The national average cost to install a concrete driveway is about $6 a square foot. According to Joe Pilson, owner of Complete Concrete in Denver, Colorado, a typical driveway big enough for one car and room to turn around is about 500 square feet, with an average total project cost of $3000.
If the garage is located far from the street or if you need enough rom for two cars, the price to install a concrete driveway goes up accordingly. A single-car driveway is typically nine to 12 feet wide, and a two-car driveway is usually 16 to 24 feet wide. For a single-car turnaround, you'll need an extra 10 by 20 feet of concrete which will increase the total cost of the project.
What's in this cost guide?
- Concrete vs. gravel and asphalt driveways
- How much does concrete surface prep cost?
- How much does heated concrete driveway installation cost?
- Concrete stamping, colors, and borders
- Concrete driveway maintenance costs
Concrete mix is made from cement, sand, gravel and water. It is one of the most expensive choices for a driveway material, yet one of the sturdiest. A cheaper option is asphalt, which costs around $4 per square foot of driveway. Asphalt driveways are popular in colder regions, as asphalt adapts to extreme change in temperature better than concrete does. The material is also a good choice for homeowners in rainy regions – asphalt's porous makeup allows for water drainage. A gravel driveway is even cheaper, but there are a few downsides to going with a cheaper gravel or asphalt driveway. Gravel may need to be added as stones are washed or carried away over the years and asphalt driveways need fresh coats of sealer applied on a regular basis.
You can also choose hand-laid pavers, brick or cobblestone, which are typically more expensive. Because pavers must be laid individually and by hand, labor costs to install a driveway with paving will be much higher than laying a concrete driveway. Concrete durability is rated at 40 years, and asphalt clocks in at 20 years. Concrete is prone to cracking in cold weather, so concrete driveways may require a bit of repair down the road.
Concrete driveway cost will partially depend on the amount of surface preparation needed. If your remodeling project involves the install of a new concrete driveway from scratch, the path of the new driveway will have to be cleared of any trees or bushes. The contractor will then need to level the surface by excavation and remove the topsoil.
Most excavators charge $30–$50 per hour on average nationwide. Removing tree stumps can cost anywhere from $50 to $350 per stump or about $2–$3 per inch of diameter. Grading contractors typically charge $50–$70 per hour, and total costs for a grading job can range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. Most experts recommend installing a concrete driveway on a sub base of four inches of compacted gravel with good drainage. If you already have a concrete driveway in place that needs to be removed before installing the new driveway, the total project cost will go up.
If your house and garage sits on top of a hill additional costs will be incurred as the driveway will need to be installed in sections and held in place with rebar. If the slope is too severe, the site may need to be re-graded which means the price of your home improvement project will increase. Your contractor will be able to gauge the severity of slope and incremental cost when they provide you with an estimate.
Homeowners in snow country can add heat to a concrete driveway for a cost of $12-$20 a square foot. Homeowners in snow country might want to consider adding heat to their driveway design. A radiant heating system can be installed under the driveway that will melt snow. The system is composed of tubes filled with a mix of water and antifreeze. The liquid is heated up with a boiler and the system can be set up to come on automatically whenever snow falls.
Because concrete is a porous material, concrete dyes can penetrate its pores and color it to mimic the house color, stone or clay – unlike gravel or asphalt paving. Textures can also be stamped in which generally raises prices for the driveway by $12–$18 per square foot.
Adding a stamped concrete border is less expensive than stamping an entire driveway surface and still makes things visually interesting. For a 500 square foot driveway that costs $3,000 to install, contractors at Complete Concrete estimate that including a two-foot stamped concrete border would increase costs by about $1,500.
Driveway installation is generally a fairly straightforward affair and concrete does not require regular maintenance. Unlike paving a driveway with asphalt, concrete does not requires a reseal.
Concrete is an excellent choice for a driveway. Any homeowner considering concrete will get high marks for improving curb appeal by laying in a high quality concrete driveway. Even though the cost of installing a concrete driveway can be estimated by figuring out how many square feet you need to cover, you should always get at least two free quotes from contractors before plowing ahead with the driveway project.