Concrete is the best material to consider when building a new driveway, as it offers durability and is easier to maintain than the other alternatives. Homeowners can expect to pay between $8 and $18 per square foot, depending on the type of finishing, design intricacy, and other factors.
In this article, we will explore the factors that affect the cost of a concrete driveway installation and whether you should let a professional handle the project. Keep reading until the end, as we will answer a few frequently asked questions that may address some of your concerns.
Let’s get started!
Concrete Driveway Cost Factors You Should Know About
Several factors can affect the cost of a concrete driveway, some of which include the following:
The Size of the Driveway
One major factor affecting a concrete driveway’s cost is its size. Depending on the number of cars you want to accommodate, a driveway made from concrete costs, on average, between $600 and $9,220.
The Type of Base Layer
In most cases, a concrete driveway will have a gravel layer as the base, but you can add reinforced steel or rebar for better support and longevity. This can cost anywhere between $1 and $3 per square foot.
Grading and Excavation
Grading the land before installing concrete slabs is essential if the slope of your driveway is steep or uneven. You may also have to consider excavation to remove the existing driveway, drainage system, and rocky soil.
Depending on the level of adjustment your land needs, it may cost you between $100 and $3,400 for grading and around $500 to $6,000 for excavation.
A concrete driveway in any shape other than a rectangle will cost you more, as more materials and labor are involved. The professional contractor may also require specialized equipment to give the driveway the shape you need, which can further drive the costs up.
Type of Concrete Material
The concrete driveway prices also depend on the type of material used. There are three types of concrete mixes, each with a different price tag. These include the following:
- Plain gray concrete: $4 to $6 per square foot;
- Stained concrete: $6 to $12 per square foot; and
- Stamped concrete: $8 to $15 per square foot.
Finish and Sealant
A polished surface can be slippery and hazardous, so most concrete driveways have a basic broom finish. You should expect to pay more if you want a bit more texture. Typically, a driveway finish can cost between $6 and $12 per square foot.
Besides the finish, driveway sealing is another consideration. Many homeowners prefer a sealant to prolong the driveway’s lifespan and make it look more appealing. You should expect to pay an average of $305 for this service.
A concrete driveway should be at least four inches thick in most residential homes. If you have multiple heavy vehicles on your property, you should consider increasing the thickness of the slabs by an inch or two. This can increase the cost of your new driveway by up to 25%.
Adding a heating element or a hydronic system under the concrete driveway is a great way to reduce frost in locations that experience a colder climate.
However, this can be expensive, with a heating system for a two-vehicle driveway costing anywhere between $4,860 and $12,480.
If you want your home to leave a good impression on your visitors, simply pouring concrete may not be enough. You may consider adding flower beds, trees, and brick borders to your driveway. This can further increase the costs.
The following are the average prices of the different types of landscaping services:
- Planting trees: Between $25 and $3,000, depending on the type of trees you’re adding;
- Mulching: $35 to $110;
- Flower beds: Between $650 and $3,000;
- Landscape design: Between $2,200 and $6,182; and
- Brick borders: $6 to $15 per linear foot.
Experienced Contractors vs. DIY: Which One Is Cheaper?
Buying the materials and installing a concrete driveway on your own may be tempting to save on costs. However, leaving this job to experienced professionals is best, as it requires skills and heavy equipment. You will also have to remove the old driveway, which can be a hassle if you’re unsure how to proceed.
There is also the risk of messing up the entire driveway or making mistakes that can cost you a significant amount of money in the long run.
Renting heavy equipment, such as a cement mixer, bull float, cement vibrator, rebar cutter, and concrete saw, can cost between $222 and $292 per day. This does not include the price of the materials, which you will have to purchase separately.
Although the labor charges make up about 40% to 50% of the entire cost of a concrete driveway, hiring professionals can be cheaper since they already have the equipment, and most contractors enjoy bulk discounts on supplies.
Additionally, an expert is less likely to make mistakes and ensure the job is done well, saving you much money in the long run.
How Much Does a Concrete Driveway Cost?
A basic concrete driveway can cost between $4 to $8 per square foot, with higher rates for additional thickness, design, and materials. Many homeowners pay an average of $3,500 for a concrete driveway.
Concrete Driveway Costs vs. Other Material Costs
Depending on your location and budget, a concrete driveway may not always be the best option. You may want to consider other options, such as asphalt, gravel, or pavers. The following are the average costs of driveways made from these types of materials:
- Asphalt: $5,000
- Gravel: $1,500
- Paver: $13,000
It’s important to note that the above prices are national averages and may vary depending on the location, driveway size, material type, and many other factors. It’s best to contact an experienced contractor for a quick assessment and quotation.
Request a Free Estimate from Ace Concrete Contractors in Austin!
Whether you’re looking to install a single-car driveway or want something that can accommodate multiple vehicles, contact Ace Concrete Contractors Austin at (512) 566-7530 for a free estimate.
Frequently Asked Questions on Concrete Driveways
The following are some frequently asked questions about concrete driveways:
A concrete driveway is more expensive than an asphalt driveway. However, the price shouldn’t be the only consideration when deciding which material to choose.
Although the initial concrete driveway installation is costlier, it is cheaper over the long run, as you don’t need to maintain it, unlike asphalt driveways regularly.
However, a concrete driveway may not be suitable for places with cold climates, as the material tends to expand, which can cause the surface to crack. In such situations, it’s best to consider other alternatives, such as asphalt.
The following is the average price range you should expect to pay according to the materials used:
- Concrete driveway: $8 to $18 per square foot; and
- Asphalt driveway: $5 to $15 per square foot.
You can use a concrete driveway cost calculator to determine how much you need to pay for the job. There are two different modes available online, and these include the following:
- Simple mode: This mode has default values for all the components that make up the concrete driveway cost. You need to mention the dimensions of the driveway to get an estimated price for the project.
- Advanced mode: This allows you to set detailed parameters, such as the depth of the driveway, spacing between rebars, buying prices of the materials, and more, before arriving at the estimated concrete driveway cost.
Alternatively, homeowners can contact an experienced contractor for a quick assessment and quotation. The professional can assess your requirements, guide you on available options, and give you a ballpark figure of what to expect.
Many homeowners fail to realize that concrete driveways are a great option. After receiving the initial quotation, they want to avoid paying thousands of dollars by considering other alternatives, such as natural earth or gravel.
Although a new concrete driveway may be more expensive than gravel, it can last up to 30 years with very little upkeep. It can increase your home’s value and make it more appealing and worth the investment.
The cheapest driveways to install are made from compacted soil mixed with aggregate. However, if you’re living in an area where it rains or is at risk of flash floods, this is one of the worst options to consider.
Besides natural earth, gravel driveways are also cheap and can last up to 100 years with regular maintenance. Although they’re relatively inexpensive, they may not enhance your home’s exterior look, as the material is unattractive.
Concrete driveways are an excellent option for homeowners. Although they’re relatively inexpensive compared to asphalt and gravel, they require less maintenance and have a longer lifespan, which makes them a significant investment over the long term.
Investing in a driveway is similar to replacing your existing roof. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime investment that you need to consider wisely. You must set a budget and choose materials that fit your home’s needs, so speaking to an experienced contractor is crucial.
You may want to consider replacing a concrete driveway if there are visible cracks, potholes, or drainage issues, as such damages can adversely affect the overall look of your home and leave a wrong impression on visitors.