We are starting to see more and more interest from Nashville area homeowners about tar and chip driveways. This is especially true for the more rural parts of Middle Tennessee. We’ve been installing tar and chip driveways for over ten years, but the process is much older than that. Transportation Departments all over the country have been doing it since the turn of the century. So what is it?
Tar and chip, sometimes referred to as chip and seal, is the process of properly grading the driveway, then pouring hot liquid asphalt over the base, then applying a layer of rock, then rolling the rock into the hot mixture. The process is repeated 2-3 times, depending on different factors. The result is a beautiful, maintenance free driveway for much less than asphalt or concrete. There are other advantages beyond the lesser cost:
The crushed stone produces a beautiful, more natural looking surface, adding a more rustic look than traditional blacktop drives.
Because of it’s light color, it does not absorb as much heat, and is a cooler surface to drive or walk on.
It provides greater traction, especially in wet conditions.
You can drive on it almost immediately.
Tar and chip is the perfect solution for homeowners with gravel drives, especially those with steeper grades. It is also an affordable solution for resurfacing. There are a few other things to know. It is best to install this surface when the weather is hot. The liquid tar binds the rock much better if it is applied while it’s still hot. We heat ours to roughly 220 degrees.
If you decide that tar and chip is a better option for you than either asphalt or concrete, make sure your contractor is experienced and knowledgeable. There are some great area contractors in the greater Nashville area (including us!) but be aware there are others that skimp on material or are just not equipped to do this job correctly. Thanks for reading!