Driveway Replacement Cost: How Much Is It?
A driveway replacement usually increases home value, but you have to put out money to get that return. Here, we give you an idea of how much.
Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.
Rain runoff, frost and loose soil all take a toll on driveways. Though a concrete or asphalt driveway should last for decades, none will last forever.
When the time comes for driveway replacement, you can take comfort in knowing you’ll probably get the price of the new driveway back in the form of increased property value. If you spend a little extra to upgrade your driveway, you could see an even higher return on investment.
Multicolor staining, stamping and engraving are all possible upgrades to an existing concrete driveway. The driveway is the first thing people see when they look at your property, and a quality finish makes a great first impression. It provides curb appeal that extends all the way to the street.
Even if you just go for the basics and choose longer-lasting but less attractive asphalt over concrete, a new driveway makes a huge difference. It’s good for your car, too. No more driving over cracked pavement and navigating potholes and bumps, and no more worrying the next rain will undermine the damaged portion.
Get all this for $4 to $30 per square foot (psf), depending on materials, design and extras.
Factors That Determine the Cost of Driveway Replacement
The cost range varies greatly because so many variables figure into the final bill. Here are the most important factors:
- Removing the old driveway: In most cases, driveway removal is a straight shot. Workers break up the existing concrete or asphalt and haul it away. If you’re converting a gravel driveway to concrete or asphalt, workers must scoop up all the gravel, haul it away or redistribute it elsewhere on the property. The removal cost is typically $1 to $3 psf.
- Grading and leveling: The new driveway needs a flat base, so some grading and leveling may be needed if the existing base is compromised.
- Choice of materials: Next to gravel, asphalt is the cheapest driveway at $3 to $7 psf, followed by concrete at $4 to $8 psf. Other options like rubber and exposed aggregate are considerably more expensive. Pavers are the most expensive, costing as much as $30 psf installed.
- Design options: Stamping or staining concrete increases the cost, especially if you go with more than one stain color. Embedding heating elements can raise the cost to between $21 and $28 psf.
- Driveway size: The square footage of a driveway affects the cost of replacing it. Larger driveways cost more.
- Permits: Most driveway replacement projects require permits, which typically run $100 to $200.
- Labor: This typically accounts for half the cost, but it varies with the locale and the company you choose.
Driveway Replacement vs. Driveway Resurfacing
Driveway replacement can get expensive, and sometimes it isn’t needed. As long as the base under the existing driveway is intact, it’s possible to fill holes with patching compound, fill cracks with caulk, then apply a new top with asphalt or concrete re-surfacer. Professionally resurfacing runs from $2 to $5 psf, with most jobs coming in at around $2.25 psf.
Resurfacing is easy, but sometimes it isn’t enough. A driveway that’s more than 30 years old and severely cracked is a better candidate for replacement than resurfacing. The cracks indicate possible problems with the base caused by erosion, soil settling and frost heaving, and the only way to correct those is by removing the old driveway.
A wavy asphalt driveway should also be replaced because the waves indicate the base needs repair.
DIY vs. Hiring Pros
If you want to save on labor costs by resurfacing your driveway yourself, go ahead. The project involves cleaning the driveway with a pressure washer, patching cracks and holes and spreading the resurfacing compound with a long-handled squeegee. Virtually anyone with an available afternoon can do this for a few hundred dollars.
Replacing a driveway entirely is another matter. That’s almost always better left to pros who bring the heavy equipment needed to break up, remove and dispose of the old driveway. They’re are also better equipped to handle a large concrete or asphalt pour.
Leveling the base and building forms are technically DIY-able. But it often takes an entire crew to handle the pour, which typically must be completed in a day.
Questions To Ask Driveway Replacement Contractors
Before hiring a contractor for any job, it’s important to ask standard questions about licensing, bonding, insurance and references. Some questions you’d specifically ask about driveway replacement include:
- How much will the project cost? The best way to plan your budget is to get a direct quote — in writing.
- How long will the project take? You’ll be parking your cars on the street until the work is completed, so you need to plan for that.
- Do you have a crew? Several people working on the project helps guarantee a faster completion than just one or two.
- Who will be responsible for the work? The contractor may intend to hand the project off to a crew leader. If so, you should request a meeting with this person so you know who you’re dealing with.
- Do you have your own equipment, or will you rent it? If the contractor rents, there may be delays when the equipment isn’t available.