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Calculate the Cost of a Paver Driveway

In this RenoCompare driveway cost guide we will outline exactly what you need to know to calculate the cost to install driveway pavers for yourself. Armed with your own accurate paver driveway estimate you will be a in a perfect position to start requesting quotes from professional driveway contractors.

You should know that the biggest variable for pricing a paver driveway is the cost of the pavers themselves. Concrete pavers are the cheapest, followed by brick pavers, with natural stone driveway pavers being the most expensive. Read our driveway pavers buying guide for further information. And if you’ve not yet decided on driveway pavers be sure to browse your other driveway options and ideas.

Paver Driveway Cost Summary

We start with the bottom-line costs for paver driveways given the most common installation scenarios. Then, we break down those costs to show you where the money goes.

Note: A gravel driveway base and the base layers beneath asphalt and concrete can typically be used for pavers instead of removing them and installing new base layers. When this is possible, it creates significant cost savings for material and labor. Discuss this possibility with contractors when receiving paver driveway estimates.

Here are four typical paver driveway projects with their steps and costs:

  1. Upgrading a gravel driveway to a paver driveway:
  • Grading the existing drive and removing some material, if necessary for proper height
  • Compacting the underlying base
  • Installation of base layers
  • Installation of edge restraints
  • Installation of pavers
  • Filling the joints
  • Tamping the driveway
  • Cost using some or all existing base layers: $8.25 to $16.50 per square foot (more common)
  • Cost of removing gravel and installing all base layers: $12.75 to $19.50 per square foot (less common)
  1. New paver driveway where none existed:
  • Excavating the driveway path by removing turf and soil
  • Grading the path
  • Compacting the underlying soil
  • Installation of base layers
  • Installation of edge restraints
  • Installation of pavers
  • Filling the joints
  • Tamping the driveway
  • Cost: $11.50 to $18.25 per square foot
  1. Asphalt driveway removal & replacement with pavers:
  • Break up and removal of the existing driveway
  • Grading the path
  • Compacting the underlying base
  • Installation of base layers, if necessary
  • Installation of edge restraints
  • Installation of pavers
  • Filling the joints
  • Tamping the driveway
  • Cost using some or all existing base layers: $10.15 to $17.50 per square foot (more common)
  • Cost of removing existing layers and installing new base layers: $12.25 to $21.50 per square foot (less common)
  1. Concrete driveway removal & replacement with pavers:
  • Break up and removal of the existing driveway
  • Grading the path
  • Compacting the underlying base
  • Installation of base layers, if necessary
  • Installation of edge restraints
  • Installation of pavers
  • Filling the joints
  • Tamping the driveway
  • Cost using base some or all existing base layers: $14.50 to 23.00 per square foot (more common)
  • Cost of removing existing layers and installing new base layers: $17.00 to $27.50 per square foot (less common)

Breaking Down Paver Driveway Costs

This detailed list of costs addresses only those that are typically itemized. Compaction, for example, usually isn’t listed as a separate cost. Not all these steps will apply to your project.

Old Driveway Removal Cost (Scenarios 3 and 4)

Removing an asphalt driveway takes less time and doesn’t require the same heavy equipment that concrete driveway removal requires.

  • Asphalt driveway removal cost: $1.75-$2.50 per square foot
  • Concrete driveway removal cost: $6-$8 per square foot

New Driveway Excavation and Preparation Cost (Scenario 2)

Pavers need a deep and stable base to prevent settling. On most projects, 12-16 inches of soil will be removed. Some homeowners have the excavated soils relocated on their property for use in landscape design. Others have it hauled away, which incurs higher costs.

  • Driveway excavation of non-wooded land cost (no hauling): $0.60-$0.85 per square foot
  • Driveway excavation of non-wooded land and hauling costs: $0.80-$1.15 per square foot

Material & Installation Costs (All scenarios)

Not all paver driveways are built the same way. Soil conditions and the climate in your area might indicate that slightly different materials or depths would be preferred.

The most common approach is to form the base with three layers:

Bottom base layer: Six inches of 1” to 2” diameter washed crushed stone.

  • Bottom layer material, installation and compaction: $0.85-$1.10 per square foot

Middle base layer: Four inches of ½” to 1 ½” diameter washed crushed stone.

  • Middle layer material, installation and compaction: $0.70-$0.85 per square foot

Top base layer: Two inches of ¼” stone or sand

  • Top layer material, installed and screed to make it level: $0.40-$0.70 per square foot

Note: Washed stone is thoroughly rinsed with water to remove sand, dirt and dust, making it more stable. Crushed stone is used because the broken edges knit together to produce far greater stability than round stone.

Edge Restraint: Restraints keep the paver stone field from spreading outward, creating gaps between pavers. Most is made from sturdy plastic and held in place by 10” galvanized spikes. Poured or pre-cast concrete and pressure-treated lumber are other material options.

  • Edge restraint and installation: $4.00-$8.00 per linear foot

Pavers: Single layer of pavers 2 3/8” thick. They are available in many materials, lengths and widths to suit your style.

  • Pavers, installation, compaction and fill: $7.50-$14.00 per square foot

Factors that Affect Paver Driveway Installation Cost

The costs given above are for basic paver driveway projects, and most jobs fall into the basic category. However, there may be circumstances that create additional costs.

Mobilization costs and trucking premiums: Labor and transportation costs are a large part of the costs for any job. Most contractors and trucking companies charge extra for jobs outside their local area or distant from where they purchase material. Here is a typical way for a contractor to figure costs:

  • Jobsites within 15 miles of the contractor’s yard or material source: No increase
  • Jobsites beyond 15 miles: 3-10% increase for every 10 extra miles based on wages and the price of gasoline

Wooded property: Clearing wooded land will significantly add to the job cost. The heavier the woods, the more the price will go up. Keep in mind, though, that mature trees, especially hardwoods, have timber value and can possibly be sold to a company that buys standing timber.

Excavation costs for wooded property rise by 25% (lightly wooded, small-diameter trees) to 500% (heavily wooded, large-diameter trees).

Extra fill required: When excavating a new driveway, any low spots should be filled to create a level drive.

  • $20-$30 per cubic yard of fill
  • $10-$14 per cubic yard to install and grade

Adding drain tile: Water softens and erodes the base layers of a driveway, and that creates multiple problems. Some water issues can be alleviated with drains and drain tile. On average, 12-15 feet of tile is installed per foot of driveway affected by standing water. For example, an area affecting 12 feet of the driveway would require approximately 180 feet (15×12) of drain tile.

  • Drain tile installed: $12-$28 per linear foot ($240-$420 for every foot of driveway affected by standing water)

Upgraded pavers: Natural stone paver, bricks and thicker pavers all cost more than concrete 2 3/8” pavers. The cost increase will be 25% to 100% based on the product you choose. The prices here are for standard concrete 2 3/8” pavers.

Permits: Driveway permits are required in most counties and cities to ensure that the location of the driveway offers good visibility from the roadway and driveway. Inspection is included to make sure the preparation and installation is handled properly.

  • Permits: $50 to $200 (Up to $1,000 when the municipality installs a culvert and gravel, for instance in a property with a ditch, as part of the process)

Retaining walls: Hillsides and excavation well below grade often must be shored up with retaining walls to prevent soils from caving in. Retaining walls cost $25-$35 per square foot. For example, a wall 30 feet long and 4 feet high, 120 square feet, would cost $3,000 to $4,200.

Calculating your Paver Driveway Cost Estimate

Possessing a realistic estimate of what your cost will be before you get bids will help you select a contractor offering a competitive price for a quality driveway.

There’s a simple two-step process for estimating paver driveway cost:

1). Start your estimate with the standard cost for your project. Remember that if your current driveway is gravel, asphalt or concrete, it is likely that existing sublayers will be usable for your paver driveway.

Here is the cost summary.

Upgrading a gravel driveway to a paver driveway:

  • $8.25 to $16.50 per square foot using existing base layers
  • $12.75 to $19.50 per square foot installing all base layers

New paver driveway where none existed:

  • $11.50 to $18.25 per square foot

Asphalt driveway removal & replacement with pavers:

  • $10.15 to $17.50 per square foot using existing base layers
  • $12.25 to $21.50 per square foot installing all base layers

Concrete driveway removal & replacement with pavers:

  • $14.50 to 23.00 per square foot using existing base layers
  • $17.00 to $27.50 per square foot installing all base layers

2). Increase the estimate based on the cost of the extras to be used in your project:

  • Increased mobilization costs and/or trucking premiums: 3% to 10% increase for every 10 miles beyond the 15-mile “local” zone
  • Excavation cost for wooded land: 25% to 500% increase
  • Extra fill: $10-$15 per cubic yard with 10-30 cubic yard average
  • Drainage: $330-$420 for every foot of driveway affected by frequent standing water
  • Upgraded pavers: 25% to 100% based on the product you choose.
  • Permits: $50-$200 (more if a culvert & materials are included)
  • Retaining walls: $25-$35 per square foot

Sample Paver Driveway Installation Estimate

This breakdown of a recent paver driveway installation shows how all the numbers come together.

The home is located in a new development of upscale homes in land that was formerly hayfield near 40 minutes southwest of Nashville, TN. While the area is rolling, this parcel is quite flat. The soil is clay loam beneath thick topsoil.

The driveway is 12’ wide and 80’ long before it makes a 60-degree turn around a tree line and broadens to a parking pad and patio area 24’ deep and 50’ wide.

12’x80’ = 960 square feet

24’x50’ = 1,200 square feet

Total: 2,160 square feet

Here is a summary of the driveway’s construction:

Driveway excavation: About 6” of topsoil was removed and stockpiled for future use. An additional 7” of soil was removed and hauled away. A large, storm-damaged oak was removed and its root cavity was filled with gravel and compacted. Several trees ranging in size from 8” to 14” were removed at the road.

Material installation: The closest source of stone and sand is 20 miles away, resulting in increased trucking fees. Gas at the time was $2.27/gallon. Here are the costs:

  • Driveway removal cost: N/A
  • Permit: $150 which included staking the driveway and inspection of the construction
  • Excavation cost: $2,052 / $0.95 per square foot
  • 6” of 1” to 2” crushed stone: $2,484 / $1.15 per square foot
  • 4” of 1 ½” to 2” crushed stone: $1,987 / $0.92 per square foot
  • 2” of ¼” stone: $1,684 / $0.78 per square foot
  • Plastic restraints: $1,560 / $6.50 per linear feet
  • 2 3/8” concrete pavers, installation and compaction: $23,976 / $11.10 per square foot

Total Cost: $33,893 / $15.69 per square foot

The analysis of this job shows that it is slightly above the median cost for paver driveways, but certainly within what would be expected. Increases in excavating the property and trucking materials to the site were the primary cause of the modestly higher cost.

Getting Paver Driveway Estimates

As you browse paver driveway estimates online, you’ll find quite a range. It is sometimes impossible to know what is included in the estimate and what is not part of it.

We provide you with detailed information that produces an accurate estimate based on what needs to be done on your project. Our goal is to assist you in comparing driveway costs for pavers, asphalt and concrete, so you can make an educated choice.

When you are ready to entertain bids for the job, we suggest contacting at least three contractors, and let them know that they are competing for the work. Get references. Ask for addresses of driveways they’ve done recently and 5-15 years earlier, to see how they’re holding up.

This due diligence gives you the best opportunity to get competitive bids for quality work that will continue to look good in the years ahead.

Paver Driveway Maintenance and Repair

While paver driveways cost more than most, they require the least amount of maintenance.

Weeds will occasionally appear between the pavers. They can be pulled or eliminated with herbicide.

The rare broken paver can be extracted and replace. The process is far easier and less costly than patching concrete or asphalt.

Shoveling and plowing snow from paver stone driveways can sometimes cause damage to them. One solution to this potential problem is to install a system beneath the drive that will melt snow and ice. Both hydronic and electric systems are available. The system can be installed as part of the overall driveway installation. A heated driveway system costs $12-$22 per square foot, so it is a significant investment.

When properly installed and maintained, a paver driveway will last at least 35 years. Some have been in use for a century or more!

Click the following links for further driveway pricing – Asphalt Driveway Costs | Concrete Driveways Costs | Gravel Driveway Costs