How Tarmac is laid

If you’re considering having new tarmac laid on your property, it’s really a job for the professionals. The skill level involved is considerable, plus the expense of getting all the right machinery and equipment and knowing how to use it all. Here’s how to get a good job for your tarmac needs:

Although tarmac is cheap, probably the most cost-effective hardstanding available, it only works out economical if you’re tarmacking a big enough area. The cost is mainly for all the machinery involved and getting on site. It can be worth considering clubbing together with neighbours if there are multiple driveways that could benefit from a new surface. This will make the job easier and cheaper for the contractor who can pass those savings onto you.

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When it comes to laying tarmac on drives, there are several layers involved. The first layer is the foundation. A typical driveway will need excavations going down to about 18cm. Next, a layer of sub-base consisting of crushed hardcore will be laid. This is then rolled by a road-rolling machine. If you have chosen kerbstone edging or decorative stone, these will be laid on either side and supported during the laying of the tarmac.

Tarmac is laid in two layers, the base and then the top surface known as the ‘wearing’. The base layer consists mostly of aggregate delivered in a heated lorry and once laid, the tarmac can be spread over it and levelled with rakes. Back comes the roller to compact all the layers together and it will continue until no marks are visible on the surface.

The top surface contains smaller bits of aggregate, giving a finer appearance and offering strength and durability. If a good, professional job has been done, in future the driveway can be refreshed by skimming this top layer and putting down an overlay of tarmac.

A freshly laid drive will set relatively quickly and after a couple of hours will be available for careful use. For the first week, it’s a good idea to avoid any sharp braking, acceleration or turning the wheels when the car is stationary.

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The best way to get a really good-looking driveway that will last for many years is to find a reputable company. For Tarmac contractors Yorkshire, visit

Always check to see how long a firm has been in operation and ideally, ask to see examples of recent work they’ve carried out. Never let anyone offer to tarmac your drive who has just knocked on your door out of the blue. You could find yourself dealing with unscrupulous traders who will likely overcharge you and supply you only with a thin layer of tarmac that won’t last more than a few weeks.