Differences Between Tarmac & Resin Driveways

When it comes to choosing a driveway material, resin and tarmac (asphalt) are two popular options, each with its own set of advantages and considerations. Homeowners often find themselves weighing the pros and cons of these materials to determine which best suits their needs, preferences, and budget. In this article, we’ll explore the key differences between resin and tarmac driveways, helping you make an informed decision.

tarmac driveway Shifnal

Composition and Installation

Resin Driveways: Resin driveways are made from a blend of aggregate stones and a clear resin binder. There are two main types of resin driveways: resin-bound and resin-bonded. Resin-bound driveways mix the aggregate and resin before laying it down, creating a smooth, porous surface. Resin-bonded driveways, on the other hand, spread the resin on the surface first and then scatter the aggregate on top, resulting in a textured, non-porous finish.

The installation process for resin-bound driveways involves preparing the base, mixing the resin and aggregate, and then applying and smoothing the mixture. It requires skilled labor to ensure an even and attractive finish. Resin-bonded driveways are quicker to install but are less durable than resin-bound driveways.

Tarmac Driveways: Tarmac, or asphalt, is a mixture of bitumen and aggregate. The installation process for tarmac driveways involves laying down a sub-base, followed by a binding layer of bitumen and aggregate, and then a top layer of asphalt. The material is spread and compacted while hot, ensuring a strong bond and smooth finish.

Tarmac installation is relatively straightforward and can be completed quickly, often within a day, depending on the size of the driveway. However, it requires heavy machinery and professional expertise to achieve the best results.

Durability and Maintenance

Resin Driveways: Resin driveways are known for their durability and resilience. Resin-bound surfaces, in particular, are porous, allowing water to drain through and reducing the risk of puddles and ice formation. This permeability helps prevent water damage and extends the lifespan of the driveway.

Maintenance for resin driveways is relatively low. Regular sweeping and occasional power washing can keep the surface clean and free of debris. Repairs can be more complex, as matching the color and texture of the existing resin can be challenging.

Tarmac Driveways: Tarmac driveways are also durable and can withstand heavy traffic and harsh weather conditions. However, they are non-porous, meaning water can pool on the surface, potentially leading to cracks and potholes over time. Proper drainage systems are essential to mitigate this issue.

Maintenance for tarmac driveways involves periodic sealing to protect the surface from water penetration and UV damage. Small cracks and potholes can be repaired easily with tarmac patches, making maintenance relatively simple and cost-effective.

Aesthetic Appeal

Resin Driveways: One of the standout features of resin driveways is their aesthetic versatility. Resin driveways are available in a wide range of colors and finishes, allowing homeowners to customise the appearance to match their home’s style. The smooth, seamless finish of resin-bound driveways offers a modern and elegant look, while resin-bonded driveways provide a more textured, natural appearance.

The ability to incorporate different aggregate types and colours means that resin driveways can complement a variety of architectural styles and landscaping designs.

Tarmac Driveways: Tarmac driveways have a classic, understated appearance. Typically available in black or dark shades, tarmac provides a clean and traditional look that can suit many types of properties. While it lacks the colour variety of resin, tarmac can still offer a neat and professional finish.

Tarmac’s simplicity and uniformity make it a good choice for homeowners looking for a no-fuss, straightforward driveway solution.


Resin Driveways: Resin driveways tend to be more expensive than tarmac due to the cost of materials and the specialised installation process. The price can vary depending on the type of resin, the complexity of the design, and the size of the driveway. However, many homeowners find the investment worthwhile due to resin’s durability, low maintenance, and aesthetic appeal.

Tarmac Driveways: Tarmac driveways are generally more affordable than resin driveways. The materials are less expensive, and the installation process is quicker and requires fewer specialised skills. For homeowners on a tighter budget, tarmac offers a cost-effective solution that still provides durability and a clean appearance.

Environmental Impact

Resin Driveways: Resin-bound driveways are considered more environmentally friendly due to their porous nature, which allows water to drain naturally and reduces runoff. This helps to replenish groundwater and prevents flooding. Additionally, some resins are made from recycled materials, further reducing their environmental footprint.

Tarmac Driveways: Tarmac production involves the use of bitumen, a petroleum-based product, which has a higher environmental impact. The non-porous nature of tarmac also means that water runoff needs to be managed effectively to prevent flooding and erosion. However, tarmac is recyclable, and old tarmac can be reused in new asphalt production, mitigating some of its environmental impact.

Weather Resistance

Resin Driveways: Resin driveways perform well in various weather conditions. The porous nature of resin-bound surfaces prevents water pooling and reduces the risk of ice formation in cold weather. Resin is also UV resistant, meaning it won’t fade or degrade under intense sunlight.

Tarmac Driveways: Tarmac is robust and can handle both hot and cold weather. However, extreme heat can cause tarmac to soften and become sticky, while freezing temperatures can lead to cracks and potholes. Regular sealing helps protect tarmac driveways from weather-related damage and prolongs their lifespan.

Final Considerations

When deciding between resin and tarmac for your driveway, it’s essential to consider your specific needs, preferences, and budget. Here’s a quick summary to help you make your decision:

  • Resin Driveways: Ideal for homeowners looking for a customisable, aesthetically pleasing driveway with excellent drainage and low maintenance. While the initial cost is higher, the long-term benefits and visual appeal make it a worthwhile investment.
  • Tarmac Driveways: Suitable for those seeking a durable, cost-effective solution with a classic appearance. Tarmac is easier and quicker to install, making it a practical choice for many homeowners.

Both resin and tarmac driveways offer distinct advantages and can enhance the functionality and curb appeal of your property. By understanding the differences and considering your specific requirements, you can choose the best material to create a beautiful and durable driveway that meets your needs.

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