Tarmac Driveways Dublin - Complete Guide Including Cost of Tarmac Driveways

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Selecting the right surface for your driveway can be a tedious task one often chooses to overlook.

It may sound like a simple question, but it’s a question many homeowners in Dublin often do not know the correct answer to.

Despite driveways being a necessity, many people don’t know much about them, such as what factors to consider before installing a new driveway or which materials are right for your driveway.

However, it most definitely is a very important task as the right driveway sets the tone for your house and its overall outward appearance.

tarmac driveway Dunboyne work in progress

If your concrete driveway has plenty of potholes, accrues plenty of water, or turns muddy as soon as it rains, then it’s high time to renovate it.

By renovating, get rid of worn-out tarmac driveway and get new tarmacadam driveways or tarmac driveways replacement.

There are so many building materials that can be used (gravel, concrete, asphalt, brick, tarmac to name just a few), and with contractors offering all sorts of options, one can easily get confused.

If you are looking for a driveway installation in Dublin, the most important aspect to look at would be the material. A tarmac driveway is a very practical choice if you want a shorter downtime, an affordable option, and to add a great exterior appeal to your property.

Tarmac Driveway Services Dublin – What is Tarmac?

‘Tarmac’ is a term that has been used to refer to the many types of bitumen and stone combinations available for creating roadways and driveways.

For this reason, you will often see people referring to tar, tarmacadam, macadam, bitmac, or asphalt as these terms describe the same material and people are all usually referring to the same general thing. 

Some semantics (and not cementics :)): This word “tarmacadam” has come from the mixture of tar (The material used for the job), and macadam, which was derived from the last name of road construction inventor and pioneer, John Loudon McAdam.

“In 1902, Edgar Hooley patented the process of heating tar, adding slag to the mix and then breaking stones within the mixture to form a smooth road surface.” – BBC.co.uk [1]. Tarmac is basically a kind of building material made out of tar and crushed stones and is extremely useful in the construction of driveways.

It can be applied directly on any other type of existing surface, including existing tarmac drive, pre-existing driveway.

Tarmacadam (Tarmac) is a very bituminous, dark material that requires to be placed as a boiling liquid and then leveled & compacted to procedure the right gradient and shape for the driveway.

Within one or two hours, it has to be allowed to cool down, during which time its particles will bind and form a hard-wearing, solid tarmac surface.

The differences in Tarmac and Asphalt mixes available on the market is quite a technical one and an experienced contractor will choose which is best for your driveway depending on usage, traffic loading and aesthetics required.

Opting for a tarmac driveway not only saves you a lot of time but also money, especially in the long run. For one, tarmac is one of the most affordable driveway materials available to this day.

Also, since installing it is not overly complicated, labour fees are generally less expensive than some more difficult to install paving types.

Benefits of laying a tarmac driveway

It might not be the most elegant or attractive-looking choice, but there are several aids to laying tarmacadam driveways. So, let’s now know about the benefits below…

Very Speedy to Lay Tarmac:

A specialized driveway contractor will combine the tarmacadam at a high temp in an appropriate paving machine. Usually, the professionals complete the job within a matter of hours only. This means less disturbance for you as well as any other path or road users.

Easy to Install:

Different from paved or concrete driveways, tarmac is generally laid straight onto any existing surface, while the other resources need a full depth bedding layer before starting the job. Although in case you possess a lawn, you need to remove it beforehand.


No matter whether shine or rain comes; your tarmac driveway will still be looking as attractive as new for several years!


Tarmac is hardy against any substantial water damage that may cause your front lawn to overflow which will need a long clean-up work afterward.

Long-Lasting & Incredibly Durable And Strong:

Tarmac is mainly hardy to the mass of weighty vehicles or the traffic flow which causes breaks or crack in concrete and paving.

Easy To Power With Other Ingredients:

Stone or brickwork or clay tiles for an attractive and neat finish to the driveway.

Easy & Cheap to Maintain:

You can quickly repair any dents or scratches all by yourself or with the help of an expert with accurate polish, and in case your driveway asuffers widely, you can increase a new tarmac layer straight onto the existing one. This will save you the concern of diggings costs!

How Much Does It Cost To Tarmac a Driveway In Ireland?


Tarmac paving contractors Dublin


For your tarmac driveway project in Ireland, it will cost you roughly €45 – €80 per square meter. Or if you prefer, a global usual cost of the tarmac driveway in Ireland is about €3000, but the maximum of driveways in Ireland ranges between €2500 to €5000. Nevertheless, this cost might decrease or increase depending on one’s necessities.

Please have a look at our Tarmac Driveway Cost Calculator. You just need to enter the Square metres/feet or the lenght and width of the area to tarmac, then choose the surfacing material, tarmac or asphalt and there you go, you will get a cost estimate!

This includes the supply of tarmac, labour, machinery and tools, and skip hire charges are also included. The final cost can vary depending on the size of your driveway, preparation required, existing levels, drainage required and access.

Additional factors, such as any landscaping features you want to add, paving, benches, walls, kerbing will determine the overall final cost.

By comparison, tarmac driveways are one of the cheaper option especially in the long run. They are a little more expensive than gravel and less expensive than other paving types such as cobblelock or natural stone, generally speaking.

Tarmac is still considered one of the most durable and hard-wearing options for building a driveway.

A professionally installed tarmac driveway can last you for years and survive all types of weather conditions.

Thus tarmac driveways really show their value over time as they require little to no maintenance and thus no ongoing costs, once installed correctly initially.

If you hire contractors who don’t personally own the equipment, then the equipment-rental cost will be added as an added expense – something which makes approximately €80-€90 per day.

A waste skip hire will cost €50-€100 per weekend, and a mini digger (requirement depends on the existing condition of your driveway) will cost €70-80 per day.

Tarmac Driveway Cost Calculator

Tarmac Cost Per m2 : €65 – €110 per square meter

30 square meter – between €2,700 and €3,300

50 square meter – between €4,500 and €5,500

60 square meter – between €5,400 and €6,600

100 square meter – between €6,500 and €8,500

150 square meter – between €9,750 and €12,750

See our Tarmac and Asphalt Cost Calculator for a more precise calculation.

What Impacts Tarmac Driveways Prices?

Initially, being an oil-based product, global oil values have an effect and this drops down to the little businesses that have to purchase tar (which is the gluey black part used as a binder).

Furthermore, the price will be obstructed by whether the servicer you pick is adequately experienced and qualified or not.

In case you want quality as well as an experience then obviously, you will have to pay more.

But in case you want something cheap then you will get what you have paid for.

Lastly, an edge (of the existing driveway) will charge a lot below a wholly new tarmac driveway.

Tarmac Driveways Completion Time

Any contractors offering tarmac driveways in Dublin will ask for the size of the driveway to estimate the time required for the job.

Since Tarmac is quite an fast material to work with, the time span can range anywhere from a day to a week depending on the length of the driveway.

Just as with the cost, many of the same factors will affect the time frame for completion of works on your driveway. The existing ground, preparation required, drainage, existing levels, and additional features such as kerbing, benches or paths will all have an effect on the duration of works.

Weather also plays a role in the time taken to complete the job. Rain or snow can slow down the process and escalate the time taken.

Extra charges also factor into the total cost of a tarmac driveway. If you hire a professional contractor, they already own the required equipment needed to tarmac the driveway, which saves a lot of the overall hiring cost as it will already be factored into the original quote provided.

But the time will vary depending on several factors. So, let’s now know in detail about these factors below…

Trees, Tree Roots & Shrubs:

In case there are any shrubs, trees, or tree roots, then this will make the job way more problematic, so it’ll take extra time to complete.


The total time required to dig an area and lay the tarmac driveway relies typically on the size, shape, of the drainage, driveway, and edging.

Total Number Of Workers:

Another significant issue is the total number of workers involved in the mission. In case only 1 person is working, the time will double.

Generally, a 30 square meter (m2) four-sided driveway must take just a couple of days or so.

In the initial 2 days, the servicer will work on


Installing the sub-base

Drainage & edgings

And on the 3rd day, on tarmacking to complete the job.

Weather Conditions:

Rainy and snow weather can similarly affect the total time required, as it will make it problematic for servicers to lay the tarmac, particularly when it’s pouring.

Getting an exact quote for your driveway will only be possible once you have the accurate dimensions of your driveway.

You can easily contact tarmac contractors or tarmac driveway installers who deal with driveway installations in Dublin and share your measurements and requirements for a quotation.

You can find out exactly how much it would cost you to build a tarmac driveway in Ireland/Dublin.

Is a Tarmac Drive Cheaper than Block Paving?


Tarmac driveways Dublin


Tarmac driveways are cheaper than block paving driveways. On average, the overall typical block paving driveway prices are between 10% and 20% more expensive than Tarmac.

The blocks required for block paving are not only very expensive but block paving is also quite labour-intensive (E.g. you need to lay concrete sand edging etc.). A square metre of typical block pavers is more expensive than the equivalent area of Tarmac.

With block paving, it is really important to have a level base to lay the blocks, a process that takes time to prepare. It will then take more time to lay the individual blocks and make sure each of them is levelled properly, especially if you are going for a more complicated or intricate pattern.

There are multiple options available for block paving, all of which are priced differently; however, even the lowest-priced block is more expensive in comparison to tarmac per square meter.

Is Tarmac Cheaper Than Gravel Driveway Cost in Ireland?


Tarmac driveways

Gravel is cheaper than tarmac; however, Tarmac is definitely a more durable option. Installing a gravel driveway may cost you less initially, but it may require a little more upkeep to keep it looking pristine. Leaves and debris could cause weeds if not kept under control whereas with a tarmac driveway the maintenance required is a lot less as it’s a smooth solid surface less liable to weed and dirt retention.

While gravel can be cheaper, it does tend to shift and change over time and will need topping up in order to look as pristine as it did in the beginning. Gravel doesn’t set in place like tarmac does, so it may need raking now and again to rectify displacement.

Concrete driveways cost

Modern concrete driveways offer a high degree of customisability so that you can recreate the look of a tarmac driveway with concrete.

But of course this customisability comes at a price as concrete driveways are expensive to install but also to repair. And repairing a concrete driveway is much more difficult than repairing a tarmac one.

Tarmac Driveways Dublin

In general, tarmac and gravel might be of a similar cost to install, but tarmac is easier to maintain. Often, the final choice might have to do with the property’s overall setting.

For example, tarmac, concrete driveways and block-paved drives are very popular in urban Dublin, while gravel is quite popular in rural locations with large driveways. Both gravel and tarmac are also commonly combined.

For example for a large rural driveway we often install a long tarmac avenue followed by a gravel area as you approach the house to create an entrance area. Keeping your budget and taste in mind is key when choosing your driveway materials.


Tarmac driveways last for years with or without much care. Tarmac, as soon as used appropriately, is an exceptional choice for your driveway because of its coarse surface which permits easy access.

The dark color of the Tarmac doesn’t bring to light dirt rather it hides small oil leakages.

Tarmac appears great as soon as used with the granite as a contrast brings out the finest in both ingredients. It is costlier than gravel driveway and many other options but it lasts longer.

This makes the Tarmac driveways the right driveway designs for you that will be worth your money!

FAQ about Tarmac Driveways

Q. How much is tarmac per sqm?

A. It will cost you around €65 to €110 per square meter (m2) to tarmac your driveway in Ireland.

Q. How much does it cost to replace a tarmac driveway?

A. The cost to change the Tarmac driveway varies between €140 to €450 per square metre (m2). This choice is more inexpensive than the installation of a brand-new Tarmac driveway.

Q. What is the cost of one ton of tarmac?

A. 1 ton of Tarmac charges between €18 to €95 per tonne.

Q. What Is the difference between Tar-and-Chip and Tarmac?

A. Tar-and-chip and tarmac are both types of asphalt pavement. Asphalt is a mixture of bitumen (a black, sticky substance) and aggregates (such as gravel or sand). Tar-and-chip pavement is made by spraying hot bitumen over a gravel base, then rolling the mixture to compact it. The end result is a textured surface with a somewhat rough appearance. Tarmac, on the other hand, is made by mixing bitumen with fine aggregates and then rolling the mixture to create a smooth surface. While tar-and-chip pavement is less expensive to install than tarmac, it doesn’t last as long and is not as smooth or sleek in appearance.

Q. Cost of tar and chip driveway in Ireland?

A. A tar and chip driveway is a popular choice in Ireland due to its relatively low cost and durability. Tar and chip driveways are also known as bituminous concrete or micro-surfacing, and they are made by combining hot tar with stone chips. The mixture is then spread over a gravel base and compacted. The resulting tar and chip surface is smooth and weather-resistant, making it ideal for high-traffic areas. The typical cost of a tar and chip driveway ranges from €2,500 to €4,000, depending on the size of the driveway and the type of stone chips used. However, a tar and chip driveway is still a more economical option than paving with asphalt or concrete.

Q. What is the cheapest paving per m2 in Ireland?

A. There are a few different options when it comes to paving materials and it can be tough to nail down an exact price without knowing more about the specific project. That being said, in general, natural stone paving is one of the more expensive options, followed by concrete paving slabs, then tarmac driveways and patio paving. One way to save on the cost of paving is to consider using a less expensive paving material like gravel or concrete. However, keep in mind that these materials may not last as long as something like natural stone or tarmac.


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