My 3 year macadam driveway is losing rocks in spots (forming little potholes, little because they are the shallow depth of lost single layer of gravel, see picture). The problem is that other rocks are now easily coming off around these spots.

Couple of questions - if you can tell from my photo:

  1. Is this anything to worry about? or is this normal wear and tear

  2. Is there anything to be done maintenance wise to avoid big repairs later?

  3. Is macadam and tar-and-chip the same thing? Is it possible to tell from my photo?

Thank you very much for any tips on above.enter image description here

  • It looks like chip seal to me, I am not familiar with the term macadam, with chip seal the rock is in a layer of asphalt areas that are losing rock can be repaired and should be because the surface will not hold up long once the rock is gone. There are chip seal or slurry coats that home owners can put down it will have a different look but will help to maintain the seal and with some fresh rock will extend the life of the driveway.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Apr 8, 2019 at 13:26
  • Macadam is the term which is related to tarmac which come from this guy. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarmacadam
    – J D
    Commented Dec 4, 2019 at 13:19

1 Answer 1


That doesn't look like asphalt or what you called macadam, it looks like what we call "modified" which is progressively smaller stone chips usually slag or limestone containing a top coating of a fine layer of the same material. After the modified stuff is compacted and weathered and run over with machinery the material resembles an asphalt or loose concrete product that is great for driveways and walkways but will become somewhat loose with age and use.

  • thanks. Given that I am losing this top layer in spots - do you think it's a problem? Is there something I should be doing maintenance wise to fill it timely?
    – John
    Commented Mar 9, 2019 at 22:17
  • Years ago, I had a neighbor that coated his same type driveway as yours with a good asphalt driveway coating. At the time I thought it would not work but it worked for him and lasted a few years.
    – d.george
    Commented Mar 10, 2019 at 10:50

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