How much does it cost to build an asphalt driveway?
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Asphalt Driveway Cost Guide
Updated: August 19, 2022
If you live in the north and plan to pave your driveway, asphalt is likely the chosen material. Asphalt driveways are common in northern climates where the black color and resiliency of the material do well in harsh, cold winters. Asphalt is also less expensive than concrete and easier to maintain than gravel. Asphalt driveway costs fluctuate, depending on the driveway size and slope. This leads to a national average of $3,000 to $10,000, with most people paying around $5,804 for a 24 by 24-foot hot mix asphalt driveway with a stone base. The low-end costs are as little as $1,214, while high-end projects cost as much as $13,441.
Asphalt Driveway Costs
|Asphalt Driveway Building Costs
|National average cost
Asphalt Driveway Cost per Square Foot
Asphalt driveways are the second-lowest-cost driveways, right behind gravel. They have a range of associated costs, depending on the asphalt type, dirt or soil you are paving over, and your driveway’s slope. Asphalt costs between $1 and $5 a square foot for the material uninstalled, with installation costing another $4 - $13/sq.ft. if the conditions are favorable. A good base for driveways where the soil conditions are not favorable, costs another $2 a square foot installed. Combined with grading and installation, this makes a range from $7 to $15 a square foot for a new asphalt driveway fully installed. Most people pay around $10 a square foot installed on a good base, and closer to $7 a square foot for those who do not need much grading or compacting or a new stone base.
Asphalt Driveway Prices by Size
The biggest contributing factor to the cost of your driveway is size. The longer and wider the driveway, the more grading, excavation, compacting, and paving are done, raising your total costs for a new driveway. The following costs provide an idea of what a new asphalt driveway costs based on size:
|Average Cost Range
|10 x 20-feet (single stall)
|$1,400 - $2,000
|12 x 24-feet (single)
|$2,016 - $2,880
|20 x 20-feet (double stall)
|$2,800 - $4,000
|24 x 24-feet (double)
|$4,032 - $5,760
|24 x 36-feet (triple)
|$6,048 - $8,640
Asphalt Driveway Cost by Type
Some of your driveway cost is dictated by the asphalt type you use. The vast majority of asphalt driveways use a hot mix that contains at least some recycled content, if not being made from nearly all recycled content. However, there are some other options available, which your contractor may recommend for your specific situation, and they may have different costs per square foot:
|Material Cost per Square Foot
|$1 - $3/sq.ft.
|$1 - $4/sq.ft.
|$2 - $5/sq.ft.
|$5 - $7/sq.ft.
Hot Mix Driveway
Hot mix is the most common type of asphalt used for driveways. It is inexpensive and contains recycled material. It is also flexible and easy to work with, so it spreads fast and keeps overall costs down. It contains different mixtures of aggregate and oil, so it has a finer or a rougher texture, depending on your preference and needs. It costs between $1 and $3 a square foot.
Recycled Asphalt Driveway Cost per Square Foot
Most asphalt driveways contain recycled material. Asphalt is 100% recyclable, so it is very common for older driveways and roads to be reused in newer applications. This keeps costs down versus using newer material. You may need to ask your contractor what percentage of material is recycled in your particular mix and request more recycled material in some cases. Costs range from $1 to $4 a square foot.
Porous Asphalt Driveway
If you live in an area that sees a lot of heavy rainfall and want to make sure your driveway drains properly, porous asphalt may be the right choice. This type of asphalt is designed so that water runs through it, rather than staying on the surface. It is not always the best choice in freeze/thaw climates because it is more likely to create frost heaves where quickly expanding ice can force the pavement apart. But it can help with drainage in high-rain areas. It costs between $2 and $5 a square foot.
Colored Asphalt Driveway
Asphalt is colored in a wide range of shades from bright reds to dark greens. If you want a more decorative driveway or indicate specific areas for safety reasons, coloring the asphalt is a good way to go. The pigment is added to a hot mix and is subtle or brilliant, depending on the color and amount. It has costs of $5 to $7 a square foot on average.
Blacktop Driveway Cost by Grade
Blacktop or asphalt driveways come in several grades, although most homeowners only use one or two. The most commonly used include a base grade, top grade, and commercial top grade for very-high traffic driveways. Each has a slightly different cost, impacting the total driveway price. Many driveways use both a base and top coat of asphalt to give you the longest-lasting results:
|Average Cost per Sq.Ft. (Material Only)
|$1 - $2/sq.ft.
|$1 - $4/sq.ft.
|Commercial top I-4
|$3 - $5/sq.ft.
This is a rough asphalt that contains a lot of stone aggregate or gravel. It is used as a bottom coat or layer for the driveway, but some light traffic areas stand on their own. This asphalt costs $1 - $2/sq.ft.
This is a longer wearing asphalt coat that contains more sand and smoother particulates. It looks nicer than the base coat and lasts longer. It goes on top of the base coat and should not be used alone. It costs $1 - $4/sq.ft. on average.
Commercial Top I-4
This is a stronger grade of asphalt used for parking lots and heavy-duty driveways. It contains more rock and does not look as smooth as the Top I-5, but it performs better long term. It costs $3 - $5/sq.ft.
Cost to Install an Asphalt Driveway
Paving with asphalt is relatively inexpensive. Most of the costs of installing a new driveway come from the work that needs to be done before paving. This is where most of the costs of a new asphalt driveway come in. The area must be excavated and graded. When not using a gravel/stone base below the asphalt, the ground needs to be compacted in many cases and leveled. If needed, drainage is added to the driveway.
A base layer of gravel or stone is usually put down in areas where the soil is too soft or too wet to adequately hold the asphalt. Then, the asphalt itself is put down, usually in two layers: a base layer, followed by a topcoat. In some cases, you may only need a single layer if you live in a moderate climate and do not have heavy trucks driving or parking on the driveway.
All this works out to between $5 and $7 a square foot in total labor costs on average. If you need stumps removed or your driveway is on a hill or has many curves, your total labor costs may be much higher.
Landscapers or paving professionals are both capable of fully installing an asphalt driveway. However, if you have special requirements, such as tree removal, other professionals may be called in to assist.
For a two-car driveway, labor comes between $2,880 and $4,032 out of the $5,760 total.
Factors Affecting the Cost of Building a Driveway
Many factors affect the cost of building a new asphalt driveway. The less cleared and excavated the area is, the higher the total costs. If you have clay or very soft soil, you need to have a stone base put down, which increases your project’s costs. In addition, if your driveway has a lot of curves or a steep slope, the labor is more difficult and expensive. On the other hand, if the area is relatively flat and you do not need a stone base, your driveway is less expensive.
Pros and Cons of an Asphalt Driveway
Like any material, asphalt has its pluses and minuses that you need to consider. Asphalt is the most common material for driveways in the north. This is because it is easier to maintain in cold conditions than concrete and less likely to crack. Its black color also melts snow because it warms up more quickly in the sun.
Asphalt is flexible and easy-to-install and spread. It lasts about 20 - 30 years when well-maintained and is less expensive than other materials like concrete or pavers.
Asphalt does not do as well in hot climates because it tends to become soft. It also needs a good base and drainage. Otherwise, it cracks, crumbles, or is more likely to develop frost heaves when installed in a cold climate where there is poor drainage. No matter the location, it also takes several years to cure fully and may sustain surface damage from heavy equipment during this time.
Asphalt vs Concrete Driveway
Next to asphalt, the other most common driveway type is concrete. Concrete is the most commonly installed material in the country’s southern parts because it does not heat up like asphalt does. It also lasts longer than asphalt, particularly in moderate to warm climates. In the north, concrete does not perform as well as asphalt, particularly in the winter months because it develops more cracks and frost heaves, so asphalt is more common there.
Concrete tends to be more expensive than asphalt because paving an existing driveway with asphalt costs $2 - $6 a square foot. Paving an existing driveway with concrete costs $4 - $10 a square foot, which is nearly twice as much in some areas. Concrete outlasts asphalt in warmer climates, so for many people, it is worth the added investment.
Asphalt Road Costs
The cost of building an asphalt road is often higher than the cost of paving a driveway. The drainage, slope, and base need to be better, and the topcoat needs to withstand commercial traffic and heavier equipment. For this reason, the average cost of paving a private road ranges from $84,000 to $486,000, depending on the location, drainage needed, slope, grade, and length of the road. Square foot costs are much higher overall, typically starting at $15 to $20 and going higher if the area needs extensive drainage or excavation.
Asphalt Driveway Repaving Cost
If you have an existing driveway, either gravel, dirt, or asphalt that you want to pave with fresh asphalt, your overall costs are much lower. This is because most of the labor of clearing, excavation, grading, and putting down a base has already been done. For this reason, the cost to pave an asphalt driveway is between $2 and $6 a square foot on average, fully installed, as opposed to the range of $7 to $15 a square foot installed for a new driveway.
Asphalt Driveway Resurfacing Cost
If you have an existing asphalt driveway in overall good shape but has some surface damage, resurfacing is a good way to improve the appearance and extend your driveway’s life. Resurfacing assumes the driveway base is in good shape, and any cracks or other damage are on the surface. The top layer of the asphalt is removed and replaced with a fresh layer of new asphalt. This costs roughly $2.50/sq.ft. on average, less than the $4 - $8 a square foot needed to remove and replace a complete driveway.
Asphalt Driveway Sealing Cost
Asphalt driveways need to be sealed after roughly 6 months, and then every few years after that. Sealing the driveway keeps it in good condition, preventing cracks, potholes, and frost heaves, and extending its lifespan. There are many types of sealers, but most are meant for driveways in fair to moderate conditions, which do not first need a lot of work. The average cost to seal a driveway is around $420.
Repair Asphalt Driveway Cost
Asphalt driveways develop cracks and potholes over time. When this happens, you may want to have the driveway repaired to extend its life. Repairs can be as simple as filling some cracks or small holes for $60, or they can be as extensive as fully resurfacing the driveway. Most people end up paying around $300 for driveway repair, which includes patching holes and filling cracks. But if you have a very large driveway, costs are as high as $3,000 to make extensive repairs.
Asphalt Driveway Removal Cost
Asphalt is fairly easy to remove and fully recyclable, which means that it is relatively inexpensive to remove a driveway. If you intend to install a new asphalt driveway or want to switch to a new material, removing the existing asphalt is the first step. This usually costs around $2 a square foot on average but may cost less if you have only a single layer of asphalt. It may cost more if you have a driveway with many curves or a very steep slope.
Enhancements and Improvement Costs
It is very common to need to have either trees or stumps removed to install a new driveway. The cost of tree removal is around $650 to remove both the tree and its stump.
Heated Asphalt Driveway
While asphalt helps snow melt faster, if you live in a cold climate, you may opt to add heating to your asphalt driveway. This reduces the amount of shoveling, but it increases the costs of the driveway considerably. Expect to pay an additional $6 to $10 a square foot for this feature.
Widen an Asphalt Driveway
Widening an existing asphalt driveway has similar costs to installing a new one, which is between $7 and $15 a square foot for the process. This is because widening often includes tree and stump removal, grading, a new base, and the actual paving.
Macadam or tar and chip is a driveway made from liquid asphalt with a layer of stone or aggregate added to the surface. It is longer wearing than regular asphalt and costs an additional $3 a square foot or $10 to $18 a square foot fully installed.
Protect your new driveway by installing a gate at the end. Gates ensure heavy trucks do not turn into your driveway during the curing period, helping to make the driveway last longer. The average electric gate installation is around $7,000.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- Asphalt lasts around 20 years when maintained properly. With good maintenance and sealing, it is even possible to reach 30 years. Otherwise, it may only last about 15 years due to the oils oxidizing.
- If your driveway is on a slope or has a lot of curves, it costs more.
- If your driveway is very complex or long, it may pay in the long run to work with an engineer who determines proper drainage so that your driveway lasts longer.
- If you have an HOA or city planning department, submit the plans for a new driveway to find out if there are any fees or stipulations involved.
- Adding a new asphalt driveway increases the curb appeal of your home and boosts its resale value slightly.
- You may walk on your new driveway in 24 - 48 hours and drive on it within 3 - 5 days. Keep in mind that it takes up to a year to settle and cure and that you should keep heavy equipment off of it during this time, particularly in the summer months.
- How much does a truckload of asphalt cost?
Trucks easily carry 13 - 19 tons of asphalt, at $100 to $150 a ton the cost is $1,300 - $2,850.
- How much does it cost to re-asphalt a driveway?
Asphalt paving costs $2 to $6 a square foot on average.
- How long does asphalt last?
When well-maintained, it lasts around 20 years on average but may last 15 to 30, depending on the care.
- What is the difference between asphalt and blacktop?
They are the same material. Asphalt is sometimes called blacktop because of its dark color.
- Is 2 inches of asphalt enough for a driveway?
It depends on many factors, including the base, traffic on your driveway, condition, and asphalt type. Two inches may be enough, or it may only be enough for the base coat.