Should You Choose a Concrete or Tarmac Driveway?

Estimated reading time 6 minutes

If you are looking to give your driveway a new lease of life, the question surrounding which type of surface you should choose will no doubt have run through your mind.

Get it right and you could add a little extra value to your home, get it wrong and the driveway could look out of place and become more of an eyesore than you had first hoped.

In most instances, people choose between concrete or tarmac when looking to complete a residential surfacing project, although there are other surfacing options available. Commonly though, it’ll be classic tarmac or the more modern concrete that ends up getting laid and transforming your driveway.

In this month’s blog, we look at both concrete and tarmac so you can make the best decision for your home.

Why choose a concrete driveway?

Concrete is often chosen for its long lifespan; the resurfacing of a driveway is an outlay you don’t want to be going back to again and again. A well-laid concrete driveway could last as long as 40 years which more often than not, means you will not need to have a new driveway laid again.

Concrete driveways are also popular due to their low level of maintenance. The smooth surface means that a sweep or a hose down is often all it needs.

Further to these two key benefits, you will also see that a concrete driveway adds a little more than you may have first thought. Its customizable nature gives an element of personalization to your driveway and its better reaction to heat and light than other driveway materials makes it safer for pets and children to have contact with. Furthermore, thanks to its limestone and water components, it is seen as significantly more eco-friendly than tarmac and many other driveway surfaces.

Why shouldn’t you choose a concrete driveway?

With any project that you get surfacing specialists to undertake, the cost will always be a consideration and concrete does come in more expensive than tarmac in that regard. However, thanks to its durability and low maintenance, you can actually find the long-term spend for your concrete driveway is less than tarmac.

Concrete also isn’t agreeable with all soils either and whilst a Tidey & Webb team can facilitate the installation of a concrete driveway practically anywhere, should you be doing it yourself, the soil will need to be taken into consideration.

Concrete isn’t always seen to be the best for drainage and pools of water may build up, especially in heavy rain but it is worth noting that current regulations state that all new driveways must be constructed with porous materials or have a drainage system installed.

Unlike tarmac driveways, should a repair job be needed, you will find yourself needing to replace a concrete driveway rather than just patch it up. This can then see you having to spend the same or more than you did when originally installing it. You can of course hire driveway construction experts to repair it for you but this could cost you more than relaying it yourself.

You should also factor in who is using the driveway, if it also doubles up as an area where children may be able to play, the surface can be slippery when wet.

Why choose a tarmac driveway?

Tarmac driveways are your more standard-looking driveway and will likely blend in with the other driveways on your street. Easy to install, cheaper to install and simpler to maintain, a tarmac driveway is often the first driveway consideration made. Like concrete, it can also add value to your house but with its uniform look, the increase may not be as substantial.

With it being one of the cheapest ways to have a driveway laid, it is often chosen by those on a budget or those that need a driveway installed quickly. Its fast-setting nature means that you can have it laid and within less than a day have your car parked back on it.

Extremely durable and weather resistant, tarmac can also withstand stains and markings much better than concrete. These few benefits can tick many boxes for people considering a new tarmac driveway and it should also be noted that the repair options can further enhance why it could be the best option for you. Whereas with concrete it is recommended that you replace the whole drive when it needs repair, tarmac drives require no such extra work. Cracks and holes can easily be sealed and reinvigorate your driveway at much less cost than relaying an entire driveway.

Why shouldn’t you choose a tarmac driveway?

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons people prefer concrete over tarmac is maintenance. Whilst a professionally laid tarmac driveway will not cause you any problems, you will need to apply a sealant to it every 3-4 years to keep it at its prime. Factor in that its lifespan can be as short as 15 years and you may find that you are paying out more than once for a new driveway.

Tarmac can crack and if your driveway experiences heavy vehicles frequently, this can pose a problem. Whilst cracks can be repaired easily, if you choose to ignore them, you could find potholes and lots of damage requiring your attention. This could then see you need to consider a new tarmac driveway.

Tarmac is also a material that absorbs heat, if you have animals or children this can be risky, when the summer sun hits the tarmac, it can get too hot to walk on or touch. Tarmac is also known to stain when certain chemicals come in contact with it. If your vehicles are likely to be worked on whilst on the driveway there is every chance of staining from the petrol, and this can make your driveway look quite unsightly.

Tarmac is also worse for the environment when compared to concrete, its chemical makeup meaning that the processes behind getting your driveway material puts more fumes into the air.

Both driveway types provide you with an array of pros and cons and ultimately it comes down to your personal preference. Concrete provides longevity, durability and easy maintenance but at a cost. Tarmac on the other hand gives you a cheaper alternative that is easy to repair, easy to install and great at handling the wet weather we are accustomed to in the UK. Whichever option you go with, speak to the surfacing experts at Tidey & Webb. We have many years of experience in both residential and commercial surfacing across Sussex, Surrey and Kent and our team can advise on the best options for your driveways in Horsham and the surrounding areas.

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