How to Calculate the Cost of Tarmac Driveways in Ireland

-Updated June 2023-

If your driveway has a lot of potholes, accumulates a lot of water or becomes muddy when it rains, then it is time for you to repave it already. Besides, a damaged driveway is not only an inconvenience; it is also an eyesore and a safety hazard.

But before work can commence on this home improvement project, you have to decide on the type of driveway you would be installing. It sounds like a simple task, but it can actually be confusing, especially if you know little about driveways and the materials used to build them.

In case you didn’t know, there are different kinds of driveways. These drives mainly vary in terms of the primary material used to build them – gravel, tarmac, tar and chip, cobble block and concrete. Undeniably, one of the most popular types in Ireland is the tarmac driveway.

What Is a Tarmac Driveway?

It is a driveway built using tarmac, short for tarmacadam. The word tarmacadam comes from the combination of tar, the material, and macadamizing, the process of laying gravel at the top of the pavement.

Macadamizing was derived from the surname of road construction pioneer and inventor John Loudon McAdam. However, McAdam wasn’t responsible for coining the term tarmacadam. It was actually Edgar Hooley who patented the process of adding tar to a macadamized pavement in 1901.

How to Calculate the Cost of Tarmac Driveways in Dublin, Ireland

Tarmac is composed of crushed stones or aggregate, which are coated with tar. But tar is rarely used these days as it makes tarmac more prone to damages brought about by oil or diesel spills.

What’s commonly used now as a binding agent is bitumen, a semi-solid byproduct of petroleum distillation. This is why tarmac is also widely called “bitmac” (bitumen and macadam) and asphalt.

This dark, bituminous material is laid on the surface as a hot mixture. After a few hours, it cools and forms a compact, smooth and hard-wearing surface.

Tarmac can be applied on top of any existing surface, so installing a driveway does not take a lot of time. In fact, you can have the installation completed in a single day.

 Whether you are planning to install a new driveway or resurface an existing one, tarmac is an excellent choice because of the numerous benefits it offers.

Tarmac Driveway Lucan 4

Are Tarmac Driveways Any Good?

Tarmac driveways are versatile, hard-wearing and cost-effective. They suit any type of property – be it a house in Meath or a commercial property in Dublin.

Lasting Aesthetic Appeal

With a tarmac drive, you can enhance your property’s overall aesthetics without breaking the bank.

It may surprise you to know that tarmac driveways aren’t just dark brown, grey or black. They can also be red, blue, green or pink, to name but a few.

This means that having a driveway that suits your property’s design, elevates its overall aesthetics and increases its value is possible with tarmac.

In addition, the beauty of these driveways does not quickly fade. They look new and fresh even after several years.

Easy and Fast Installation

You don’t have to wait long to get a tarmac drive. Depending on the size of your driveway, it is possible to complete the installation in a day. The drying process only takes 2 to 3 days, significantly shorter than concrete’s, around 7 days.


Another noteworthy characteristic of tarmac driveways is their durability. If you maintain them well, they can last for at least two decades.

They are weather-resistant, able to withstand the elements such as heat, hail, ice and water. As such, they are the ideal choice for property owners in Dublin and elsewhere in Ireland, given the country’s unpredictable weather.

Tarmac drives also hold up well to heavy traffic and big vehicles. Trucks and other large automobiles can drive or park on them, and they would still stay intact – no dents or cracks. This is why a tarmac driveway is perfect if you have a large vehicle or own several cars.

Low Maintenance

Furthermore, this type of drive is also very easy and cheap to maintain. You don’t have to spend a lot to fix dents and holes, as there is no need to overhaul the entire drive.


Durability, low maintenance, quick and easy installation – these are all impressive characteristics. But what makes tarmac driveways popular is their affordability.

Tarmac is still one of the cheapest driveway paving solutions in Ireland. Since installing it is easy, labour fees are not that expensive as compared to other materials. Hence, building a tarmac driveway wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg.

Tarmac Driveway with Silver Granite Border 2

How Much Does a Tarmac Driveway Cost in Dublin?

Tarmacing a driveway in Dublin costs an average of around €35 to €70 per square metre, already inclusive of material costs and labour fees.

As one of the cheapest paving solutions, tarmac is typically priced at €45 to €65 per square metre. This is significantly cheaper than other driveway paving solutions like block paving and concrete.

Installation costs for a Dublin tarmac drive are also lower than other types of driveways that require labour-intensive work. Labour fees make up a huge percentage of installation costs.

Professional tarmac installers in Ireland charge around €175 to €350 per day. Small driveways can be completed in a day or two, while big ones take approximately 7 to 14 days.

You should know that:

It is a common practice in the industry for at least two specialists to install a tarmac drive, even if it is just a small one. This approach allows them to do the job efficiently. It enables them to complete the project quickly without sacrificing the drive’s quality.

How to Compute the Cost of Tarmac Driveway in Ireland

The overall cost of a tarmac driveway in Ireland measuring 50 square metres is around €1,750 to €3,500.

Take note:

The final cost is not the same for all properties because various factors affect the price of tarmac driveways. These things need to be taken into consideration to determine the actual cost.

What are the factors that increase or decrease tarmac driveway prices in Dublin & Ireland?


The bigger your driveway, the higher your overall expense would be. Most people think this is primarily because of material costs. However, it is installation costs, specifically labour fees, that increase the price.

Larger drives require more work and time. This means higher labour fees, as completing the project will take days.

Alternatively, the paving company may assign additional tarmac specialists to the project to cut down the number of days to complete the driveway.

Either way, you can expect to pay more for a 50-square-metre tarmac driveway than a 30-square-metre.


Tarmacing an oddly-shaped driveway also costs more due to the complicated nature of work required.

For one, professional pavers need to ensure that the drive has a slope for water to run off into the drain. If this is not done, water can accumulate on the drive. Worse, it can flow into the house instead.

In addition, edging must be done to prevent the driveway from cracking or moving. This would require timbre, block paving or concrete. Depending on the material you would be using, expect to pay an additional €25 to €120 per square metre.

Tarmac Driveway with Silver Granite Edging Portmarnock 4


Labour costs vary depending on the location. They are usually more expensive in urban areas or city centres as compared to rural places.

Moreover, some paving contractors charge an extra fee if they need to travel outside a certain radius.

Drainage System

Water should be diverted away from your property, and this is why a proper drainage system is necessary.

When water does not flow, it can pool on some areas of the driveway. This can hasten the degradation of the tarmac.

The options available are to connect to an existing soakaway or to create a new draining channel. Both options will increase the price of your tarmac driveway. But expect to spend more if you create a new channel, around €600 to €1,700.

Amount of Preparation Needed

If the property requires more work, labour fees will also cost more. For example, you will spend an additional €18 to €21 per square metre if excavation is needed.

Similarly, if slopes need to be created to ensure that water flows efficiently away from the house, you will spend around €41 per tonne to add the stone sub-base.

As compared to installing a new tarmac driveway, resurfacing an old one does not entail excavating or building a drainage system. Hence, resurfacing a tarmac driveway is significantly cheaper, around €10 to €18 per square metre.

Equipment Cost

Specialist pieces of equipment are used to complete the job quicker and achieve high-quality output. For example, while excavation can be done by hand, the job can be completed in a shorter time with a digger.

Depending on your tarmac paving company, you may need to pay for equipment hire costs. In most cases, if the contractor owns the equipment, then the fees are already included in the tarmac driveway quotation they would be giving you.

Tarmacadam Driveway Leinster


Is a Tarmac Driveway Cheaper Than a Concrete Driveway?

Tarmac driveways cost less than most types of driveways. As mentioned, this is primarily due to the low material costs and labour fees.

It is significantly cheaper than concrete drives, costing around €50 to €100 per square metre for materials alone.

Labour fees are also higher as installing this type of driveway requires more work and time. Professionals charge between €235 to €530 per day, depending on the complexity of the work. A 50 square metre driveway typically takes around 4 to 6 days to complete.

Apart from the driveway’s size and amount of work needed, the type of finish also affects the overall price. Generally, installing stamped concrete or adding staining costs more than a simple concrete driveway.

The average cost of a concrete driveway is around €80 to €120 per square metre. So, for a driveway measuring 50 square metres, you can expect to spend about €4,000 to €6,000. This is around 20% more than the cost of installing a tarmac drive.

Is a Tarmac Driveway Cheaper Than a Block Paving Driveway?

Tarmac driveways are also cheaper than block paving driveways. Just like concrete drives, block paving driveways are expensive because of the materials. In fact, block pavers are some of the most expensive paving solutions today.

Depending on the type of paver, you may spend €22 to €146 per square metre for the materials. Concrete pavers are the cheapest, around €22 per square metre. Composite blocks are the most expensive, with their price ranging from €105 to €146.

Laying block paving driveway is also labour-intensive. Hence, the fees that pavers charge are also higher for this type of project.

The average cost of a block paving driveway measuring 50 square metres is between €4000 to €6000. Undeniably, this is significantly more expensive than a tarmac driveway.

gravel dublin

Is a Tarmac Driveway Cheaper Than a Gravel Driveway?

Tarmac may be a low-cost material, but it is not the only affordable paving solution in the market. You also have gravel, which is currently the cheapest driveway material. Much like tarmac drives, gravel driveways are also easy to install. With these facts, it is clear that a tarmac driveway is more expensive than a gravel drive.

In Ireland, gravel driveways cost around €45 to €65 per square metre. So, for a 50 square metre driveway, you would be paying about €2,250 to €3,250, which already includes material and labour costs.

The overall cost depends on factors like the driveway size, type of gravel to be used, design of the driveway and location of the project. The amount of work required and the condition of the site also affect the price.

While gravel driveways are cheaper to install, they require more maintenance work as compared to tarmac drives. So, if you factor in upkeep costs, you are bound to spend more in the long run if you go for a gravel driveway.

Professional Tarmac Driveway Services in Dublin & Ireland

It can be difficult to accurately calculate the cost without knowing the dimensions of the driveway, its shape and the amount of work required.

So, if you want to know how much you need to spend on this home improvement project, it is best to contact a reputable tarmac driveway installer and request a quotation.

Before the tarmac contractor gives you the quote, expect them to ask questions and examine the driveway area. These are essential steps in coming up with an accurate tarmac driveway quote.

Here’s the thing:

You might be tempted to do the tarmac installation on your own to save on labour costs. This isn’t a good idea for a variety of reasons.

For one, you may end up with a low-quality driveway that can get damaged easily. When this happens, you would then be forced to hire professionals to repair it and do the job that you should have assigned to them in the first place.

Basically, going the DIY route can mean more expenses for you in the long run. You would not be in this predicament if you enlist the services of a reputable company.

The truth is that:

Professionally installed tarmac driveways can last decades. Hence, you do not have to worry about spending on a new driveway for many years.

But to reap this benefit, you need to ensure that your chosen company has people who are trained and experienced in installing this type of driveway. Keep in mind, the secret to a long-lasting tarmac driveway is proper installation.

Want to know the cost of installing a tarmac driveway in your house? Please call us now on (01) 4851582 or 0852139591 to get a free quotation.