An attractive, well-maintained driveway is the gateway to your home. It is often the first thing that people see when they come to your home, and it’s important to make a good first impression. 

If you’re thinking about repaving your driveway, you should be aware of all your options to create a great looking driveway. While you can go with a traditional asphalt driveway, you can also go with a tar and chip driveway, which offers a unique, natural look. 

In this article, we’ll go over the different types of driveways and explore tar and chip driveways vs asphalt driveways. 

Asphalt Driveways: The Basics

Asphalt driveways are one of the most popular choices for homeowners. With smooth surfaces and its clean appearance, asphalt is a form of petroleum mixed with particulate to make it more durable. 

The installation process for asphalt is fairly labor intensive. The area must first be dug out and then leveled out so it can get paved. Uneven areas will cause the asphalt to pool and cause an uneven distribution of material. 

Once the area is leveled out, it must settle before the asphalt is applied. After the area has settled, hot liquid asphalt is poured into the area and leveled out. Once the asphalt is completely settled and cured, it can be used for everyday activities. 

Tar and Chip Driveways: The Basics

While tar and chip driveways are less common, they offer an attractive, textured appearance. This is due to rock chips that are embedded in the tar of the driveway. 

to install tar and chip driveways, the driveway requires very little preparation. The contractor simply pours tar over the top of your driveway and scatters layers of rock chips over the hot surface. 

Once the rock chips have been applied, they use a roller to embed the rock chips in the surface of the driveway. This occurs quickly and the driveway can be used soon after.

Tar and Chip Driveways Vs Asphalt Driveways: The Differences

While these two driveways might sound similar, they are quite different and have different advantages and characteristics. 

In this section, we’ll go over the differences between these driveways to help you make your decision. 


While the installation process for each driveway is similar, they have key differences that you should consider.

Asphalt Driveways

For asphalt driveways, the cost of installation is usually higher. This is due to the fact that asphalt driveways require more prep work to install. It is also more expensive because you have to use more asphalt material in an asphalt driveway. Asphalt isn’t very expensive, but if you have a large driveway the costs can add up. 

Asphalt also warm temperatures to be applied, but it can installed in cooler temperatures than tar and chip. This means it can be applied in spring, summer, and fall. This makes it more convenient to install an asphalt driveway. There are also more contractors who install asphalt driveways, making it easier to find a professional for your driveway installation. 

Tar and Chip Driveways

For tar and chip driveways, there are restrictions on when it can get installed. Tar and chip driveways require warm temperatures to get installed, which means they can only get installed in the summer months. 


Although both driveways are made of asphalt, each has different maintenance needs and requirements.

Tar and Chip Driveways

When it comes to tar and chip driveways, they are very low maintenance. The tar that holds the stones is very flexible, which makes it resistant to cracking. The tar may develop cracks, but the heat from the sun causes the tar to heat up and fill in the cracks. 

Larger cracks that develop in the tar are usually filled in by loose rock chips, which seals them and prevents damage. A tar and chip driveway should last around ten years without needing to be resurfaced. 

However, the thin surface of tar allows weeds to pop up through it regularly. This can be easily handled with weed killer, and only needs to be weeded a few times a year or once every few months. You also need to be careful when plowing or shoveling tar and chip driveways. The uneven surface can catch the plow, which can cause damage to the surface of your driveway. 

Asphalt Driveways

For asphalt driveways, they require a little more maintenance. They are flexible and durable, which allows them to handle high temperatures and heavy loads. However, asphalt will crack after extensive use. These cracks need to be filled in immediately to prevent larger cracks from forming.

An asphalt driveway should last about 30 years without needing to be replaced. However, you will need to patch any cracks or holes in the asphalt regularly. This means buying asphalt patching material and tools, which can significantly raise the cost of an asphalt driveway. Due to their smooth surfaces, asphalt driveways can also be more slippery with snow, rain, and ice on its surface. 

Function and Appearance 

Tar and chip driveways have a much different function and appearance than asphalt driveways, and each offers their own benefits. 

Tar and Chip Driveways

With the rock chips embedded in the surface, tar and chip driveways offer a textured, more natural appearance than asphalt. This makes it great for rural homes or places that require a more natural feel.

Tar and chip driveways also give vehicles extra traction due to the rough surface. This gives it extra value in places that are snowy or icy. 

Asphalt Driveways

Asphalt driveways offer a more modern, sleeker look than tar and chip driveways. With its black color and perfectly smooth surface, it can make a property look organized and neat. 

Asphalt driveways will draw in more heat on summer days due to the dark color of the material. While this might make your driveway hotter on warm days, it will also cause snow and ice to melt faster. 

Get the Best Driveway for Your Home

Now that we have explored the aspects of tar and chip driveways vs asphalt driveways, you can choose the right driveway type for your home. 

If you have any questions about which driveway type is right for you, please contact us at Hanover Asphalt Paving or call 804-206-8170.