Can I Use Roofing Tar On My Driveway? (Answered + Best Alternatives)

Roofing Tar On My Driveway

Last Updated on July 19, 2023 By Emma W. Thomas

Using roofing tar on a driveway is not recommended. However, roofing tar is specifically designed for roofs, not driveways. It lacks the durability required to withstand the weight and friction of vehicles, leading to potential damage and deterioration.

Can I Use Roofing Tar On My Driveway?

When it comes to using roofing tar on your driveway, it is important to consider the specific needs and characteristics of the material. Roofing tar, also known as roof sealant or waterproofing asphalt, is commonly used on roofs to prevent leaks and create a durable barrier against the elements. While it may seem like a viable option for driveway maintenance, there are certain factors to consider.

Firstly, roofing tar is specifically formulated for roofs, meaning it may not offer the same level of durability and performance when applied to a driveway surface. Additionally, the composition of roofing tar may differ from products specifically designed for driveways, potentially leading to issues such as cracking, peeling, or inadequate protection against wear and tear. It is recommended to use materials that are specifically designed for driveways to ensure long-lasting and effective results.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Using Roofing Tar On Your Driveway?

Using roofing tar on your driveway can lead to several disadvantages:

  1. Poor Durability: Roofing tar is not designed to withstand the weight of vehicles and constant traffic. It can quickly degrade and break down under pressure, leading to cracks, potholes, and uneven surfaces.
  2. Messy and Sticky: Roofing tar remains sticky even after application, making it prone to attracting dirt, debris, and even small rocks. This can create a messy and unattractive appearance on your driveway.
  3. Unsuitable for High Temperatures: Roofing tar can soften and become tacky in hot weather. This can result in tracking and sticking to vehicle tires, shoes, and pets, leading to potential damage and a mess.
  4. Limited Aesthetics: Roofing tar is not visually appealing for driveways. It lacks the smooth, clean finish that driveway-specific materials can provide, diminishing the overall curb appeal of your property.
  5. Difficult to Repair: If roofing tar starts to deteriorate or crack, repairing it can be challenging. Finding a proper patch or solution may not be as straightforward as with driveway-specific materials.
  6. Potential Health Hazards: Roofing tar contains potentially harmful chemicals, and prolonged exposure to its fumes can pose health risks during application and when it softens under high temperatures.
  7. Short Lifespan: Roofing tar is not formulated for the long-term stresses of a driveway. Consequently, it may require frequent reapplication, making it a less cost-effective solution.

Alternatives For Making A Driveway

Some of the most common materials you can use to make your driveway instead of tar include:

1. Gravel

This is a common and cost-effective material for making driveways. The maintenance cost is also very cheap, but its drawback comes during the wet and snowy seasons.

The gravel is very diverse as it comes in different colors, allowing you to customize your driveway to your liking. 

2. Concrete

This is also one of the most versatile, durable, low-maintenance, and cost-friendly way of fixing or making a driveway. Concrete is easily available since all its ingredients are easy and quick to get. You can also find the material almost in all local hardware. Unlike gravel, it will not be affected by wet or snowy weather.

3. Pavers

These are usually brick-like concrete, stone, tile, or brick used on driveways. Concrete pavers are made by mixing concrete and coloring agents and then molding them in a certain shape.

Pavers usually enhance the appeal of the driveway or pavement as they come in many different styles and designs. However, using the material is an expensive way of making a driveway. Besides being expensive, the installation itself will leave cost you a lot.

However, most people will use them due to their aesthetically pleasing look on their driveway and long-lasting.

4. Asphalt

Asphalt is the most popular material used to make a driveway. It is weather-resistant, and unlike the tar used on roofs, asphalt is specifically made for driveways and roads.

In areas where snow is a problem, the asphalt retains heat gathered during the day, and it can melt the snow relatively quickly compared to other driveway materials. However, this needs regular maintenance. The asphalt can get potholes that should be fixed to last a little longer. Maintenance should be done once every three to five years to keep the asphalt driveway in good condition.

5. Basalt Paver Tiles

Basalt is an aphanitic extrusive igneous rock formed from the rapid cooling of low-viscosity lava rich in magnesium and iron exposed or near the earth’s surface. It is very hard, dense, and durable and is found in the earth’s oceanic crust.

The rock is cut into paver stones used to make a driveway, walk-ins, and patios. This is very expensive since the rock cannot be found everywhere.

However, it is a very beautiful material to use on a driveway as it has a good grey to a black color palette, making it visually pleasing.

6. Bricks

Bricks are a very common material for buildings and can also be laid down on a driveway. If you use bricks, your driveway will look elegant and expensive as the material comes in many colors and patterns. 

The maintenance of brick driveways is moderate, and it can last a lifetime when maintained properly.

7. Previous Concrete

As the name suggests, this is concrete that was in use before. It has almost no sand and can allow water to run through as it is porous. It can look beautiful on your driveway. But some people don’t like it on driveways as it might look old, which is not pleasing to look at. However, if you are more concerned about functionality over aesthetics, you may consider previous concrete. 

8. Shells

A crushed shell is the most cost-effective material to use in making your driveway. The crushed shells are from clams, scallops, and oysters. They have varying colors and always end up looking beautiful.

The shells need to be properly secured as they are light; therefore, they can be carried away by rain. However, they do well with proper drainage as they let the water pass, leaving behind a clean-looking and water-free driveway.

9. Tar And Chip

This is a cheaper option for anyone who wants an asphalt driveway but cannot afford one. It has a very rough surface which can also be bumpy. Also, the appearance is not as pleasing as the driveways made from other materials. This can be improved by adding colorful stones or plants along the driveway’s edges.

The chipping does not require sealing as it is held together by the tar, so it will not be carried away when it rains.

10. Cobblestone

Cobblestones are small stones with rounded edges mostly found in riverbeds. These are not to be confused with gravel as they are not similar except in size.

It is often used in parking lots but is also good for driveways. They are visually pleasing and can lift a house’s overall appearance and improve the design.

Main Factors To Consider When Choosing The Material For Your Driveway

Costs Of Making A Driveway

As visible from the above materials, there is a wide array of choices you can pick from. The amount you are willing to use for your driveway will determine what material you will use. The many options are good as you will not be tied to one specific material. You can change it up until you find what best suits your house.

You can have a decent-looking driveway that complements your house with a limited budget. And, when you move to the high-spending side, you have many options to pick from to your liking. 


For your own home, you need a material that will last a long time. Having repairmen and construction workers every two weeks is no one’s dream. With the many alternatives for building a driveway, you can pick one that will outlive you and be of service to you and generations to come.

You can also pick a pocket-friendly material that will reasonably last longer. 

Driveway Maintenance

Depending on the material you choose for your driveway, there are important things you can do to ensure that the driveway is in its best condition. These include: 

Fill The Cracks

When cracks or holes appear on your driveway, it’s advisable to fix them as soon as possible. How you fix it will majorly depend on the material you used on your driveway. 

When cracks and holes go unfixed, the driveway looks bad, and its durability is compromised. Plus, a crack or hole can lead to more damage and even serious accidents.

Remove Water Puddles And Try To Maintain A Dry Driveway.

Water causes erosion and can damage your driveway significantly if left stagnant. It would help to make the driveway slanted to ensure that water can flow out instead of sitting there. You can also make your driveway slightly slanted to the sides and then make small trenches to guide the water away from it. 

Prevent Cracks

This can be done by doing regular maintenance of the driveway. Having a schedule or being aware of any developing cracks can help prevent any cracks from getting too big.

Keep It Clean

The driveway can have many different stains on it. Most people do car repairs on their driveway, or cars can leak some fluids there. Cleaning up the oil spills can help maintain your driveway as some of the oils can damage the material and reduce its durability. Use detergents and scrubbers to remove old and new oil stains completely.

A clean driveway gives an impressive view, while a dirty driveway might seem ugly and reduce a home’s value or design.

Plough Snow Carefully

In the cold season, snow piles up, and you have to plow it out of your driveway. Use a shovel, raise the blade, and avoid scrapping the material used to make the driveway. Plastic shovels are a better solution since they plow the snow without damaging the driveway.

Maintain Driveway Edges

Your driveway should be well-rounded. Whichever material you use, you have to ensure that you occasionally check on the edges.

For the loose material on driveways, having a boundary is essential. This prevents loose edges from rolling away or scattering due to various agents. Note that materials like asphalt chip away on the edges when heavy vehicles are driven on them.

Make sure that the edges are restored to improve the life of your driveway and keep it neat.

Final Thoughts

Roofing tar is too light for use on your driveway. It also takes a long time to dry, and during the hot season, it is bound to get soft and sticky. Your vehicle’s tires can easily get ruined when driven on roofing tar driveways. Therefore, go for better alternatives that are more suitable for a driveway than roofing tar.

With the multiple materials to pick from, what to use is in your hands. You can choose a material that best suits your home, finances, or even home design and enjoys a better experience.