Many people confuse asphalt and tarmac. One, because they look similar and two, because tarmac was once a widely used product for surfacing roads, airport runways, car parks, and driveways, and now, asphalt is used for these surfaces.

Long after tarmac stopped being used for surfacing, people still use “tarmac” as a name for an airport runway. I think we’ve all heard someone complain about being “stuck on the tarmac” waiting for a plane to take off.


Why Was Tarmac Replaced With Asphalt?

When bitumen and asphalt became available in larger quantities, tarmac became less used and now is not used at all in Australia.


Is Asphalt the Same as Tarmac?

While not exactly the same chemical composition as tarmac, asphalt can be used to surface the same areas that were once surfaced using tarmac.

Like tarmac, asphalt is an aggregate of gravel, sand and a binding agent, for asphalt this is bitumen and in tarmac, tar was the binding agent.


What Areas Can Be Surfaced With Asphalt?

Asphalt is an incredibly versatile surfacing material and because it is laid on hot and spread to fill all the gaps, asphalt can fit any shape or curve.

Not only is asphalt versatile is one of the strongest surface materials in Australia. Asphalt is commonly used for:


Why Choose Asphalt?

We’ve written a whole page about the benefits of asphalt, but to summarise…

The composition of asphalt results in a uniquely durable surface that is flexible to changes in the weather, reducing the likelihood of cracking.

Because there are no gaps in an asphalt surface, there are less places water, roots or insects can penetrate the surface. This reduces the possibility of cracks or potholes compared to concrete or paving. This could also mean fewer repair bills.

Asphalt is a cost-effective surfacing material for large areas and is quickly installed and fast to cure, meaning your downtime and labour costs are reduced.

Read our comparison of asphalt vs concrete.


Can Asphalt Be Used to Resurface Tarmac?

Yes, if you have an existing surface that is damaged, and you need a new smooth and strong surface. Asphalt is the ideal resurfacing material for a tarmac surface.

Depending on the extent of the damage, a new hot mix asphalt layer can be laid over the top of the existing tarmac, then smooth and compacted to produce a new surface.

We recommend you get a professional asphalt contractor to inspect your existing service. At NK Asphalt we do this for free with every measure and quote. We will also provide advice on whether asphalt is the recommended resurfacing material.

Asphalt can also be used to resurface gravel areas without the need for demolition or excavation.


Get a Quote From Perth’s Leading Asphalt Company

Our focus at NK Asphalt has always been on tailoring asphalt installations across a range of areas, spanning from semi-rural driveways and large suburban asphalt driveways to commercial car parks and heavy-duty areas, with our customers enjoying the durability and convenience of asphalt solutions.

We welcome you to check out our past asphalt driveway projects to view some of our work.

If you are still unsure if asphalt is right for your project, or if you have any questions regarding our pricing or services, we invite you to contact our team today or request a free on-site quote or advice over the phone.


Get a Perth asphalt quote

If your job is 150m2 or more and in the Perth or surrounding areas.

Trevor Calnon

Trevor is a founder and Director and has over four decades of experience in the asphalt and bitumen industry. NK Asphalt was established in 1989 to deliver top-notch asphalt works across the Perth metro area and outer suburbs. He is dedicated to providing the right solution for clients and is an expert in all aspects of asphalt works - and the alternatives that clients often compare.