psm)
Midlands and North£6000 - £6600 (£100-£110 psm)

Project 3: 100 Sq Mtrs Driveways

100 sq mtrs is big enough to hold 4 cars with room to spare.

Here’s my price guide for overlays and replacements:

Location:Price inc VAT:
OverlaysFrom £3750 (£38 psm)
ReplacementFrom £11000 (£110 psm)

Other Costs to Consider

As no two tarmac driveway projects are the same, it isn’t easy to provide an accurate price without inspecting the property first.

The figures I’ve published on this page are an average for a standard installation, and are based on my knowledge and prices supplied to me when I researched prices for this article.

I’ve project-managed many driveway installations, and I think you should also consider these potential extras:

Kerb dropping/lowering – as public footpaths belong to the council, you’ll need to get their permission to lower a kerb if you need to create or widen access to your driveway. This isn’t always a simple process, but some councils are easier to deal with than others. If you live next to a busy road, or there are other health and safety issues, you may not be granted permission. I investigated the cost to lower a kerb, and the figures provided to me were eye-watering, so do look into this if you need to lower a kerb for access.

Drainage – it’s been 14 years since the government introduced new rules to help prevent flash floods. When laying a new driveway, you cannot allow rainwater to discharge onto the public footpath or highway without first gaining planning permission. Your options are:

  • Discharge the water into the ground within your boundary via channels and existing soakaways.
  • Pay for a new soakaway.
  • Direct the water to flowerbeds, and/or use permeable materials.
  • If you have no other option, gain permission to discharge onto the public highway.

Tarmac type – black tarmac is the cheapest, coloured tarmac needs to be made to order and for small amounts, I’ve found it very expensive.

Edgings – tarmac needs an edging to hold it in place and to stop it crumbling. How much edging, how wide and what type you choose will affect the price.

Ground levelling – if you want a driveway replaced on a like-for-like basis, the ground probably won’t need much levelling. If you wish to create an entirely new driveway or extend an existing one, you’ll need to level the ground, which may create many tons of waste, or you may need to pay for hardcore to be delivered and laid. Either way, ground excavation and levelling isn’t easy, it’s time-consuming and adds to the cost.

Any extra work required such as raising flowerbeds, tree or root removal, brick walls, steps or relocating underground pipes or cables etc., will add to the price of the tarmac driveway.

Tarmac edgings and aprons

Tarmac driveway with apron and edgings

Discreet drainage channel – one of several options

Discreet drainage – My preference

Permeable materials are one way to comply with drainage regulations but they cost more

Comparing Tarmac to Other Driveway Materials

I’ve overseen plenty of driveway projects and resin is my personal favourite material but there are others you can choose from:

Block Paving Driveways – these driveways are competitively priced, and you have the option to upgrade the blocks to something more expensive such as cobbles etc. I’ve found them easy to repair, wash and maintain and it’s obvious why blocks are a popular driveway choice. There are also lots of different patterns that can be created so you can, with a little imagination, design something unique. Rainwater management will be required for non-permeable blocks.

Gravel – there are many different gravel sizes and colours available so you can design a beautiful driveway that allows rainwater to drain away naturally. Gravel is noisy underfoot so it deters many burglars, a good selling point, as is the price.

Stamped Concrete – patterns and coloured dyes are stamped into the surface of the concrete as it’s drying; this enables you to create a unique colour scheme and design. However, I know from experience that sealed concrete can be slippery, and I’ver seen cracks appear due to the weight of the material shifting the mass. Repairing concrete is difficult as once it has set, it can’t be adjusted or moved, and it may need to be re-sealed periodically. Rainwater management will be needed as concrete isn’t porous.

Resin Bound – resin, a gluey liquid, is mixed with gravel to form a hard, strong material that’s also water-permeable. Resin drives have become popular over the last ten years but are still one of the most expensive options. I love resin as it looks like gravel but offers the practicality of a solid surface.

Get Your Custom Tarmac Driveway Quotation Online

I hope you found this guide to the cost of tarmac driveways informative.

As no driveway projects are ever the same, the best way to get an accurate price for your property is to get a customised quote.

Our network of tradespeople can help you by:

  • Giving you a written quotation online.
  • Showing you verified reviews and feedback from past customers.
  • Presenting you with quotes from different firms so you can compare prices.

Tarmac Driveway Q&A

When Were These Tarmac Driveway Prices Created?

I published this guide and prices in 2023. As tarmac prices are related to the cost of oil, the prices may change at any time.

Where Did You Get These Prices From?

I previously worked as a project manager and part of my role was to bring in driveway installers for developments and refurbishments we were working on.

I’m used to sourcing quotes from businesses so for this price guide, I contacted 36 driveway installers from various places around the UK. I then calculated an average figure so I could provide our visitors with a better-than-ballpark price estimate.

Do I Need Planning Permission When Installing a Driveway?

If your new driveway allows rainwater to discharge onto a public highway or footpath, you’ll need planning permission.

If you need to drop the kerb on the pavement, will need the permission of the council and it might be refused on safety grounds. Planning rules are complex and subject to change, so I suggest you start with the government’s planning portal.

What Drainage Options Do I Have?

Rainwater shouldn’t flow onto a public footpath or highway, here are your options:

  • Design the driveway so it slopes to a flowerbed/lawn etc.
  • Install drainage channels connecting to a new or old soakaway.
  • Install permeable tarmac which costs more.

This video shows how three tons of water soaks through permeable tarmac in seconds. Expect to pay more for permeable materials but as you can see they work well at preventing flash flooding.

How Long Will an Tarmac Overlay Last?

Tarmac, whether an overlay or as part of a new driveway, will last for decades if laid onto a solid base. However, I have seen driveway cracks transfer through to the new tarmac and ruin it, so any cracks should be professionally repaired.

Overlays have a bad reputation, but from my experience, this is due to the base not being sound.

If the existing driveway is sound, but the surface is just old, scuffed or looking tired, I can’t think of a reason why an overlay wouldn’t work.

Are There Any Installer Associations Where I Can Find Reputable Installers?

You can use our network of tradespeople to find a suitable installer, and of course, there’s also Checkatrade, Trustmark, Which? and other general trade associations. I’m unaware of any reputable driveway-specific associations where you can find vetted specialists.

Where is the Best Place to Ask a Technical Question About The Installation of a Driveway?

The Paving Expert is by far the best place online for technical information related to the construction of paving and driveways.

How Long Does it Take to Install a Tarmac Driveway?

Based on my experience of working with driveway installers, I think a small overlay project should be completed in a morning while a full overhaul to 60 square metres will take several days, and for 100 square metres, up to 4 days. Most of the time-consuming work is spent creating the base, edgings and drainage. From what I’ve seen, it doesn’t take long to lay and compact the tarmac once the foundation is complete.

Why You Can Trust This Guide

This guide to driveway prices was written by Daniel, who has over 18 years of experience in the construction, landscaping and home improvement industries, including 8 years as a project manager.

Opinions stated are his and based on his experience.

The figures for replacing and overlaying the driveway are based on prices supplied to us from several driveway installers we contacted and asked for a quote.

To ensure accuracy, we also asked Paul Farley to review this article and fact-check the key points prior to publication.

As every project is different, we urge you to get your own custom quote based on the specifics of your driveway.

Author: Daniel Woodley

Daniel has over 18 years of experience in the construction, home improvement, and landscape garden industries, including a spell working as a project manager.

In his spare time, Daniel enjoys gardening, hiking and scrambling. He frequently posts videos to his popular YouTube Channel and is well known in the hiking community.

More About Daniel Woodley.

Daniel Woodley

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