Tarmac Driveways Comparison: The Comparative Guide vs Other Driveway Materials

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As you map out your forthcoming home renovation venture in Ireland, you’ll likely wrestle with the task of selecting an apt material for your driveway. Tarmac driveways have emerged as a popular pick, but just how well do they fare against their competitors? Our detailed analysis today centres around a comprehensive ‘tarmac driveways comparison’ to other driveway materials in Ireland, where we dissect their merits and downsides.

tarmac driveways comparison Ireland

The Rising Popularity of Tarmac Driveways in Ireland

It’s no surprise that tarmac driveways are gaining traction in Ireland. They’re durable, affordable, and easily maintainable, making them an appealing choice for homeowners and property developers alike. But what gives tarmac driveways the edge over other materials?

Cost-Effectiveness of Tarmac

One major advantage tarmac driveways hold over other materials is their cost-effectiveness. Tarmac is a wallet-friendly option without compromising on quality or durability. You get a bang for your buck with a tarmac driveway, a factor that’s essential in any home improvement project.

Easy Maintenance and Repair

Tarmac driveways also shine in the maintenance and repair department. Due to their robust nature, the maintenance needs of tarmac driveways are minimal. They’re resistant to heavy usage and weather damage, and when the time comes for repair, it’s often a straightforward and inexpensive process.

Comparison of Tarmac Driveways to Other Driveway Materials in Ireland

In order to gain a better understanding of tarmac driveways’ position in the market, let’s dive into comparing tarmac driveways to other driveway materials in Ireland. The materials we’ll compare include concrete, gravel, cobblestone, and resin-bound surfaces.

Tarmac vs Concrete Driveways

Concrete driveways are a formidable opponent for tarmac. They’re known for their longevity and ability to bear heavy loads. However, they tend to be pricier and demand more maintenance than tarmac. Moreover, repairing a concrete driveway can be a complicated task, often necessitating a complete redo of the affected area.

Durability Comparison

Both tarmac and concrete are durable materials. However, in the harsh Irish weather, tarmac driveways tend to hold up better. They’re more flexible and therefore less likely to crack under pressure or temperature changes.

Aesthetics Comparison

When it comes to aesthetics, some might argue that concrete driveways have an edge, offering a variety of finishes and colours. But don’t count tarmac out! Modern tarmac driveways can also be customised with various colours and finishes to match your home’s exterior.

Tarmac vs Gravel Driveways

Gravel driveways are another popular choice in Ireland. They’re known for their affordability and unique aesthetic appeal. But how do they fare when pitted against tarmac driveways?
driveway surfaces gravel and tarmac

Installation and Maintenance Comparison

Gravel driveways are relatively easy to install but require constant maintenance due to shifting and settling. On the flip side, tarmac driveways might need a bit more work in the installation phase but require less maintenance over the years.

Noise Level Comparison

Gravel driveways tend to produce a distinct sound when driven over, which can be seen as a pro or a con depending on the homeowner. Tarmac driveways, however, provide a smooth, quiet ride, which might be the more preferable option for those seeking tranquillity.

Tarmac vs Cobblestone Driveways

Cobblestone driveways exude a charm that’s hard to beat. They’re incredibly durable and give any property a touch of class. But, cobblestones have their own share of drawbacks too.

Installation Cost and Time Comparison

Cobblestones are typically more expensive and time-consuming to install than tarmac. The intricate design and layout of a cobblestone driveway mean that more work and material costs are involved.

Maintenance and Longevity Comparison

Cobblestone driveways, though robust and durable, may require regular maintenance to keep their appearance up to par. Over time, the stones can become dislodged, leading to an uneven surface. In contrast, tarmac driveways are easier to maintain and offer excellent longevity.

Tarmac vs Resin-Bound Driveways

Resin-bound driveways have gained popularity for their decorative look and permeability. Yet, when compared to tarmac driveways, there are a few points to consider.

Permeability Comparison

One advantage of resin-bound driveways over tarmac is their permeability. They allow water to drain through, reducing the risk of standing water and potential flooding. Tarmac driveways, while not permeable, are often installed with adequate drainage systems to combat this issue.

Durability and Cost Comparison

Resin-bound driveways, while attractive, can’t quite match the durability and cost-effectiveness of tarmac. They tend to be more expensive and require professional installation, whereas tarmac is a hardy, economical choice.
driveway surfaces tarmac and asphalt gravel etc

Other Alternatives

Block Paving Driveways vs Tarmac

Block paving driveways are another choice that some homeowners opt for. These driveways allow for creative designs and patterns. However, when comparing block paving driveways and tarmac driveways in terms of cost, tarmac driveways often emerge as the more cost-effective option.

What about Tarmac Driveway Cost?

When it comes to the tarmac driveway cost, it varies based on several factors such as the size of the driveway, location, and the professional fees of the installer. Despite these variables, tarmac driveways typically prove to be an economical option in the long run due to their durability and low maintenance needs. Please go to our tarmac driveways cost calculator to have a proper idea.

Asphalt Driveway and Asphalt Tarmac

In some discussions, the terms ‘asphalt driveway’ and ‘asphalt tarmac’ are used interchangeably with ‘tarmac driveway.’ This is because tarmac, or ‘tarmacadam,’ is a type of asphalt. Asphalt driveways are similar to tarmac driveways in terms of their robustness and cost-effectiveness. Asphalt surfacing is particularly known for its resistance to wear and tear and longevity.

Asphalt Concrete vs Tarmac

Another term that often comes up in this context is ‘asphalt concrete.’ This refers to a type of asphalt that has been mixed with concrete, creating a highly durable surfacing material. Asphalt concrete is a bit different from traditional tarmac but provides similar benefits in terms of durability and cost-effectiveness.

Gravel Driveway and Crushed Stone

Gravel driveways, often composed of crushed stone, offer a distinct aesthetic appeal and affordability. However, when considering maintenance, a gravel driveway may require more attention as the stones may shift over time. In comparison, tarmac driveways require less maintenance and provide a smooth, quiet drive.

Asphaltic Cement Driveways

Lastly, asphaltic cement driveways are another variant of asphalt driveways. These are made by mixing asphalt with cement, resulting in a durable surfacing material. Like tarmac, they offer durability and resistance to wear and tear, but they can be a bit more expensive.

Common FAQs About Tarmac Driveways

1. How long does a tarmac driveway last?

A tarmac driveway, if properly installed and maintained, can last for about 12 to 15 years. Its lifespan can be extended with regular maintenance and seal coating every few years.

2. Can a tarmac driveway withstand heavy vehicles?

Absolutely. Tarmac is a sturdy material that can handle heavy loads. However, it’s always best to allow the tarmac to fully cure before subjecting it to heavy traffic.

3. Does a tarmac driveway require a lot of maintenance?

Compared to other driveway materials, tarmac requires minimal maintenance. Regular cleaning and occasional seal coating will keep it in top shape.

4. Can I install a tarmac driveway myself?

While it’s technically possible to install a tarmac driveway yourself, it’s recommended to hire professionals. They have the right tools and experience to ensure a high-quality, durable driveway.

5. Can a tarmac driveway be resurfaced?

Yes, one of the great advantages of tarmac is that it can be resurfaced rather than entirely replaced, extending its lifespan and saving you money.

6. Is tarmac eco-friendly?

Tarmac is partially eco-friendly, as it’s often made with recycled materials and can be recycled again at the end of its lifespan.

Here’s another article penned in the UK on the same subject, which will offer you a distinct perspective: https://www.gardeningetc.com/advice/types-of-driveway-materials


When the question arises of selecting a material for your driveway, there’s certainly no universal solution that fits all circumstances. The best material for your driveway will depend on various factors including your budget, maintenance preference, and aesthetic desires. While tarmac driveways offer several advantages such as durability, cost-effectiveness, and ease of maintenance, other materials might have their unique selling points that appeal to different homeowners. As always, it’s essential to consider all options and seek professional advice to make an informed decision.

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