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How to Gravel and Tar a Driveway

By Nichole Liandi ; Updated September 21, 2017
Tar-and-chip driveways can be a good choice for your home.

A tar-and-chip driveway, constructed from layers of gravel, tar and gravel chips, can be a cost-effective and attractive driveway option in many situations. The different elements of the driveway combine to form a hard-packed and durable surface that stands up well over time and is relatively easy to maintain. These are typically installed by professionals, but if you have the time, inclination and some equipment, you can get good results yourself.

Compact the dirt surface with a heavy roller. Spread a 2-inch thick bed of medium gravel on the driveway using a shovel and a wheelbarrow. Level and smooth the gravel with a rake.

Apply a 1/4-inch to 3/8-inch thick layer of hot tar onto the gravel, using a commercial tar heater and sprayer. Work backwards, away from the tar application, so that you keep your feet out of the tar.

Apply fine gravel onto the tar while it is still warm. Throw the gravel onto the tar with a shovel and spread to an even coat with a rake. Work forward so that you're stepping onto the freshly laid gravel as you continue to apply it. Apply the gravel until you have a 1-inch layer of gravel applied to the tar.

Roll the tar and gravel combination with a heavy roller to compact it. Let the gravel and tar settle and cool for about 48 hours before putting a car or other heavy machinery onto it.


Things You Will Need

  • Heavy roller
  • Medium gravel
  • Shovel
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Large rake
  • Hot liquid asphalt
  • Fine gravel
  • Liquid asphalt sprayer
  • Industrial roller

About the Author


Based in Virginia, Nichole Liandi has been a freelance writer since 2005. Her articles have appeared on various print and online publications. Liandi has traveled extensively in Europe and East Asia and incorporates her experiences into her articles. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from West Virginia University.