Asphalt Paving Cost

Q:  I’m looking for asphalt paving costs for my driveway.  Help!

A:  Hold on there, pardner.  I know that you’re looking for the quick-and-easy answer to your question about asphalt paving cost, but let’s provide a little context first.  You’ll need context, because that’s the first thing that the contractor will bring up when he comes to give you an estimate…

Asphalt Paving Includes a Base

Understand that asphalt paving is more than just asphalt paving.  It also should include a gravel bed laid in by a professional company.  This gravel bed does need to be graded and compacted down to industry standards.

Few paving companies will agree to lay down asphalt without a good bed.

Commercial or Residential Paving?

It also makes a difference if we’re talking about commercial vs. residential asphalt installation.  Commercial costs will be substantially lower because of the quantity involved.  For pavers, it’s nearly as much a pain in the ass dealing with a residential driveway as it is a strip mall parking lot.  In fact, I bet most companies will say that the residential driveway is more of a pain in the ass because they have to deal with uninformed homeowners.  But I digress…
Asphalt Paving Costs

Here’s the “Money Shot”:  Paving Costs Breakdown

For a 450 square foot driveway, here are some rough estimates:

  • Base prep work might cost you a buck or two a square foot.  So, between $450 and $900 for the gravel base work.  Add in more if they have to deal with tree stumps or fill in large areas.
  • For the actual asphalt paving, you’re looking at costs ranging from $3 to $4/square foot.  So, $1,350 to $1,800 for the asphalt portion.

Total Asphalt Paving Costs

You’re looking at a bill ranging from $1,800 to $2,700 for base work plus asphalt for a 450 square foot driveway.

Protect Your Driveway with Asphalt Sealant

To protect your driveway from the elements, invest in an asphalt sealant that will keep dirt, moisture, and cracks away.  In fact, if your driveway is in disrepair, it’s not a lost cause at all.  It’s a pretty easy fix.

What is Asphalt Sealant?

Asphalt sealant is an effective solution for protecting asphalt surfaces, such as parking areas, streets, and for the homeowner, driveways.

A mix of sun, moisture, and temperature can lead a driveway to expand, contract, and pull apart. Yet a simple sealant can help it withstand such punishment. When considering this investment, think curb appeal and your home’s overall value.

Yes, It’s Sealant – But It Looks Great

Looking at your driveway, you may think that it looks perfectly fine. However, it’s not about the here and now. Just like car maintenance, action isn’t taken for what has happened, but what could happen. In the case of an asphalt driveway, this generally means costly repairs.

Keep in mind that asphalt is a flexible product. Once laid down, it will indeed change according to its environment. For example, ultraviolet rays from the sun will dry out asphalt, causing the surface to gray and for tiny alligator cracks to appear. If not addressed, these seemingly harmless cracks can turn into troublesome potholes.

Asphalt Sealers

Coal Tar or Asphalt-Based Sealant

Applying asphalt sealant can be done by yourself or by a professional. Note that there are two types of sealants to choose from: coal tar or asphalt-based.

All driveway sealers are water-based emulsions containing water, latex, polymers, clay fillers, and additives. You can then choose between sealants made from coal tar or asphalt. While the latter is more environmentally friendly, the former is known for its durability, oil-resistance, and affordable cost. As a result, coal tar sealants remain the more popular choice.

Another consideration is plain vs. filled sealers. In the latter’s case, the sealer contains sand, perfect for filling in cracks and holes. However, depending on the condition of your driveway when you seal it, a filled sealer may not be necessary.

FAQs About Asphalt Sealant

How often should you seal your driveway?

Manufacturers recommend resealing a driveway once every two or three years. If you’re doing in yourself, you can save up to 65%. Be sure to review the entire project before taking it on though. As with anything DIY, you want to do it right the first time. Mistakes can turn costly in a hurry.

How do the elements affect asphalt sealers?

Driveways help beautify the home, creating a natural extension from the road to your garage. It’s curb appeal at its most basic. It’s also an investment that needs protection — from being driven on, a game of basketball, and most of all, from the elements.

Ice, snow, heat, and rain all have an impact on asphalt. From heat that swells the surface to the winter cold that contracts it, asphalt has a tendency to “crack” under such pressures. Once the oxidation process begins, it’s not easy to reverse. However, it can be halted. A sealant can help it better absorb such fluctuations.

While sealing the driveway is a good idea for all homeowners, for those who live in areas of extreme weather (such as the south, northeast, or desert areas), it’s a must. Indeed, asphalt sealant is the perfect example of a small investment today that should yield considerable savings in the future.