How Much Should an Asphalt Driveway Cost?

Okay, our driveway is shot. So shot, that we have to have some excavating and a completely new base put down before they can blacktop it. I don’t know the exact footage, but I venture a guess that if I were to park mid-sized cars, bumper to bumper, I could prolly fit 15 to 18 of 'em.

What does driveway go for per sq. ft. in Chicago? This guy is guesstimating somewhere between $5 and $10K. I’m FREAKING out.

Your driveway can fit 15 to 18 cars end-to-end in Chicago and you’re freaking out over $10k? :rolleyes:

That doesn’t sound outrageous for the size you’re describing. I spent almost $1K eleven years ago for your basic 2 car capacity driveway. If you want to compare apples to apples, submit your spec for excavation to a depth of x, place and compact 2B stone of a given thickness, overlay with 3" of BCBC, topped with 1 1/2" wearing course, rolled smooth, all joints sealed with AC20 hot tar. Site to be left broom clean, all hauling and disposal of removed materials, permit and inspection fees to be included. Get numbers from several contractors and then pull out your checkbook. Don’t delay-their numbers will likely be tied to fluctuations in the monthly asphalt index, which moves with the price of oil.

I’m looking at $150K to redo the parking lot at my fire station. :wink:

I’m imagining a 3x5 bumper to bumper arrangement and it doesn’t seem that big.

It’s not end-to-end. We have a large parking area (it’s an old farm…not the lap of luxury).

Okay… 2nd Driveway Dude came by and actually gave me an estimate on the spot.

For 1,827 sq ft with 6" gravel base and 2.5" asphalt compacted to 2", he wants $6229. 5-year guarantee and he gave me lots of references to check.

Does that sound fair?

Do you need to keep it large, and do you need to keep it asphalt?

I was about to suggest crushed oyster shells or pea gravel, but realized that near Chicago, that would be impossible to plow or shovel.

Yes, the large is important with multiple vehicles and the need to turn around so we can head into 50 mph blind curve traffic head first. :eek: Also, my husband and his friends are gearheads. There’s always a motorcycle or a trailer or a truck or two or what have you. And he stores a vehicle for his friend :frowning: (who in my opinion should be paying for a fucking slot, but that’s another rant).

I would love to simplify with gravel, but it just doesn’t make sense for us here in the Chicago area. I had the driveway plowed 9 times in February!

Those prices don’t seem unreasonable at all. Bear in mind that driveway-building is a subset of road-building, which is freakin’ expensive.

It isn’t impossible to plow gravel, but it’s much nicer to plow asphalt. My MIL has a long, hilly, twisty driveway of gravel that she has plowed regularly. Most of the gravel is packed down pretty well by winter, so that helps. DH claims to prefer gravel as it doesn’t get as slick, and if you do get an icy spot the gravel offers more traction.
The drawback is replacing the gravel every so many (2/3?) years.

You can plow gravel. I live in a colonial era house in the Boston area with a double-width driveway that is about 50 yards long. Asphalt wouldn’t be appropriate for the house and property and I don’t want it anyway. We have to put down new gravel every 3 years or so and it costs about $200 - $300 (it is delivered and I shovel it myself for th better part of a day). If it doesn’t need to be plowed much in a given winter, things are fine. A couple of years ago, we had a teriible winter and it had to be plowed many times. At the end of it, there was a big pile of gravel at the front of the driveway that had to be put back down. It wasn’t terrible but it was some hard work.

For 1,827 sq ft with 6" gravel base and 2.5" asphalt compacted to 2"

That’s about 62 tons of gravel (which will be specialized aggregate base rather than random pebbles) and about 28 tons of hot mix asphalt concrete. I’m not going to try to get updated unit prices, but for a small job in our area I wouldn’t be surprised at $60/ton for the aggregate and $90/ton for the asphalt (installed). That’s $6240.

Sounds about right. You could call the local materials suppliers and see what they’re actually charging, then figure in the haulage, equipment cost, labor costs, and other fees, then guess at their office overhead. But it doesn’t sound like it’s in the wrong ballpark.

In the end, it’s about what kind of quotes you can get. Get multiple estimates and compare. Ask what would cause a cost overrun. Satisfy yourself that the folks you’re choosing have a good reputation and care about maintaining it. Getting it done right is more important that shaving a few hundred dollars off.

It sounds about right to me. My dad had his done for about $3k - but by a guy he used to work for - and it’s shorter than yours, although it’s spaciously wide (for 2 cars) and included a 2-car side drive.

Asphalt drives are well worth the $$ IMHO - especially if there’s a lot of car work/parking going on. I aspire to have a nice new one myself someday :slight_smile:

No. I’m an engineer, and I see paving bids and quotes all the time. I think $3.41/square foot is outrageous. I would get some more quotes.

Around here (in eastern Connecticut), driveway paving ranges from about $1.75 to $2.50/square foot. I had my driveway paved last year, and paid about $2.00/square foot for my 2,500 square foot driveway.

Due to the economies of scale and the type of asphalt used, road paving is actually even cheaper. I’m looking at bids right now for 2 inches of Class-1 asphalt pavement for $0.80 to $0.95/square foot, and 1-1/2 inches of Class-2 asphalt pavement for $1.00 to $1.30/square foot.

Note: Class-1 asphalt pavement has larger aggregate, making it very strong but not very pretty. It’s used for the lower layer. Class-2 asphalt pavement has smaller aggregate, making it less strong but more aesthetically pleasing. Driveway pavement is usually Class-2 over a processed gravel base.

This is interesting to hear. I’m assuming CT is comparable to Chicago for cost of living (prolly higher). I have two quotes so far and will get at least one more before we’re done shopping.

Seriously, I don’t think I’d mind if it was uglier/stronger/cheaper (it simply COULDN’T be uglier than what I’ve got right now).

I second that. The estimate in the OP is in line with what I’ve heard around here, and the friend in question opted for gravel instead.

Be careful of “Irish Traveler/Gypsy” con artists. Some of them specialize in this. Make sure he has a licene and check with BBB.

Yeah, we got our last driveway from “that guy.” He had a phone. But evidently he could only receive calls. :frowning: Our new prospects are 1) our Plow Dude who’s been working for us for 15 years and 2) another guy I got out of the yellow pages who provided lots of references and has been in business for a long time in our area. We’re also looking at a guy who did work for my husband’s co-worker. Haven’t received a callback yet, but I’m expecting one today.

Sounds about right. A few years ago, rule of thumb here was $2/sq ft, and prices haven’t gone down. So $3/sq ft (or thereabouts) seems reasonable.

I’ve heard that if you find some guys paving nearby one afternoon you can start a conversation with them and negotiate a good price on them coming late in the day and doing your driveway too.