Driveways are as varied as the types of cars on the road. Choices range from classic concrete and asphalt to more expensive brick and pavers. Determining the best type of driveway for your home is a balancing act between appearance, cost, and durability. Some types of driveway materials are more affordable but may not look as good or last as long, while others trade affordability for visual appeal.
Common driveway types
While numerous types of driveways exist, some are more popular than others.
Concrete is one of the most popular driveway surface options. According to Concrete Network a basic concrete driveway in 2020 cost between $8 and $12 per square foot. With a standard-sized driveway of around 640 square feet, the total cost would be $5,120 to $7,680.
Concrete driveways are relatively easy to maintain and work with many different styles of homes. The downside is that they are vulnerable to cracking in colder climates. Homeowners insurance may cover driveway damage for issues relating to sudden or accidental damage to your driveway. However, it won’t cover damage from natural disasters and perils, such as floods and earthquakes.
Asphalt driveways (also called blacktop driveways) are another popular option. Asphalt driveways strike a balance between looks and affordability. According to HomeServe, in 2022, asphalt driveways averaged between $3 and $5 per square foot — significantly less than a concrete driveway but still a visually pleasing option.
Asphalt driveways aren’t ideal for warmer climates. If it gets too warm, the asphalt can become sticky. However, they work great for colder climates where concrete might crack, and you can easily repair the damage.
If you want to spend the least amount possible, consider a gravel driveway. Gravel is one of the cheapest materials at just at just $1 to $2 per square foot in 2020, according to Thumbtack. It’s ideal for those with much longer driveways, but gravel driveways are far less comfortable to drive down and need to be replenished with fresh gravel every few years.
On the other end of the scale, brick driveways boast both visual appeal and durability. However, the cost ranges from $10 to $30 per square foot in 2022, according to HomeAdvisor. The labor cost associated with brick driveways is also high. A brick driveway is nearly impossible to damage and can last well beyond your lifetime. It can also improve the value of the property by a large margin.
Luxury Driveway Types
Not all driveways are common. Some high-end driveways are far more aesthetically pleasing but come at a much higher cost per square foot.
Take a paver driveway, for instance. These can range in cost from $10 to $40 per square foot in 2022 after adding in the labor cost, according to HomeAdvisor. While this type of driveway will last for many years, and you can design them in various ways, even a moderately-sized driveway could cost as much as the car you park on it. The benefits are flexibility of design and sustainability. You can also install a paver driveway on your own, although the amount of labor is immense.
Another less common type of driveway is a turf driveway. Not a natural grass driveway; you build them with permeable pavers that allow grass to grow between them. It’s a great eco-friendly home upgrade because it’s better for the environment than other driveway options, but it does come at a cost. You’ll have to trim it regularly, and it can result in uneven footing throughout your yard. In addition, it will cost anywhere from $10 to $20 per square foot in 2022, according to HomeAdvisor.
What is the best type of driveway for my home?
You will determine the right type of driveway based on several factors. Start by taking the following things into account to determine what driveway material is best for your home.
The climate where you live
In more temperate areas, you can choose from nearly any type of driveway. If you live in an environment where you receive snow and ice regularly, look for a driveway material that can withstand those conditions, such as asphalt. Alternatively, if you live in a hotter, dryer climate, look for a type of driveway that won’t sustain damage in the extreme heat (concrete, for example).
The geographical area you live in
A turf driveway might not be the best choice if your area is dry (like parts of Arizona or New Mexico). However, the relative abundance of nearby stone might reduce the cost of gravel, brick, or paver driveways in your area.
The length of your driveway
If you want to keep costs low but live down a long, private road, gravel might be your best bet. On the other hand, if you have a home in the middle of a suburban neighborhood, you may care more about curb appeal. A brick driveway can give instant curb appeal to your home.