Black Top vs Chip Seal

So you want your driveway or parking lot paved, you can’t afford concrete but you don’t know the differences between Black Top or Chip Seal. Black Top and Chip Seal are Both asphalt products and there are lots of roads, driveways and parking lots across the United States that is paved with Black Top and Chip Seal. Black Top is a Black smooth Finnish pavement. Black Top is made at a hot mix plant and then can be transported to your job site. The main Black Top ingredients are rock, sand and Asphalt concrete tar. The average cost of Black Top is $3.50 a SQFT. Black Top also requires a Seal Coat every 2 years, the average cost of a Seal Coat is 40 cents a SQFT.Chip Seal is a layer of Hot liquefied asphalt tar, followed by a layer of gravel, then its rolled to compaction. The chip seal will look like a gravel driveway when it’s done and have more of a Coarse Surface. The color of the gravel will depend on the area you are in, but it don’t matter what kind of rock is used as long as it’s a clean stone. The average cost of chip is $2.50 a SQFT. There is no seal coating required with chip seal, just normal traffic is enough to keep it sealed in.Now watch and see the difference with Black Top vs Chip Seal after years later installed

Asphalt Parking lot repair

 At CD PAVING & SEAL COATING we know that owners of asphalt driveways and parking lots have found, at some point in time, that their pavements need repairs. The reasons for the problems vary widely. Lack of maintenance, poor drainage, inadequate thickness, accumulated wear-and-tear, and other causes all contribute to the eventual need for significant repairs. Some of the common problems encountered include potholes, deteriorated joints, and structural failures.

Potholes are bowl-shaped holes that result from the localized break-up of the pavement. They are typically caused by the continued deterioration of other type of distresses, such as segregation, raveling, alligator cracking, or failures at joints or patches.

Potholes should be permanently repaired by removing the failed material to the depth necessary to reach firm support, including removing part of the subgrade if necessary. Drainage may have to be installed if water in the pavement is contributing to the failure. The area to be removed should extend beyond the visibly damaged material to assure that solid material remains. To facilitate compaction of new material, the cut-out should be square-edged and rectangular-shaped.

The vertical edges and the bottom of the cut-out should be tacked. Then the hole should be filled with dense-graded hot mix asphalt (HMA), if available. If HMA is not available, a cold patching mix can be used. If the hole is deep (exceeding 6 inches), the new mix should be placed in two layers. Each layer of new asphalt mix should be compacted thoroughly. Adequate compaction is critical for preventing shoving or deformation of the new material and to prevent water from entering the pavement.

Deteriorated Joints
Poorly constructed joints greatly reduce pavement life. Joint failure starts when air, water, and contaminants enter the joint through segregation, poor compaction, or lack of bonding between adjacent mats. If the distress is noted soon enough, a seal can be applied to correct the flaw. If the deterioration is not addressed, potholes may form and the problem is more difficult to correct. Repair is then similar to that described for potholes.

Many commercial pavements suffer structural failures as a result of load-related deterioration. These problems usually show up initially as “alligator cracking,” a form of fatigue cracking. These cracks appear on the surface of the pavement as a series of interconnected, small blocks resembling an alligator’s skin. This cracking occurs under repeated traffic loading and is caused by weak spots in the subgrade, too little pavement thickness, excessive loading, or a combination of these contributors.

If alligator cracking is allowed to progress, it can become a full structural failure. Pieces break away and potholes form. Moisture enters the subbase and pavement support is lost. When this occurs a full-depth repair must be done.

Many commercial pavements fail because the pavement is simply too thin to carry the loads. Practically all parking lots are subjected to some truck traffic; delivery vehicles and garbage trucks are a fact-of-life. Building a pavement with sufficient thickness to handle these vehicles is a wise investment.

When a base failure occurs, the failed asphalt must be removed, the underlying material stabilized, and the pavement replaced. The cause of the failure must be identified and addressed. If the problem is a soft spot in the subgrade, this weakness must be fixed. If the problem was due to too little pavement thickness, the repair area will have to be undercut to allow room for additional thickness to be placed.

Other Distresses
Other types of pavement problems can be found in commercial and residential pavements. These concerns can include raveling, rutting, and slippage failures. Raveling is the loss of aggregate particles from the surface of the pavement. Raveling can occur when the asphalt binder hardens and loses its grip on the stone or when a poor quality mix is used. If caught early, raveling can be addressed by sealing. If the condition is severe, an HMA overlay or surface treatment is needed.

Ruts in asphalt pavements are channelized depressions in the wheel-tracks. Rutting results from consolidation or lateral movement of any of the pavement layers or the subgrade under traffic. It is caused by insufficient pavement thickness; lack of compaction of the asphalt, stone base or soil; weak asphalt mixes; or moisture infiltration. If rutting is minor or if it has stabilized, the depressions can be filled and overlaid with HMA or a surface treatment. If the deformations are severe, the rutted area should be removed and replaced with suitable material.

Slippage cracks are crescent-shaped cracks or tears in the surface layer(s) of asphalt where the new material has slipped over the underlying course. This problem is caused by a lack of bonding between layers. The lack of bond may be because a tack coat was not used to develop a bond between the asphalt layers or because a prime coat was not used to bond the asphalt to the underlying stone base course. The lack of bond can be caused by dirt, oil, or other contaminants preventing adhesion between the layers. All of the area exhibiting the “stretch marks” will need to be removed. Make sure that the existing pavement is clean and dry after removing the failed layer. Then apply a tack coat to glue the old and new material together. Place and compact the new layer(s) this is called a overlay. Or the areas may need to be saw cut out, then remove the broken asphalt, replace the base, compact the base, then replace with new hot mix black top then roll to compaction.

Chip Seal Driveway

Chip seal driveways are a great choice for a driveway material. If you would like to keep the cost fairly reasonable, but

It is actually a driveway paving material that many people are unaware of. However, it is a great driveway paving material choice for integrating the driveway design with the landscape.

I personally believe driveways should blend in with the landscape.

After all, a driveway is a passageway for vehicles to get from the home to the street and vice versa. It is a functional landscape design element.

The simplicity of the chip seal driveway provides a casual look.

These driveways have a very natural look and are rather inexpensive also.

Depending on where you live, an average price is around $1.75 per square foot.

Chip seal driveways can be left without any edging, or you can add one.


So what exactly is a Chip seal driveway?

It is a combination of asphalt tar and gravel. A gravel base is installed. Then, hot liquid asphalt is applied on top of the base or old asphalt. The asphalt adheres to the gravel base. Loose gravel is then put down over the hot tar, so that it becomes embedded in the asphalt. The stones are then firmly rolled into the tar.

One of the nice features about this method, is that you can choose a simple or a more decorative stone. The stone can even be interesting colors, such as browns and tans. This makes for a creative and interesting driveway surface.

This type of driveway has a rough surface, so that it does not get slippery. Therefore it provides more traction. It is less expensive than asphalt. You can expect to pay around half the price of asphalt. No sealing is necessary so maintenance is easy. But best of all, it is textured and nice to look at. 

Some companies choose to do the above installation method in a few layers, (two course application) which provides even further longevity.Driveway edgings are not necessary with this driveway material. Actually, these driveways look fine with no edging due to their textured appearance. This maintains Driveways should not stand out and scream, “Look at me!” Driveway designs and paving with low profiles afford enhanced perceptions and views of the balance of the property. This is exactly what a chip seal driveway will do.

There is also the cost factor. Front yard landscaping can be quite expensive. A much better project can be created by using money on other important landscape design elements rather than a costly driveway paving.


Driveway paving CAN be expensive. This is due to the fact that normally the material must cover a very large area. Each different paving material has a different cost per square foot and driveway square footage is usually large. Labor costs add to the expense. Chip seal driveways are one of the least expensive driving paving choices. See Paving Costs

The color of your typical tar and chip driveway is unassuming. You can alter the driveway color by choosing various colored stones. The basic stone color used is similar to asphalt, but lighter in color. Asphalt has a very smooth, black look to it. Chip Seal driveways are textured and rustic. Both the color and texture provide a nice transition between the driveway edge and lawn. Any plantings along the edge will also look right, not fighting for attention with another more showy material.

If you would like to add just a little something extra with a chip seal driveway, a driveway apron is always an option. Perhaps use a nice natural material, such as cobblestone. A cobblestone driveway entry will add on to the cost, but it is a relatively small area. This provides an old world look.

A chip seal driveway is something more interesting than black top driveway you should consider this type of paving. Make sure and contact CD PAVING & SEAL COATING to get a price on a Chip Seal driveway. Check out our YouTube videos of us installing a Chip Seal Driveway

Chip Seal Paving for your Subdivision


  1.   CD PAVING & SEAL COATING has the experience, expertise, and technology to handle any chip seal application. Variable width, computer controlled oil distributors and aggregate chip spreaders allow precise application over the full width of a road without a gap or overlap due to a seam. Pneumatic rollers are standard compaction equipment.

We always use the highest quality asphalt Oil on the market. The Oil always originate from trusted state approved facilities where quality is monitored by on-site lab technicians. Our high quality Oil maximize asphalt content on the pavement surface, and provide excellent chip retention that polymer additives offer.

A properly applied chip seal can provide a new, highly water resistant asphalt pavement on a solid gravel base surface. New chip seal asphalt surfaces are typically constructed on rural roads, subdivisions, parking lots and driveways as a lower cost alternative to hot asphalt. But your old Subdivision asphalt roads are are a great reason to chip seal. Make sure and check out CD PAVING & SEAL COATING chip sealing The Comanche Harbor/Ports O Call neighborhood in Granbury TX.

Is Chip Seal rite for you?

                                                  What is Tar & Chip Seal?

Tar & Chip Seal is a pavement that can be applied to a dirt or black top surfaces. It is a coating of hot liquid asphalt followed by a layer of 3/8″ chip rock then rolled to compaction.

What Does It Look Like?

When a new Tar & Chip job is completed, it looks like a gravel driveway. But the rock that comes in contact with the Tar is locked in tight. The tar and the rock become one form of pavement. It has a very clean, natural country look. It has a lot of curb appeal and is strong. Plus it won’t draw in heat like Black Top.

What About the Loose Rock On Top?

When a new Tar & Chip seal job is first installed, there will be some loose surface rocks on top. But that’s just the rock lying on top of the rock that is already locked in the tar. But when you start driving on your new road and the temperature warms up all of the loose surface rocks on top will seal in with the rest of the job. That’s the nature of Tar & Chip seal.

What About the Cost?

As with rising cost of oil, fuel and asphalt tar, all pavements whether it is black top, concrete or chip seal grow higher every year as well. But Tar & Chip seal is about 30% to 40% less than what black top costs to get paved. Plus it costs less to keep because it is maintenance free. Concrete is the most expensive of the three pavements.

How Will Tar & Chip Seal Hold Up Against A Snow Plow?

You must understand that Tar & Chip Seal is a pavement that is used in many northern states (almost all). On driveways, parking lots, county roads and state roads. All which must be shoveled, plowed or blowed when it snows. You can use all three on Tar & Chip Seal. Whether you are applying your chip seal to a base surface or old pavement, when it comes time to plow all you do is lift up on your plow about half inch of the ground, then plow. Chip seal is strong.    

So Why Doesn’t Everyone Use Tar & Chip Seal?

The number one problem with Tar & Chip Seal is hardly no paving contractors still install them. You will have trouble finding a paving contractor that still installs them. You will have trouble finding a contractor in the phonebook who even knows what Tar & Chip Seal is let alone can install it. Here is why; Using tar as a binder requires warm temperatures for the tar to remain tacky. This limits the paving season during which CHIP SEAL ROADS can be laid. Asphalt manufacturers realized several decades ago that by mixing road materials at their plants rather than onsite they could extend the paving season. Since they could control the temperatures within their plants. Today that is what paving companies do. They mix asphalt at a hot mix plant and transport it to the job site. But chip seal was the original way they did all roads, driveways, streets and parking lots.

So Who Is Using Tar & Chip Seal Now?

The industry that is using Tar & Chip Seal regularly is your county, state and city. Mostly all of your county and state roads have all been chip sealed. And with the rising cost of hot mix black top, a lot of cities are using chip seal on their city streets. But the average person may not know that. When a county, state or city road is chip sealed it only takes 6 to 8 months for all of the top surface rocks to seal in because of the high volume of traffic it gets making it look very much like older cured black top road. We are not saying that all county, state and city roads and streets are chip sealed but most of them are. Make sure and check out our YouTube video