How much does it cost to pave a driveway?
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Driveway Paving Cost Guide
Updated: June 9, 2023
Paving a driveway impacts your home’s curb appeal and provides a safe walking and driving surface at the same time. Many design options with different aesthetic and performance qualities allow each homeowner to add one that matches their financial, structural, and design needs. With some of them lasting up to a century, it’s safe to say that it’s a lifetime investment.
The national average cost to pave a driveway is between $3,200 and $10,000. Most people pay around $6,960 to install a double 24’ x 24’ concrete driveway with a 10’ apron and seal it with a medium-grade sealant. At the low end of the spectrum, you can pay $1,160 to install a 10’ x 20’ single stall gravel driveway with a small 8’ apron connecting it to the street. At the high end, you pay up to $23,470 to pave a 24’ x 36’ triple driveway with high-grade paving stone, a 15’ apron, a heating coat, and sealant.
Cost to Pave a Driveway
|Driveway Paving Cost|
|National average cost||$6,960|
Driveway Paving Cost per Square Foot
The average driveway pavement cost homeowners pay is between $8 and $25 per sq.ft. with labor included. The total cost varies depending on the exact material you use, the labor costs, the size of your driveway, and the landscape of your home. The most common materials used are asphalt and concrete due to their durability, strength, and ease of installation. If you do not have a lot to spend, gravel or chip seal could be better options for the budget and still provide a durable driveway surface. At the higher end of the price range, you will find pavers, including premium heated pavers and custom-designed styles.
Average Cost to Pave a Driveway by Size
The cost of a driveway ranges between $1,600 and $21,600, based on the size. The size plays a major role in the total project cost. For example, the cost to pave a small driveway will be much lower than the cost of a long one, given that the same materials are used. A small driveway would be a single stall or single lane that measures 10’ to 24’ and fits one or two smaller vehicles. A medium driveway fits two vehicles and can be a longer drive or a double stall drive measuring 20’ x 20’ or even 24’ x 24’. Long driveways cost the most, ranging up to 36’ long or more. Those with multiple vehicles, larger vehicles, or who have a longer distance from the road to the garage (or house) will need a driveway like this. The cost also depends on several other factors, including the material, shape, slope, and location. Below are the average cost ranges for the most common sizes.
|Size||Cost (Labor Included)|
|Single Stall (10’ x 20’)||$1,600 - $5,000|
|Single (12’ x 24’)||$2,300 - $7,200|
|Double Stall (20’ x 20’)||$3,200 - $10,000|
|Double (24’ x 24’)||$4,610 - $14,400|
|Triple (24’ x 36’)||$6,910 - $21,600|
Driveway Paving Cost by Material
Expect to spend between $1 and $30 per sq.ft. on driveway paving materials. When picking the material, don’t consider only the current cost of the material. Some materials require regular, often costly maintenance, so make sure to compare the upfront costs with the long-term costs and the maintenance required for each material. Another thing to consider is the type of vehicles you own and plan to park on the driveway. Not all materials can support heavy traffic, so think about the sturdiness of the material as well. Below is a table with the different material options available and how much they cost.
|Material||Cost per Sq.Ft. (Materials Only)|
|Gravel||$1 - $3|
|Asphalt||$1 - $5|
|Paver||$1 - $30|
|Tar and Chip||$2 - $5|
|Exposed Aggregate||$3 - $7|
|Tarmac||$3 - $7|
|Concrete||$4 - $7|
|Rubber||$5 - $10|
Pave a Gravel Driveway
Gravel, also known as decomposed granite, is the cheapest driveway paving option that costs $1 to $3 per sq.ft. While you spend less on the material and installation upfront, they are not durable in harsh weather conditions, especially rainfall. To increase the durability, a stabilizer is often required, which adds $3 to $7 per sq.ft. to the basic material cost. Gravel maintenance can be an issue because the ground has to be raked to keep the surface smooth and level and the potholes regularly fixed. Heavy machinery is often needed to spread and compact the gravel, which may cause additional contractor charges. However, gravel installed in warmer climates that get regularly maintained lasts up to 100 years.
Asphalt Driveway Paving
The cost to install an asphalt driveway costs $1 to $5 per sq.ft. for the material only. They are one of the most common materials used for driveways in the north due to their durability against cold conditions and affordable cost compared to other materials. Asphalt is less likely to crack than concrete and helps melt snow faster due to the darker color. If it’s properly maintained, broomed every few months, and cleaned twice a year with a hose spray, an asphalt driveway lasts for 12 to 25 years. However, it doesn’t perform as well in hot climates because it softens, loses shape, and takes several years to cure. Proper drainage is required to prevent the material from developing frost heaves, cracking, or crumbling.
Paver driveways cost $1 to $30 per sq.ft. for the material only. They are considered a high end material that offers several style and design options and a wide range of sizes and colors. While pavers are one of the most physically durable (25 to 50 years) and aesthetically pleasing materials, their installation is quite costly. The terrain has to be prepared before the pavers are installed, meaning trees and bushes have to be cleared and the ground excavated, after which a layer of bedding sand or crushed stone is added. This can add between a few hundred to a few thousand dollars to the project cost. Pavers typically come in brick, stone, or concrete. The material affects what you pay. If you choose to use reclaimed bricks, you may find materials as low as $1 to $3 per sq.ft. Otherwise, these are the most expensive options for your driveway but provide an impressive, finished look.
|Paver Type||Cost per Sq.Ft. (Materials Only)|
|Brick||$1 - $25|
|Concrete Blocks||$7 - $13|
|Paving Stone||$7 - $30|
Tar and Chip Driveway
The chip and seal or macadam driveway cost ranges between $2 and $5 per sq.ft. for the material only. Also known as seal chip, chip-and-seal, or liquid-asphalt-and-stone, these driveways are made by spreading hot liquid asphalt and spreading layers of stone aggregate over it. They are great for colder climates as the rough surface provides excellent grip, making them less slippery and more stable. They require minimal upkeep and no sealing or crack fixing. However, tar and chip driveways last only 10 to 15 years. To extend their lifespan, they require resurfacing every 10 years to prevent it from deteriorating.
Exposed Aggregate Driveway
An exposed aggregate driveway costs $3 to $6 per sq.ft. for the material only. Also known as pebble finish, it’s made of stones mixed with concrete or seeded on a concrete surface. They provide a textured surface with shades of pastel colors, earth tones, and deep blues and reds, which drastically improves the area’s curb appeal. Aside from the nice appearance, the rough surface of exposed aggregate driveways makes them less slippery and more stable. To ensure they last up to 40 years, regular maintenance is of utmost importance. They need to be swept at least once a day to keep them free from dust, dirt, or debris and prevent stain build-up.
Tarmac, short for tarmacadam, costs $3 to $7 for the material only. While often mixed, tar, chip, and tarmac are different materials. Tarmac driveways are made by placing crushed stone or aggregate and coating or mixing it with tar. They are a great way to improve the aesthetic appearance of your driveway and increase the value of your home. The mixture of rough material and tar makes it stronger against heavier traffic, helps preserve the surface, and increases its durability. Tarmac driveways can last 10 to 20 years. You will have to regularly clean and seal them, as any spillages of oil or gasoline that are not cleaned can weaken its base and cause it to deteriorate faster.
Concrete Driveway Paving
Concrete driveways have a wide price range, starting at $4per sq.ft. and going to $7 per sq.ft. It’s one of the most durable and low-maintenance materials, requiring only regular cleaning and sealing to last 20 to 40 years. Concrete can be customized with etching, stamping, and staining, allowing homeowners to customize the look and improve the home’s curb appeal. It performs best in hot climates where asphalt is not an appropriate option, but it’s not the best for cold climates. It cracks and breaks apart easily in areas with freezing and thawing weather.
The rubber stone driveway cost ranges from $5 to $10 per sq.ft. for the material only. They are an eco-friendly option since it’s made of eco-friendly recycled rubber that gets poured over a concrete or asphalt layer. They are a durable and weather-resistant option that is easy to clean and maintain. They can be customized with different colors and patterns. Their downside is that they last around 15 years, less than concrete and asphalt ones.
Permeable Driveway Cost by Type
Permeable driveways cost between $1 and $25 per sq.ft. for the materials only, usually 10% to 20% more than regular ones. These driveways have lines or holes between them to allow the water, rain, and snow to drain and get absorbed into the ground more easily. When the water drains properly, it protects the environment by returning the water to the soil. Also, it prevents water from accumulating on the driveway, causing some materials to deteriorate faster. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, some of the benefits of a permeable driveway include minimizing the chances of flooding of building foundations due to the water absorption capacities and preventing the accumulation of water on sidewalks, patios, and driveways. Below is a table with the most common permeable driveways and the cost of each of the materials.
|Type||Cost per Sq.Ft. (Materials Only)|
|Grass||$1 - $5|
|Gravel||$2 - $10|
|Asphalt||$2.50 - $5|
|Concrete||$4 - $20.50|
|Paver||$5 - $25|
The cost of permeable grass driveway materials costs from $1 to $5 per sq.ft. It’s a great option to improve the curb appeal of the house and improve its resistance to water. The grass lines are strategically placed between the stone or brick pavers, allowing the ground to absorb the water quickly. This makes the driveway flood-resistant and eco-friendly at the same time. You will also be able to walk on it even if it’s rainy or muddy. Maintaining a grass driveway requires regular weeding and occasional cleaning with a rubber-tipped shovel to prevent debris from accumulating. While they can last 20 to 30 years, grass block pavers on driveways that get used several times a day require replacing every 10 to 15 years.
Permeable Gravel Driveway
A permeable gravel driveway costs between $2 and $10 per sq.ft. for the materials only. The major benefits of permeable gravel are that it’s easily installed, doesn’t heat up, adds extra stabilization to the driveway, and prevents ruts and holes from forming. It’s also easy to repair because the gravel only needs to be spread again to get the same look on the surface. However, maintenance is an issue with this type of driveways. You need to regularly rake leaves, sand, and debris from the surface to prevent them from accumulating and blocking the drainage paths. When they are properly cared for and maintained, they can last up to 100 years.
Permeable Asphalt Driveway
Permeable asphalt driveways cost $2.50 to $5 per sq.ft. for the material only. It’s a great option for those that want to have the same look of an asphalt driveway but have permeable and environmentally-friendly properties at the same time. If maintained well with regular pressure washing and power sweeping, porous asphalt driveways can last 15 to 30 years. However, it would need to be resurfaced and relayered regularly to maximize its lifespan.
Permeable Concrete Driveway
The cost of permeable concrete ranges between $4 and $20.50 per sq.ft for the materials only. The material is made from a mixture of stones and concrete and looks just like concrete but is permeable to water. Another benefit is that it can be customized. The concrete mixture can be made of recycled materials that would give it a different color. Permeable concrete is also one of the most durable materials used for driveways, with a lifespan of 20 to 40 years. Maintenance is the same as other hard permeable surfaces. They need to be regularly pressure washed and power swept once a year to prevent the holes from clogging.
Permeable Paver Driveway
Permeable pavers cost $5 to $25 per sq.ft for the materials, including brick pavers, concrete blocks, or permeable stone driveway. They are bricks and stones with gravel-filled joints between them that allow the water to filter through and drain into the ground more easily. The pavers come in different shapes, colors, and sizes, allowing homeowners to customize the look of the driveway by arranging them in various patterns. While they cost more to install, they last 35 to 100 years, making the investment worthwhile. Similar to permeable concrete and asphalt driveways, make sure to regularly clean the pavers with a pressure washer and power sweeper to clean off all the dust and debris that may clog the water drainage holes.
Labor Cost to Pave a Driveway
Labor costs to pave a driveway range between $5 and $15 per sq.ft., depending on the materials used. Some rare stones or unique finishes require a lot of expertise, increasing the cost to $30 per sq.ft. Usually, you can expect the labor costs to be around 50% to 60% of the total project cost. Most paving or hardscaping companies charge per sq.ft. However, smaller jobs may be charged by the hour at a rate of $25 to $60 per hour.
Before installation, the area needs to be cleared out and leveled. This includes the removal of trees, shrubs, structures, and the old driveway if there is one in place. The land will be graded and sloped accordingly, and then the driveway will be given a solid subsurface before the actual paving material is laid. Typically, the driveway needs to cure for two or three days. Depending on the material used, you can drive on it.
The labor required depends on the land, your location, what needs to be removed, if cleaning is needed, the slope of the ground, and the landscape. Basic clearing will typically be included in the cost. But, you may pay a premium for jobs that require extra labor. For instance, the labor cost increases if your driveway has curves, is on a hill, or requires additional excavation. If tree or stump removal services are needed, it adds $400 to $1,100 and $200 to $700, respectively.
Cost to Replace a Driveway
The driveway replacement cost per sq.ft. runs between $9 and $29, depending on the material being removed and its replacement. This includes all related costs: breaking up the old material, hauling it away, minor grading, and installing the new one. Therefore, the total price may be higher than installing a new driveway when it is all said and done. If your driveway cannot be resurfaced or you are switching to an entirely new material, removing the old driveway adds $1 to $4 per sq.ft. to the total replacement cost. Removing an old driveway involves breaking it up, removing the pieces,and then hauling them away for disposal. After this is completed, a new material is installed. Sometimes, the base may be installed improperly, which would require replacing the whole driveway along with the base, even though the surface material has not reached its typical lifespan. The whole project takes three to ten days to complete.
Driveway Apron Cost
If you do not have one, you can add a driveway apron for an additional cost of $3 to $10 per sq.ft., depending on the material and method used. The apron is the transitional area between the driveway and the street pavement designed to provide access to the vehicles from the curb to the property. It is usually made of the same material as the driveway and is often replaced or installed at the same time. However, the material that should be used may be regulated by the community. If the material is the same, the maintenance of the apron is identical to the driveway. Plus, when installing an apron at the same time as a driveway, the additional installation costs will be minimal.
The length of the apron ranges between 8 and 15 feet, while the width is identical to the width of the driveway. In most cases, you won’t be able to notice where the driveway ends and the apron starts. However, because aprons connect to city streets, they may be regulated by building codes in most communities. Make sure to keep track of the local regulations to know what your responsibilities are in terms of design, maintenance, and replacement.
Types of Driveway Shapes
Once you pick the material you will use, you can design the driveway in different shapes and forms. The shape improves the design and curb appeal of the home and provides several entry points to the home, gives more parking space, or makes entering and exiting easier for residents and visitors. Most driveways are straight, although you can select one that is S-shaped, L-shaped, circular, horseshoe, or half circle. Usually, the shape increases the overall driveway cost by 10% to 30%, depending on its complexity.
Most homes have space for straight driveways, but not all homes will be fit for all shapes. For instance, to install a horseshoe-shaped one, you would need enough space on both sides of your home and in the front of the property, while L-shaped driveways would need space only on one side. S-shaped ones are typical for big estates, as they have multiple curves that require more length. If you have space in front of the house but not on the sides, a circular or half-circle driveway makes the most sense. Make sure to analyze the terrain and consult your contractor about the shape. In addition to this, check the local regulations and codes, as many cities have rules about how many entrance and exit points a driveway can have onto a public road.
Comparison of Driveway Materials
Every material you use for the driveway comes with its set of pros and cons. Before settling for a specific material, make sure to consider its cost, installation, maintenance, environmental impact, durability, and resistance to heat, rain, and cold. Some materials will be very affordable to install but require regular maintenance and may need to be replaced sooner. On the other hand, some materials will be more expensive initially but will last longer with minimal maintenance.
Durability is one of the most important factors you should look at when analyzing the materials. It determines how long you will be able to use the driveway without replacing it and the type of traffic it will handle. Each material has an expected lifespan, but the exact lifespan depends on the climate, the type of soil you have under the foundation, if the base is high quality, and if you do regular maintenance. The more durable materials usually come at a higher cost, while those not as durable are easier to use and cheaper to install.
|Tar and Chip||10 - 15 Years|
|Tarmac||10 - 20 Years|
|Rubber||10 - 20 Years|
|Asphalt||12 - 25 Years|
|Exposed Aggregate||15 - 40 Years|
|Concrete||20 - 40 Years|
|Gravel||20 - 100 Years|
|Paver||25 - 100 Years|
Maintenance is another big factor if you’re looking at the overall cost of the driveway. Most of them require regular pressure washing and cleaning. However, some materials require additional care like leveling and pothole fixing that adds up to the lifetime cost of the driveway. Other materials will be expensive to install and set up at first but will need minimal upkeep to maintain their original shape over the years.
|Tar and Chip||Easy|
|Paver||Medium - Difficult|
When looking at the environmentally friendly materials for driveways, make sure to analyze which material preserves the topsoil layer and produces fewer carbon emissions. Some materials may not be porous, which means they will hold up the water and prevent it from going back to the soil, damaging the ecosystem. Other materials may be porous but produced with high carbon monoxide emissions, which drastically harms the environment. For instance, rubber is the definite eco-friendly winner. Materials like concrete are not considered environmentally friendly due to the damage they cause to the soil and the carbon emissions produced by making it. Below is a table representing the eco-friendliness level of each material we discuss in this guide.
|Tar and Chip||Low|
|Paver||Medium - High|
Water and Snow Resistance
The climate where you live also determines what type of driveway you should and can install. Some materials don’t perform well in cold, rainy areas, while the cold weather may strengthen others. For instance, gravel and concrete are not fit for rainy, cold areas with freeze and thaw cycles. This climate causes their shape to shift and crack, so they are installed in areas with a warmer climate. Here is how different materials perform in colder conditions.
|Material||Water and Snow Resistance|
|Tar and Chip||Medium - Low|
|Tarmac||Medium - Low|
|Paver||Medium - High|
If you live in an area with long, hot summers, make sure to pave your driveway with a material that holds up well in areas with warmer climates and high temperature spikes. Rougher materials perform better in tropical climates because the rough surface prevents the build-up of algae and mold on the surface during rainy seasons. Some materials are not fit for hot weather because they start losing their shape and deteriorate faster. For instance, asphalt is one of the weakest materials against heat. If you live in an area with high temperatures and a long summer, it’s not the best option for your driveway. Below is a table showing the heat resistance levels for each material.
|Exposed Aggregate||Medium - Low|
|Tar and Chip||Medium - High|
Enhancement and Improvement Costs
The driveway sealcoating price per sq.ft. runs $0.68 to $2.10 with labor, depending on the sealer you will use. The driveway is exposed and affected by rain, snow, ice, and UV rays. Over time, these factors affect its quality and durability. Sealcoating protects it from the elements, so it doesn’t crack and preserves it in the best possible condition. If you have pavers, asphalt, concrete, tarmac, or an exposed aggregate driveway, it’s recommended to sealcoat your it once every one to three years to maximize its lifespan. Driveways with gravel, tar and chip, rubber, and brick do not require a sealant as the materials are prone to cracking. However, they often need resurfacing to ensure the material lasts longer.
If you live in an area with a colder climate, consider adding a heated driveway for $6 and $10 per sq.ft. with labor included. Driveways with snow or ice on them are not only tougher to clean and maintain but create a dangerously slippery surface where someone can injure themselves. There are two types of heated driveway systems: a metal coil system that warms up to the desired temperature and a hot water system connected to a water heater or a boiler. Both systems melt around an inch of snow per hour.
The average cost is around $4 to $8 a sq.ft. if the driveway must be graded before paving. Many of them must be compacted and graded prior to paving. Depending on the landscaping and the condition of the area, this can be very involved or simple, involving the removal of any rocks and excess material.
Outdoor Driveway Lighting
If you add outdoor driveway lighting, you can expect to spend between $50 and $150 per light. This depends on the type of lights you choose, their power source, and how many lights you choose to have installed. This can enhance the look of your driveway and increase safety in the dark.
Driveway Gate Installation
At an additional cost of $1,000 to $6,000, a driveway gate is a great way to protect your driveway and home from unwanted traffic. Gates are available in automatic and manual styles, with automatic gates costing more because of the motors and equipment involved. You will also find gates in several materials and styles and with options that can be customized to your liking.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- Permits. Most cities have regulations about the driveways’ length and design. In most communities, if it extends to the street, you need to have a proper license to pave, repair, or break it. License fees cost $50 to $600, depending on the length of your driveway and your city.
- DIY. You can try to install a driveway yourself, but it’s highly advisable to hire a professional to do the job. They have the experience, knowledge, and equipment needed to perform the job properly. Doing it without the right tools can result in it cracking and breaking faster than its intended lifespan.
- Home value. A nicely designed driveway that matches the house’s exterior increases the house value up to 10%.
- Excavation. Often, excavation is needed to remove the trees, stumps, plants, and soil from the driveway site. This adds $1 to $5 per sq.ft. to the project cost.
- Excavation. Often, excavation is needed to remove the existing driveway or land where the new driveway will be installed. You may also need excavation and removal of trees, stumps, plants, and soil from the driveway site if they are blocking the path you wish to create. This adds $1 to $5 per sq.ft. to the project cost.
- Repairs. Over time, driveways may need repair due to weather, impact damage, or even just age and land settling. The cost of repairs depends on what needs to be done. For example, resurfacing a driveway is among the most expensive options, while simple crack repairs could be quite affordable. Most professionals opt for resurfacing if the damage is extensive.
- Money-saving tips. You can spend less on driveway paving if you choose to have the driveway paved over already smooth land. There will be fewer costs for object removal and grading. You should also note that while gravel is cheaper initially, the recurring maintenance and replacement costs over the years add up quickly. Weigh all these aspects when choosing your material.
- How long before you can drive on a new driveway?
The driveway installation lasts two to three days, with an additional two to three days for the material to cure, which means that you should be able to drive on it within a week from starting.
- Which is cheaper, concrete or asphalt driveway?
Concrete is the more expensive material of the two. Expect to spend about $1 to $5 per sq.ft. for an asphalt driveway without installation. A concrete driveway costs $4 to $7 per sq.ft. for just the materials.
- What is the cheapest way to pave a driveway?
The cheapest material for a driveway paving project is gravel, with a cost of $1 to $3 per sq.ft. and an easy installation. With labor included, you can expect to pay a total cost of $6 to $18 per sq.ft. to pave a gravel driveway.
- How long does it take to pave a driveway?
Usually, the installation process takes two to three days, with an additional two to three days for the materials to cure properly. You should be able to use your driveway one week from starting the project.
- Can you pave over an existing driveway?
Paving over an existing driveway is not usually a good idea because covering up existing problems will cause the new driveway to become damaged sooner or more severely. The exception here is asphalt on asphalt, where the cracks and other issues can be repaired before the new layer of asphalt is applied. Otherwise, it is best to remove it and start fresh.
- How deep should a driveway be?
Ultimately, this depends on the size and quantity of your vehicles. Standard passenger cars are fine with a 4” thick surface. Heavier vehicles might call for a 5” thickness. Combine that with a standard base of 4” to 7”, and you’ll have a minimum thickness of 8” to 12”.