Replacing your driveway isn’t something you do very often. But when the time comes, you’ll want to know what you’re getting yourself into.
Driveway prices can vary significantly, depending on the type of driveway you choose and the square footage.
Concrete, which is the most popular material used for driveways, has an average cost of $4 – $15 per square foot. However, the total cost of a new concrete driveway can quickly increase if you opt for heated coils, special finishing, sealants, pavers or other upgrades.
Let’s explore the different types of driveway materials you can choose, including their price ranges, the pros and cons and other tips on how to make sure your new driveway project is a success.
What Is the Cheapest Type of Driveway?
If you’re looking for the cheapest type of driveway, asphalt offers the lowest price point among driveway materials at $2 – $5 per square foot. If you choose to DIY, you can save hundreds or thousands of dollars on labor and demolition costs – though this project might not be for the fainthearted.
Different driveway materials serve different needs, and the type of driveway you choose will depend on those needs and your budget. Upfront cost isn’t everything, and each driveway material comes with advantages and disadvantages.
A typical concrete driveway uses the same material used to make sidewalks.
Concrete is affordable and long-lasting, making it the most popular material for driveways. It’s strong, durable and absorbs less heat than asphalt, which keeps it cooler on hot, sunny days. Unfortunately, concrete also has some weaknesses, like being prone to cracking and staining.
Concrete driveways are also highly customizable – though any special finishes will cost you. Homeowners looking to add some pizzazz to their driveways can explore options to increase the aesthetic appeal of concrete by staining, stamping, coloring or polishing the concrete to give it a different look.
Concrete driveway cost:
A driveway made of concrete costs between $4 – $15 per square foot.
Asphalt driveways are a fast and affordable choice. Asphalt is easy to identify because it’s the material of choice for roads. You probably drive or walk on asphalt on a daily basis.
Asphalt gets extremely hot in the summer, and though it may crack and crumble, most homeowners can patch and repair small gaps and cracks themselves. Overall, asphalt is a durable choice that should last 20 – 25 years with regular maintenance and resealing.
Although the options to customize asphalt are limited, it’s possible to stamp asphalt to give it the look of brick.
Asphalt driveway cost:
The average cost of an asphalt driveway is $2 – $5 per square foot.
Rubber driveways aren’t something you see every day, but they’re great for driveways if you live in colder climates. Rubber driveways won’t crack under pressure or from repeated freezing and thawing. They’re also slip-resistant and can easily handle rock salt and other ice-melters without being damaged.
Another benefit to rubber driveways is that you can pour them right over top of most existing driveways. And once they’re there, they don’t require much maintenance.
As great as rubber driveways are, they’re not perfect. For many homeowners, the price tag alone is enough to rule them out. Rubber driveways are also far from being the most aesthetic. So if curb appeal is important to you, rubber might not be ideal.
Rubber driveway cost:
Rubber driveways can cost an average of $10 – $25 per square foot.
Heated driveways are useful for one thing: melting snow and ice off your driveway without damaging it. A heated driveway saves you the trouble of having to plow or shovel and prevents dangerous slips and falls. It also spares your driveway’s surface from harmful ice melters, like salt.
Heated driveways aren’t a type of driveway material. Instead, they can be made from different materials that are heated by adding a specialized heating system underneath the driveway’s surface.
As you may have guessed, heated driveways are expensive and can add to your electric bill. Also, when it’s time to repair or replace the heating element, you’ll likely have to tear up part of your driveway.
Heated driveway cost:
The average price range of installing a heated driveway is between $12 – $25 per square foot.
What’s the difference between replacing and resurfacing a driveway?
Before doing anything to your driveway, it’s important to understand the difference between resurfacing and replacing a driveway.
Resurfacing a driveway entails giving it a new top layer. If the current driveway is in severe disrepair, you might have to mill the top layer so you can effectively resurface. Resurfacing is fast and affordable, but it doesn’t last as long as if you completely replace a driveway.
Replacing a driveway is a more extensive and expensive project than resurfacing. When you replace a driveway, you have to tear out the existing driveway with heavy equipment and put down several layers of material, including a new sub-base.
What Factors Into the Cost of a Driveway?
Driveway repair costs are influenced by the type of materials you choose,the size of the driveway and other factors – like labor costs, demolition and more.
Driveway construction permits
If you build, replace, expand or alter your driveway, you’ll likely need a construction permit from the city or county. Though permit fees vary by location, you can expect a driveway permit to cost about $125.
Check your local government’s website before your build. Or ask the company doing the work what construction permits you need to get before replacing your driveway.
Labor can account for around half the cost of your driveway replacement. As with building materials, the type of driveway you choose can increase installation costs. According to HomeAdvisor, labor costs for asphalt driveways will usually run you around $2 a square foot, while labor costs for installing a concrete driveway are around $5 per square foot. Unsurprisingly, heated driveways and other more labor-intensive projects will carry additional costs.
Driveway removal and demolition
If you choose to replace your driveway instead of resurfacing it, you’ll have to pay for the old driveway to be demolished and removed. Since certain materials are harder to demolish than others, the old driveway material can increase the costs of demolition and removal.
Asphalt driveway demolition is relatively inexpensive, at $1 – $3 per square foot, whereas concrete driveway removal averages between $2 – $6 per square foot.
Other miscellaneous costs can make your new driveway more expensive, especially if you choose high-end materials or want to add decorative details. Patterns, borders, edges and landscaping can all contribute to higher driveway costs. And while these might make your driveway look nicer, they often don’t serve a functional purpose.
When Is the Best Time To Replace a Driveway?
The right time to replace a driveway depends on what you’re hoping to get from your new one. You might consider replacing your driveway to boost curb appeal, but many people will choose to replace their driveway because it’s old and damaged.
Here are some signs your driveway is at or near the end of its useful lifespan:
- Multiple cracks
- Drainage issues or pooling water
- An uneven surface
- Looking old – and not knowing the last time it was replaced
Do New Driveways Add Value to a Home?
Driveways are more than just a place to park your vehicles. A new driveway can help increase your home’s curb appeal – and homes with high curb appeal tend to sell for about 7% more than similar homes with less tasteful exteriors.
If you decide to forego replacing your driveway, be aware that an old, damaged driveway can detract from your home value. Your driveway is one of the first things potential buyers see when they pull up to your home, and if it’s falling apart, can make a bad first impression.
Alternatively, a well-maintained, quality driveway can help your home stand out and demonstrate your diligence in maintaining your property. That said, the type of driveway you have will determine how much value this home improvement can add to your property.
Ways To Finance Your New Driveway
If you don’t have the cash to pay for a new driveway today, there are several alternatives you can use to finance the replacement of your driveway.
Consider the following options:
- Personal loan: A personal loan lets you borrow money and pay it back in installments over time. If you’re taking out a personal loan, you can expect the interest rate to be higher than your mortgage, especially if it’s an unsecured personal loan.
- Home equity loan: A home equity loan allows you to borrow a lump sum against your home’s equity. These loans are second mortgages that offer competitive interest rates, though they may be higher than the interest on your first mortgage.
- Home equity line of credit (HELOC): A home equity line of credit (aka HELOC) is like a home equity loan. But instead of a one-time payment, it’s a revolving line of credit from which you can borrow money as needed over 5 – 10 years.
- Credit card: Swiping your credit card is fast, easy and convenient – and most contractors will accept credit card payments. However, if you decide to use your credit card to pay for a new driveway, you could end up paying a much higher interest rate than if you took out a loan or used a HELOC.
- Contractor financing: Some driveway contractors offer financing options (usually through a third-party lender) that allow you to pay over time. These loans can vary and may have a shorter repayment period. So be sure to read the fine print and compare them to loan options from other lenders.
Pave the Way for Higher Value
Replacing your driveway might seem like an enormous expense. But a new driveway can last for several decades, improving your home’s curb appeal and overall value. Though the upfront cost of replacing your driveway is high, it can be worth it if you’re looking to make a long-term investment in your property with lasting benefits.