Sometimes referred to as Chip Seal, the tar and chip driveway surface has a classic, rustic and aesthetic quality, giving your driveway all of the great benefits of other surfaces, but with a greater aesthetic quality. It has the aesthetic finish to satisfy even the most challenging domestic application. This type of driveway is often installed for the added beauty it can bring to any home. It can resolve both the aesthetic and cost for your new driveway. Most people chose a tar and chip driveway for its great quality and low cost, low maintenance features.
What is Tar & Chip Paving?
Tar & chip paving (which is also referred to as chip sealing), is very similar to asphalt, as it is a combination of hot liquid asphalt cement, liquid A/C (or hot tar if you prefer) as a binder and gravel as the main structural component. Unlike asphalt, which is premixed at an asphalt plant, the components are delivered separately and mixed on the jobsite. Tar & chip is nothing new, its has been used for over 100 years, all over the world, with great success, to pave and resurface roads, parking lots, residential driveways, etc. and is used by county and DOT road crews on road paving projects, in virtually every state in America.
This driveway gives the look and feel of traditional gravel, but it is much stronger, more durable and easier to manage. If you have a beautiful landscape that exudes natural appeal, this material will bring your property full circle. A tar and chip driveway may be just what you’re looking for if your looking to redo or install a new driveway. The process is very simple and it’ll add beauty and character to any home. The effect of stone rolled onto tar and chip driveway will give you great traction along with savings.
Installing Tar & Chip driveway is pretty simple. Hot liquid asphalt is spread over a gravel base. Amounts can vary depending on the size of the driveway. Small colorful stones are spread over the hot and sticky tar. Then it is rolled to settle the stones into the tar. This type of driveway is ideal for big areas and long driveways. Tar and chip driveways blend in with the natural surroundings, which makes your home and property look beautiful. With this method you can use the simple stone or go for a more decorative stone. There are many stones to choose from. You can be creative and choose from a variety of colors and shapes for your stones. Tan, red and brown are very popular colors for stone and could make for an interesting color pallet. Also personalizing patterns could be quite fun when laying your stone. There are so many possibilities when you choose the tar and chip method.
- First the prep work is completed (which is almost identical for tar & chip paving, as it is for asphalt paving).
- Then a coat of liquid A/C is applied to the existing surface. This is accomplished by using a computer-controlled distributor truck equipped with spray bars, to apply an exact and consistent amount of liquid A/C, heated to the right temperature.
- Then a clean, crushed chip stone is spread using a spreader box attached to the dump truck transporting the gravel. The stone adheres to the hot liquid asphalt.
- Finally; a roller is used to embed the stone into the tar. The entire process is repeated on jobs where multiple courses are required.
Maintaining your new driveway is also very important.
Maintaining your driveway will require little maintenance, as there is no need to seal coat. Asphalt requires seal coating every few years. With a tar and chip driveway, chips have to be swept back onto the driveway, maybe once a week. Because tar and chip doesn’t have to be sealed it cuts down on yard work tremendously. Occasionally a few stones may have to be replaced. There can be some problems with snow removal. A snow plow could damage the surface of the driveway. Snow plows should move just above the surface of the driveway.
- Lower Overall Cost
- In terms of cost, tar and chip driveways are slightly more expensive than gravel, while being slightly less expensive than asphalt. The initial cost of installing tar & chip, can be up to 40% less than a comparable asphalt installation.
- More convenient:
- Tar & chip, goes down faster than asphalt and there is hardly any down time, because it can be driven on immediately; you do not need to wait 24 – 48 hours for it to harden.
- Natural Beauty
- Because of the stones used, a tar and chip driveway will have a very natural and elegant appearance. Tar & chip, provides a beautiful rustic alternative to asphalt, with the look and feel of a country gravel road.
- A tar and chip driveway requires very little maintenance. This type of drive doesn’t need to be sealed regularly, and often, small cracks can disguise and repair themselves. When the tar becomes heated in warm weather, it will fill in the cracks and the stones will settle in to cover it up. Unlike asphalt which requires seal coating every few years, tar & chip, is virtually maintenance free, as there is never a need to sealcoat.
- The rough surface of this type of driveway helps to improve traction for vehicles. The rough, gritty, surface of tar & chip, gives great traction even in wet weather, and is an excellent choice for steep slopes.
- A tar and chip driveway can typically last for years before it will need to be re-surfaced.
- Cooler temperature:
- Because of its light colored stone surface, chip seal does not absorb heat like blacktop does, and stays much cooler.
How long does Tar & Chip ( chip seal) last?
This is a very difficult question to answer, because it depends on two factors.
Perspective: To some people, a paving job would need to be re – done as soon as it gets a worn spot or broken edge, while others will be perfectly content dodging potholes for many years as long as they have a clean paved surface for vehicle traffic.
Job site/usage: Durability can vary based on several factors such as climate, traffic conditions, base, and the number of courses of chip seal used, naturally asphalt or tar & chip will last much longer on a low traffic, residential driveway than they will on a county road or city street.
Answer: Let’s say we are talking in averages. Let’s assume that we are talking about the point where a paved surface is in bad enough condition that repairs are no longer a viable option. And that job site, traffic conditions are pretty typical. The life expectancy for an asphalt paving job is probably around 12 years and in that time repairs such as patchwork, crack sealing and seal coating will be required. For tar & chip, probably around 8 years and in that time repairs such as patching and isolated re – tar and chipping will be required. Tar & chip paving, should last approximately two thirds as long as asphalt paving would on the same job.
To find out if tar & chip paving is the right choice for your project, please contact us through our web site or simply give us a call at (973) 770-0300 to schedule your Free Estimate.