Do it yourself tar and chip

Written by natalie lyda
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Do it yourself tar and chip
Tar and chip driveways cost less to maintain than traditional asphalt surfaces. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Cost effective, yet attractive, driveway paving options are of interest to homeowners with driveways of all shapes and sizes. Fortunately, the tar and chip method provides a reasonably priced, eye-appealing way to seal driveways with low cost long-term maintenance. Tar and chip paving combines asphalt and stone to create a textured, hard surface. The end result is a driveway that provides more texture than plain asphalt and better traction in slick conditions. Although tar and chip driveways are typically installed by professionals, do-it-yourself enthusiasts equipped with the proper equipment and knowledge will be able to complete the process independently.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Shovel
  • Wheel barrel
  • Gravel
  • Large rake
  • Hot liquid asphalt
  • Liquid asphalt sprayer
  • Industrial roller

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  1. 1

    Select the colour and style of gravel chips that will be installed as the top layer of the tar and chip surface. Purchase about 2.2 tonnes (2.5 tons) of gravel chips for every 84 square metres (100 square yards) of area that will be treated with tar and chip. Arrange for the gravel to be delivered prior to installing the surface. Gather the required materials and equipment at the work site prior to beginning the tar and chip process.

  2. 2

    Roll out a firmly compacted dirt roadbed for the driveway using a heavy machinery roller. Install a thick layer of medium crush gravel along the road bed of the driveway. This layer will act as a base for the tar and chip process and should be capable of withstanding the weight of a vehicle. If a previously installed driveway surface, such as asphalt or concrete, is already in place you do not need to install an initial layer of gravel.

  3. 3

    Rent a liquid asphalt sprayer, filled with hot liquid asphalt, from a local equipment rental supplier. Spray a 6 to 9 mm (1/4 to 3/8 inch) thick layer of liquid asphalt over the gravel base. Plan to use about 190 litres (50 gallons) of liquid asphalt for each 84 square metres (100 square yards) of driveway that will be sprayed.

  4. 4

    Dump gravel chips onto the liquid asphalt while the asphalt is still hot and sticky. Spread the gravel using an industrial rake to a uniform thickness of approximately 2.5 bcm (1 inch). Work forwards while installing the gravel chips, walking on the tarred area that has already been covered with chips.

  5. 5

    Roll the gravel chips into the tar coating with an industrial roller machine. Once the gravel chips have been compacted into the liquid asphalt, allow the driveway to set for at least 48 hours before driving on the surface.

Tips and warnings

  • Do not spray more than 6 mm (1/4 inch) of liquid asphalt across the driveway surface. Too much liquid asphalt can seep through the gravel top coat and ruin the appearance of the finished surface.
  • Liquid asphalt is sprayed at a temperature of approximately 148 degrees C (300 degrees F). Use caution while working with the hot asphalt.

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