How Much Does a New Concrete Driveway Cost?
$6.30 – $8.95 / Square Foot
Average Cost of Concrete Driveway Installation
Overview of Paved Concrete Driveways
A concrete driveway can be very expensive, and there is a wide range of factors involved in installation or replacement cost. The benefit of concrete over asphalt however, is a much longer lasting driveway that is easier to clean, and proves a greater curb appeal.
For a new concrete driveway, the topsoil is removed and up to 12 inches of base of stone, gravel and/or sand is installed. The base is compacted. Frames or forms are installed, and the concrete is poured over the base and finished.
For a replacement driveway, old concrete or asphalt is removed, the base is graded and improved. Frames or concrete forms are installed, and the concrete is poured and finished.
In either case, the driveway can be enhanced in a number of ways discussed below.
This cost estimate, or Costimate, explores concrete driveway prices for the basics and for the many factors that affect cost. Costs from other informative sources and homeowner-submitted prices can be compared below.
Driveway Cost Breakdown
Concrete Cost Factors
Here are the most important factors affecting driveway cost.
- Driveway Size – In most communities, driveway must be a minimum of 12 feet wide for a single car driveway. There is no length requirement, but it varies from 20 feet or less for homes close to the road to more than a 100 feet on large estates. 20×20 is minimum size for a parking pad. If you drive bigger vehicles, 24×24 is better. A wider drive and pad provide necessary walk-around room, so nobody has to get out of a vehicle onto the lawn or into a snowbank. Note: Small driveways cost more per square foot than large drives when other factors are comparable.
- Driveway Depth and Strength – Most driveways are built with concrete 4 inches thick and a strength of 2,500 to 5,000 psi (pounds it can support per square inch), with rebar wire encapsulated within the concrete to provide further strength and prevent cracking. When a motorhome or heavy equipment will be parked on the driveway, 6 inches of 5,000 psi or stronger concrete is recommended. In general, cold climates require stronger concrete to withstand freezing and thawing cycles.
- Driveway Shape – Rectangular drives are the easiest to install. Those with turns and a turnaround bring slightly higher labor costs.
- Removal of Old Material – Asphalt is fairly easy to remove. Concrete removal is difficult and expensive, due to the use of jackhammers and the buried rebar holding it together. For either, you’ll also have disposal costs. The upside to removing a driveway is that its gravel and sand base can be used for the new drive, reducing material costs.
- Site Conditions and Excavating Requirements – The need for excavating varies widely based on the terrain and other site factors. The most excavating is done for new driveways; very little is needed for driveway replacement. If there are low areas between the road and the house, fill will be brought in to level the terrain.
- Enhancements & Extras – Enhancements include pigmenting, acid staining, embedding tile or stone and stamping the driveway to make it look like pavers or flagstone. Extras are items like flaring the driveway where it meets the road for easier entry and adding a turnaround to the side of the drive, so you can enter traffic forward. A list of enhancement costs is below.
- Time of Year – During the peak of the installation season, cost estimates will probably be higher.
- Cost of Living – If the cost of living is high in your area, expect driveway estimates on the high side of the range. In more affordable areas, they will be average to a little below average.
Cost of Materials and Extras
Here’s the menu of pricing for the common ways homeowners upgrade a basic driveway to customize if for their purposes.
The range of costs for concrete driveways starts at about $4.30 per square foot. Average cost is $6.55 for basic driveways and about $10.50 per square feet for decorative drives. Driveways with multiple enhancements can exceed $15.00 per square foot.
- $4.85 – $6.50 per square foot | Basic concrete driveway
- $1.15 – $1.75 per square foot | Upgrading to a thicker, stronger driveway
- $0.75 – $2.25 per square foot extra | Designing the drive with flares, curves, a turnaround or significant slope
- $0.90 – $2.00 per square foot | Pigmenting and/or acid staining
- $2.25 – $4.00 per square foot | Stamping the concrete
- $1.00 – $2.00 per square foot | Asphalt driveway removal
- $3.50 – $5.25 per square foot| Concrete driveway removal
- $150 – $300 | Adding a 4-6″ conduit buried beneath the driveway for future projects such as a lawn sprinkler system, electrical wiring for lighting or other project, or any other small task that would normally require trenching a path through the driveway.
Permits, Inspection, and Labor Costs
$0 – $200 | Not all cities or counties require a driveway permit. Check with your local building codes office to determine whether you or your driveway contractor will have to obtain one.
Concrete Driveway Labor Cost
- $3.25 – $10.00+ per square foot | Installing a concrete driveway is a labor-intensive project. The labor portion of the total cost is two-thirds to three-quarters of the total cost, especially when the drive has a complex design or is stained or stamped. Keep in mind that this part of the cost covers the contractor’s equipment costs, travel costs, insurance and crew wages.
The size and scope of the driveway determine how long it takes to install.
For an average 700 square foot drive that includes a parking pad, here is a typical time frame.
- 1-2 Days | Remove old driveway, if needed.
- 1 Day |Prepare or install the base, set the concrete forms in place.
- 1 Day | Pour and finish the driveway.
- 1/2 Day | Remove forms and cleanup.
DIY or Hire a Pro
This is a job that more than 90% of homeowners leave to pros, and that’s what we recommend you do too.
It requires a knowledge of the right materials and depth for the base, the best concrete psi rating for your purposes, where to place expansion joints and finishing techniques to ensure the driveway looks and performs as it should.
Staining and stamping are additional skills that take experience to master.
A wide range of equipment and tools are used in each phase of the project. Many of them can be rented, but at significant expense.
Finally, removing an old drive, if necessary and installing a concrete driveway is extremely hard work. Large, able-bodied crews are used on most driveway projects.