What is Stamped Asphalt?

Asphalt is a sticky black substance and is actually a semi-solid form of petroleum. Asphalt is a popular choice for car parks, roads and play areas. Often confused with tarmac, tarmac is made from natural tar whereas asphalt is a mix of crushed gravel and bitumen.

Stamped asphalt, sometimes also referred to as decorative asphalt, is a unique type of asphalt that has a special coating applied to it. This gives the appearance of hand-laid brick or stone.

Stamped asphalt is a continuous flexible layer of material. Soft when first laid, various textures and patterns are imprinted onto the treated asphalt surface using compacted wire mesh grids or moulds which are pressed into the still warm material.

The textured surface is coated with a special cement compound to provide a durable driving surface and to give the finished product the look and feel of a hand-laid brick or stone driveway.

Stamped asphalt driveway costs can be higher than plain asphalt, but can also last longer than plain asphalt because it is less susceptible to cracking and only requires minimal maintenance.

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What Influences Stamped Asphalt Driveway Costs?

Stamped asphalt became popular in the 1990s. Although a standard asphalt can also be used for a driveway, it does have rather a ‘pavement’ look which many people find unappealing right outside their property.

Stamped asphalt driveway costs are often cheaper than a hand-laid driveway both in terms of labour and materials. However, for a long driveway or large parking area, the cost of a stamped asphalt driveway can still mount up.

The variables included in stamped asphalt driveway costs are the amount of labour required, the preparation work and the materials. Driveways in a poor condition or with a broken or cracked surface will require attention before the asphalt is laid. This will impact both labour costs and possibly materials too.

A completely new driveway will need excavation and foundations laid and so will increase the cost of a stamped asphalt driveway. Overlay on an existing driveway is usually much cheaper if the driveway is in good condition.

The quantity of decorative asphalt and the precise pattern and trim chosen are all factors to consider and can influence the final bill up or down. A driveway with slopes and curves or one that is an irregular shape will also take longer than a simple, straight line.

Because petroleum is a key component in the asphalt mix, sometimes the price of oil can influence the cost of a stamped asphalt driveway.

Additional Stamped Asphalt Driveway Costs

For the best results in terms of both appearance and performance, consider replacing driveway drains, gullies and any manhole covers at the same time. Using new kerbs and edgings plus a linear drain will remove excess water from the driveway over the longer term. Add an average of £100 per linear metre for this.

Better drainage can also be achieved using porous asphalt. Porous asphalt allows water to drain directly through the surface to the stone and soil below. Porous stamped asphalt driveways costs between £60-£90 per square metre.

Your contractor may need to dispose of any spoil which is excavated earth and also old driveway surface if you decide to remove it to make way for the new one. A grab lorry to remove one load will cost between £200-£250 and the average driveway project will create between 1-2 loads of spoil.

Certain driveway projects will trigger a requirement for planning permission. If you do need planning permission, then expect to pay around £200 for the application fee and potentially up to several hundred for a planning agent or engineer to produce the drawings if the project is complicated.

Who needs Planning Permission?

The two key triggers for planning permission are the size of the driveway and the particular drainage requirements.

If the driveway is less than five metres squared, then you won’t need to apply for planning permission.

Regardless of size, planning permission will be needed where the water drainage system is discharging into a public space. This often arises where the excess water cannot be directed towards a lawn where it can drain naturally – a popular drainage solution for many projects. Other scenarios include situations where no drainage is installed or where the driveway installation doesn’t use porous materials.

Using porous asphalt is more expensive and it will require an additional layer of crushed stone beneath it to act as a natural filtration system. However, this can avoid the delay of having to apply for planning permission and reduce the cost of a stamped asphalt driveway fitting.

Always check that your driveway project complies with planning regulations with your local planning officer. Don’t rely on the say-so of your contractor.

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How to Lower the Costs of a Stamped Asphalt Driveway

  • Make sure the existing driveway is in good condition and doesn’t require any remedial works
  • If preparation is required, do it yourself if possible
  • If you have a large area to surface, to spread the overall stamped asphalt driveway cost then consider doing it in stages

The Advantages of Stamped Asphalt

There are lots of advantages to choosing stamped asphalt as a driveway surface over other products and these include:-

  • Stamped asphalt provides the durability and robustness of hand-laid brick or stone
  • In terms of labour, stamped asphalt driveway costs are lower than a traditional hand-laid surface as the asphalt is installed by a machine in one continuous run, so it is much quicker
  • The surface is long-lasting and pretty much maintenance free
  • The visual aesthetic is attractive with lots of different designs and colour choices to suit every property and taste
  • It weathers well, standing up to freezing and thawing in the colder months without cracking
  • Stamped asphalt is available in lots of different designs and colours
  • It can be applied to almost any pre-existing surface, reducing the need for extra groundwork and so reducing the cost of a stamped asphalt driveway.
  • Because the surface is laid in a continuous fashion, it is very resistant to erosion, shifting and weed growth unlike traditional paving and brick weave designs
  • The cement colouring and Epoxy film applied to the surface is fade-resistant, it traps the sun’s harmful rays and extends the life of the asphalt
  • The simulated stone or brick pattern is not easily damaged by vehicular traffic unlike the real thing
  • Stamped asphalt can easily be recoated periodically to protect its appearance and prolong the life of the driveway

Checkout this short video on stamped asphalt driveways:

If you are still deciding which driveway style is right for you, why not learn more about Pattern Imprinted Concrete Driveways, Gravel Grid Driveways or Tar And Chip Driveways.

Always check that your driveway project complies with planning regulations with your local planning officer. Don’t rely on the say-so of your contractor.

Frequently Asked Questions - Stamped Asphalt Driveway Costs

How does stamped asphalt perform in cold weather conditions?

Stamped asphalt performs well in locations where snow and ice are a regular feature of winter weather. The surface is both flexible and continuous, so this eliminates expansion joints and uneven stones. The coloured cement coating is unaffected by salt and de-icing chemicals. The textured surface dries quickly making your driveway more resistant to icing up in the first place.

Can I put stamped asphalt on my existing driveway?

Stamped asphalt can be laid straight onto an existing driveway surface if it is in good condition.

Can I customise a stamped asphalt driveway?

Stamped asphalt offers endlessly customisable options which is one of the reasons why it is such a popular choice for a new driveway. Businesses can include their company logo or other eye-catching designs to promote their brand. Homeowners can select from a variety of colours, interlocking patterns and textures to create a look that perfectly complements their home and really enhances the front of the property as well as adding value to it.

How long does it take to install a stamped asphalt driveway?

A stamped asphalt driveway takes no more than 48 hours to install and can be ready to use almost immediately although most contractors recommend waiting for at least two or three days to allow the drive to settle.

Is asphalt recyclable?

Asphalt is 100% recyclable.

What is the average lifespan of a stamped asphalt driveway?

Professionally laid with all the correct preparation work, a stamped asphalt driveway should last in the region of 20 years. Always check before you employ a contractor, what warranties they offer and how long they last for.

Is it usual to leave tyre marks on asphalt?

It is common to find tyre marks on a new asphalt driveway for the first twelve months or so whilst the asphalt is still properly curling. Normally, these marks fade out over time.

How soon can I drive on it?

Most contractors recommend leaving the driveway for a period of 5-7 days before you drive on it.

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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