What is the difference between tarmac and asphalt?

Tarmacadam (‘Tarmac’) is a surfacing material traditionally made by layering crushed stone with coats of tar to create a solid and durable surface. A top-coat can be applied over macadam surfaces to intensify the colour, improve water resistance and improve the grip.

Asphalt is slightly different in that it is made from a mixture of aggregates and bitumen (a sticky tar-like substance that binds the aggregate and holds it together). Asphalt surfaces are sustainable and environmentally-friendly as the material can be removed from old surfaces and reprocessed.

What are the main benefits of both tarmac and asphalt?

Let’s put the technicalities to one side and concentrate on the top line information (we believe in keeping things simple for our customers).

Tarmac – High strength and high traction

Asphalt – Economical and easy to maintain

Are all tarmac / asphalt surfaces the same?

These materials come in a range of sizes and have to be laid in different thicknesses depending on the weight and type of traffic that will be passing over. For instance, if you just need a footpath then fine asphalt or 6mm tarmac would suffice when laid on a solid MOT Type 1 base. However, the average driveway with 4×4 vehicles and large vans occasionally using we would recommend a 10mm SMA (Stone Mastic Asphalt) be used on an initial 20mm dense base of Tarmac with the recommended depth of MOT type 1 Foundation

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