Ashburn, VA

How much does a chip seal or tar and chip driveway cost?

$2 – $5 Per square foot
$700 – $2,900 Average 2-car driveway

A tar and chip driveway costs $700 to $2,900 on average. A chip seal driveway costs $2 to $5 per square foot. A tar and chip seal road costs $25,000 to $42,000 per mile. A tar and chip driveway costs twice as much as a gravel driveway and 30% to 40% less than an asphalt driveway.

Get free estimates from asphalt pavers near you, or view our tar and chip driveway calculator below.

Reviewed and approved on January 1, 2021, by Tom Grupa and 5 expert asphalt companies on HomeGuide.

Tar and chip driveway cost

A tar and chip driveway costs $700 to $2,900 on average. A macadam or chip seal driveway costs $2 to $5 per square foot. A tar and chip driveway costs twice as much as a gravel driveway and 30% to 40% less than a concrete or asphalt driveway.

Tar and chip driveway cost - chart
Tar and chip driveway cost - chart

Tar and chip driveway cost
Size Square feet Average cost
10’x20’ Driveway (1-car) 200 $350 – $1,000
12’x24’ Driveway (1-car) 288 $500 – $1,450
20’x20’ Driveway (2-car) 400 $700 – $2,000
24’x24’ Driveway (2-car) 576 $1,000 – $2,900
24’x36’ Driveway (3-car) 864 $1,500 – $4,300
18’x10’ Parking space 864 $300 – $900
10-Car Parking lot 3,000 $5,250 – $15,000
12'x500' Private road 6,000 $10,000 – $30,000
1-mile Public road (2-lane) 158,400 $25,000 – $42,000

*Prices depend on site conditions, stone color and type, and the number of coats.

Tar and chip paving is also called macadam, chip seal, oil and stone, liquid asphalt and stone, oil and chip, and spray tar. Chip seal driveways feature a top layer of crushed stone spread over liquid asphalt and compacted.

Rural tar and chip driveway and private road paving
Rural tar and chip driveway and private road paving

  • Tar and chip driveways are low-cost for homeowners, but only lasts 7 to 10 years.
  • Tar and chip stones come in a variety of colors.
  • Chip sealing differs from asphalt seal coating and is not a repair method.

Tar and chip driveway cost calculator

Enter the length and width of your driveway area in feet in the calculator below to estimate the cost to install a new oil and stone driveway.

Tar and chip driveway cost calculator
Width of the driveway in feet
Length of the driveway in feet
Get free estimates from driveway pavers near you. View Pros

Chip seal cost per square foot

Chip seal driveway installation costs $2 to $5 per square foot, depending on site conditions, stone color and type, labor costs, oil prices, and whether it's a single or double seal. Resurfacing a gravel or asphalt driveway with tar and chip costs $1 to $3 per square foot.

Chip seal cost per square foot - chart
Chip seal cost per square foot - chart

Average chip seal driveway cost

New chip seal driveway installation
New chip seal driveway installation

Average chip seal driveway cost
National average cost $1,800
Minimum cost $500
Maximum cost $5,000
Average range $700 to $2,900

*Based on 85 project costs reported by HomeGuide members.

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Chip seal road cost per mile

A private one-lane tar and chip road costs $20 to $60 per linear foot. Commercial, two-lane chip seal roads cost $25,000 to $42,000 per mile. Cities use tar and chip to extend the lifespan of rural roads and residential streets traveled by fewer than 2,500 vehicles per day.

Chip seal road cost per mile - chart
Chip seal road cost per mile - chart

Tar and chip road cost
Metric Average cost
Per linear foot $20 – $60
Per mile (1-lane) $12,000 – $25,000
Per mile (2-lane) $25,000 – $42,000

Average price of a macadam parking lot

Installing a chip seal parking lots costs $2 to $5 per square foot or $315 to $900 to pave an average 18' x 10' parking space. Paving a 3,000 square foot macadam parking lot with room for ten parking spaces and a driveway costs $5,250 to $15,000.

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Single vs. double chip seal driveway cost

Macadam driveways feature a single chip seal or double chip seal, depending on the traffic handling requirements and whether it's a new driveway installation or laid on top of an existing driveway.

Single vs. double chip seal driveway cost - chart
Single vs. double chip seal driveway cost - chart

Single vs. double chip seal driveway cost
Install type Cost per square foot
Single chip seal $2 – $3
Double chip seal $3 – $5

Single chip seal

Single chip seal driveways cost $2 to $3 per square foot and include a layer of 3/8" to 3/4" aggregate laid over a liquid asphalt emulsion and compacted. Single chip seal improves traction, protects the pavement from moisture, and works best for resurfacing driveways with minimal cracks or damage.

Double chip seal

Double chip seal driveways cost $3 to $5 per square foot and feature one layer of asphalt emulsion with 3/8" to 3/4" aggregate followed by a second layer with smaller aggregate. Double chip seal is more durable and protective and is used for new driveway installations and resurfacing.

High-performance / cape seal

High-performance chip seal, also called cape seal, features a modified asphalt emulsion and single-sized, cubical-shaped aggregate for maximum traction and skid-resistance. High-performance chip seal is used for public roads and is typically followed by a slurry seal to increase durability.

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Macadam driveway cost factors

Macadam chip seal driveway paving at rural property
Macadam chip seal driveway paving at rural property

Site prep and grading

Grading and site prep for a new driveway installation costs $5 to $8 per square foot and ensures the driveway's foundation is structurally stable. Excavation to remove plants, soil, and small trees from the site adds $1 to $5 per square foot.

When installing chip seal on top of an existing driveway, the installer must repair any cracks, potholes, or sagging first.

Stone type and color

The choice of stone color and type affect the installation price. Stone options depend on the location and the types of stone available in the region. Using locally sourced stone is cheaper than importing stone from suppliers in other states.

Most installers only offer a limited selection of stone colors and types from their local region. Before hiring, confirm the installer offers the stone color you want.

Weather and climate

Tar and chip driveways must be installed when the weather is dry and air temperatures are warmer than 50° F. Paving a driveway in the summer typically costs less and results in a stronger, more durable surface.

Location and accessibility

Chip seal driveway prices depend on the home's location, distance from the installer and the nearest tar plants, and how far the stone must travel from the supplier to the job site.

The terrain and accessibility of the job site also affect the project price. Driveways with landscape obstructions that make it challenging to maneuver heavy equipment cost more to install.

Slope and pitch for oil and stone driveways

Driveways should be sloped away from the home for proper drainage. The minimum recommended grade for a driveway is 2%, and the maximum is 15% to 25%. Driveways with steep slopes cost more to install and require transition zones with reduced slopes at the garage and street.

Driveway permit fees & regulations

Driveway building permits cost $50 to $200, depending on location. Most cities require a permit for new driveway installations but may waive the fee if there's already a paved apron connecting the property to a public street.

Land survey for new driveways

A land survey costs $250 to $700, depending on the location and the planned driveway size. A professional land surveyor ensures the new driveway doesn't encroach on a neighbor's property.

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Chip seal vs. asphalt vs. gravel driveway cost

A new driveway costs $2,500 to $6,500 on average. Asphalt driveway paving costs $3 to $7 per square foot, a gravel driveway costs $1 to $3 per square foot, and a concrete driveway costs $4 to $8 per square foot.

Chip seal vs. asphalt driveway
Type Cost per square foot Maintenance Lifespan (years)
Chip seal (tar and chip) $2 – $5 Low maintenance, self-healing cracks 7 – 10
Asphalt $3 – $7 Requires sealing every 3 years 15 – 30
Concrete $4 – $8 Low maintenance but costly to repair 30 –­ 40
Gravel $1 – $3 Easy to repair but requires frequent maintenance Up to 100
Pavers $10 – $30 Easy to replace individual pavers 25 – 75
Consult with top-rated driveway companies. View Pros

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Installing chip and seal over other driveway types

Chip seal can be installed over concrete, gravel, or unsealed asphalt driveways. The existing subbase must be in good shape, structurally sound, and cracks and holes in the surface require repairing before laying chip seal on top.

  • Good candidates for chip seal: surfaces with a stable foundation and only minor cracks and oxidation.
  • Poor candidates for chip seal: surfaces with cracks wider than 1/4", structural issues, or rutted pavement.
Chip sealing is not a repair method and does not increase an existing driveway's structural stability.

Chip and seal over concrete

Make sure the installer takes these steps before laying chip and seal over a concrete driveway:

  • Confirm the subbase beneath the concrete is stable and the surface hasn't shifted at the expansion joints.
  • Fill and seal any cracks. If the concrete cracks, the new asphalt laid on top will crack too.
  • Use a bonding agent to adhere the asphalt emulsion to the concrete below.

Tar and chip over asphalt driveway

Laying tar and chip over an asphalt driveway protects the surface from moisture and extends the driveway's lifespan. Chip sealing over asphalt is only possible if the driveway's foundation is structurally sound, there is only minimal surface damage, and the asphalt has never been sealed.

Chip seal over gravel

Chip seal over gravel creates a smoother surface that improves drainage and reduces dust and loose aggregate. Before laying a new chip seal surface over an existing gravel driveway, fill any potholes and ensure the gravel base is level.

Chip seal over dirt

When installing chip seal over a dirt road or driveway, the installer first lays a gravel base for structural support then covers it in layers of liquid asphalt and stone chips.

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Chip and seal driveway pros and cons

Chip and seal driveway pros and cons
Pros Cons
  • Less expensive than asphalt or concrete
  • Better traction when wet or snow-covered
  • Anti-glare surface in wet weather
  • Variety of colors and stone types available
  • Cooler surface temperature
  • Low maintenance with no sealing required
  • Self-healing: small cracks seal themselves in warm weather
  • Shorter lifespan than asphalt or concrete
  • Susceptible to weather damage
  • Snow removal is difficult. Easily damaged by snowplows if the blade is not raised to 1" before plowing
  • Surface is too rough for biking, basketball, and roller-skating.
  • Difficult to find experienced installers

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What is chip seal paving?

Chip and seal paving involves applying hot liquid asphalt sprayed 1/4" to 3/8" thick, followed by a layer of stone aggregate and pressed via a blacktop roller. Chip seal gets its name from the small chips of crushed stone that form the driveway's surface.

How long does a tar and chip driveway last?

Tar and chip driveways last 7 to 10 years on average. Adding a double layer of chip seal increases the lifespan to 12 to 15 years. In comparison, asphalt driveways last 15 to 30 years, and concrete driveways last 30 to 40 years.

What colors do chip seal driveways come in?

Tar and chip driveways come in a variety of individual stone colors and multi-color blends:

  • Gray, slate, and black
  • Brown, tan, and gold
  • Red, burgundy, and pink
  • White and marble
  • Bluestone, indigo, and oyster blue
  • Green and seafoam

Blue chip driveway

Blue chip driveways feature stones ranging in color from indigo to shades of light blue and gray. Bluestone is commonly used in stone pavers but also comes in gravel and aggregate for chip seal driveways.

Red chips for driveway

Red chips for driveways come in shades ranging from dark brick red to burgundy and pink.

What is the difference between asphalt and chip and seal?

Asphalt paving and chip sealing use the same ingredients but different construction methods. The chip sealing process involves spraying heated liquid asphalt followed by a layer of small stone aggregate. The stone is compacted with a heavy roller then covered in another layer of loose stone chips.

Can you seal coat a gravel driveway?

Seal coating refers to spraying a protective coat on an asphalt surface and can't be used on gravel driveways. Chip seal features a layer of liquid asphalt emulsion with a layer of crushed stones spread on top and compacted, smoothing a gravel driveway and reducing dust and loose aggregate.

Where do you buy tar?

Local asphalt suppliers sell contractor-grade liquid asphalt emulsion for paving a tar and chip driveway. Home Depot, Lowes, and other hardware stores sell tar for roofing and cold mix asphalt for patching driveways.

How much does an oil and stone driveway cost?

Oil and stone driveways cost $2 to $5 per square foot, depending on site conditions, stone type and color, and labor costs. Oil and stone is also known as chip seal, macadam, or tar and chip.

Still have questions? Ask a pro. View Pros

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DIY chip and seal driveway

Installing a chip seal driveway is not a DIY project. Tar and chip paving requires heavy machinery, special equipment to heat and spray liquid asphalt, and a crew working together to spread and compact the stones quickly. For the best results, hire a professional who specializes in chip sealing.

Tar and chip equipment cost

Tar and chip paving involves expensive heavy machinery and specialized equipment, including hot liquid asphalt sprayers and industrial rollers. Hiring a professional installer is more cost-effective than purchasing or renting the equipment yourself.

How to chip seal a driveway

To chip seal a driveway, first prepare and grade the driveway site. Spray a hot liquid asphalt emulsion on the surface, then immediately spread a uniform layer of stone chips on top and compact it with an industrial roller. Allow the new driveway to cure for 24 hours.

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Hiring tar and chip driveway contractors

Tar and chip driveway installation requires special equipment and techniques. Not all asphalt companies have proper experience. Before hiring an installer and signing a contract, be sure to:

  • Confirm the company has experience installing tar and chip driveways (also known as chip seal, macadam, or oil and stone).
  • Get at least three estimates to compare. Let professionals know you’re getting bids from multiple companies so they offer you their best competitive price.
  • Read reviews and check out their previous work on HomeGuide, Google, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
  • Select companies that are insured, bonded, and have been in business for longer than five years.
  • Avoid selecting the lowest quote as quality may suffer.
  • Ask for a written contract, warranty, and detailed estimate with a full breakdown of all costs involved.
  • Avoid making large payments upfront. Come up with a payment schedule for the work completed.

Questions to ask

  • How many chip seal driveways have you installed?
  • Which stone colors and types do you offer?
  • Do you have a portfolio of previous driveway installations I can view?
  • Does this quote include site prep and grading?
  • How long should my new driveway last?
  • Are you licensed, insured, and bonded?
  • How do you handle unexpected project delays?
  • How do you handle damages that happen on the job?
  • What permits do I need, and will you obtain them?
  • What does your warranty policy include?
  • What is your payment schedule?

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