Calculating the cost of a new driveway requires that you consider several options. This includes a variety of materials in addition to labor costs and long term maintenance. Some options may seem expensive up front but will last much longer and require little care over the cheaper ones.
When considering the cost of a new driveway one of the first questions to answer is what size is the driveway. The size not only needs to be measured in width and length but also in depth. A standard home driveway is four inches thick whereas a commercial driveway is typically six inches thick. Most materials are offered by the cubic foot or the cubic yard. In order to figure out how much driveway material is needed, take the length in feet x width in feet x thickness in feet = cubic feet. Then divide by 27 to get cubic yards. This will be the amount of material needed to complete the project.
Several different options are available for driveway materials ranging from very expensive and labor intensive to cheaper and easier applications. One of the most expensive and labor intensive materials is cobblestone. This material makes a beautiful statement but can cost around $5 each. The most common, mid-line material is concrete. The average price is between $3 and $12 a square foot. The cost can be driven up if the concrete is colored or stamped with a design. Concrete can accommodate special designs, slopes and curves with little manipulation.The cheapest driveway solution is a gravel driveway. Not only is this relatively cost effective, it can be covered later with the material of choice. Recycled Asphalt Product (R.A.P.) is a mixture of crushed brick, concrete and asphalt with a cost of 50 cents to $3 per square foot.
Labor costs will also range based on the chosen material and is charged by the hour and by the person. This is a huge factor when calculating the cost of the driveway; cobblestone will be very time consuming while concrete and gravel will not. Each individual local contractor will provide a labor estimate for the type of material chosen to complete the driveway.
You'll pay extra costs for slopes, curves, odd shapes and other complications. You'll also have to pay extra to have your current driveway torn up and the material carted away. Be sure this cost is included in the estimate.
When choosing a material to complete a driveway one final thing to consider is the maintenance and the life span of the material. Some options may seem expensive but will last longer and require little to no maintenance while the cheaper options could require replacement and higher maintenance.
Living in Denver, Lynndee Marooney has been writing finance and credit-related articles, guides, manuals and e-books for private companies since 1995. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and a Bachelor of Science in finance from the University of Maryland. She enjoys counseling clients who are experiencing financial difficulties.