Tar & Chip Seal is a pavement that can be applied to a dirt, or black top surfaces. It is a coating of hot liquid asphalt followed by a layer of 3/8″ chip rock then rolled to compaction.
When a new Tar & Chip job is completed, it looks like a gravel driveway. But the rock that comes in contact with the Tar is locked in tight. The tar and the rock become one form of pavement. It has a very clean, natural country look. It has a lot of curb appeal and its strong. Plus it won’t draw in heat like Black Top.
When a new Tar & Chip seal job is first installed, there will be some loose surface rocks on top. But that’s just the rock lying on top of the rock that is already locked in the tar. But when you start driving on your new road and the temperature warms up all of the loose surface rocks on top will seal in with the rest of the job. That’s the nature of Tar & Chip seal
A new black top surface will last anywhere from 25 to 30 years. But there are two main factors involved. First, proper installation must be done correctly the first time. The application thickness will vary from 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches thick on a base surface. Secondly, you must continue to keep your black top seal coated. Depending on your location and weather every 1 to 3 years. But you WILL NOT get 25 to 30 years from black top if it is not maintained OFTEN OR INSTALLED RIGHT. But chip seal will last on top of a good base for 15 to 20 years with no maintenance work involved. You can drive heavy loads and traffic on chip seal without it cracking or breaking up. That is not always the case with black top jobs.
As with rising cost of oil, fuel and asphalt tar, all pavements whether it is black top, concrete or chip seal grow higher every year as well. But Tar & Chip seal is about 30% to 40% less than what black top costs to get paved. Plus it costs less to keep because it is maintenance free. Concrete is the most expensive of the three pavements.
You must understand that Tar & Chip Seal is a pavement that is used in many northern states (almost all). On driveways, parking lots, county roads and state roads. All which must be shovelled, plowed or blown when it snows. You can use all three on Tar & Chip Seal. Whether you are applying your chip seal to a base surface or old pavement, when it comes time to plow all you do is lift up on your plow about half inch of the ground, then plow. Chip seal is strong.
Tar & Chip paving (which is also referred to as chip sealing), is very similar to asphalt, as it is a combination of hot liquid asphalt cement, liquid A/C (or hot tar if you prefer) as a binder and gravel as the main structural component. Unlike asphalt, which is premixed at an asphalt plant, the components are delivered separately and mixed on the job site. Tar & chip is nothing new, its has been used for over 100 years, all over the world, with great success, to pave and resurface roads, parking lots, residential driveways, ect. and is used by county and DOT road crews on road paving projects, in virtually every state in America.
After the prep work is completed (which is almost identical for tar & chip paving, as it is for asphalt paving)
First a coat of liquid A/C is applied to the existing surface. This is accomplished by using a computer-controlled distributor truck equipped with spray bars, to apply an exact and consistent amount of liquid A/C, heated to the right temperature.
Then a clean, crushed chip stone is spread using a spreader box attached to the dump truck transporting the gravel. The stone adheres to the hot liquid asphalt
Finally, a roller is used to embed the stone into the tar. The entire process is repeated on jobs where multiple courses are required
This is a very difficult question to answer, because it depends on two factors.
Perspective: To some people, a paving job would need to be re – done as soon as it gets a worn spot or broken edge, while others will be perfectly content dodging potholes for many years as long as they have a clean paved surface for vehicle traffic.
Job Site/Usage: Durability can vary based on several factors such as climate, traffic conditions, base, and the number of courses of chip seal used, naturally asphalt or tar & chip will last much longer on a low traffic, residential driveway than they will on a county road or city street.
Answer: Let’s say we are talking in averages. Let’s assume that we are talking about the point where a paved surface is in bad enough condition that repairs are no longer a viable option. And that job site, traffic conditions are pretty typical. The life expectancy for an asphalt paving job is probably around 12 years and in that time repairs such as patchwork, crack sealing and seal coating will be required. For tar & chip, probably around 8 years and in that time repairs such as patching and isolated re – tar and chipping will be required. Tar & chip paving, should last approximately two thirds as long as asphalt paving would on the same job.
Natural beauty: Tar & chip, provides a beautiful rustic alternative to asphalt, with the look and feel of a country gravel road.
Very Cost Effective: The initial cost of installing Tar & Chip, can be up to 40% less than a comparable asphalt installation.
Maintenance Free: Unlike asphalt which requires seal coating every few years, tar & chip, is virtually maintenance free, as there is never a need to sealcoat.
Improved Traction: The rough, gritty, surface of Tar & Chip, gives great traction even in wet weather, and is an excellent choice for steep slopes.
Cooler Temperature: Because of its light coloured stone surface, chip seal does not absorb heat like blacktop does, and stays much cooler.
More convenient: Tar & Chip, goes down faster than asphalt and there is hardly any down time, because it can be driven on immediately; you do not need to wait 24 – 48 hours for it to harden.