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Tar Driveways vs. Asphalt Driveways

Tar Driveways

Driveways are an important part of a home’s landscape, and choosing the right material to install is a big decision. When it comes to comparing tar driveways to asphalt driveways, both have their pros and cons. In this article, we’ll compare the cost of installation, the process of installation, the advantages of each, and the durability and maintenance requirements. By the end, you’ll have all the information you need to make an informed decision about which driveway is right for you. So, let’s get started.

Cost Comparison

Comparing the costs of the two options, it’s important to consider which is most suitable for your needs. Tar driveways typically cost less upfront than asphalt driveways. Asphalt requires more materials, workers, and machines, making the cost of installation higher. On the other hand, tar requires fewer materials, and can be applied by a single worker, making it a more affordable option. In terms of maintenance costs, asphalt usually requires more attention and is more expensive to repair. Tar driveways require less maintenance and can last for many years without needing repairs. Overall, tar driveways are a cheaper option in both the short and long-term, while asphalt driveways tend to be more expensive.

Installation Process

Installing either type of driveway can be a complex process, so it’s important to understand the differences. Tar driveways typically require less preparation than asphalt driveways. While asphalt driveways require removing existing vegetation and preparing the surface, tar driveways can simply be laid over most existing surfaces such as gravel, dirt, or sand. Asphalt driveways, on the other hand, must be applied on a level surface that has been properly compacted and graded.

The installation process for tar driveways is generally quicker and easier than asphalt driveways. Tar driveways can typically be laid in a single day, while asphalt driveways may take up to several days to complete. Both types of driveways require a curing period of a few days, during which time they must be kept free of traffic to allow the tar or asphalt to properly set. After installation, both types of driveways require regular maintenance to ensure they remain in good condition.

Advantages of Tar Driveways

Tar driveways offer a variety of advantages over asphalt driveways, such as quicker and easier installation and lower maintenance costs. They are also much cheaper to install, often coming in at half the cost of asphalt driveways. The installation process is also much quicker, with tar driveways taking less than half the time to install. The installation process also requires less labor than asphalt driveways, as the tar does not need to be mixed or compacted.

In addition to the cost and time savings, tar driveways require less maintenance than asphalt driveways. Tar driveways do not need to be sealed and resealed regularly like asphalt driveways, meaning less money needs to be spent on upkeep. Tar driveways are also less prone to cracking and potholes, making them a more long-term solution. They also do not require the same level of regular maintenance, such as sweeping and weeding, as asphalt driveways do.

Advantages of Asphalt Driveways

You can experience the benefits of a smooth, long-lasting surface that requires less upkeep when you opt for asphalt driveways. Asphalt driveways are a great choice for those who want a driveway that is easy to maintain and repair. Unlike tar driveways, asphalt driveways don’t require the use of sealants or oils to keep them in good condition. Asphalt driveways are also cheaper to install than tar driveways and they can be installed relatively quickly. Asphalt driveways also have a longer lifespan than tar driveways, often lasting up to 25 years with regular maintenance. Additionally, asphalt driveways are available in a variety of colors and patterns, making them a great choice for homeowners who want to add a touch of flair to their driveway.

Durability and Maintenance Requirements

Maintaining your driveway doesn’t have to be a hassle, as asphalt driveways are incredibly durable and require minimal upkeep. In comparison to tar driveways, asphalt driveways are much easier and less expensive to maintain. Asphalt surfaces last much longer and are better equipped to handle the wear and tear caused by vehicles and extreme weather conditions. Furthermore, asphalt requires sealing every few years to protect it from the elements, whereas tar driveways require more frequent sealing. Additionally, asphalt is much easier to repair than tar when it is damaged, as asphalt patches can be applied quickly and easily. This makes asphalt a much more cost-effective and long-term solution for driveway maintenance.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does the installation process take?

The installation process for both tar and asphalt driveways can be time consuming depending on the size of the area being covered. Generally, tar driveways tend to take slightly longer since it requires more time and effort to evenly distribute and level the material. For larger areas, a professional installation job could take upwards of a few days, while smaller areas may only take a few hours.

What is the estimated lifespan of a tar driveway?

The estimated lifespan of a tar driveway varies depending on the quality of installation, the climate, and the amount of maintenance it receives. Generally, a tar driveway can last between 8 and 20 years, with proper maintenance and care. The lifespan of a tar driveway can be extended by sealing it every two to three years, and ensuring it is free from debris and weeds.

How often do tar driveways need to be sealed?

Tar driveways need to be sealed approximately every three to five years to prevent the asphalt from weathering and cracking. This is an important maintenance step to ensure the longevity of your driveway and maintain its appearance. Sealing a tar driveway helps to protect it from the elements, and also makes it easier to clean and maintain. Additionally, it can help to extend the life of your driveway and keep it looking great for years to come.

What is the environmental impact of asphalt driveways?

Asphalt driveways are a popular choice for homeowners due to their low maintenance and affordability. However, the environmental impact of asphalt driveways is often overlooked. Asphalt is a petroleum product, and its production contributes to air and water pollution. Additionally, the manufacturing process emits greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. Finally, asphalt driveways can leach toxins into the nearby soil, which can damage native plants and animals. It’s important to consider these environmental impacts when deciding whether to install an asphalt driveway.

Are tar driveways more susceptible to damage from extreme weather?

Tar driveways are not necessarily more susceptible to damage from extreme weather than other hardscaping materials, such as asphalt. While tar can be more vulnerable to cracking during freezing weather, asphalt is more vulnerable to damage from extreme heat. Tar may be more resilient to water damage, but asphalt may be better at resisting the effects of ultraviolet radiation. Ultimately, the type of driveway material that is best for extreme weather conditions will depend on the specific climate in which it is being installed.


In conclusion, tar and asphalt driveways both have their advantages and disadvantages. Tar driveways are cheaper to install, but require more maintenance, while asphalt driveways are more expensive but are more durable. Ultimately, the decision between tar and asphalt comes down to personal preference and budget. If you’re looking for a low-cost option, tar driveways are a good choice. If you’re looking for something that requires less maintenance, an asphalt driveway may be a better option. Whichever you choose, both are sure to provide a beautiful and functional driveway for many years. Read More


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