The Factors Behind Asphalt Driveway Cost

Doug Enright 

Asphalt driveways have become popular among home and building owners who want an attractive surface that can be easily repaired over time. As more and more people choose asphalt over traditional concrete driveways, however, installation costs have gone up. Let's break down the main factors that go into an asphalt driveway cost estimate and determine how you might be able to save money.

The Basics

Because every project comes with unique challenges and requirements, there will always be variations in overall costs. If the installer has to remove a tree, grade the land or perform any other extra activities, you can expect a higher estimate. That said, there are some fundamental considerations that help determine the cost of virtually every asphalt driveway installation. These include: 

Size and Shape

When considering asphalt paving, the size of the required coverage is a key consideration. Wide or long pavements demand a lot more base material, time, labor and asphalt. The desired shape of the surface can also play a role in the final cost. Although the majority of residential driveways are rectangular, some homeowners want a rounded, winding or arched front drive. In these instances, the excavation process can become more time-consuming and complicated. This will ultimately be factored into the final cost of your asphalt driveway. In most instances, you can expect to pay more for driveways with non-traditional sizes of styles.

Thickness and Load Requirements

Typically, a 4-inch depth is enough to create a durable asphalt driveway. That said, 5 to 6 inches of full-depth asphalt will virtually guarantee strong, stable paving for a wider range of climates and loads. Heavy loads will require thicker asphalt layers resulting in higher final costs. While you will have a say in how thick you want your driveway, the project will have to adhere to local building codes. Because the codes for base thickness have changed since the 1970s, installers sometimes have to dig the entire base out and put in all new gravel prior to paving. 

Potential Obstructions

Are there any trees, large rocks or other obstructions that need to be cleared away to make room for your asphalt driveway? This will affect your final price. Obstruction removal can be costly, especially for a business that wants to convert undeveloped land into a large parking area. If you need one or more trees removed, you will have to pay the costs for cutting the tree itself and any additional fees for stump removal. 

Distance to the Hot Plant

The cost of asphalt transport from the production plant to the project site will play a big role in determining your final rate. The kind of asphalt required can also impact transport costs; for instance; hot mixes will generally cost more to transport compared to warm blends. 

While some suppliers combine raw materials from several locations, others manufacture in-house asphalt. Before hiring a paving contractor, it's important to ask questions about material transport costs. Top local suppliers, such as Enright Asphalt & Concrete, establish relationships with local providers to help keep transport costs affordable.

Permit Requirements

Every asphalt project connecting to any public road must satisfy specific requirements of the local municipality. Permits are often necessary, and in some instances, plans may need to be altered to satisfy municipality requirements. Permit acquisition and late-stage changes can affect the overall cost of the project.

Other Considerations

Even though you can't see it, the underlying surface will determine the quality and longevity of your asphalt driveway. You need an adequate amount of gravel below your asphalt to ensure proper drainage. A durable, high-quality base will generally cost more. The greater the material quality of the underlying base, the more expensive your project becomes. Grading may also be necessary to ensure proper drainage and long-term durability. You may also have to pay to have an existing driveway broken up and removed. 

The actual cost of the asphalt can also vary depending on when you plan your project. Asphalt prices fluctuate depending on the asphalt used, the time of year and exactly how much you need. A good contractor will lock in the price once you sign a contract. You will also be presented with various sealing options to help preserve your driveway. Make sure you understand exactly what you're paying for before you agree to a particular option.

As you can see, you aren't just paying for asphalt when you hire a paving contractor. With so much to consider, it's important to work with an honest, trustworthy company with a strong reputation in the local community. For nearly three decades, Enright Companies has provided beautiful, high-performing asphalt driveways for businesses and homeowners in the Denver metro area. We know the best materials and installation methods to get the job done right. We can also help you plan a project that meets your unique needs and fits within your budget.

Contact us today to get started on your asphalt driveway.

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