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How much does paving a driveway cost?

Nationwide, the average cost to pave a driveway can be anywhere from $1,000-$15,000. Of course, this is a pretty broad range and where you fall within it will depend on materials, the size of your driveway and what kind of surface preparation is needed. Installing a new driveway from scratch is usually less expensive than replacing an existing driveway, since you'll have to remove and repave it.

Whether you're installing a brand new driveway (perhaps to your brand new house) or repaving an existing but crumbling one, this guide will break down what impacts the total cost to pave a driveway so you know what to expect before you hire a professional driveway paver.

How much do driveway paving materials cost?

Materials range from gravel at $1.25 per square foot to cobblestone at $15 per square foot. While a number of factors will impact the total cost to pave or repave your driveway, the type of material you choose (concrete, asphalt or gravel, for example) and the size of your driveway are the two biggest things contractors consider when estimating the total cost.

  • Concrete: $6 per square foot
  • Asphalt: $3-$5 per square foot
  • Gravel: $1.25-$1.80 per square foot
  • Pavers (cobblestones and bricks): $15 per square foot

Concrete

The national average cost to install a concrete driveway is about $6 per square foot. Made from cement, sand, gravel, and water, it is typically the most expensive choice for a driveway material but also the longest lasting. A concrete driveway will last around 40 years. However, colder climates can be tougher on concrete, as it is prone to cracking.

According to Joe Pilson, owner of Complete Concrete in Denver Colorado, a typical one car driveway with enough room to turn around is about 500 square feet, with an average total project cost of $3,000.

Most experts recommend installing a concrete driveway on four inches of compacted gravel base with good drainage. Having a crushed stone base under the driveway prolongs its life.

If you want a concrete driveway, look on Thumbtack to find a concrete driveway specialist near you.

Asphalt

The national average cost to install an asphalt driveway is $4 per square foot of driveway. Asphalt, also called bitumen and blacktop, is a semi-solid form of petroleum. When mixed with sand or gravel it can be used to pave roads, driveways or fill a pothole. While less expensive than concrete, asphalt driveways have a lower life expectancy of 20 years. They also need to be resealed on a regular basis and may need to be repaved.

Asphalt driveways are popular in colder regions, as asphalt adapts to extreme change in temperature better than concrete. The material is also a good choice for homeowners in rainy regions, since it drains better than concrete.

Recycled asphalt is sometimes used in driveways as a base material with new asphalt, also known as hot-mix, going on as a finish coat.

If you want a concrete driveway, look on Thumbtack to find an asphalt driveway specialist near you.

Gravel

On average, a gravel driveway costs between $1.25 and $1.80 per square foot, making it more cost-effective than asphalt or concrete. While budget-friendly, gravel driveways come with their own set of problems, the biggest of which is keeping your gravel driveway, actually in the driveway. As stones are washed or carried away more will have to be added.

Pavers (cobblestones and bricks)

While beautiful, cobblestone and brick driveways — also known as pavers — can cost a whopping $15 per square foot. This high cost is because laying these individual paving stones, usually bricks or cobblestones, is labor intensive and the cost of the materials themselves is pretty high.

Leaving space between the pavers so water can drain through is considered to be more eco-friendly.

Sealing

Concrete and asphalt driveways need to be resealed from time to time. Sealant protects the asphalt or concrete from cracks, fissures, water and other wear and tear, thereby extending the life of the driveway. The added cost to seal your driveway covers the labor of applying the sealant as well as the cost of the product. Here are some examples of sealant costs:

  • All Pro Paving: .25 cents per square foot to seal an asphalt driveway, which lasts 3-5 years.
  • 4 U 2 Concrete: $200–$300 to seal a concrete driveway, which lasts 1 - 2 years.

Surface preparation

No matter which material you chose, driveway paving costs will also be impacted by surface preparation. If you are putting in a brand new driveway, any trees or bushes in the path will need to be removed and topsoil will need to be excavated before you can start to pave. This, of course, adds to the total cost.

How much is it to repave versus install a new driveway?

Your total cost will also be impacted by whether or not you're installing a brand new driveway, or repaving an existing one.

In general, repaving will be cheaper than a new paving -- unless you have to remove an existing driveway before you repave. In that case, it will actually be more expensive. Replacing a driveway adds labor, time and hauling costs for breaking it up and disposing of it. The added costs are generally rolled into the overall quote. On average nationwide, here's what you can expect:

  • New paving: $4–$5 per square foot
  • Repaving: $3 per square foot
  • Remove and repave: $5.50–$6.60 per square foot

To give you a sense of how much that per square foot cost adds up, 4 U 2 Concrete in Aurora, Colorado, charges $5,000 to take out and replace a concrete 800-square-foot driveway. This job takes about 15 hours.

What are some additional costs?

There are a couple of additional costs you may or may not encounter when paving or repaving a driveway.

Adding heat

Homeowners in snow country can add heat to a concrete driveway for a cost of $12-$20 per square foot. The driveway is warmed by a radiant heating system laid underneath the driveway. 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 — and thereby forever ending your tedious snow-shoveling days.

Color and texture

Dyes can be used to change the color of concrete to mimic the house color or stone. Textures can also be stamped in which generally raises the driveway price by $12–$18 per square foot.

Adding a stamped concrete border is less expensive than stamping an entire driveway surface but 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, bringing total costs to $4,500.

Tips for hiring a pro

As a homeowner thinking about a new driveway and how it will effect your curb appeal, consider all your options before you hire a crew of driveway contractors. Call around or check online for free estimates. Rather than thinking in terms of putting in a parking lot for your fleet of vehicles, consider how an attractive paver driveway might improve the looks of your home and increase your resale value.

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