Factors affecting the Cost of Resin Driveway compared to Tarmac

Regarding a resin driveway vs tarmac driveway, not all the costs revolve around the materials; installation charges can vary hugely depending on lots of different variables and this means that either driveway can end up costing more for reasons which have nothing to do with the material choice.

Here are some of the different influences on driveway costs.

  • The size of driveway
  • Whether the drive is odd-shaped or irregular
  • How much excavation and foundation work is required
  • Whether an old driveway is being removed with associated labour costs and haulage of waste materials
  • The use of a weed membrane
  • Any finishing or edging material
  • The amount of drainage included if any
  • Complexity of design
  • Access to the site
  • Planning permission charges
  • Professional fees for a planning consultant or engineer
  • Where you live – postcode can make a big difference with London and the Southeast inevitably more expensive

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Choosing between resin driveway vs tarmac surface

Choosing the right driveway surface for your home is usually based on a number of different factors:-

  • The style and age of the house and what may suit it best
  • Practicality and usage
  • The natural confines of the area such as a steep incline which rules out some surfaces
  • Budget
  • Personal taste

It’s easy to choose a driveway surface just based on appearance but some surfaces may suit your needs and lifestyle better than others. Here are some considerations to help you make the right choice.

  • Are there any factors which will definitely rule out some sorts of surface? A steep gradient will make it almost impossible to pour and level a liquid
  • Do you need to park vehicles that are heavier than the average private car? This might include vans loaded with equipment, motorhomes or a boat on a trailer. Heavy vehicles can make indents on resin driveways
  • The shape of the driveway can be significant if you have enough space to make a choice. Houses with multiple cars and busy, varying lifestyles are usually best suited to a driveway where the cars can be left adjacent or there is plenty of room to turn around
  • Do you use the driveway for anything else like regularly working on vehicles? Some surfaces are more forgiving of oil spills or chemicals than others
  • Will you need to increase or change the access and does this require planning permission?
  • The style and age of the house can suit some driveway surfaces more than others. Resin tends to have an almost universal appeal and suit older style houses, period properties as well as contemporary homes. Tarmac is loved by some homeowners and not others, it can blend well with the road outside, but some people think it looks too urban
  • Are you prepared to take on regular care of the surface? Resin-bound driveways are low maintenance, but they do require some input
  • Plan for the future when it comes to size and shape. If you have older children, then the likelihood is that soon they will all be driving, and your space requirement may double or treble
  • The amount of parking should work with the size of property – a large family house should have space for at least three cars
  • Future proofing is important when it comes to sale time especially if you live in a busy urban area where on street parking is restricted by regulation or just difficult. Also factor in parking next to the house or garage if possible as this is where a charge point can be fitted for an electric vehicle
  • Is drainage an issue because you are on a slope? A gradient can rule out working with some materials and also increases the importance of drainage and the need to choose a permeable or semi-porous surface
  • Do you have any special requirements like family members with limited mobility or wheelchair users? Some driveway surfaces are less stable than others for those with restricted mobility

Uplifting the value of your home with a resin or tarmac driveway

A new driveway can increase the value of your property by between 5% and 10%. Those percentage gains do not affect the cost of resin driveway compared to tarmac as the choice of material is not as significant as many people imagine. There are several different factors which can impact the influence of a new driveway either positively or negatively and these include:-

  • Does the colour and design look nice?
  • Does the styling and appearance work with the age and type of property?
  • Has the driveway been professionally laid and well finished?
  • Is it well cared for, absent of staining, cracks, chips and weed growth?
  • Is the parking area proportional to the size of the house or at least adequate – a surplus of parking is not usually viewed as a negative
  • Is the driveway well finished with edging stones if required, suitable lighting and possibly gates?
  • Is there adequate drainage for run-off particularly if the area in front of the property in on a gradient?
  • Can you park next to a building – garage or house – to fit/use a charge point for an electric vehicle
  • Is there plenty of room to turn and load and unload?
  • Is the entrance/exit point safe and well sighted?

Planning permission and different driveway materials

You may require planning permission irrespective of which surface you are using because the size of the new or extended driveway is more than five square metres. Planning authorities are mostly concerned about drainage so if you use a permeable surface like resin and have provision for any surplus to run to a lawn or flower bed then there shouldn’t be a problem, thus not affecting the cost of resin driveway compared to tarmac driveways.

If your house is listed and/or in a conservation area, then there may be additional regulations which apply on top of the requirement for planning permission. The listing regulations don’t just apply to the house but also the land around it so there may be conditions or restrictions imposed on the style of driveway you choose and the type of materials.

If you need to drop the kerb on the pavement either because the driveway is new or an entrance or exit point is being enlarged, then this will require separate consent.

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How to find the right driveway installer

Ask around friends, neighbours and work colleagues in case they can recommend someone; a personal recommendation is worth its weight in gold. If you don’t have any luck, then there are some local community groups and forums on social media where people often look for advice on resin driveway vs tarmac when they are trying to find a contractor or tradesperson.

Trader platforms are becoming increasingly popular as this is a quick and easy way to get several quotes sent directly to your inbox. Just key in a few details like your location, contact data and the size of the driveway and wait for the driveway quotes to arrive. This can save so much time spent trawling the internet and contacting lots of different companies. You should be contacted by people ready and able to undertake your work.

When comparing the cost of resin driveway compared to tarmac, always obtain three quotes. If you are undecided between a resin driveway vs tarmac, then ask installers to quote for both and take their opinion on which they think would be best for your home and requirements.

Checkout this video comparing resin bound driveways to those finished with tarmac:

If you are still unsure what type of driveway to go for, learn more about permeable driveway costs, resin bound driveway benefits and how to clean a resin driveway.


You may require planning permission irrespective of which surface you are using because the size of the new or extended driveway is more than five square metres.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is the better option for my new driveway, resin or tarmac?

What is the best option for your home will depend upon your current driveway arrangement, your lifestyle, the type of property you live in and ultimately, your budget. It’s hard to beat a good resin-bound driveway but it does require more maintenance than tarmac and will cost more.

Tarmac is often referred to as semi-permeable, what does that mean?

Tarmac is very permeable which means it allows water to pass through it. The permeability is reduced when the surface is laid relative to the installation process which will seal some of the pores but not all. Even with a tarmac driveway, there may still be a requirement for a drainage system to cope with surface water run-off.

Which driveway surface requires less maintenance, resin driveway vs tarmac?

Tarmac probably requires less regular maintenance than resin but even resin is pretty simple to look after, just requiring a sweep now and again with a stiff broom and power washing every so often. There are professional cleaners who will come and clean your driveway and some people do this annually. Regardless of surface type, always clear up spills and treat stains as soon as they appear. Just check when the driveway is laid with the installer as to what is the appropriate cleaning solution to use.

Paul Robinson
Hi I'm Paul. After years in the mathematical field, I went on to help rescue a flooring and driveways company and spent 10 years building the company. I’m a property expert with extensive driveway and home improvement industry knowledge.
Mike Alexander

I’m Mike – writer and part-time home improvement expert at Refurbb. Since owning and refurbishing my own property in 2018, I’ve since been developing rental properties, writing about my home improvement endeavours, sharing what I’ve learned and connecting readers to reputable tradespeople in the UK. I’m also head of marketing and technical at Raindancer Ltd

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