On this page:
- How are Asphalt Driveway Installations Priced?
- Should I Have an Asphalt Driveway Built?
- What Affects the Cost of Installing an Asphalt Driveway?
- What Details Will Influence the Cost of My Driveway Installation?
- Preparing to Build an Asphalt Driveway
- Cost Comparisons
- Level of Difficulty
- Find a Pro
Asphalt is one of the most popular hard surfaces for driveways, and is typically less expensive than alternatives like concrete and pavers. Asphalt is well suited for climates that are prone to freezing, and is relatively easy to maintain. If asphalt, or “blacktop,” has made it to your short list of driveway material options, keep in mind a few details that could affect the cost to build an asphalt driveway.
How are Asphalt Driveway Installations Priced?
Who to Call
Installing asphalt properly calls for specialized machinery, so the work is typically done by dedicated driveway contractors, rather than other types of pros who offer a broader range of services, like general or concrete contractors. However, if your driveway installation is one phase of a larger construction or remodeling project, your general contractor may coordinate the work, but will likely subcontract a driveway specialist to complete the job.
Pricing the Job
Laying asphalt for a driveway is typically priced by the square foot, with rates for basic installation that range from $2.00 to $5.00. Additional services and supplies, such as drainage materials, a gravel base, or specialized finish could add $1.00 to $10.00 per square foot, depending on the nature of the work. If extensive site work is needed to build the driveway, that aspect of the job may be priced separately from the installation of asphalt and is typically based on the time, crew, equipment, and material needed to get the location ready for surfacing.
Should I Have an Asphalt Driveway Built?
Asphalt provides a long-lasting hard surface for a driveway in many settings. Asphalt is generally better suited than concrete for cold climates, because concrete is less flexible than asphalt and more likely to crack as a result of freezing. However, concrete may be superior in very hot climates, since asphalt can soften and become vulnerable to blemishing.
Asphalt driveways are typically less expensive to install than concrete and pavers, though the scale of the job helps determine the significance of the savings. If your driveway is small, you may only see a modest savings with asphalt over concrete, but if the driveway is large or extensive site work is involved, the savings with asphalt could be substantial.
Asphalt driveways require little maintenance to remain stable and in good condition. In addition to keeping the surface clean, staying on top of repairing cracks, and applying a seal coat periodically can help a driveway last for decades. When the driveway starts to show its age, resurfacing may be an option if its base is stable, providing an affordable alternative to a complete replacement of the driveway.
What Affects the Cost of Installing an Asphalt Driveway?
The cost of living and labor in your area will have some influence on every home improvement and repair project for which you hire a pro, but your location carries some specific concerns when it comes to installing an asphalt driveway. Since the material must be hot when installed, your proximity to the asphalt plant could be a significant factor in the price of the job. The farther from the plant you are, the more trucks your contractor will need to keep the job running at the right price, and the more equipment he has running, the higher the cost will be.
Naturally, the overall size of a driveway will affect the cost of the job, since the larger the area is to pave, the more material, time, and manpower will be needed to get the job done. Since there is significant fixed overhead for driveway contractors, the price per square foot for a small job often works out to be more than for a larger one.
In addition to the square footage of the driveway, its layout may be a factor in the cost of installation. Paving turnarounds, slopes, and curves make the project more complex than on a straight run, so it can take more manual labor, material, and prep work to build and surface the driveway.
What Details Will Influence the Cost of My Driveway Installation?
Proper ground preparation is essential to get a stable, lasting driveway surface, so the amount of work involved in getting the site ready for paving is an important consideration. Demolishing an existing driveway, installing drainage systems, and adding and compacting a gravel base are all typical tasks that must take place before asphalt can be installed. A driveway contractor may include basic base preparation in a standard quote, but if extensive excavation and grading are required, the extra work may be priced separately or even subcontracted to an excavation contractor.
If the access to your driveway is limited, or if some portions of the project are too small for paving with large equipment, some of the work may be done manually by your contractor’s crew. This type of work is time-consuming, and the added labor requirement can quickly raise the cost of the job.
Though the standard black finish of an asphalt driveway is tidy and attractive, it is possible to customize and dress up the material. Stamped and colored asphalt can add character to an otherwise plain surface, much like concrete, but adding a premium finish to the driveway may increase the bottom line for the project by $3.00 to $5.00 per square foot.
Preparing to Build an Asphalt Driveway
When planning and budgeting to build your new driveway, request pricing from a few local contractors, and be sure they make a site visit so the specific features of the job are addressed in their quotes. Compare each price for equivalent materials and services, and verify that the pro you hire is properly licensed and insured in your state and will pull any needed permits for the work before starting.
Asphalt driveways are installed relatively quickly, but depending on the scale and scope of the project, your driveway could be out of service for a couple of days. Be sure to plan ahead for any problems this may create with parking so you can avoid delays and issues with accessibility while the work is underway.
|$1,000 - $2,900||$5,500 - $9,000||$22,000 - $36,000|
A number of details will affect the actual cost of your asphalt driveway project, but consider our examples to help you budget for the job. A few scenarios may help you see how the features of the installation can affect the cost.
A Straight Shot: $1,000 - $2,900
- • Site Preparation: In new construction, site work is simplified by the lack of an existing driveway and ease of access to the area. Contractors ready the site easily by grading for correct pitch, building a gravel base, and compacting the surface.
- • Shape and Size: Minimum width for single-car access keeps the dimensions of this driveway to a simple 12’ by 40’ run.
- • Finish: A standard surface finish keeps costs low, since no additional materials or time are needed to add texture or color to the material.
A New Spring In Your Step: $750 - $1,400
- • Site Preparation: On this project, the existing driveway must be removed, adding a day’s labor, equipment operation, and disposal to the bottom line. The added work can increase the cost of the job by as much as $2,000.
- • Shape and Size: A 20’ width accommodates two cars for the 40’ run in this example. An additional 12’x20’ turnaround provides extra parking, but adds 240 square feet and a bit of complexity to the job.
- • Finish: Dressing up this driveway with a stamped texture adds up to $3.00 per square foot to the total cost.
A Grand Entrance: $22,000 - $36,000
- • Site Preparation: A full removal and new layout make for a lot of prep on this job. An entire day may be needed to demo the old surface and prepare the new areas of the driveway.
- • Shape and Size: A double-width, 100’ long semicircle provides convenience and elegance, but requires more time and material to build than a straight driveway of a similar size.
- • Finish: Dressing up this driveway with color and texture adds $5.00 to $8.00 per square foot to the cost of a basic finish.
Level of Difficulty
Building an asphalt driveway is an advanced-level project that requires specialized machinery, so is best left to a pro. Although the installation itself isn’t a good project for the DIY approach, most homeowners can manage the maintenance tasks required to keep the driveway in good shape, from cleaning to filling cracks and applying sealer.
Asphalt Driveway Installation Services
If you are ready to talk with local contractors about your asphalt driveway installation, get in touch with a few Driveway Installation Pros in your area. The contractors in our network have a proven record of quality work, and are verified to carry licenses and insurance as required by their home state. It’s important to work with a contractor you can trust on a big job like this, and Pro Referral can help you connect with the right Pros where you live.
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