The average cost for a concrete driveway is $5,500 start to finish. Hiring a concrete paver, you will likely spend between $3,750 – $7,000 for a 2-car driveway. The price of a concrete driveway can vary greatly by region (and even by zip code). View our local concrete pavers or get free estimates from pros near you.
When it comes to installing your driveway or replacing it, concrete is possibly going to be your best choice when it comes to price and longevity. Concrete is one of the eco-friendliest materials in use because it’s made from the most plentiful material on the earth—limestone—and mixed with water, natural rock, and sand. It can also be made from waste byproducts.
The cost is spread out over the 40—50 years it will last for, so it ends up costing less because of its low maintenance needs. In general, expect to pay $3,750–$7,000 for a 20’ x 24’ driveway.
The end cost will depend on many factors, but the three main cost considerations are the:
Coming in at about $5,500, concrete will be the most durable of all the driveways you can install, especially in warmer climates. It can last for up to fifty years before needing to be replaced or resurfaced, as long as maintenance is kept up and it doesn’t need resurfacing or resealing. It also comes in many types and colors. Concrete pavers can be installed by hand.
According to the American Concrete Pavement Association, concrete is 72% more reflective than asphalt, so less lighting is needed when it is used for roads, driveways, and curbs, and it has a lot less heat absorption. However, concrete can crack when in a typical freeze-thaw climate, and it is often stained due to oil and tire tracks.
Asphalt is the most affordable driveway material at approx. $4,200, and it handles northern temps much better. It also settles and dries faster once poured, but it doesn’t have much longevity, and there’s no way to do custom design work with it because it only comes in black (although that might be changing). It softens in high temps and needs to be resealed or resurfaced every 3–5 years.
Brick or cobblestone is expensive at approx. $9,200, or up to $33,000 for cobblestone. Bricks come in various colors, are installed by hand, and can make great custom designs; but they have a higher chance of cracking, breaking, and shifting, and the surface must be power washed and resealed every year.
Gravel is the least expensive at approx. $840 (for the gravel alone) and is easy to install, but it moves with each bout of rain or snow. Stabilizers can help with that, and it can last for up to 100 years. It comes in a lot of colors.
The recommended square footage for your driveway is based on the number of cars, the size of your vehicles, and extra sq. footage for walkarounds.
The final cost of your driveway will vary greatly if you need a lot of prep work done on the ground itself. The ground for the driveway must be levelled properly, and all trees or shrubbery will need to be moved out of the way. If there is an existing driveway in place, it will need to be excavated and the materials removed.
$9 /square yard
Old slab can be excavated with hand tools or large equipment to a uniform depth lower than the final surface level required, to a maximum depth of 8”. The cost will also include area preparation and protection, and removal of debris. Concrete can be crushed to be reused or recycled in many ways—as granular refill, course base material for new pavement, or as aggregate in new concrete. This is great news, because one can avoid the high cost of transporting the debris ($100 per ton for disposal) by selling it on to recycling companies, and it helps landfills avoid the large volume being dumped there.
Factor in extra for the removal and disposal of all sod, plants, trees, etc. from the site of the future driveway. Consider hiring a contractor like Premier II Home & Lawn Care in Westport, MA; or Excel Construction in Van Nuys, CA, that is equipped to install your new driveway and take care of your landscaping needs.
If the driveway is on a slope or will not be straight, local building permits will probably require a report and recommendations from a soil engineer. This will cover the presence of any soft spots in the soil, soil expansion tendencies, and drainage/runoff considerations. Adequate support for the driveway is paramount. If the soil is not strong enough to support the new driveway, the soil can be replaced with engineered fill.
The materials will need to be transported to the site for both the base layer and the concrete itself.
An even sub base is layered over the soil to prepare it for the cement layer. Prices for the gravel or crushed rock and concrete will depend on local proximity, local prices, and availability. Orders of these include 4% extra to cover loss.
The cost for a 4” thick layer of concrete with aggregate alone is $2.07/square foot.
You’ve probably driven by more than one driveway as it’s being installed, and seen the wood forms around it with the steel mesh crisscrossing through the middle. The mesh is need to reinforce the concrete and help it stand up to forty years of heavy vehicles, with a standard strength of 3500 PSI. Also included in the cost are expansion joints and rebar.
The cost for your design choice will depend on the amount of labor and types of material required to give the desired look.
The top “skin” of the concrete is removed and then an aggregate is added. This can either be mixed into the concrete mix or dropped onto the surface. It’s a great way to make the driveway surface rough and non-slippery and costs approx. $1.50–$1.80/sq. ft.
Shapes are stamped into the concrete as an overlay, and sections can be done in different colors. Sometimes aggregate is added to the stamped areas to give a different look, such as a 1’–2’ brick look on the borders of the driveway. Stamping will cost $2.60–$15 more per square foot. Scoring costs about $0.27/linear foot.
After the concrete sets, the cement is stained by hand. Some people choose to place colored graphics into the driveway, or they stencil out certain portions of it and add varying colors to them. These acid-or water-based colors penetrate deeply, with an acid-based stain giving the concrete a mottled effect. Stenciling will cost $1–$25 more per square foot, with engraving costing more. Colored concrete costs about $40/cubic yard.
Concrete doesn’t have to be sealed at all, and the natural weathering can add to its appeal. If you do choose to seal the driveway, you can choose between solvent and water-based acrylics which are often mixed with epoxies, polyurethanes, or silicones.
An acrylic spray-on cure and seal will cost approx. $0.53/sq. ft. Two applications of a nonmetallic color and concrete hardener cost about $2.40/sq. ft.
The solvent-based sealers are of a higher quality and highlight the concrete’s colors better. High-gloss sealers are no longer popular and can be slippery. They aren’t as good for the concrete either, because they block in the moisture, which can cause fracturing, white hazing, or fogging.
Ultimately, look for a penetrating sealer that provides a chemical barrier to oil and freeze-thaw conditions, is breathable, won’t yellow, isn’t slippery, enhances the color of the concrete if you want it to, and provides invisible protection.
Buy a commercial grade sealer. Balance durability and density in your choice. Test the sealer on a small corner of your driveway to make sure it will give the final look you want. Once you’ve settled on your final choice, make sure the sealer is applied in thin coats (with a roller or sprayer, based on instructions) so as to allow the concrete to expand and allow moisture to escape. The seal should last for 1–3 years.
The amount of maintenance work you’ll need to do on your concrete driveway will depend on its use—how many cars or heavy vehicles, how often they drive in and out, oil and gas stains, amount of visible wear, metal blades from ploughing up snow, etc. The type of sealer you have in place will also determine how often you’ll need to power wash and reseal.
Because concrete lasts for so long, if there are no cracks but it needs a facelift, the surface can be scraped off and a new coat of concrete applied. It’s cheaper than repaving and costs about $1–$3/square foot. You can make the surface look completely different by adding color or other decorative effects.
Concrete can crack because of a bad subbase, badly mixed concrete, bad joints, or severe thaw-refreeze weather. As long as the subbase and the concrete are in good shape, the concrete slab can be repaired.
If money is tight and you’ve been advised to replace the concrete slab, know that additives and aggregate can be pumped beneath the slab to fill sinking spots and prop the concrete back up.
Ask your top three choices of contractor what they will do to prevent cracked concrete, and what kind of warranty they offer for it. Some state concrete associations will offer extended warranties of three years or more if you use one of their recommended concrete producers and contractors. They can offer this because the participators have agreed to follow their installation procedures and quality control standards.
Local city permits, homeowners’ association rules, and city taxes can add more onto your final quote. Your contractor should know exactly what is required and obtain the city permits for you. Read over your homeowners’ association manual to see what is and is not allowed re colors, designs, shapes, and how the driveway meets the street.
It should take about 52–54 hours with a five-man crew in perfect weather conditions to install a concrete driveway.
Many homeowners on larger properties like to install an entryway with a key-coded gate at the end of the driveway.
While this is usually worked into the quote, it can be well worth hiring a contractor who offers this. Conceptual 3D drawings of the finished project will let you “see” how the finished driveway will look.
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