An oil and chip driveway is very similar to standard blacktop in composition. Both types of driveway use asphalt cement as the ingredient which creates adhesion to the aggregate. Blacktop is mixed at a central plant. The asphalt cement completely coats the large, small, and fine pieces of aggregate. Oil and chip surfaces combine either a special cutback liquid asphalt cement or an emulsified asphalt cement and small similar sized pieces of clean, angular, washed gravel. These ingredients are mixed together on site.

Oil and chip surfaces were standard fare on virtually every highway in the USA prior to 1935. These surfaces have a unique feature. They can heal themselves if a small crack develops. In hot weather the asphalt cement can flow into the crack. The loose stones work in conjunction to disguise this imperfection. As long as the right asphalt cement and the correct chip size is selected, the asphalt does not get on your shoes.

In terms of cost, oil and chip driveways are slightly more expensive than gravel, while being slightly less expensive than asphalt.

An oil and chip driveway requires very little maintenance. This type of drive doesn’t need to be sealed regularly, and often, small cracks can disguise and repair themselves. When the oil becomes heated in warm weather, it will fill in the cracks and the stones will settle in to cover it up.

Unless precautions are taken, snow plows may cause damage to a oil and chip driveway.

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