Soft Tarmac driveway

17 Jun 2010
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United Kingdom
Hi all.

Around a year a go I had a tarmac driveway laid. On the contactors recommendation, I dug a 180mm foundation for him as he would supply the rest of the materials. He checked the depth and was more than happy to continue. One day was spent laying and compacting the hardcore and the second laying the Tarmac. This is where the issues started...

On the first attemt, there was a big line right down the centre of the drive and a 6ft square patch where he had ran out of Tarmac. He said he'd come the following week and fill in the square. I wasn't happy with this and asked him to relay the whole thing. He was ok with this and the following week, he did.

On the second attept, he laid the Tarmac over the top (which I was unsure about but he was sure this was fine). I got home to find the results to look great. I was really happy with it. A couple of nights later, it rained to leave massive puddles all over.

Third attempt. This time I asked him to make sure it drains correctly which it still isn't great, but, It looked ok.

Anyway, back to the main problem.... The tarmac is so soft, even after a year. I first noticed about 6 months ago when I had to jack my car up which left big holes in the driveway. I know that the weather can have an affect on this but it was cold, in the winter! Also, I have put a small metal plant pot near my front door. I went to move it the other day and it had sunk into the tarmac.

Any thoughts would be much appreiated.


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Tarmac is not a good substrate to be jacking your car up on, it is by it's very nature soft and malleable, in comparison with other surfaces. Tarmacing is a specialist job and unfortunately is often carried out to a substandard level by "contractors".
Im wondering what tarmac he's used... If its been done 3 times for no extra charge then he's either extremely generous, working at a loss or using bloody cheap material....

If the material hasnt gone off by now then I doubt it ever will!!! You'd be best to write the whole job off, and start again, this time engage someone who knows what they're doing. Any reputable firm will be able to supply references, go and look at the work and knock on the door. If the client is happy with the job then they'll recommend them. Stay well clear of any 'company' without a postal address or landline number :!:

If you plan on working on cars then personally I think concrete is a better choice. It will support your jacks, axle stands etc, and wont be affected by fuel/oil spillages.
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Thanks very much for the replies guys.

I did ask the chap if it was ok to work on cars etc and he said it'd be fine.

I have had a good read through the Paving Expert pages and it gets very indepth.

I really do think he is a genuine chap but maybe he's made a mistake on this occasion. He is actually very experienced having worked for the local council for 15 years plus as a Tarmac surveyor.

I'll give him a call over the weekend and let you know how I get on.

Thanks again.

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