Tarmac frequently asked questions

1. I have certain worries about manholes, service piping to my home and drainage, for example, can you take care of these?

Yes, we can. Our surveyors and installers are highly trained and will take into account all aspects that have been discussed regarding the installation of your new driveway, patio or paths.

2. On your Combi Driveways you excavate and prepare the base the same as for a “block surface” are you “gilding the lily” and over specifying the base for a Tarmac surface?

Any quality driveway needs to have a good base as any house needs to be build on sound foundations. We pride ourselves on the quality of our base work which ensures that the surface material will have a maximum life span. It does not mean because our ranges of Tarmac Asphalts are not as expensive as other surface we have to put in an inferior base product. A Combi driveway is a high quality driveway at a real value for money price – try and see for yourself.

3. I want to widen my existing  driveway by using an area of my front lawn; can you Tarmac over this new area?

It is a good idea to widen narrow driveways and to consider making extra parking space. When utilizing former garden space we have to remove all surface materials and excavate to a suitable sub-soil depth. We then  lay a Geotextile membrane and cover the area with a minimum of 100-150 mm quality hardcore fill; which is well compacted. If required, edging kerbs are fitted,  the surface is covered with a Tarmac Base Coat which is rolled and compacted into position. A further Tarmac Asphalt is laid and rolled over the surface.

4. I have an old concrete drive which is tired, shabby looking, crumbling with a few cracks appearing. Can you Tarmac over this?

Most concrete drives  are suitable to have a Tarmac overlay. There are several factors which must be taken into account. The condition of the concrete i.e. no settlement cracks and the height of the finished concrete surface in relation to the house damp proof course. One of our surveyors will be able to tell you the suitability of this concrete base and the technique we would use in overlaying your existing concrete drive. Alternatively we use our Combi Tarmac System. Ask for details on this product.

5. My drive has lots of broken uneven flags on the surface. How do you go about Tarmacing this area?

We lift and remove all the flagged surface area and check the quality of the sub base. In many cases we install edging kerbs before overlaying the surface. Again we make sure that the final surface height does not contravene Building Regulations for damp proof course height. Our Overlay System is normally used on this type of installation.  

6. I have an existing Tarmac drive which was put down about 40 years ago. The edgings have come loose and the Tarmac is now chipping away. Can you patch up the failing areas and replace the edgings?

No problem in either replacing or relaying the edgings. Tarmac Asphalts can be “patched up”. We would recommend that your existing Tarmac surface be made good from a strengthening view point and then the surface will be covered with our Overlay System – A new appearance with years and years of future use. At an unbelievable price!

7. Do the extremes of weather have any effect on your Tarmac Surfaces?

Tarmac Asphalt Surfaces are good all round weather surfaces and extremely versatile to the extremes of British Climates.

7. Is Tarmac hard wearing and free from maintenance?

Our “New Generation” of Tarmac Asphalts have extremely hard wearing surfaces which require very little maintenance. We suggest that at least once a year you treat the surface with a weed killer to prevent any air borne seeds from taking growth. A wash down with a solution of soapy water once a year always refreshes any driveway surface. Our associated cleaning company offers a cleaning service which will keep your driveway in pristine condition.

8. Why has Tarmac recently not been as popular as a driveway surface as block and concrete?

Tarmac Asphalt is still a popular driveway surface. Modern day Tarmac surfaces are better than ever. The trouble nowadays is that there is not the quality of installers and contractors around to do small driveway areas. Tarmac Asphalt has never been used before in such quantities as it is during present day times and there is no end to its ever increasing use. It is by far the most used surface material with Motorway, roads, airports, footpaths, playgrounds, car parks, recreational spaces, driveways and the list can continue – you only have to look around you. Most of present day uses have been more commercial than domestic – yet the house builder is constructing more houses with Tarmac driveways than ever before.  Those house owners who would like asphalt surfaces have found difficulty in finding suitable contractors who deal in small driveway schemes. Gone are the days (thank goodness) when the “black- stuff” cowboy operators were knocking on doors offering cheap rubbish makeovers scams. Most of these operators have moved into more “lucrative markets” (i.e. fascias/gutters being just one of them). With companies with “integrity”; doing a quality job Tarmac surfaces are showing a large growth in demand from today’s householder and proving to be amongst the most cost effective way of replacing driveway surfaces.

9. If I choose to have a block border do I have a selection of colours?

We offer the full range of Marshalls/Tobermore block paving borders and edgings. The choice of colour and types are plentiful. Our designers plan with you the choice.

10. I like the idea of having a block border around the edges for a Tarmac Driveway. Will the block come loose?

The block are bedded on a strong sand and cement mortar mix. The Tarmac surface also grips then into position. After initial setting times it is extremely difficult for any loose movement to occur with the blocks.

11. What maintenance is there with Tarmac surfaces?

Wash down once/twice a year with a mild solution of weed killer and water, this will kill of airborne spores and weeds. Once every 7-10 years ask our cleaning and sealing company to professionally clean and treat your surface – it will come up like new.

12. I have a loose pebble shingle driveway which is a nuisance, can you Tarmac on top of the shingles?

We remove all the shingles, check the levels; if the under base is satisfactory we can use Overlay system or alternatively lay a new base with hardcore and then a base layer of asphalt with a final Overlay layer as our Combi range.

13. Tarmac used to be an inexpensive surface. I suppose nowadays it is comparable to block and concrete in price?

Depending which system of Tarmac we use an Overlay method would cost between 25 – 33 % the price of block or Concrete. A Combi System would cost around 50% of a Tegula block driveway.

14. Can Tarmac be put down at anytime of the year?

Tarmac can be laid anytime of the year and under most weather conditions. In hot weather it just takes a little longer to “go off”. Tarmac surfaces are by far the most quickest and cleanest surfaces to lay with very little inconvenience to the householder; they can be used within hours of laying.

15. Is it a messy job?

With a Tarmac Combi drive we have to excavate and prepare the base work, there is some mess and disruption at this stage. A base and preparation on a average Combi drive take ½ days depending on if edgings, drainage and borders are required. The base coat and overlay will be completed with no further mess or inconvenience within a day. Of course we leave your site in a clean, tidy condition with the removal of all site debris.

16. How long after do I have to wait before being able to use my drive?

We normally recommend to avoid putting vehicles on a newly laid drive for twenty four hours – depending on weather condition – if we are undergoing a very hot spell of weather it may be a little longer. Foot traffic can use the surface immediately. Our installation foreman will instruct on this at the time of installation.

17. Will the Tarmac lift and curl up?

No Tarmac surfaces should lift or curl, if they have been laid to the correct procedure and thickness. Bonding agents are used between different surfaces to ensure that no lifting occurs. Deal with an experienced reputable company and asphalt surfaces are amongst the most “trouble and problem free” driveways.

18. My house design is contemporary and ultra-modern; I have always associated Tarmac with pre-war semis. Will a Tarmac surface be complimentary to the style of property I own?

Tarmac will blend in with any type of property, period or modern. Shape the driveway correctly, select the correct colour and a combination of ancillary products. A well designed driveway should look clean and tidy allowing an “introduction” to the property. It should play a supporting role, giving enhancement to the property itself. Our design surveyor will always advise you correctly on the material colour and suitability of choice.


Please click to view some sample options below, our Design surveyor will be more than happy to assist in choosing further options

>Edgings, Kerbs & Borders


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