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Getting the Best Tarmac Driveway Finish

A tarmac driveway is the red-carpet to a property, and as a business owner this red-carpet tarmac driveway must be of VIP standard. If you are a hotelier, leisure centre maintenance manager, or own a heritage property, getting the tarmac driveway up to a standard expected by your customers and clientele may be playing on your mind a lot this time of year – in time for the busy summer season.

Tarmac driveway considerations in this article are applicable across the wide spectrum of tarmac driveway locations in the UK, from small shops to home businesses, and office block parking bays to car showrooms.

Hotel tarmac driveway

Laying a tarmac driveway can be a time-consuming job requiring specialist tools and equipment – which is why it is generally undertaken by professionals with years of experience in the field. Larger sized driveways can be considerable project undertakings, causing potentially lengthy periods of downtime for your business. Planning is vital and incorporating temporary parking and access points to the premises, vital.

Significant restoration work on tarmac is not a DIY project, so to speak, but many repair jobs can be. If in doubt about the scale and undertaking of a tarmac driveway project, contact Rawlins Paints and we can assist you with the best products for repair work, paint and top-coat rejuvenation projects, and heavy duty cleaning of stained and tarnished surface discolouration.

A Brief Introduction to Tarmac

John MacAdam was the originator of using tar to hold stones together – tarmac gets its name from this ‘tar MacAdam’ practice. In 2017, the commonly used binding agent for the aggregates – stones, etc. – is bitumen. Bitumen is a by-product of the oil refining process, as opposed to tar. Again, bitmac consequently is a shortening of bitumen MacAdam!

In using tarmac or bitumen (bitmac to trade workers) for driveways, thanks must go to John MacAdam’s pioneering process.

John MacAdam stone road

How Much Traffic Will Your Tarmac Driveway Handle?

A tarmac driveway is only as efficient, stable and aesthetically pleasing as the planning work which has gone into its construction. For example, if the drive is a minimal access point for a property, and will not be used for parking, there is minimal risk of the pooling of oils, petrol and other chemicals from the underside of cars, vans, trucks and associated company vehicles. Should the driveway include parking – short-term or long-term – for company cars, there then becomes the risk of corrosive chemical accumulation on incorrectly sloped tarmac. Tarmac drives to depot load-in bays will need to withstand delivery trucks of considerable size, with the additional risk of impact damage from falling items or cages being loaded on and off ramps. Forward planning can save a lot of time and money on tarmac repairs.

Is the Tarmac Drive Sufficiently Sloped for Drainage?

Drainage around tarmac drives can be a severe problem. If the drive slopes in towards a building, this can cause damp and flooding issues. Rawlins Paints covered the topic of rising damp in a previous post, and this looked at improper drainage causing structural damage to a property.

Most driveways look flat and level, but that’s not often the case. The tarmac should have been laid to a gradient – sometimes known as a fall. Without this, rainwater, snow and melting ice has no way to drain off it and becomes pooled water. The same occurs with cleaning a driveway – without sufficient drainage gradients, the cleaning liquids stay on and can corrode the tarmac surface.

Level tarmac driveways are close to horizontal across the surface. Flat tarmac driveways don’t have any undulations. From this, a flat driveway can be on a steep gradient.

For sufficient drainage purposes, a tarmac driveway’s gradient should be between 1:60 and 1:80. This is dependent on the surface material, too, be it concrete or tarmac.

Keep an eye-out for an upcoming article about laying and rejuvenating sloped driveways.

Are There Extenuating Requirements of the Driveway?

Aside from traffic volumes, pedestrian or vehicular, will the tarmac driveway host repair work – such as showroom, MOT centre and garage forecourts? This is important to keep in mind due to the excessive oil and chemical spills that can occur, which can break down the hardened tarmac surface and corrode deeper into the lower layers. Small and damaging holes can escalate to become potholes and divots. If left unrepaired or under-maintained, mechanical labour intensive areas are hotbeds for tarmac disrepair.

Petrol station forecourt

Thinking about the local of the property, are local business aesthetics in keeping with the style and colouring of the tarmac driveway you have? If you do require specific colours, styles and designs, Rawlins Paints has a wide selection of tarmac paints for perfecting the eye-catching, long-lasting and sustainable driveway look.

Coloured Tarmac Driveway Options

Whilst driveway tarmac is stereotypically black, there are a wider range of coloured tarmac options available at Rawlins Paints.

Rust-Oleum’s Tarmacoat is available in the following colours:

  • Traffic Blue – RAL 5017
  • Medium Green – RAL 6010
  • Traffic Yellow – RAL 1023
  • Traffic Red – RAL 3020
  • English Red
  • Traffic Black – RAL 9017
  • Light Grey – RAL 7035
  • Medium Grey – RAL 7005
  • Traffic White 0 RAL 9016

Coo-Var Drive Paint is available in the following standard colours:

  • Black
  • Red
  • Green

Blackfriar Professional Acrylic Floor Paint can be used on asphalt and tarmac, and is available in hundreds of colours.

Rust-Oleum 5478 Asphalt Restorer comes with a bold black refurbishing finish only.

703 MMA Flexible Anti-Slip Coating for asphalt and tarmac drives is available in:

  • White
  • Black
  • Light Grey
  • Dark Grey
  • Tile Red
  • Mid Grey
  • Mid Green
  • Signal Red
  • Mid Blue
  • Safety Yellow

Ennis-Flint Coloursafe Anti-Slip Surface Coating for tarmac and asphalt is available in:

  • Black
  • Yellow
  • Bold Red
  • Green
  • Blue
  • Venetian Red

Line and road marking paints are also available in dozens of colours – including standard traffic and more visible colours – for car parking markings.

Line marking for family car parking space

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