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How Much Does Paving an Asphalt Driveway Cost?

on 10/22/2023 | Reading time: 14 minutes

Paving an asphalt driveway is a significant investment in your property. This comprehensive guide will explore the costs involved, highlighting the factors you must consider to make an informed decision. Understanding these elements is crucial as they affect your immediate budget and your driveway's long-term value and maintenance.

asphalt driveway

An asphalt driveway freshly laid by professionals, showcasing smooth, dark texture, perfect edges, and illustrating high-quality workmanship and durability.

Overview of Asphalt Driveway Paving

Asphalt, a durable and sustainable material, is a popular choice for driveways due to its resilience and relatively low cost compared to concrete or pavers. Paving with asphalt typically involves several steps, including removing the existing surface, preparing the base, laying the asphalt, and sealing the driveway. Properly installed, an asphalt driveway can last 20 years or more, making it an investment that can enhance your property's value and curb appeal.

Factors Affecting the Cost of Asphalt Driveway Paving

To understand the breakdown of expenses, let's examine the critical factors determining the overall cost.

1. Size and Thickness

The cost of an asphalt driveway scales with its size. Larger driveways require more materials and labor. Thickness is also crucial; a standard driveway is typically 2 to 3 inches thick after compaction, but requirements may vary based on the ground beneath and vehicle load.

  • Basic driveway: 600 square feet - $1,200 to $2,400 (for 2 to 3 inches thickness)
  • Medium driveway: 750 square feet - $1,500 to $3,000 (for 2 to 3 inches thickness)
  • Large driveway: 1,000 square feet - $2,000 to $4,000 (for 2 to 3 inches thickness)

2. Material Costs

The primary material, asphalt, can fluctuate in price, particularly if crude oil prices are volatile. Also, opting for higher-grade asphalt with more durability can increase costs.

  • Standard-grade asphalt: $70 to $150 per ton
  • High-grade asphalt with added polymers: $100 to $200 per ton

3. Labor Costs

Labor usually includes preparation, installation, and cleanup. Rates can vary based on the contractor's experience, regional cost of living, and the project's complexity.

  • Labor costs: $50 to $80 per hour (may be calculated within the total job quote)

4. Removal of the Existing Driveway

If replacing an old driveway, removal can be a significant expense involving equipment and labor for demolition and hauling.

  • Removal and disposal: $1.50 to $2.50 per square foot

5. Foundation and Preparation Work

Proper base preparation is crucial to prevent issues like cracking or sinking. It involves grading the ground and adding a sub-base layer, often composed of crushed stone and compaction.

  • Preparation and foundation: $1 to $2 per square foot

6. Geographic Location

Prices for materials and labor vary significantly across regions due to differences in cost of living, availability of materials, and local market conditions.

7. Drainage and Resloping

Some properties may require additional grading to prevent water pooling, along with the installation of drainage systems, both contributing to higher costs.

  • Additional grading or drainage solutions: $500 to $3,000+ (depending on complexity)

Additional Costs and Considerations

1. Sealing and Maintenance

Sealing an asphalt driveway can extend its lifespan and is typically recommended every 2-5 years, depending on usage and climate.

  • Sealcoating: $0.15 to $0.25 per square foot

2. Borders, Grading, and Aesthetics

Customizations like decorative borders or specific finishes can enhance the appearance but will also raise the overall cost.

3. Permitting and Inspection Fees

Depending on local regulations, you might need a permit for driveway construction, incurring additional fees.

  • Permit fees: $50 to $200 (varies significantly by locality)

Cost-saving Strategies and Tips

Considering the substantial investment, it's worth exploring ways to save on your asphalt driveway project.

1. Do-It-Yourself vs. Professional Services

While the DIY route may seem cost-effective, it requires skill, proper equipment, and awareness of potential risks. Errors can lead to more significant expenses in the long term. Professional installation ensures proper preparation, application, and a warranty on the work.

2. Seasonal Considerations for Paving

Prices can vary by season, with late spring and summer often being more expensive due to higher demand. Scheduling during off-peak seasons might yield savings.

3. Getting Multiple Quotes

Seek quotes from several reputable contractors to compare prices and understand the scope of work. Don't just opt for the cheapest - consider value, reviews, and past projects.

Example Cost Breakdown

Consider a hypothetical scenario: paving a new 600-square-foot standard driveway.

  • Removal of existing surface: $0 (new installation)
  • Preparation and foundation: $600 to $1,200
  • Asphalt materials and installation: $1,200 to $2,400
  • Sealcoating: $90 to $150
  • Additional customizations or unexpected costs: variable

Total Estimated Cost: $1,890 to $3,750

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. Why choose asphalt for a driveway?

Homeowners often choose asphalt because it's durable, cost-effective, and flexible, making it less likely to crack under stress or temperature changes. It also provides a smooth, continuous surface that's appealing and easy to maintain.

2. How long will an asphalt driveway last?

A properly installed and maintained asphalt driveway can last 20 years or more. Factors affecting longevity include the driveway's foundation, local climate conditions, proper water drainage, regular maintenance, and seal coating every few years.

3. How often should an asphalt driveway be sealed?

Sealing an asphalt driveway every 2 to 5 years is generally recommended. The frequency depends on various factors, such as the climate, the traffic your driveway receives, and the quality of the previous seal coating job.

4. Can I pave over an existing driveway?

Yes, asphalt can be laid over an existing driveway, such as old asphalt or concrete, if in decent condition. However, paving over an old surface may not address underlying issues like cracks or unevenness. It's often best to consult a professional to assess the best approach.

5. Is it cost-effective to DIY an asphalt driveway?

While handling the project yourself can reduce labor costs, asphalt paving requires specialized equipment and expertise. Mistakes can lead to long-term issues that cost more than hiring a professional. For a durable, high-quality driveway, hiring experienced contractors is advisable.

6. How do I calculate how much asphalt I'll need?

To calculate the amount of asphalt, you'll need the area of your driveway in square feet (length x width) and the desired thickness of the asphalt layer. A ton of asphalt typically covers about 80 to 100 square feet at a 2-inch thickness. Divide your driveway's area by the coverage per ton to determine how many tons are necessary.

7. Are there any hidden costs to be aware of when paving an asphalt driveway?

Some potential hidden costs include fees for removing the existing driveway, preparation, and grading of the land, complex layouts, reinforcing mesh if needed, and additional features like edging or a customized finish. Discussing these factors with your contractor to understand the full scope of your project's cost is crucial.

8. When is the best time of year to pave an asphalt driveway?

The ideal time for asphalt paving is when temperatures are moderately warm, often in late spring, summer, or early fall. Asphalt must cure correctly; extremely cold or hot temperatures can affect durability.

9. Will the cost of asphalt change depending on my location?

Yes, the cost of materials and labor can vary significantly depending on your location. Factors like local cost of living, availability of raw materials, and regional labor rates will impact the total cost.

10. How do I maintain my asphalt driveway after paving?

Regular maintenance includes keeping it clean from debris, quickly repairing small holes or cracks, sealing it every few years, and avoiding any chemicals or products that might deteriorate the asphalt. Proper maintenance can significantly extend your driveway's lifespan.

By addressing these common questions, homeowners can be better prepared to undertake the process of paving an asphalt driveway, understanding the costs, benefits, and maintenance involved.

Questions to ask when evaluating paving companies.

When planning to install an asphalt driveway, choosing the right company for the job is crucial. Here are some key questions you should ask when evaluating different contractors to ensure a successful project:

1. How many years of experience do you have in asphalt paving?

This question helps you understand the company's background and expertise. Years often indicate that the company has a long track record of service and experience handling various projects.

2. Can you provide references or examples of similar projects you've completed?

Asking for references or portfolios allows you to verify the quality of their work and hear previous clients' experiences.

3. Are you licensed, insured, and bonded?

Ensuring they are licensed protects you legally, and their insurance should cover both general liability and workers' compensation, safeguarding you from liability for on-site injuries.

4. What grade of asphalt will you use, and what thickness do you recommend for my driveway?

Understanding the materials they will use helps you ensure they're high-quality. The thickness of the asphalt will affect durability, especially in different climates.

5. Could you walk me through your preparation process?

The longevity of an asphalt driveway dramatically depends on its foundation. The contractor should describe the steps for proper ground preparation, drainage planning, and foundational material installation.

6. How will you handle drainage?

Ensuring adequate drainage is essential in protecting against water-related damages. The company should clearly outline its strategies for handling water runoff, ensuring it diverts it effectively from your driveway and property.

7. Do you foresee any particular challenges or requirements for my project?

Every project is unique. The contractor should be able to anticipate potential hurdles in your project, whether related to the location, ground condition, or material requirements.

8. What is the projected timeline for completion?

Knowing when the project will start and end is essential for your planning. Also, understanding how a contractor handles delays can help set proper expectations.

9. What does your quote include, and are there any additional fees I should know?

The contractor should provide a detailed estimate explaining all costs. Ensure it includes paving, preparation, materials, and potential additional fees.

10. What type of maintenance will my driveway require post-installation?

A good contractor will provide detailed maintenance guidelines to help prolong your driveway's lifespan, including when to seal coat the asphalt.

11. What guarantees or warranties do you offer with your work?

Understanding the company's guarantees or warranties can give you peace of mind and protect your investment. Be sure to get any warranty in writing.

12. How do you handle unexpected complications or cost overruns?

The contractor should be transparent about managing unforeseen issues, including additional costs, and who is responsible for covering these expenses.

13. Will you contract any workout, or do you perform all the work?

Sometimes, companies hire subcontractors for certain aspects of the project. It's essential to know who will be on your property and who is responsible for the quality of the work.

14. How soon can vehicle traffic be on the new driveway, and are there any weight restrictions?

Knowing when to use your driveway and any initial restrictions helps prevent damage and ensure the asphalt settles appropriately.

Posing these questions enables you to gather critical information, empowering you to make a well-considered choice when selecting a contractor for your asphalt driveway endeavor. The right company should be transparent, experienced, and professional in all their practices.


The expense of installing an asphalt driveway differs, influenced by numerous contributing elements. Grasping these factors enables you to establish a practical budget, foresee unforeseen expenses, and make knowledgeable choices. Consider immediate costs and long-term maintenance to ensure your investment adds value and convenience to your property.

The opinions articulated in this piece are the guest author's and may not necessarily align with those of Crackerjack. Find more about staff authors of Crackerjack

About the author
Fancy House LLC
Fancy House LLC is a seasoned contractor and a prolific writer in the field of home improvement. With their extensive experience and expertise, they have earned a reputation for delivering exceptional results in construction projects of all scales. As a writer, they share their knowledge through well-researched articles that offer practical tips, advice, and inspiration to homeowners and DIY enthusiasts. With a friendly demeanor and a commitment to quality, Fancy House LLC is a trusted contractor who consistently delivers outstanding home improvement services and informative content.

Our Pricing Methodology

At Crackerjack, we assist many people each year with their projects. Our process involves collecting estimates from local professionals and conducting our own research, which we use to provide you with valuable price information. Please note that the prices provided in the current article are for informational purposes only and may change at any time. To receive a personalized cost estimate for your specific project, we recommend contacting a professional in your area.

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