The national average for installing an asphalt driveway costs about $3 to $5 per square foot. For a standard 10-foot by 20-foot driveway, big enough for a single car, that means you'll spend between $600 and $1,000. Along with concrete, asphalt paving is one of the most popular driveway materials — and it comes with a number of benefits, especially if you live in cold-weather climates.
What's in this cost guide?
First, an asphalt driveway is cheaper than a concrete driveway. Prices for a concrete driveway range from $5 to $7 per square foot. Asphalt also handles extreme temperature changes better by expanding and contracting easily. Unlike concrete, it won't crack in freezing temperatures, and it generally holds up well to salt and snowplows – and gravel doesn't hold up to snowplows at all.
But asphalt paving does have its drawbacks (otherwise, this begs the question: who would install a gravel or concrete driveway?). In terms of upkeep, asphalt is a little more high-maintenance than concrete and gravel driveways. Expect to seal-coat your paved asphalt driveway every three to five years. You'll need to budget about $2.50 per square foot for this regular resurfacing job.
A number of factors can affect how much your new asphalt driveway paving costs. Here's what to look at to get a better idea of what you may end up spending.
The size of your driveway is the single biggest factor in determining your asphalt driveway cost because most contractors charge per square foot of asphalt. If you don't have an established or paved driveway, your contractor can help you determine the appropriate size for your house before the paver ever comes in.
Single-car driveways are typically nine to 12-feet wide. If you want to be able to turn your car around in your driveway — as opposed to simply backing out — plan for a 10-foot-wide by 20-foot-long paved driveway, minimum.
If you would like to park two cars side-by-side, your driveway will need to be between 16- and 24-feet wide.
Consider the length of your driveway and the location of your garage or carport, too. If your garage is located behind your house, you may need a longer paved driveway, which will drive up costs.
If you're not paving your asphalt driveway from scratch, your contractor will need to break up your existing driveway (concrete, asphalt, etc.) before paving a new one. As an example, removing an existing concrete or asphalt driveway costs about $775, which could easily double your asphalt driveway cost.
You can't have a driveway installed if the job site is oddly sloped and covered in gravel and debris. In order to get your home paver-ready, your contractor may also need to:
- Excavate the area by clearing trees and bushes. Excavators charge between $30 and $50 per hour. You'll pay between $50 and $350 per tree stump, depending on the size.
- Grade the area — or level the ground to make your driveway smooth and well-drained. Expect to spend between $50 and $70 per hour for professional graders.
Generally, preparing your property for a new driveway before the paver comes in can cost between a few hundred dollars and a few thousand. It really depends on your unique situation, and your contractor can help determine exactly what you need.
For example, Joe Jones, owner of California Asphalt Professionals, based in Morgan Hill, California, charges about $5 per square foot to remove the existing asphalt, prepare the surface, lay down gravel and pave an asphalt driveway with a one-ton paver. For a 500-square-foot driveway, that costs about $2,500.
To keep your asphalt driveway in tip-top shape, these are some things that should be done every few years:
Sealing asphalt costs about $0.20 per square foot. As mentioned earlier, asphalt driveways require regular sealing to extend their life. However, you probably won't seal your new asphalt driveway immediately after the paver finishes the job: asphalt takes about six months to harden after paving, and the oils in the asphalt need time to evaporate. Your asphalt driveway installation company will likely return to seal your driveway then.
Jones recommends sealing your asphalt driveway every three to five years after paving, so make sure you've budgeted for that regular expense.
Expect to spend about $2.50 per square foot for asphalt resurfacing. But don't fret: After a new driveway installation, you shouldn't need to repair or resurface the asphalt for about 20 years. However, if there is movement in the ground or heavy vehicle traffic, asphalt resurfacing may be needed sooner.
If you live in a cold-weather climate, consider heating your asphalt driveway — particularly useful for super-snowy days. However, this is definitely a luxury addition: expect your cost per square foot to increase dramatically. Typically, the cost to install a heated driveway runs between $12 – $21 per square foot.
When all is said and done, paving an asphalt driveway isn't cheap. Here are a few of our best money-saving tips when looking to install a new driveway:
- Get multiple estimates from professionals. The numbers quoted in this article are just that – quotes. It is important to get multiple estimates from professional asphalt paving companies before starting this project. Professionals in your zip code will have a better understanding of the cost of the driveway installation project, and getting multiple estimates means that you can shop around for the best price.
- Remove the old driveway yourself. If you're handy and capable, rent a jackhammer and remove the old concrete or asphalt driveway yourself. If you need to save a little, this is the part of the process in which you can do so. Ask your contractor to bid out the demolition process to price out how much you're saving by doing the job yourself.
- Do your homework. There are some less-than-qualified contractors out there who are willing to take your money in exchange for a poor job. Ask prospective contractors questions such as: what do you use for a base underneath the asphalt, how thick do you make the gravel asphalt base, if they will remove or improve the gravel base underneath existing asphalt, what kinds of equipment they have (i.e. at least a one-ton asphalt paver), etc. Knowing the answers to these questions will help you choose a contractor who will get the job done well. Check out more hiring tips at thumbtack.com/safety.
It's important to find out all the information you can before the paver ever comes to your home. Contact a Thumbtack pro to help you calculate the installation cost of an asphalt driveway for your home today!