What Is the Difference Between Tarmac and Asphalt and the Benefits of Each
Although tarmac and asphalt are very similar, which is why most people confuse them, there is much more to them than meets the eye.

Although tarmac and asphalt are very similar, which is why most people confuse them, there is much more to them than meets the eye.Asphalt is different from tarmac because it is more versatile. Tarmac is mostly used for surfacing driveways, car parks, airport runways and roads, while asphalt is used for surfacing all these surfaces, as well as for surfacing pathways and bike tracks, warehouses, sports courts, shopping centres and more.

What Is Tarmac and What Is Asphalt?

Tarmacadam or tarmac is a mixture of crushed stone and tar laid to the surface using a vibrating roller that ensures a smooth finish.

Asphalt is similar to tarmac, yet it contains bitumen instead of tar, it uses fewer materials, and it is, generally, more durable than tarmac.

Benefits of Tarmac

Easy to Install

Tarmac driveways can be installed almost all year round since they are easy to install. Tarmac is laid hot, and directly onto the surface, after which it should be left to cool down, so the particles bind together perfectly.

Strong and Durable

Not only does tarmac leave a nice finish but it is long-lasting and resistant to weather and water as well. It can withstand heavy traffic and it doesn’t crack, which is why it was so commonly used for road and driveway surfacing. Since it acts the same in all conditions, tarmac also provides a good grip.

Benefits of Asphalt


Asphalt is relatively inexpensive compared to tarmac. It makes a pretty good choice for surfacing larger areas. It is not as resistant to car tyre scuffing as tarmac but it is more resistant to extreme weather conditions.

Easy to Maintain

Asphalt can be easily maintained and repaired. If it does begin to crack, it can be easily repaired using a crack sealant product. To keep asphalt surfaces in top condition, they should be cleaned using a broom or washed using high-pressurised water. To ensure asphalt stays weather-resistant and attractive, it should be covered with a seal-coat every 2to 5 years.


Unlike tarmac, asphalt can be reused and applied to almost any surface, and it is also less harmful to the environment.

Tarmac and Asphalt – Main Differences

  • Asphalt can be reprocessed while tarmac is not reusable, and, thus, not an eco-friendly option.
  • Asphalt is more cost-effective than tarmac and makes a better choice for small surfaces.
  • Tarmac is strong, durable and less prone to cracking, but it requires frequent maintenance while asphalt surfaces are much easier to maintain.


Total Line Marking is an expert in tarmac surfacing. If you are looking for a perfect mix of durability and aesthetics, tarmac could be the way to go. We provide cost-effective and efficient solutions, plus we also offer maintenance to prevent deterioration. Follow this link to request a free quotation and contact us anytime if you have additional questions. We’ll be more than happy to help!  

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