How much does it cost to build an asphalt driveway?
Driveways can be long and winding paths that take a visitor through a bit of landscape before reaching their destination, or they can be a large square that sits adjacent to the home. They can be quite costly to pave and maintain, and though gravel is a very low-cost option, a majority of homeowners will usually consider asphaltic materials for their durability.
This choice, however, requires some site preparation and for the purpose of this discussion we will consider the costs and requirements for the creation of a 600 square foot driveway that is roughly 12'x50' in size.
According to RSMeans, the cost calculator software an asphalt driveway project must include:
- Land clearing and tree removal - it is quite common for an area about to be paved to require the removal of brush, trees, and boulders this will tend to cost:
- $48 per hour, per worker to manage a single acre of cutting and chipping light trees;
- $68 each for the removal of stumps;
- $20 to $40 per hour for the chipping of trees larger than 18" in diameter;
- $13 to $20 per hour for tree removal; and
- $150 to $400 per hour for complete site clearing, depending upon the machinery necessary for the job (usually including a large bull dozer);
- Grading - sub-grading the area for a slab on grade is going to cost roughly $1.43 per square yard for a total of $100; and
- Asphalt - asphaltic concrete is usually installed at a depth no less than 2". For this project, the asphalt is at 2.5" and would cost roughly $830 installed. This tends to have a life span of 10 to 30 years and will need treatment every six to ten years to maintain its good looks and durability. This is known as a macadam treatment and will average around $2 per square foot, or roughly $1200 every six years.
Additional considerations and costs
- Contractor - though it may be tempting to work strictly with an asphalt company in order to quickly get a basic driveway in place, it is usually best to consult with a qualified engineer when the driveway is somewhat complex and covers a great deal of area. For example, rather than running the risk of deterioration due to the forces of frost and water, it is best to consult with an engineer about driveway design and installation; and
- Curves, slopes, and water - when a driveway must be prepared with any curves or slopes included it will automatically increase labor and material costs simply because of the additional effort and design involved in such a process. Should this same driveway need to cross over a body of water such as a small stream or marsh, the use of appropriate drainage, ditches, etc. will also increase the total project costs substantially too. This sort of construction and engineering will also need approval from a wetlands or planning commission, and this is going to have to be addressed long before the project begins.