How Much Does a Tar and Chip Driveway Cost?

Gary Evans
by Gary Evans

We use our driveways on an almost daily basis, but can you even remember what kind you have? You should know which materials went into the construction of your driveway. Those materials can have a discernible impact on the quality and longevity of your driveway so making the right choice is crucial.

Asphalt, concrete, and gravel are among the most commonly used materials to create home driveways. Don’t forget about tar and chip driveways, though, because they also offer some useful benefits. Even the price tag of a new tar and chip driveway could be something of interest to you.

On average, a standard 12’ x 24’ driveway that’s suitable for one car will cost $950. A step up from that is a 24’ x 24’ driveway that is spacious enough for two vehicles and that will cost $2,000. For $3,000, homeowners can install a 24’ x 36’ tar and chip driveway that can comfortably accommodate up to three vehicles.

Tar and chip driveways provide a different look and numerous other benefits to your property. Consider going with the tar and chip option if your old driveway needs to be replaced. Find out how much installing a new tar and chip driveway will cost by reading on.

Average Cost for a Tar and Chip Driveway

Driveway SizeSquare FootagePrice
10’ x 20’200$750
12’ x 24’288$950
20’ x 20’400$1,400
24’ x 24’576$2,000
24’ x 36’864$3,000

The size of the tar and chip driveway you want will be a key factor in determining its price tag. Starting from the smallest option, a 10’ x 20’ driveway will cost you $750. A driveway of that size is enough for a small to medium-sized car.

Next up, you will have to pay $950 for a tar and chip driveway that measures 12’ x 24’. Driveways in that size range are also suitable only for one car, but they give drivers more room to maneuver.

A 20’ x 20’ tar and chip driveway is going to cost $1,400. Consider this option if you want an affordable chip and tar driveway that’s suitable for two vehicles.

24’ x 24’ driveways are easier to navigate if you have a two-car garage. They cost $2,000 to build.

Lastly, you can pay $3,000 if you want a tar and chip driveway that’s wide enough for three vehicles. A driveway of that size is a good choice for busy households.

Cost per Square Foot for a Tar and Chip Driveway

Driveway TypeCost per Square Foot
Tar and Chip$3

You don’t always have to go by standard sizes when designing your tar and chip driveway. Contractors can also build your tar and chip driveway based on your preferred size in terms of square footage. For a standard tar and chip driveway, expect to pay $3 per square foot.

Notably, the tar and chip option is among the cheapest available if you need a new driveway. Compare it to the alternatives and you will see a sizable gap in terms of pricing.

For a new concrete driveway, you will have to pay $8 per square foot. Asphalt is even more expensive. Homeowners will have to pay $10 per square foot if they want a new asphalt driveway going into their garage.

The only common driveway material that costs less than tar and chip is gravel. You will only have to pay $1.50 per square foot if you’re opting for a gravel driveway.

One thing we do want to mention here is that the aforementioned prices can still fluctuate based on certain factors. Those prices should help set your expectations, but don’t be surprised if there is some variation one way or the other. Consult with the contractor ahead of installation to confirm the final price of the project.

Single vs. Double Chip Seal Driveway Cost

Driveway SealCost per Square YardSkid ResistanceMoisture ProtectionLongevity
Single Chip$1.50Good Skid ResistanceProvides Adequate Moisture ProtectionShortest Lifespan
Double Chip$3Good Skid ResistanceProvides Greater Moisture ProtectionSignificantly Longer Lifespan than Single Chip
High-Performance$1.90Best Skid ResistanceBest Moisture ProtectionLongest Lifespan

Homeowners will have to choose a type of seal for their tar and chip driveway. Single chip, double chip, and high-performance seals are the available options.

In terms of cost, the single chip seal is the most affordable at $1.50 per square yard. That’s followed by the high-performance or cape seal at $1.90. Double chip seals are the most expensive at $3 per square yard.

Single chip seals will suffice if you just need heightened protection for your new driveway. They lag behind the other options when it comes to skid resistance, moisture protection, and longevity. Even so, a single chip seal is preferable to no seal whatsoever.

High-performance seals are great if you know your driveway will be subjected to a lot of traffic. Investing in that seal is wise because of its longevity.

Double chip seals make sense if the driveway is already damaged. The seal can help compensate for the damage that the driveway has already sustained.

Construction Price Factors

We noted earlier that the cost of installing a new driveway tends to fluctuate. Listed below are some of the key factors that cause those price fluctuations.

Weather & Climate

First off, you should consider the weather and climate before you decide to get your new tar and chip driveway installed. Contractors will likely change how much they charge depending on when you want the project to be done.

More often than not, contractors will offer cheaper rates if you’re getting this type of project done during the summer. Costs are lower during that time of the year because installation is easier. The materials settle faster and it’s also easier to even them out thanks to the warmer temperatures.

Aside from the lower cost, you should also consider getting the driveway installed during the summer to make it more durable. You will extract more value out of your investment that way.

Location and Layout of Your Home

Where you live and the layout of your property are factors that will impact the cost of driveway installation. Talk to the contractor about them before pushing forward with the project.

The location of your home matters because suppliers may have to travel farther to deliver the materials. Costs will climb the farther the suppliers need to travel.

Meanwhile, the layout of your home can affect how complex the project will be. Contractors will charge extra if they have to clear out elements of your property before they can start the installation.

Slope and Pitch

Your new driveway will cost more if it needs to be sloped more before installation. All driveways must be sloped somewhat to prevent the accumulation of liquid.

Licenses and Regulations

Don’t forget about the licenses and permits you need to acquire before the driveway can be installed. Securing all the necessary permits will usually cost $1,200. You will likely have to pay more than that if your new driveway will connect to a residential street.

Installing Tar and Chip over Other Driveway Types

One of the more unique qualities of tar and chip driveways is that they can be installed over other materials. You can place the layer of tar and chip over asphalt, concrete, gravel, and dirt driveways. Highlighted below are the benefits of placing a tar and chip layer over existing driveways.

Tar and Chip over Asphalt Driveways

Look into installing tar and chip over your asphalt driveway if you want to preserve the latter. The layer of tar and chip can effectively prevent moisture from seeping into the asphalt. Strong rains that could previously prove problematic for your asphalt driveway may no longer be a big issue.

Thanks to the added tar and chip layer, you can bank on your asphalt driveway lasting longer than normal. However, asphalt driveways can only support the additional layer if they haven’t been sealed or badly damaged.

Tar and Chip over Concrete Driveways

Covering a concrete driveway with a tar and chip seal layer will boost its longevity. The added layer will also help the concrete driveway hold up better against the elements.

Similar to asphalt driveways, some conditions must be met before laying the tar and chip over concrete. First, you must ensure that any cracks are sealed to ensure that the additional layer will remain in one piece. You also have to use a special bonding agent or else the tar and chip layer will not stick properly.

Tar and Chip over Gravel Driveways

Take the time to even out your gravel driveway before you add the layer of tar and chip. Once the gravel driveway is level, you can add the new layer and further smooth out the driveway. Water is also less likely to get trapped in the gravel with the new tar and chip layer added.

Tar and Chip over Dirt Driveways

You technically cannot put a tar and chip layer directly over a dirt driveway. A layer of gravel must first be placed over the dirt driveway before the tar and chip. Adding the tar and chip layers is a great way to enhance the look of your dirt driveway.

Maintenance Costs for a Tar and Chip Driveway

Maintaining your tar and chip driveway is not going to cost you a lot of money. The maintenance costs for your tar and chip driveway will likely top out at $3 per square foot.

You’ll notice that maintaining a tar and chip driveway costs way less than the attached costs for other driveway types. For context, maintaining an asphalt driveway costs $5 per square foot. That goes up to $7 per square foot for concrete driveways.

Maintenance costs for tar and chip driveways are that affordable because they need very little upkeep. You don’t even have to seal them every year. They will remain in good condition without annual sealing as long as they were properly installed.

When small cracks appear on the surface of a tar and chip driveway, they usually mend on their own. You don’t have to patch them up yourself.

Repair Costs for Tar and Chip Driveway

The cost of repairing a tar and chip driveway is lower compared to other materials. Repairs will likely cost you around $500.

When it comes to tar and chip driveways, repairs are often administered to address cracks and potholes. Running a snowplow over the tar and chip driveway may also lead to damage. Ask the person running the snowplow to be extra careful when they’re working on your driveway.

Also, note that repairs may be necessary before the tar and chip driveway can be installed. As we discussed earlier, the surface that will accept the layer of tar and chip must be even. The new layer of tar and chip will simply not adhere well if the material underneath has not been leveled out.

Cracks and holes can also stop the tar and chip from adhering as intended. Repairing the layer underneath the tar and chip may cost more than fixing the actual driveway.

Pros and Cons of a Tar and Chip Driveway

Are you still on the fence about getting a tar and chip driveway? The pros and cons listed below may be able to help you reach a clear decision so check them out.

Pros of Installing a Tar and Chip Driveway:

  • Improves Skid Resistance – Any type of tar and chip driveway is going to provide dependable skid resistance. The type of seal you choose for the driveway will not diminish the amount of skid resistance you’re getting.
  • Moisture Protection – Shield your driveway from excess moisture by going with the tar and chip option.
  • Self-healing – Small cracks on the surface of the driveway will mend themselves.
  • Easy to Maintain – Tar and chip driveways are among the easiest to maintain. Even annual maintenance is not a big concern with them.
  • Affordable – Of the common driveway options, only gravel is cheaper than tar and chip.

Cons of Installing a Tar and Chip Driveway:

  • Susceptible to Snowplow Damage – Snowplows must be driven carefully over tar and chip driveways to prevent damage.
  • Short Lifespan – On average, the other driveway options last way longer than tar and chip.

Related Questions

Can I Tar and Chip My Driveway?

No, installing a tar and chip driveway is not the kind of project you should attempt solo. Even if you want to go the DIY route, you won’t be able to because specialized pieces of equipment are required. You likely don’t have the tools and machines needed to complete the job.Furthermore, you risk damaging the tar and chip layer if it isn’t installed properly. Leave this project up to the professionals and choose a different one for yourself.

How Much Is a Chip Seal Driveway?

The cost of your chip seal driveway will be determined by its size. You can get a 12’ x 24’ chip seal driveway installed for $950. Those who want a larger 24’ x 24’ tar and chip driveway must get ready to pay $2,000.

Do I Need a Permit for the Tar and Chip Driveway?

Permits are almost always required for any new installations that are being built along the street. You may even have to pay extra if your new driveway will connect to a residential street located nearby.Double-check your local ordinances to see what permits you will need. Getting all those permits may end up costing you $1,200.

How Long Do Tar and Chip Driveways Last?

A standard tar and chip driveway will last for 10 years at most. If you add another layer to the driveway, you can extend its lifespan to 20 years.

Gary Evans
Gary Evans

Gary Evans is passionate about home improvement. He loves finding out how to make improvements in the easiest, most practical, and most affordable ways. Upgrading his home kitchen is one of his ongoing hobbies. Gary is also a long-time content creator and enjoys spending his free time tending to his hydroponic vegetable garden.

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