the average costs of a concrete driveway

The average concrete driveway costs between $2400.00 and $4800.00 to install based on a 400 square foot to 600 square foot driveway size. That's based on a thickness of 4 inches with a 2 foot mat of rebar for reinforcement.

The gravel sub-base preparation could add  $1000.00 to $4000.00 to the total cost depending on how much gravel you need and if you have to demo and haul off an existing driveway.

Doing the work yourself you could save half of the costs above. Material costs for concrete and rebar for a 16' x 25' x 4" concrete driveway will cost between $1000 and $1200 dollars.  

Driveway Apron Details

Illustration by Gregory Nemec

Day-to-day Timeline

Friday: Measure and mark the driveway and remove the old paving (Steps 1-5).

Saturday: Prepare the bed, lay the cobblestones, and grout (Steps 6–18).

Video

Paving Stone Driveways

  • Cost Per Square Foot: Between $10 and $20 per square foot with installation, according to HomeAdvisor, or $5,000 to $10,000 for a 500-square-foot cobblestone driveway.
  • Useful Lifespan: 30+ years, depending on climate and use
  • Maintenance: Low
  • DIY Potential: Low

Stone is the most expensive of the four driveway materials in this guide. It’s also arguably the most attractive. Stone blends well with other landscaping and design elements, such as fountains, driveway islands, stone walkways, and xeriscapes.

The downside is limited DIY potential: As this guide from This Old House shows, you’ll need professional equipment to prepare, grade, and pave the driveway – within reach for extremely capable homeowners with prior advanced DIY home improvement experience, but probably not realistic for the typical weekend warrior. To reduce storm runoff, consider permeable pavers, which can absorb 10 inches of water per hour (handling all but the most apocalyptic downpours).

Advantages of Stone Driveways

  1. High Aesthetic Appeal. Stone and brick driveways look great. If boosting your home’s curb appeal is a priority, there’s a strong case to be made for these materials.
  2. Durability. In most climates, stone and brick are more durable than asphalt or concrete. Though you’ll occasionally need to swap out individual stones and eventually replace the entire driveway, you don’t need to worry about periodic resurfacing projects that jack up your driveway’s lifetime ownership costs.
  3. Stability. Stone is stable and clean. Unlike dirt and gravel, which can be messy in wet conditions, stone is always firm.

Disadvantages of Stone Driveways

  1. High Cost. Stone and brick are pricey – really pricey. A top-of-the-line, professionally installed stone driveway can easily cost $10 to $20 per square foot. The attendant increase in your home’s resale value is far from guaranteed to offset the up-front investment.
  2. Slipperiness. Stone and brick aren’t high-traction materials. In inclement weather, they’re more treacherous for pedestrians and drivers than asphalt and unfinished concrete – both rougher, grippier materials. If ice and snow are common where you live, one of those materials might be a better fit.
  3. Runoff. Stone and brick are basically impermeable, making storm runoff unavoidable. For homeowners concerned about soil erosion or surface water pollution, this is a potential deal-breaker.
  4. Generally Requires Professional Installation. You can try to install your stone driveway yourself, but it’ll take a long time and probably won’t turn out that well. If paying a pro isn’t in the cards for you financially, you might want to stick with a more DIY-friendly option – gravel – for the time being.

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Driveway Garden

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Dan Carlson (@wigglestemgardens)

Usually, that small strip between the tracks for your tires goes completely unused, and is filled with gravel or grass. The idea of using that space to plant some succulents or ground cover is genius! It will add a pop of color to your otherwise bland driveway. Plus, who couldn’t benefit from a little extra garden space?

What equipment might I need to build a driveway?

  • Wheelbarrow
  • Measuring tape
  • Shovel
  • Spade
  • Wacker packer or vibratory plate compactor
  • String line
  • Spirit level
  • Straightedge tool
  • Wooden/plastic stakes
  • Wooden float or hand float
  • Cement trowel or mason’s trowel or fresno trowel
  • Edger
  • Hose
  • Groover
  • Broom (used for concrete finish – non slip traction, ideal way to finish in wet climates)

Staining concrete driveways

If you have a concrete driveway, you might consider staining your driveway. Your driveway must be clean of oil and other coatings and must not have any cracks. A wide variety of stains are available depending on whether you use acid stains or water-based stains.

other factors that add to the cost of installing a driveway

  • Your landscape – Is the area flat, slightly sloped, or steep. A steep sloped concrete driveway is more difficult to prep, pour, and finish which could add to the cost of installation.
  • The Driveway Size – A large driveway or a very long driveway would greatly add to the final cost. Concrete is a very expensive building material and adds about $150 per 65 sq. ft. of driveway.
  • How thick your concrete is – Driveway thickness contributes a large percentage  to the cost of a driveway. Concrete costs about $150 per yard – At 4" thick that will cover 80 sq. ft. At 5" thick that covers 65 sq. ft. At 6" thick that covers 50 sq. ft.
  • Driveway design – Curved, circular, half moon shaped, or irregular angles may increase the material (and labor) costs. 
  • Adding color to the mix – Adding 1 bag of color per yard of concrete can add up to $80 per yard of concrete.
  • Stamping the concrete – Stamped concrete averages about $15 – $20 dollars per sq. ft. for labor and materials. 

What is a Geocell?

Geocells are a specific subgroup of geotechnology used to add stability and drainage and stability the base layers of driveway.

Unlike geotextiles which are flat, geocells are vertical, rigid, pocket-like structures. When building a driveway, these pockets are far more desirable than their flat counterparts for a variety of reasons.

Vertical Support:

With their upright shape, geocells provide vertical support to the substrate distributed over them. This support helps the rock maintain its shape and prevent premature compacting.

Improved Drainage:

Because geocells cradle the substrate that is distributed over them, it staves off the compaction that comes with time. Because the substrate to maintain its placement longer, geocells airflow to remain between the rocks longer. Not only does this add strength, but it promotes drainage by allowing the water to filter successfully though the rock.

DIY Concrete Driveway

Pros: The traditional material for driveway, concrete is great for a clean style for your home and can last up to 30 years.

Cons: Cost of material and installation for concrete is more expensive than asphalt. Weather and rising temperature changes causes cement to expand and contract, which creates cracks if not installed properly. When pouring concrete there is a lot to consider such as humidity levels, weather conditions and the length of time cement needs to undergo its chemical process to solidify, which can take up to a couple of weeks. There is also the environmental impact of adding more impermeable surfaces that exuberate flooding and water contamination.

Repair any broken pavers or bricks, fill any cracks

Over time, weather and daily use degrade your driveway. Repairing broken bricks or pavers on your driveway will quickly make a neglected-looking driveway look new again. If your concrete driveway cracks, filling the cracks and resealing the driveway will also reinvigorate your home.

Types of Driveways (and Costs)

When choosing the type of driveway material that is right for you, there are many pros and cons to consider– budget and longevity being top priorities. Below is a quick comparison between the common driveway types: gravel, asphalt, concrete, and paver.

Gravel Driveways:

Among all the options, gravel is the most cost effective. Not only are materials easy and affordable to acquire, but any maintenance needed (such as filling in gaps) can be completed with minimal cost, time, and effort. Furthermore, gravel allows for water to drain directly back into the soil, thus making this option the least environmentally disruptive available.

The downsides to gravel mirror some of its benefits. For instance, even though gravel is easy to maintain and fill, it requires this type of care more than any other driveway. Gravel driveways are highly susceptible to weather eroding in addition to settling as the foundation of the driveway compacts with time and use. This could mean more frequent top offs and a less even surface overall.

Asphalt Driveways:

Asphalt is a petroleum based substance giving it an interesting set of characteristics to consider. While more expensive per square foot than gravel, asphalt is miles cheaper than either concrete of pavers while being just as durable and having a lifespan of up to 40 years.

Unfortunately, asphalt can be quite problematic for certain climates. Extreme heat will cause the asphalt to crack and require regular maintenance. This is because the heat melts the material the asphalt is made with, causing it to become gummy and pliable, only then to harden in a weaker state than when it began. Furthermore, asphalt will need professional seal coating every 2-5 years which can become incredibly inconvenient.

Concrete and Paver Driveways:

Related though material, there are relatively few differences between concrete and paver driveways. Concrete is slightly more variable as its mixture and curing is dependent on both your builder and environment. Pavers however, are manufactured in controlled environments where they are all made in the same fashion and given ideal conditions to cure.

Apart from this, concrete options tend to be the strongest (and most expensive) options one can pick for a driveway. While this durability is a selling point, many cannot afford the uptick in costs when compared to other materials. In addition to high material costs, both paver and concrete driveways are expensive to install– requiring many hours of labor and extra material.

In spite of their differences, one thing remains common between the three– the benefit from added reinforcement. This additional support is most successfully brought to the project by geotechnology. More specifically, geocells.

DIY Interlocking Concrete Paver or Brick Permeable Paver Driveway

Pros: It has low long-term maintenance requirements and adds aesthetic patterns and colors to your pavement for your front yard. Maintenance costs should be modest if installed correctly and the material should last a long time.

Cons: Usually more expensive than other options and installation is costly and extremely time-consuming. Most can be permeable but over time sediment fills in and can take away permeability. 

Final Word

Even if you’re perfectly content in your current home, your plans could always change. It never hurts to keep one eye on the future.

An attractive driveway won’t single-handedly bring buyers to your door, but it could raise your home’s selling price. It’s certainly not one of these ill-advised home improvement projects that actually decrease resale value. Keep it on your to-do list for a future time when your budget and appetite for hands-on housework allow.

DIY driveway vs. driveway contractor:

A simple concrete driveway is one of the more popular concrete-involving DIY projects out there. If you’re eager to save some money and gain some fair dinkum experience and exercise then building and pouring your own driveway could be the perfect weekend project for you. If you have experience as a tradie or are a bit of a backyard warrior, a cement driveway is the perfect weekend challenge.

There are a few pros and cons to look at when considering whether or not to build the driveway yourself or hire a contractor.

DIY Pros:

  • Great way to kill time on the weekend
  • Solid weekend experience/challenge
  • Boasting rights at your next family BBQ
  • Chance to hone in your concrete pouring and curing skills

DIY Cons:

  • It’s not easy work and may take a few weekends
  • Your front yard will be a construction site for a couple weeks
  • Budgeting may go awry without clear research and an adequate comparison search for material/plant (comparing prices amongst suppliers)
  • You need to know how to mix and pour concrete

Contractor Pros:

  • They can complete the job during the week – while you are at work
  • They can typically complete the task quicker
  • They offer a higher standard of quality as they complete projects like this regularly
  • You know what to expect – the look and time frame of construction

Contractor Cons:

  • You can’t claim you built it
  • Extra cost for the labour – and if you aren’t savvy on prices, you might end up agreeing to an overvalued quote

In light of this, if you do choose to outsource all or some of your DIY driveway be sure to check out our directory, which is chockablock full of suppliers, machines, and equipment to help you with your newest residential or commercial challenge. From land clearing and excavation to concrete pouring, iSeekplant has your driveway project covered!

Click here to find and compare suppliers that can help with your DIY project!

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