3 out of every 4 Americans worked on their home improvement skills during the year 2020. If you’re like most people, you probably were among those that completed a home project, or at very least, saw neighbors busy at work brushing up their homes amidst COVID lockdowns.
Among the many things people worked on this year, driveways seemed to be particularly popular.
If you’re planning on getting your driveway redone but are curious to know more about driveway paving costs first, you’re in the right place. In this post, our team breaks down the variables that affect driveway paving costs and give you some price per square foot estimates so you know, roughly, what you’ll be spending.
Driveway Costs Vary
Before we jump into the nitty-gritty of driveway paving costs, let’s touch on something obvious. Driveway paving costs vary. Those variances are based on several factors ranging from location, to profit margins local driveway paving companies are pursuing, and beyond.
While discussing every variance would exceed the scope of this post, here are five key cost factors to consider.
The number one thing that will affect your driveway paving costs will be the type of driveway you choose to purchase. Different driveway materials represent very different costs per square foot.
Here’s what you’ll have to choose from at most pavers:
The cheapest driveway paving material that will be on offer at your local paver will be gravel. Gravel is a collection of rocks and clay that are laid over bare topsoil to create an informal, rocky-looking driveway.
From a pragmatic perspective, gravel is an excellent driveway choice given that it is durable, particularly in non-rainy climates, and costs roughly $2.25 per square foot.
Among the most popular driveways in America is the concrete driveway. Concrete represents a sizable cost jump from gravel at about $8.50 per square foot. With that additional cost though comes a much more polished, finished look that can help home resale value given that most people buying into a property expect driveways with concrete finishes.
When it comes to durability, concrete is prone to cracking. This is mostly true in cold climates that subject concrete driveways to freezing and thawing.
Blacktop or asphalt driveways can vary in price depending on how many layers of it you choose to stack on your driveway. On average, you’ll be looking at $8.90 per square foot for this pavement type.
Asphalt can start to loosen and melt in extreme heat. When it gets cold, however, it will re-solidify. The material can’t crack because it’s not compact like concrete.
The creme de la creme of driveways is the brick driveway.
Laying down brick as a driveway material is an extremely manual process that requires an artistic eye. That can drive up this driveway’s price to a whopping $19 per square foot.
If you can afford a brick driveway, you’ll enjoy durability as most bricks have the ability to hold up for a century. The downside with brick is that their pristine colors can fade over time, particularly in extreme weather.
Once you push past the question of material, your next big driveway cost variance will be the design. For some of you, this question is a non-starter because you’re looking for a basic driveway that’s all function and no form.
For others, design may be an important aspect of the vision you have for your new driveway.
Not all driveway types are open to interpretation when it comes to design. For example, asphalt is very rarely (if ever) used artistically in driveways. Conversely, people do beautiful designs with brick, interchanging colors, creating images, leveraging staggered brick sizes, and more.
The more art you have your builder implement into your driveway, the more time they’ll take and the more money they’ll charge.
Where you live affects the cost of labor and the cost of labor affects your overall driveway costs. Chances are, you have a pretty good beat on how the prices in your area stack up to other costs of living rates around the country.
As a rule of thumb, the more metropolitan your area is, the more your paving costs are likely to run you. This isn’t always the case but for most things, you can bet that bigger cities mean bigger prices.
Time of Year
A slow, warm spring morning is going to incur less in labor charges than a busy summer day or a slow, snowy day. So, consider the weather and how popular paving projects are likely to be before requesting a bid from a company as weather compilations and demand drive up prices.
High/low seasons vary from area to area. The best way to know when you can get the best deal is to ask your paver outright.
Tired of shoveling snow out of your driveway? If you are, consider splurging for a heated driveway.
Heated driveways will keep your car’s tires safe from extreme weather conditions and will melt away snow so you don’t have to clear it yourself.
Just be aware that heated driveways usually look like blacktop and can cost around $21 per square foot.
Are Driveway Paving Costs Worth the Investment?
At the end of the day, your home’s facade is an important factor in its perceived value. Your driveway is a huge part of that facade.
So, are driveway paving costs worth the investment? If you have a dilapidated driveway, we certainly think so. How much you choose to invest in your driveway, based on the factors we shared, will be up to your budget and individual tastes.
If you find yourself in need of more assistance, consider browsing additional real estate content on our blog.