What is a Chip Seal Driveway?


When it comes to paving driveways, most people think of using traditional materials such as concrete, asphalt, or gravel. However, did you know there is another option that is very attractive and customizable? That option would be a chip seal driveway! In fact, chip seal driveways were the original form of paving before advancements in technology. Today on the Uniform Paving Tips & Solutions blog, we are going to explain what these driveways are and their benefits.

What is a chip seal driveway?

A chip seal driveway is a low-cost alternative to paving with traditional asphalt or concrete. In essence, it uses the tar binder from asphalt to hold different types of stone and gravel permanently in place.

How is a chip seal driveway created?

Once a roadbed has been properly excavated and graded for a driveway, the process for laying down a chip seal drive is not overly complicated. It begins with a base layer of gravel and poured on top of it a coat of scorching liquid tar. Before the tar can cool the decorative layer of the chosen stone, also known as aggregate, is pressed into it with a roller. This process can be repeated for as many layers as desired after the previous layer has been cured. Curing times for the tar binder vary depending on the environment and climate.

For a more straightforward explanation, you can think of a chip seal driveway being created by “gluing” stones in place with tar.

Why should I consider a chip seal driveway for my home?

The first benefit of a chip seal drive for property owners is the reduction in cost from asphalt or concrete. A chip seal drive will cost about twice as much as gravel but will be around 50% less in price than traditional asphalt pavement. This makes it a great alternative to fit a variety of budgets for homeowners.

We have all driven on gravel roads and know how they can be a problem for motorists. Gravel is loose, impossible to treat in the winter months with freezing precipitation and can be washed away in heavy rain. As gravel is washed away with heavy rain, the property owner’s initial investment is taken with it. Gravel is a great temporary solution, but we do not recommend it for our residential clients. Using the chip seal form of paving the gravel and stone will not move with heavy downpours of rain!

The texture of the stone secured in place by the tar creates an excellent surface for traction. This makes chip sealing an ideal solution for roads and drives that are steeper. It also makes this form of pavement perfect for farm roads because heavy trucks need the extra traction for grip for large loads.  The added traction is another benefit for climates that have a lot of winter weather.

Finally, chip seal drives are very attractive! Unlike asphalt which will always be black since tar is pre-mixed in with the aggregate, a chip seal drive can be customized to taste. The property owner can choose the stone to compliment the exterior home or the surrounding environment. Uniform Paving has a variety of rocks to choose from such as granite, white and pink stone, and slate and brown river rock.

Additional benefits include less heat retention from the sun, so surrounding areas stay cooler. And perhaps the best part is that chip seal paving is virtually maintenance free! You can expect your paving project to last between 7-10 years depending on traffic and climate.

Here at Uniform Paving, we have over 50 years of experience in the paving industry and are experts. We recommend chip seal paving as a solution to many of our clients for a variety of reasons. We love the benefits of added traction and the ability to customize the top layer of stone of chip seal for residential drives. If you are considering finishing out your road or driveway, contact us today with any questions and for a free quote. We are here to meet all your paving needs!