An Overview of Tar and Chip Driveways

July 15, 2021

You might have seen tar and chip driveways in Sumner County, TN without even realizing it. They’re also called macadam, chip-and-seal, liquid asphalt and stone and seal chip. This type of driveway looks a lot like asphalt driveways, but the installation process is quite different. It can be a cost-effective choice for some homeowners. Read on to learn more about tar and chip driveways, and find out whether they’re a suitable choice for your home.

What are tar and chip driveways?

Tar and chip driveways use layers of gravel, hot liquid asphalt (bitumen) and loose stone on the surface. The layers are compressed together to create a driveway that looks a lot like regular asphalt driveways.

To install a tar and chip driveway, first, a layer of gravel is laid where the driveway will be. Then the hot liquid asphalt is poured over. Your paving contractor will then roll loose gravel on top of the asphalt to create the surface layer. In fact, this is where you can take your driveway to the next level by choosing stones of specific colors, sizes or shapes. The finished product is an attractive and durable driveway that should last for years.

Benefits of tar and chip driveways

Thinking tar and chip might be appropriate for your Sumner County, TN driveway? Here are some of the advantages of making this choice:

  • Cost-effective: Tar and chip driveways are more expensive than gravel driveways, but they should be cheaper than asphalt driveways.
  • Easy to maintain: One of the best features of tar and chip driveways is that they require less maintenance than asphalt. Unlike asphalt, which needs to be patched and resealed often, tar and chip driveway cracks often heal themselves. They can be resurfaced every decade by adding another layer of hot asphalt and stone on the surface.
  • More durable than gravel: Gravel driveways can get messy and scattered the longer you drive upon them. Tar and chip driveways will last longer (and look nicer, too).
  • Safe for driving, walking and more: Tar and chip driveways offer great traction, even in the rain. This can be a boon for anyone with mobility issues or who is prone to falls.

Drawbacks to tar and chip driveways

That said, there are still some factors that might make a tar and chip driveway less attractive depending on your situation:

  • Not as common: Since tar and chip driveways aren’t as common, it can be difficult to find a contractor who can install one for you. This also makes it more difficult to resurface your driveway when the time comes.
  • Won’t last as long as concrete: While tar and chip driveways typically last about a decade (which you can extend by resurfacing), concrete driveways last about 40 years. They’re less fussy than asphalt driveways, but you will need to resurface or replace them more frequently than concrete.
  • Can be damaged by snowplows: If you’re in an area where it snows during the winter—enough for a snowplow, that is—keep in mind that this type of driveway is prone to snowplow damage.

If you’re interested in finding out more about tar and chip driveways as well as your other paving options in Sumner County, TN, call RoadBuilders today.

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