How Much Does It Cost to Pave a Driveway?
If you’re ready to replace your driveway, we’ve compiled everything you need to know. How much does it cost to pave a driveway? The average price range is $2,392 to $6,514, or $4,447 as a national average.
- Typical Range: $2,392 to $6,514
- National Average: $4,447
Though it may seem insignificant, a great driveway completely enhances the appearance of a house and garage. Driveways are functional and practical, but they can also be beautifully designed to match your home’s exterior. So, how much does it cost to pave a driveway? When considering the cost, you’ll want to review factors such as the total size, material choice, and site preparation. Concrete is a common choice, but don’t ignore asphalt, gravel, pavers, and rubber. The material choice will also depend on the climate you live in, since some materials are better suited for hot or cold temperatures. You can expect to pay an average price of $2,392 to $6,514 for a paved driveway, with a national average of $4,447. Materials and installation usually cost $2 to $15 per square foot, but the labor costs from a reputable company are worth it to make sure your driveway lasts for years to come.
Factors in Calculating the Cost to Pave a Driveway
According to HomeAdvisor, the average price per square foot to pave a driveway is $2 to $15, but paving a driveway involves a few essential elements that apply to most situations. To calculate how much it will cost to pave a driveway, you’ll first need to decide on the type of material you prefer, then determine the total area that needs to be paved. Labor costs and your geographic location will also affect the price.
Homeowners aren’t limited to concrete or asphalt for a driveway, though they are the most common choices. Those who have stylish homes may prefer to pave a driveway with materials that match their exterior, and green-space lovers may choose a grass paver alternative. The material choice will significantly influence the total price to pave a driveway. Gravel tends to be cheaper, and stone pavers typically cost more. Determine your budget, then consider the options that meet your needs and preferences.
Labor also drives the cost of driveway paving since it’s a labor-intensive process. The labor cost to pave an average 450-square-foot driveway could run $5 to $7 per square foot or about $2,250. A driveway that has curves or is circular will cost more to complete, so labor costs will also increase. Labor accounts for up to 50 percent of the cost of most driveway installations. Still, it’s worth the price to have experienced laborers carefully pave a durable driveway that will be used countless times.
Driveway Size, Layout, and Thickness
The shape of the driveway can also influence how much it costs to pave a driveway. Standard rectangular driveways cost less, but extensive driveways with circular edges will cost more. For instance, standard-size circular driveways cost 10 to 20 percent more because they require extra labor and materials. A thicker driveway will also drive material costs higher, but the standard 3- to 4-inch-thick driveway should be sufficient in most cases.
Local authorities may have regulations in place about paving driveways, so it’s best to check before beginning. Permits typically cost $50 to $500 depending on location, but the fee could be waived if your subdivision already has a paved apron skirt leading to a public street. Call your municipal building division or talk with a local contractor to learn the most current information for your city.
The cost of living affects labor and material costs nationwide. Some areas may have much lower labor rates, while more urban areas may experience higher rates. The national average of $4,447 is a typical baseline to estimate driveway paving costs.
Suburban cities are typically planned to make neighborhoods neat and orderly. In some areas, houses aren’t built at the same distance from the street as every other house, and terrain can vary from one place to the next. Ensuring the garage is accessible between the street and the house is crucial and can cost extra if the preparation process is complicated. Laying concrete or asphalt on a slope may also cost more to make sure it retains the proper angle.
Additional Costs and Considerations
Every construction project has its own unique challenges that affect the time and cost to complete it. Beyond the usual factors that influence how much it costs to pave a driveway, several other factors could apply to your situation, like site preparation, sealing, and drainage. Knowing about these other factors will help you in your budgeting process.
Grading and Site Preparation
Preparing the ground for a driveway is one of the most critical steps to building a quality paver driveway and averages between $5 and $8 per square foot. If the site needs significant grading, heavy equipment will remove rocks and add topsoil before tamping it down. Trees and plants will need to be removed as well, which could require special equipment or subcontractors. The driveway installers will level the ground or work with an existing slope to drain water properly.
Enhancements and Improvements
Some homeowners may be interested in updating an old driveway to improve the property’s appearance. Resurfacing an asphalt driveway costs $1 to $2 per square foot. If an asphalt driveway is too thin and can’t be resurfaced anymore, it may need to be removed and replaced.
Depending on the material of a driveway, it can be sealed periodically to lengthen the lifespan. Asphalt paving is a prime candidate for this process and costs around $100 to $190. Sealing an asphalt driveway keeps it looking fresh despite the harsh rays of the sun. Asphalt paving in hotter climates may require sealing each year, but every 3 to 5 years is also recommended.
Though most materials are porous to some extent, rainfall needs to have a place to flow to prevent pooling around the foundation or in the middle of the driveway, where it could damage the surface over time. Driveways with slopes or angles need to be carefully sloped to force water to flow in the preferred direction. Large driveways or regions with more rain may need drains installed strategically to ensure water runs off properly.
Widening and Extension
If you’re expanding your garage or you just need some additional parking, you can widen your existing driveway at approximately the same cost per square foot ($2 to $15) as building a new driveway. The condition of the ground and the materials you choose will affect the price point. Adding another 200 square feet of gravel might only cost $400, but laying a new section of paver driveway could cost $3,000.
How Much Does It Cost to Pave a Driveway? Types of Materials
While most driveways are made of concrete, asphalt and gravel are other popular choices. Paving stones and rubber might appeal to some homeowners, too. Some material types are better suited for certain climates, so consult with a pro to ensure your new driveway investment will meet your budget, style, and needs.
Laying a concrete driveway doesn’t have to be a boring option now that concrete comes in various colors. You can choose to create a design or border with colored concrete or stamp designs into the concrete, though these options will increase concrete driveway costs slightly. Concrete can crack in extremely cold temperatures, but it lasts up to 40 years while being relatively low maintenance, which is why it’s so popular. The cost of concrete driveways averages $8 to $18 per square foot.
Many homeowners prefer asphalt due to its ability to handle extreme temperatures better than concrete. Asphalt driveways should be sealed every 3 to 5 years to keep them fresh and prevent cracks from widening. Compared to concrete, asphalt is easier and cheaper to repair than concrete, though it only lasts 15 to 20 years. You can expect to pay $7 to $13 per square foot to lay asphalt on your driveway. And if you prefer the durability of an asphalt driveway but wish there were more decorative options than plain black, you can ask your contractor about stamping or coloring asphalt.
It may not be the most glamorous option, but gravel certainly has the lowest material cost. At $1 to $2 per square foot, the average gravel driveway costs only $1,500 to install. Rural areas often use gravel to help solidify the ground against rain and snow. Gravel driveways are low maintenance and will outlast most homeowners with a 100-year lifespan. If you want to add additional parking without laying extra concrete, pouring gravel is a great option.
A chip seal driveway is a unique option to get the rugged appearance of gravel with the durability of asphalt—and at a lower cost. A driveway installation pro will mix together hot asphalt with crushed rocks of your choice to create a smooth yet gravel-like surface. Chip seal or tar and chip driveways usually only last about 10 years, but the up-front costs are lower than an asphalt driveway: around $5 to $10 per square foot or $700 to $3,100.
Cobblestones, brick, and paving stones are high-end options to dress up a driveway for an average price range of $3,000 to $30,000. These require more labor and extra preparation to ensure drainage and a smooth surface. If you’re wondering about how much is a stone paver, the answer is complicated since pavers come in all shapes, sizes, and styles. Expect to pay between $10 and $50 per square foot. Paver driveways can be customized to match your home’s exterior. If a stone is damaged or shifted by tree roots, it can be individually repaired or replaced. The entire driveway can last for 50 years or more when properly maintained.
For an eco-friendly option, consider a rubber driveway that can be designed in a variety of colors. Recycled rubber is poured on existing concrete or asphalt to create a surface with a slight softness to it, which may save a few skinned knees. Adequate drainage will need to be built into a rubber driveway since it’s nonporous. You can get a long-lasting, customizable rubber driveway for $10 to $25 per square foot.
How Much Does It Cost to Pave a Driveway? How to Know if You Need a New Driveway
Some wear and tear on outdoor surfaces is expected. But at some point, an old driveway will probably need to be replaced. Cracks and potholes are the biggest indicators that the driveway has lived past its prime. Other signs include warping, pooling water, and crumbling edges. Review these factors to decide if it’s time to replace your old driveway.
Cracks, Potholes, and Warping
Cracks appear when the integrity of the material has been compromised by weather or the weight of vehicles. If left for too long, those cracks can widen into potholes—and you might need a wheel alignment as well as a new driveway. Warping happens on an asphalt driveway when heavy loads rest on the surface for long periods, whether that’s a vehicle or equipment. Severe warping or undulation can affect your car’s suspension system.
If the driveway was properly sloped or leveled when installed, but you’re seeing drainage problems like pooling water now, then there’s a problem with how your driveway has shifted over time. Weather, trees, and the movement of the earth can all affect how level a driveway remains over time. Pooling water leads to the formation of cracks and eventually potholes. Have a driveway installer consult on-site about how to handle a drainage problem.
Driveways eventually wear out due to continued use and weather. A concrete driveway usually lasts 40 years before it has a really rough appearance that can only be solved with a total replacement. Asphalt driveways simply can’t outlast extreme weather conditions forever since their flexibility ends up becoming their Achilles heel. If the driveway has reached its average lifespan, it’s time to consider what kind of driveway you want to replace it with.
Some asphalt driveways don’t have a concrete barrier around them and leave their edges exposed to nature. In these cases, the asphalt can crumble off in small or large chunks, making a rough appearance that could affect the driveway’s integrity. If a piece of a concrete driveway is damaged and falls off, the exposed concrete continues to crack and deteriorate. Significant crumbling will take more than simple repairs, so replacement is the best choice.
How Much Does It Cost to Pave a Driveway? DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
The fact that labor accounts for 50 percent of the cost of a driveway installation can make almost any homeowner consider DIY-ing their own driveway paving; however, the difference between paving a driveway and other outdoor DIY projects is that several large and technical pieces of equipment are needed to install a driveway properly. At a minimum, you’ll need to rent a skid steer, dump truck, roller, plate compactor, wheelbarrow, and other tools (like a concrete mixer or asphalt paver), depending on the material you want to use. It gets complicated quickly, so unless you’re already skilled at laying large areas of concrete, asphalt, or pavers, it’s best to leave this job to the pros who have all the tools and experience to get it done right.
When considering how much does it cost to pave a driveway, there are a few tasks that you may be able to do yourself. If you want to add a small gravel driveway on the side, you may be able to level the ground and pour gravel on your own as long as you have a truck and shovel handy. Otherwise, on larger driveway projects, you could remove existing landscaping to help prepare the site. Beyond that, special equipment or even heavy equipment may be required if lots of leveling on rough terrain is needed.
A driveway installation company is well-versed in identifying areas that will need special attention for drainage to help the driveway last longer. They’ll have all the right equipment to get the job done right on schedule. Installing a driveway is a job that requires more than one person, so you can expect a team of people working together to make sure it’s installed properly. Don’t hesitate to talk with a contractor about the types of driveways you could install in your region that will make a great investment for years to come.
How to Save Money on the Cost to Pave a Driveway
A worn-out driveway usually happens over time, which means you have plenty of time to get ready to replace it with a new one. Still, spending money on a new driveway is less exciting than a vacation, so consider these tips for how to save money on the cost to pave a driveway.
- Choose the material that fits your budget.
- Ask a pro which material will last longest in your region.
- Keep the design simple rather than including curves, colors, or designs.
- If pavers are a must, consider a preformed paver base, which is less expensive.
- Consider whether you prefer a lower up-front cost or more maintenance over time.
- Coordinate installing similar driveways with your neighbors to get a contractor discount.
- Only pave the size of driveway you actually need.
- Do as much site preparation as possible on your own.
- Ask about off-season discounts.
- Obtain more than one quote.
Questions to Ask About How Much It Costs to Pave a Driveway
Most driveway paving projects aren’t complex, but knowing what to ask the installer ahead of time can help to minimize miscommunication, manage expectations, and achieve the best outcome. After all, you’ll be using your driveway frequently for many years, so you want to make sure it’s done right. Here are the top questions to ask about the cost to pave a driveway.
- How long have you been in business?
- Are you licensed and insured?
- Do you have references I can talk to?
- How can I save money on my driveway installation?
- Can I review a line-item quote?
- What material is best for my region?
- Have you worked with the material I want to use?
- Have you ever worked on a project like mine with a steep slope or special design?
- Do you have pictures of other driveways you’ve completed?
- Do you own all the equipment you’d need to complete this project?
- Will you subcontract any tasks to other companies?
- How many people will work on my driveway, and what are their qualifications?
- Will my driveway require extra drainage systems?
- How long will it take to complete?
- How will you protect the existing landscaping around it?
- What kind of maintenance will my new driveway require?
- How long will it last?
- Do you offer any warranties or guarantees?
Deciding what your new driveway will look like is less complicated than some construction tasks, but there are plenty of factors to consider before choosing the best option. These answers to some commonly asked questions might help you in your decision-making process.
Q. What’s cheaper: an asphalt or concrete driveway?
Concrete driveways are usually more expensive than asphalt driveways. As a quick comparison, concrete driveways cost $8 to $18 per square foot, but asphalt driveways cost $7 to $13 per square foot.
Q. How much does it cost to pave a small driveway?
It depends on the materials you choose. A 200-square-foot asphalt driveway could cost an average of $2,000 for materials, but a concrete driveway could cost $2,600. If you use stone pavers, it could cost between $2,000 and $10,000, or only $400 if you choose gravel instead. Labor would be an additional cost of $1,000 to $1,400.
Q. Can I pave my own driveway?
The easiest DIY driveway is to lay gravel on leveled dirt, but this can quickly become a challenge if the ground is not already mostly flat. Since most driveways are made of concrete or asphalt, it’s best to hire a pro who has all the specialized equipment needed to pour the materials. They’ll also know the best way to level the ground and make sure the surface drains appropriately to avoid future damage.