Driveway installation cost guide
It's not only the house itself that creates the property value, but also what surrounds it: the garden, fencing, and driveway. An aesthetically attractive and functional driveway can be one of the first things to impress a prospective buyer. If you are thinking of a new driveway installation, here are different materials available on the market and their related costs.
Here you will learn about:
Average driveway installation cost
Information to check
Other frequently asked questions
Driveway installation professionals take care of the entire process of installing a new driveway or replacing an old one. That may include a range of services such as site preparation (excavation, grading, removing trees, shrubs, stumps and other obstructions), delivering necessary materials, putting curbs in place, and paving the driveway. Contractors normally charge by the square foot, although they can also take by-the-hour or flat fee for certain types of work. Among the most common driveway materials are asphalt, concrete, brick, concrete pavers, cobblestones, and gravel.
While homeowners can save as much as $2,000 by implementing the project themselves, it's not typical and mostly involves gravel driveways. Taking labor and materials into account, be prepared to pay from $2,250 to $6,100 on average. The minimum reported price is $1,050, the maximum cost is $10,050.
What factors determine the total cost of a driveway installation project?
This is obviously the first price-shaping factor. Some materials are costlier than others to purchase and install. For instance, asphalt is cheap (around $3 per square foot) and doesn't require so much effort to install. By contrast, cobblestone pavers may cost up to $70 per square foot, which makes them tremendously expensive.
Driveway shape, width, and length
Many homeowners prefer a driveway of an unusual shape, for instance, that of a horseshoe. While this makes the driveway more appealing, it requires more time, material, and labor than a standard straight option. The length also matters, as well as the width. A driveway where only one car can park (usually 12 feet in width) will cost less to pave than a driveway that can accommodate two cars (normally 16X24 feet).
Another determiner is how clean the site is. If it's a new driveway installation project, there could be stumps, shrubs, and other obstacles to be removed first. If it's a replacement, the old driveway surface needs to be torn out. In any of these scenarios, you'll pay for labor.
Different contractors charge differently, depending on their experience. While some may take as little as $6 per square foot, others will not budge unless paid $10 psf.
Homeowners who are not content with the plain grey or black look of their driveway may want different colors and designs such as swirl finish. Ordinary concrete will cost less than stamped concrete, for instance.
What type of surface you may choose for the driveway depends on the place where you reside. For instance, if you live in a state with a cold climate, concrete is a poor choice as pouring it there is out of the question.
The farther you live from the contractor's base and the store, the more money will have to leave your wallet.
What's the cost of a concrete driveway installation? What should I consider before choosing this option?
Positive and negative aspectsConcrete is not the cheapest material, but is still quite affordable. It has other benefits as well:
- It's long-lasting and hard. With good maintenance, you can expect your concrete driveway to serve for 35-40 years.
- Requires minimal maintenance effort (eliminating cracks and oil stains)
- Excellent choice for the southern states as high temperature doesn't affect its hardness
At the same time, this material has a few drawbacks:
- Bad in places with freezing temperatures. Reason: it is not so flexible as asphalt. So, it develops cracks and crumbles when it’s cold.
- More expensive in comparison with asphalt and gravel
- Repairing concrete is far from easy, unlike asphalt. A damaged place needs to be replaced with new material, which requires professional expertise.
On average, be prepared to pay in the vicinity of $7 per square foot to pave a standard driveway. The entire project will cost $4,000.
If simple grey concrete is not something you wish to see every time you drive to work and back home, you can order its stamped variety. It will give your driveway any color of the rainbow and a specific design that will make it more appealing. It will certainly cost you more, too: from $3 to $10 psf.
A cheaper option is to have stamped borders along the length of the driveway rather than having the entire surface stamped. Expect to add around $1,600 to the overall cost of the project if you want to have a stamped border 2 feet wide along a driveway 500 square feet in size.
Is asphalt the cheapest material? What are its advantages and disadvantages?
No. Asphalt is not the cheapest material for driveways, but is still very affordable and thus quite popular.
Positive and negative aspects
Among the benefits of asphalt surfaces are the following:
- Good for colder climates as it easily adapts to abrupt changes in temperature without developing cracks.
- Repairing asphalt is relatively easy - easier than in the case of concrete
- Short installation time. You can start using your driveway a few hours after the installers have finished the job.
- Quite inexpensive: around $4 per square foot.
- With proper maintenance, can survive up to a couple of decades.
The drawbacks include:
- No variety of colors and designs
- Without routine resurfacing and sealing (every 5 years or so), quickly deteriorates and becomes useless
- Not so hard as concrete.
How much does it cost to install a gravel driveway? Can I do this on my own?
This is probably the cheapest option indeed.
Positive and negative aspects
Here is what attracts homeowners (mostly in rural locations) to gravel:
- Easy to install
- No issues with cracking or softening. The only problem can be the shifting of rocks from one place to another
- Long-lasting: up to a whole century
- Cheap: $1,500 and less for a standard-size driveway
- Easy to maintain
- Good from the environmental point of view since water simply goes down the earth
Gravel is not devoid of shortcomings, though.
- Regular maintenance is a must. Gravel can easily get dirty. Also, unwanted weeds may start growing, especially in places with a great deal of rain.
- You'll have a hard time clearing snow from a gravel path. It's a case of "throwing the baby out with the bathwater."
I've heard that brick and cobblestone driveways are extremely expensive. Why do so many people choose this option then?
It depends on the quality of the material, its texture, and color. In general, the answer is yes, though. They are not cheap, costing from $20 up to $72 per square foot.
- Many colors and designs are available
- Attractive and solid, thus increasing the value of the property
- Durable. The maximum lifespan can be a quarter of a century.
- Repairing brick and cobblestone driveways can be a challenging task.
- Brick driveway installation may take up to seven days since it's done manually.
- Regular washing and sealing are required to keep the driveway in order
What other services may I have to pay for? How much do they cost?
- Grading - $2.50 per square yard
- Removing stumps - $70 for a stump
- Removing trees (diameter – 18 inches or more) - from $50 per hour
- Tearing out and replacing the old driveway: from $5 to $10 per hour
Information to checkPermit
If the driveway is located on a slope, expect to pay more to the contractor. Rebar will be used to make the driveway sturdier. More grading work will also have to be performed to ensure good drainage. More often than not, you will need to get a thumbs-up from the local authorities for such a project.Contractor
Review several bids before choosing a good contractor. Ask how many workers they employ, how long they've been in this business, and whether they can provide references from their previous customers.
Other frequently asked questions
I'm thinking of installing a heated driveway as I live in a cold climate. Is it worth my money?
It's a really valuable option for your situation. Thus, you can save yourself the trouble to clear the driveway of snow every morning. Note, however: while the cost of a heated driveway installation is relatively affordable – around $4,200, it may tell on your electricity bill in the long run. Also, the electric system in your home must be able to cope with an additional load as the new driveway will be using the same circuit.
What is resurfacing and how much does it cost?
Resurfacing can be regarded as an alternative to paving the driveway anew. A contractor will remove the upper layer of the driveway asphalt/concrete and cover it with a fresh material. Prepare to pay $2 per square foot.
A driveway installation project most frequently requires professional help. Its final cost depends on a number of factors such as the material, length, and width of the driveway, the initial condition of the site, home location, contractor's experience, and others. On average, expect to pay between $2,250 and $6,100.