CHIP SEAL RESIDENTIAL DRIVEWAY
Though a Chip Seal Driveway or Tar & Chip Driveway might not be familiar to you, you almost certainly have seen driveways and roads built this way. Or maybe you know it by another of its names: chip-and-seal, seal chip, macadam, or liquid-asphalt-and-stone. Whatever the name, it may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think driveway. The more common choices are materials such as concrete, gravel, pavers or asphalt.
But just because you may not have heard of tar-and-chip before doesn't mean you shouldn't consider it. You've almost certainly driven over miles of tar and chip roadways and parking lots. It's a good driveway choice for those wanting to keep costs down.
A tar-and-chip driveway is a low-cost alternative to asphalt, offering a more solid surface than plain gravel. It also has a rough texture, which makes for much better footing when wet or snow-covered, compared to poured concrete, which can be slippery.
The expression "tar-and-chip" is a shorthand term that refers to a paving surface made from asphalt (liquid form) and stone.
How Long Will a Tar-and-Chip Driveway Last?
Tar and chip driveways are not built for the long haul. Expect the surface to remain sound from 10 to 15 years. At that point, you may want to add another layer of tar and stones.
What Does a Tar-and-Chip Driveway Cost?
Since it is primarily composed of asphalt and gravel, it is useful to compare the cost of a tar-and-chip surface to those other two options. A tar-and-chip driveway will typically cost about twice as much as a gravel driveway and a little less than an asphalt driveway. Expect to pay in the range of $2 to $5 per square foot (the exact cost will vary depending on your size, prep work, location and courses. As is the case with asphalt driveways, the costs of oil are a big factor in the installation expense.
Expect the cost of these driveways to climb a bit when the commodity price of oil climbs.
How Is a Tar-and-Chip Driveway Built?
Building a tar-and-chip driveway is a pretty simple process. First, as with most driveway materials, a gravel base is installed. Then, hot liquid asphalt is poured over the gravel. This is followed by a coating of loose stones, which are rolled into the asphalt to form the finish surface. Tar-and-chip can be installed over existing driveway materials, provided they are in reasonably good shape.
It's in the selection of this top layer of stones that you have choices to make regarding the look of your finished driveway. You can choose from different colors of stones to create a unique and personally appealing surface.