Cost Of Asphalt Driveways

By Todd Fratzel on Landscaping

Asphalt Driveway

Update: This article was written in 2009. This article has been updated for current 2014 prices. However, it should be noted, the prices are averages and will vary greatly depending on geographical location, and size of the job.

Asphalt Driveway Cost

First let me point out that this article is only a guide so that you can get a feel for what a new driveway may cost. Please remember that local markets will fluctuate quite a bit based on demand and current asphalt prices and any heavy haul services required. Also, these prices assume no base prep work which can add quite a bit of money to the job.

Asphalt PavingRecently we had the “wearing surface” of our driveway installed. Before paving the wearing course I did some quick estimates of the asphalt driveway cost. When we built our home three years ago I only had the first 2-inches of base asphalt pavement installed. I opted to wait before I installed the wearing surface (top 1-inch) to save money and also let the sub-base and base settle over several winters.

Now that we’ve been through several winters I decided it was time to finally install the wearing surface before the pavement was damaged by water and settlement. So I thought it might be fun to show you how to calculate how many tons of asphalt pavement you need to help understand what an asphalt driveway cost. Alternatively you can use a driveway cost calculator.

About the author

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the author of Tool Box Buzz and Today's Green Construction. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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51 Comments

  1. Kevin says:

    This is all very helpful despite the light argument over asphalt per ton costs. So here is my question. We are looking at buying a house in central NH with a 200 ft driveway that is on a hill, looks like about a 20 degree slope. The current “driveway” looks like just a dirt/gravel road with deep tire ruts. So I am wondering what the complete costs would be to regrade the driveway, then put down a couple of inches of road fill, then roll, then an inch of asphalt.

    It seems that the job cited here has an existing decent base, which is not the case for our consideration. I really appreciate any guidance that anyone may offer.

    Thanks.

    • Todd says:

      Kevin – obviously without seeing the driveway it’s pretty hard to say. However, if you just assume that the prep work would take between 4 and 8 hours for a crew, then the prep work is likely in the $1500 to $3000 range. Very wide range of course but that should get you in the right ball park conservatively.

  2. Tim says:

    I just had a 45′ x 22′ (990 sq ft) asphalt driveway paved. Most of it was over an existing older gravel drive, but I extended about 12′ into my yard and widened it buy about 3′ down one side. Where I added I dug down and added two inches of modified stone ($25/ton). Paving guys came in used 1.5″ base course and 1.5″ top course. Cost for that was $2,300 or about $2.32/sq ft. I’m just outside of Philadelphia.

  3. cory says:

    I would have to say that whoever wrote this article needs to get a lesson In asphalt bidding and proper the method installing asphalt. There is a reason why at least in California you must have a contractors lisc.
    I found this article filled with poisonous misinformation, and when readers look at this you are only doing them a dis service by making them skeptical by your lack of competency in this field /craft. I find that your comment about be cautious about asphalt workers knocking on your door and Leary of this. Well I think anyone who reads your article should be Leary by your failed attempt to educate people in a field you apparently have little to no knowledge in.
    You give “us” successful licensed contractors a bad name by your two cents. We educate and work with customers. So with all do respect stick to your day job, which isn’t Asphalt!!!

    • Todd says:

      Cory – With all due respect I do know what I’m talking about. I’m a project manager and head engineer for a large company that does millions of dollars in asphalt paving every year. If you’re so upset then why don’t you actually spell out what you’re upset about..what is poisonous? You see here in NH and most likely around the Country there is a problem with roaming “gypsy” pavers who do EXACTLY what I mentioned. So why not show me some respect and spell out your issues so that I can clearly address them.

      • Kaliber says:

        I coudlnt agree more with you Todd. I found your info very accurate. all the bids i recieved for my driveway lined up with what you stated.

        if your going to knock someone, please put the information in where he is wrong.

      • Aaron says:

        Yes, I know this post is old but..

        The “gypsy” pavers are prevelent in West Virginia as well. I would say California actually has laws preventing the gypsies from ripping innocent people off.

        Cory,
        Every state has its own laws and California probably has the most. NH must have less restrictive laws, just like WV. :)

  4. Debbie says:

    Todd-The Author of the Article, not the other “Todd” responding.

    I have been in the Multi Family Apt business for over ten years and find your article to be very helpful. You DID add in cost of fuel labor etc…

    I am in the market for Asphalt as I write this letter. There are 5 contractors here in Abilene TX. I have received several bids. What I cannot get one single company to tell me is how they calculated it.

    I know they need to make a profit, they dont need to “hide” that part from me. I know they have to pay Labor, Fuel, Machine costs.

    But at this moment, I cannot get anything other than a total dollar amount, and based on my “Best Ballpark Figures” they are asking double what it should be.

    Here i sit, with temps dropping to low to actually do the work, and unable to get anyone to be honest with me. Guess will hafta call Dallas and start the process all over again.

    Thanks for you help!

    Debbie

    • Todd says:

      Debbie – Glad you found the article useful. Remember there can be significant differences in prices regionally. If you are getting similar prices from several reputable companies then it’s likely you’re getting a fair price.

  5. Debbie says:

    Thanks Todd. Interestingly enough I only need 3400 sq foot patch. Price quoted is 13,600. Very high quote no matter how you do the math. I generously came up with 6000 according to all calculations I used. I am looking for at least 2 more bids. Am I wrong as a consumer to ask how they come up with their figures? I am being met with hostility and told flat out no way are they telling me.

    • Todd says:

      How many inches is the asphalt?

      Not sure many will tell you. Some may tell you how many man hours and how much in materials…but they are not likely to share much else.

  6. Truepave says:

    I’ve been in the asphalt business for over a decade now and have seen it all. Driveway after driveway falling apart from shady paving contractors. Most people around here have learned to stay away from the door to door contractors. I love to see good advise on the net about keeping away from this type of contractor. I do see where Cory is trying to go, I think.
    You figure $1600 labor to pave a 3,000 sq. ft. driveway. So 5 employees payed at lets say $150 a day is $750. Gas for equipment and trucks will run about $200 in town. Thats $750 left for the company. Advertising cost. Hello? How can that possibly keep a company running? Taxed at 30% there is no room for the owner to even pay for his $200,000 in equipment let alone pay his morgage. God forbid we have to dig and lay a six inch base.
    Time to get out of the paving business with your figures. These figures you give are the prices the door to door guys give, about $1.50 a sq foot. Also the prices of 2000, its 2013 now….. A reputable contractor should be at least $2.00 and yes they should outline the tons used and prep work to be done.

    I understand your company does millions of $ in asphalt a year. Do you guys charge by the hour? No. Million dollar bids.

    How much do you make a year? I need a job.

    • Todd says:

      I think your figures are a bit flawed. First off, your 5 guys need to pave more than one driveway in a day. At the very least they should be doing 2 or more driveways that size for the $150/day. I won’t argue that these are aggressive prices, but frankly that’s the damn market we’re in. We are facing very small profits as are most in the business. The prices are current as well.

      Again, remember, these are very Regional numbers. If were were 100 miles south closer to the city in Boston, the prices would likely be 50% higher. These are JUST guidelines to help customers figure out what a driveway may cost. The real issue, and best approach, is getting 3 REPUTABLE bids.

  7. Truepave says:

    Yeah the market is bad but 1.00 a sq. Ft? I know many many many residential asphalt guys across the country. No one is charging under 2 a sq ft. and none of them charge by the ton….

    • Todd says:

      That’s for ONE inch of pavement. If you’re charging $2/sf per inch then you my friend are doing very well. Please do me a favor and READ the entire article, let’s say you’re putting down a new driveway, 2″ of binder and 1″ of finish. You’re looking at just over $3/sf for the driveway. I’m fairly certain you’ve missed that key aspect of the article. Again…guidelines my friend so someone can compare how thick the driveway in the bid is.

  8. Frank says:

    I am having an additional driveway and having it tie back to my original. The total Square footage is apx 715 (65×11). My they will have to dig and grade as the current driveway is about a foot lower than the yard they are installing the new driveway on. My understanding is that there will be 2″base and 1″top. The quote I received for this was $3,900 for crushed top vs finished black top and $5,900 for finished product. Based on your figures isn’t this way too high then? I live in MD close to DC

    • Todd says:

      Not sure I understand. Are you saying $3,900 for excavation and a gravel surface.

      or

      $5,900 for excavation work, prep and the 3 inches of asphalt?

      The prep work is likely to cost as much or more than the paving.

      • Frank says:

        5,900 for the entire project. Asphalt driveway 65×11.
        Is that too steep?

        the 3,900 was a cheaper option provided where instead of asphalt its some sort of crushed black top?

        • Todd says:

          Frank – That seems quite reasonable. If this was “just” paving the paving job would cost approximately $2,000 to $3,000. Again, the amount of excavation is likely as much or more. They have to remove lots of material, then install a proper base, grade it, compact it all before paving. Seems very reasonable.

          • Frank says:

            Thank you so much for the response. I just don’t know enough about it and wanted to ensure I wasn’t being ripped off. Thanks again

            Cheers,
            Frank

          • Todd says:

            Frank – My pleasure…..the whole point of writing these articles is to give people like you unbiased information. I sure hope you’ll share our site with friends. The best way to help us is by sharing it on Social Media, Google Plus, etc. Good luck!

  9. Bryant says:

    Todd, thanks for the good info. I live outside San Antonio TX and have a very large driveway, approx 1200′ long. I had one of those door-to-door salesmen refinish half of it about 7 years ago. Many areas of the asphalt have now fallen apart into crumbled pieces. I would like to get the entire driveway replaced and have some questions:
    – Would the cost per sq ft be the same or would there be a discount price on a larger job like this?
    – Will the removal of my existing asphalt be a big deal or do they just recycle it back down into the new asphalt?
    – If I decide to abandon that driveway and put another one somewhere else on my property, would it cost more to start from scratch?

    • Todd says:

      Bryant – Thanks for the compliment and great questions. First let me remind you that the pricing estimates I’ve shown on my site are certainly susceptible to local market variations.

      A driveway that size is typically a bit cheaper than a small one. That’s because the mobilization of equipment is the same for both.
      Removal of the existing asphalt is labor intensive and requires excavation equipment. Because of that it’s certainly going to be expensive. However, it won’t be as expensive as starting a new driveway.

      Good luck.

  10. Jesse says:

    I just built a new house with a crushed gravel driveway. The driveway has about a year of wear and tear. Would I still need to pay for a sub-base when I pave or can I just pave over a crushed gravel driveway that is still in good shape?

  11. Linda says:

    I loved being informed as I am needing my asphalt driveway redone. I’ m a single woman who is unfortunately clueless with regards to estimates. I live in Ohio; my driveway is short. Can you ballpark the price for a new 34 x 11 driveway? I think it may need to be torn out as it is crumbling.

    • Todd says:

      Linda – It really depends on several things, if it’s crumbling then you’ll likely need the old one removed (this is extra above what I’ve talked about in the article), then the driveway may need a proper gravel base (more money), then somewhere from 2 to 3 inches of asphalt pavement.

      Your driveway, would be roughly $1,000 of asphalt assuming 3 inches thick and $140/ton. Again, this is just an estimate, because your driveway is small, the unit price will likely be higher. Let’s say it’s $1,500 in paving and then likely another $1,000 to $2,000 in prep work. If you budget around $3,000 you’d likely be safe.

      Good luck.

  12. shawn says:

    Hey todd I’m a sales Guy trying to learn how to bid asphalt I know the basics just want to become a pro any suggestions and tell Linda I live in Ohio and I will give her bid

  13. Pete says:

    Todd – A bit off-topic, but not by much. Hundreds of homeowners in our subdivision will be affected.

    I’m a homeowner in an HOA in the Southeast (NC). We have roughly 4.8 miles of roads at an average width of about 20 feet. If my math is right, that calculates to roughly 56,500 Sq. Yd.

    It’s becoming evident that a 1″ layer will have to be done at some time in the next 5 – 10 years. (No financial reserve has been made yet for the job, and some of us are getting concerned about the magnitude of a future assessment.)

    Thus, your type of guidance would be most useful for planning purposes.

    Given the size of the project, is your formula still valid? I presume the cost per ton will be something lower than the spread you mentioned ($120 – $150) thanks to more efficient use of manpower and equipment than for a driveway.

    Any guidance you can provide will be most appreciated.

    Many thanks for your informative article.

    • Todd says:

      Pete – 4.8 miles is a serious paving project. It’s likely you can hit the $100/ton possibly due to size of the project. However, it’s still going to be very expensive.

      4.8 miles * 5,280 (ft/miles) * 20 ft = 506,880 sf
      or
      506,880 / 9 sf per sy = 56,320 sy

      56,320 sy * 0.057 tons/sy = 3,210 Tons

      3.210 tons * $100/ton = $321,000

      I’d say you all need to talk! :)

  14. Dick says:

    Todd,
    I find your comments refreshing. I have a 20-year old 1200-foot driveway in Wisconsin that is showing quite a few cracks and has a rough surface. Can this driveway be saved by re-paving over the top? Or am I looking at an entire replacement? Can I extend the life with rolled stone? I appreciate any thoughts.

    • Todd says:

      Dick – It really depends on how the sub-base is acting. If the pavement is cracked but the base seems ok, then an overlay is likely a good solution. However, if they base is too worn out it may need need to be replaced.

  15. Pete says:

    Todd – I misstated the width of the roadway in our subdivision. It’s not an average of 20 feet.

    The correct width is 28 feet, which calculates to roundly 77,000 sq. yards or eventual resurfacing.

    Thanks again.

  16. Peter says:

    Thanks Todd for taking time to share your article with us as readers. It is very kind of you.
    Quick question. I live in SE Michigan and have a large driveway (6,200 sq feet)that needs repaving. Other than about 10% of the area that I need to wedge due to being low, the rest should be fine with just a 2″ layer of asphalt. Am I ballpark with approximating that I need 45 tons of material? Any idea of what that would cost here in the general Detroit area. Thanks!

    • Todd says:

      From my calculations: 6,200 SF / 9 SF/SY * 0.057 Ton/SY * 2 inches = 80 Tons

      Honestly I have no idea what it is going for outside our region. I’d say a ball park will be $125 or so a ton for a job that size with no prep…..roughly $10,000

  17. Pete says:

    Todd – Many thanks for your willingness to share your knowledge.

    Inasmuch as the developer still controls the HOA but has made no provision for what will need to be done at some point in the future, you’re absolutely right … we’ve got some talkin’ to do … some hard talkin’.

    Kind regards,

    Pete

  18. Ken says:

    Todd,
    Trying to convert swale area from grass to asphalt ( 8″sub base, 8″ road rock, 1″1/2 asphalt) in Florida. 600 sq ft.
    Can you give me a rough breakdown on what I should budget?
    Thanks.
    Ken

    • Todd says:

      Ken – That’s not much asphalt, so you’ll likely end up being a labor heavy project. I’m really guessing here and I have NO idea how much work is required to prep for the stone/base, but I’d say you’re looking at $1,500 up to $2,500. Again, this isn’t very accurate without seeing the site, knowing what the local conditions are like. So take it with a serious grain of salt!

  19. my question is , do and when I have a new driveway installed on my property do I need a work permit? and will I have the city inspect the finally work, and they will sign off on the project?i live in princess anne md. thanks a lot.

    • Todd says:

      James – You’ll need to check with your local building code officials but typically driveways and landscaping projects do not involve permits unless you have something like a retaining wall.

  20. Mike says:

    Hi Todd,
    I have a decent size driveway, about 100 feet is 25′(red gravel) wide with last part 10′ x 75′(old asphalt portion 75×8). With an approx. turnaround of 25×10(mostly gravel/grass), my calculations should give it 3500 sq ft.. Looking to newly blacktop gravel portion with the 2″base and 1 inch finish, and hoping to just do a 1″ finish over old asphalt. Sound right to you?
    Thanks for your advice on all above queries.

    • Todd says:

      Mike – without seeing the driveway it’s really hard to say. Proper base prep is everything with asphalt. So, the gravel portion, I’d want to know if it had a good base first (no loam, silty, soft material). As far as topping the old section, again, depends on if it’s in decent condition, no signs of structural failure or heaving. Best bet….get several reputable companies to come out, look it over and give you pricing/recommendations.

  21. Mike says:

    Thanks for the reply Todd.
    existing asphalt has some low areas, seems to have been done in 3 small jobs and is different loads but overall seems good. The gravel portion has some silt, dirt, and black landscape material in one or two areas showing through, but has been very stable with the cars running over for past 4 years and very compacted. Will get several larger companies locally for bid/estimates.
    Thanks again.
    Mike

  22. Heather says:

    Hello, I have a 2400 sq ft asphalt driveway that has some cracks but is in relatively decent shape. I live in Ohio and was wondering if a small driveway could be “ground up” like you see on the roadways then resurfaced or does the entire driveway need to be removed then have 2 inches base and 1 inch finishing layer? Will get 3 bids but value your input and any other asphalt contractors reading this feel free to comment. Thanks!

    • Todd Fratzel says:

      Heather – Typically driveways are not reclaimed as it’s not cost effective. If you’re driveway is in decent shape I’d consider a couple options. One would be to seal the cracks and have a good quality sealer applied. The second option would be installing a 1″ top over the old driveway. Some reflective cracking can occur but this is a fairly common practice.

  23. Ken D says:

    Hi Todd,
    Our driveway in Malden, Ma, just outside of Boston, is 1,250 sg ft. It was laid down at leat 50 years ago and is rutted and cracked, needing a total sub surface and asphalt surface as well as the crushed stone base. Of course the old driveway would need to be demoed and hauled away. What would your best guestimate be? Also, do you know of any reputable driveway contractors in my area?

    • Todd Fratzel says:

      Ken – Without seeing it and knowing how far the material must be hauled it’s really hard to say. That’s a decent size driveway that will require a fair amount of prep work. Not sure what type of pricing is going on there, but the driveway alone is in the $3,500 – $5,000 range not including the prep. That’s likely another $1,500 to $2,500. Those are VERY rough numbers and likely may be meaningless depending on local conditions. I really do not know anyone down that way that I could recommend. Good luck.

      • Ken says:

        Thanks for the reply. We actually have an asphalt plant in Malden about 2 miles from my house-Trimount Bitouminous. Given what you’ve previously estimated for others I figured around$7,500 for the total job so I guess we’re on the same page with the math. Thanks again, and I’ll let you know what it eventually costs.

  24. Irene says:

    Hi Todd,
    Was wondering if you could do an updated article reflecting current prices? This article is originally from 2009. Just current updates, no need to re-do the whole article. Thank you

    • Todd Fratzel says:

      Just updated it, but the average hasn’t changed since 2012 when I last updated it. Remember, pricing will vary depending on where in the Country you are, and the size of the job. Small driveways can be as much as $150/ton, larger can be more like $120/ton.

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