Although the price of installing or paving a driveway can dramatically differ from property to property, the average cost to install a driveway is roughly $4,300, with most homeowners paying between $3,198 and $4,860. Fortunately, by understanding what costs go into the project, you can make sure you pay less than the average driveway price.
All driveways were not created equal. Some are bigger than others and some use more expensive materials than others. No matter what kind of driveway you’re considering, it pays to know factors inflate or deflate your total cost.
As you’ll see below, materials play a major role in your driveway installation cost. We’ll get into all pros and cons later, but the prices do vary quite a bit. The two most common options are asphalt and concrete. Asphalt driveways are typically black in color, have an average lifespan of 20 years, and they cost as little as $3/sf. Concrete, while much more durable and lighter in color, can cost closer to $5/sf.
As you might expect, it’s more expensive to install a larger driveway than a smaller one. Larger driveways mean more materials and more labor, both of which come with higher costs.
Additionally, the driveway design will play a role as well. A straight driveway is easier to install or pave than a circular or curved driveway. If you want to keep costs down, keep the design simple.
While most homeowners hire driveway contractors to install their new exterior entry, some prefer to take on this challenging DIY project. While it may take longer to install a driveway on your own, you could save up $2,000.
If you do go the conventional route and hire a pro, you’ll quickly find that different contractors charge different amounts (always get at least three quotes). Factors such as the company’s location, how many workers they have, how long they’ve been in business and more can affect the price.
Weather can drastically affect the time and difficulty of installing or replacing a driveway. With asphalt driveways, colder weather makes the asphalt settle faster (no room for mistakes). In very cold and snowy conditions, concrete can’t be poured.
In addition, where you live in relation to where the materials and your pro are coming from can affect your total driveway cost. While we can’t control these outside factors, you should always try to schedule your driveway installation during ideal weather conditions.
Finally, access to your driveway can affect the total driveway price. If you’re installing concrete, your pro will need plenty of room to bring in a concrete mixing truck. Construction in your area, neighbors’ cars, toys, landscaping ornaments and more can all obstruct their access. To keep costs down, try to mitigate all impediments.
It’s time to jump into materials. Just like flooring, you have plenty of options when it comes to driveway materials. All come with their own set of pros and cons, but if you just want cold, hard material costs, consult the table below:
Pavers offer more variety than any other driveway material. You have plenty of options when it comes to materials, designs and colors. As you just saw above, some pavers cost as much as $50/sf, but luckily, those added costs come with an assortment of advantages.
Besides variety, pavers last for a very long time. In fact, 20 years is typically the minimum lifespan. Furthermore, since there are so many options available, there is a driveway paver perfect for every budget. In terms of maintenance, while pavers can crack over time, they’re much more durable than concrete driveways.
While 20 years may sound like a long time, other driveway options last anywhere from 40 to even 100 years. Reason being, like all driveway materials, pavers are not immune to repairs. If you ignore them, you may need to replace it sooner than you thought.
While driveway pavers can be as cheap as $4/sf, they also go up to $50/sf, no small feat for any homeowner. Finally, some homeowners think all pavers look cheap. As a result, driveway pavers could hurt your home’s value.
Driveway pavers do require regular maintenance, driving up the total cost. First, you must fill in the cracks when the pavers expand and contract due to weather. In addition, just like any driveway, you should sweep and spray your pavers every month (not in winter). Finally, seal your pavers every two years to maintain their pristine finish.
If you want to really keep your driveway installation cost down, go with asphalt. Prices start at $3/sf and rarely climb beyond $5/sf. Nonetheless, that lower installation cost brings some challenges.
For a trained driveway professional, installing an asphalt driveway is easy. Asphalt dries very quickly, so you can use it right away. That’s not the case with concrete. While asphalt can last for only 20 years, it can hold up to inclement weather. In fact, if your town sees a lot of rain or snowfall, asphalt is a smart play.
Mentioned already, asphalt typically lasts 20 years, which is less than any other driveway material mentioned in this guide. As such, it’s not as durable as brick, pavers or concrete. Furthermore, asphalt comes in black and black only. There is no variety when it comes to color. Finally, to ensure a 20-year lifespan, you’ll have to seal your asphalt driveway every three years.
Just like pavers, you should sweep and spray your asphalt every month (not in winter). If you get an oil stain, scrub and rinse off using a commercial de-greaser. Also, you have to seal it to protect your costly installation.
Midway through the driveway option wheel is concrete. Just as popular as asphalt, concrete offers another inexpensive alternative with just as many color options.
When it comes to repairs and maintenance, you wont find an easier or simpler driveway option than concrete. As such, most concrete driveways last at least 40 years, and that assumes minimal maintenance.
If you live in a hot climate, concrete is perfect because it does not soften over time. The same can’t be said for asphalt. Finally, while the cost may go up, you can install a stained concrete driveway if you want some color in your life.
While repairs are not common, they can happen from time to time. In particular, concrete driveways are not ideal in very cold climates. These cold temperatures can lead to cracks in the concrete. Sadly, repairs are anything but cheap, as your pro will have to remove the concrete, deliver new concrete and then level the concrete before it sets.
Minimal maintenance does not mean no maintenance. To extend the lifespan of your concrete driveway, you must remove stains right away, spray it down every month and seal it every few years if the color is fading. Finally, avoid products with ammonium nitrate and ammonium sulphate.
If you want to install or replace your driveway on your own, gravel is a terrific choice. All you have to do is lay the gravel, rake it into the driveway formation and compact it with a steamroller. Nevertheless, easy installation isn’t the only perk.
Just like concrete and asphalt, gravel tends to be less expensive than brick and most pavers. If any repair work needs to be done, you just need more gravel, a shovel and a rake. It’s quite easy to maintain and since it’s permeable, it’s considered an eco-friendly product that allows replenishment of ground water.
Moreover, gravel can last up to 100 years and has the ability to adapt to any kind of décor or style you want. It can add a rustic charm or lend a modern feel to your home exterior.
There are a few drawbacks homeowners should consider. Just like certain pavers, weeds can form. You’ll have to remove them quickly to prevent additional growth.
Gravel also tends to move around during heavy rain or snow storms. And speaking of snow, snow removal is not easy. More often than not, you’ll have to lay salt or sand to eliminate. Lastly, maintenance is no easy feat.
If you install a gravel driveway, you’ll have to constantly monitor and replace your gravel. In fact, even in perfect conditions, tires can form large gaps in your driveway. If you’re installing a new gravel driveway, always buy extra.
Unlike other driveway options, gravel attracts dirt. Therefore, you may need to clean your driveway more than once a month.
If you really want to make a statement with your driveway, brick is the way to go. While installation may take longer than other options, the wait is well worth it.
Brick comes in a wide range of colors, sizes, shapes and textures. Therefore, you can personalize your brick driveway design unlike any other drive alternative. While repairs are not as common as most homeowners think, they do happen. Luckily, replacing one or two bricks is an easy DIY project.
Installing a brick driveway is a long and tedious project. There is no quick way around it. That’s because professional masons have to lay each brick one at a time. Furthermore, the base must graded, leveled, sanded and graveled before brick can be added. Expect your brick driveway project to take at least a week.
Additionally, brick driveways are not cheap. Evident by the labor involved, brick driveways can cost as much as $50/sf.
As previously stated, repairs are rarely needed, but when called upon, easy to complete. The only other maintenance item is frequent cleaning, just like any other driveway paver.
As you’ve hopefully noticed by now, installing a driveway is no easy task. In fact, unless you go with gravel, almost all driveways installations are done by the pros. Whether it’s delivering concrete, grading the land, drying the asphalt or laying a brick driveway brick by brick, most homeowners enjoy the piece of mind that comes with hiring a reliable and experienced contractor.