Which surface is best for your driveway, tarmac or block paving?
If you’re looking for a new driveway, tarmac and block paving might both be options you are considering. There are a number of factors to consider when exploring which material is best for your driveway, we have examined all these factors to help you determine which is the most suitable for your needs: 

Durability/ Longevity

It’s important to remember that no matter the surface type chosen, the best way to ensure longevity in your driveway is to start with the correct level base. Both surfaces are considered fairly long-lasting, tarmac as a surface is not exclusively made for driveways, but road surfacing is often very long wearing as by design it is made to be resilient to heavy repeat vehicle use and various weather conditions. Block paving is also often long lasting as the interlocking herringbone pattern makes for a sturdy structure. Maintenance to ensure the good quality appearance of the block paving driveways is however required more frequently than for tarmac, as the joint gaps between the blocks can be prone to weed growth. Check out our tips to maintain the quality of your driveways here.

Cost and installation

Block paving is almost always more expensive than tarmac, not only because the blocks themselves can be a little more on the pricier side to purchase, but also as a result of the cost of installation. Whilst tarmac can be installed very easily, after being laid down, it has a quick drying time, block paving however is far more time consuming. Issues with this surfacing arise only with small or unusually shaped areas of a driveway, which may require smaller machinery in order to reach.  Unlike tarmac you are unable to overlay block paving over another surface, so the process has to start with prep to ensure there are stable foundations, before laying down each brick individually in the desired interlocking pattern finished with kiln dried sand brushed into the joints. The overall process can take a few days depending on the size of the driveway or patio being worked on. 


Repair for block paving can often be easily restored when damaged, as the individual tiles can be removed and replaced quite efficiently. Tarmac paving can also be repaired without too much hassle via a process called “tarmacadam”, in which new tarmac is poured over the cracked or damaged old surface to close up any gaps and smooth over the area in question. The time required for the reparations varies, if the area of damage is only small then block paving may only require exchanging a few blocks, the larger the area the more time consuming block paving would be. Tarmacadam however, resurfaces the entire area no matter the size of damage, so the time would remain consistent and fairly speedy regardless of the amount of repairs needed.


The look of either surface is completely down to personal preference, tarmac offers a uniformity with the road, and has a clean and simple appearance. Block paving on the other hand generally has a more refined look as it has a range of styles and blocks to choose from. More freedom comes with the surface to match the design of the house, or colours and textures to the surrounding area creating more of a cohesive feel and enabling you to achieve a particular desired look. Ultimately there is always the option to combine the two in opting for a tarmac drive with a paving decoration. For advice or more information about which surface would best suit your driveway contact us for a quote, or call a member of our team on 01952 840 838.  
Published: March 2021

We’re very happy our new imprinted concrete driveway, the quality of workmanship is second to none and we would not hesitate in recommending Premier Surfacing to all.

Anita Hancock