Before starting any project, it is a good idea to calculate costs to understand the financial impact of the project. This goes double for any home improvements such as asphalting a driveway. If you wait for the contractors to do the estimate, you will just have to take them at their word. Calculating the cost prior to the project will strengthen your price negotiating position.
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Measure the area of the driveway to determine how much asphalt you will need for the driveway. It is usually best to add an inch or two of area all the way around to allow for asphalting waste.
Decide how deep the asphalt driveway will be. If you lay the asphalt driveway over an existing driveway, you will need to measure from the top of that surface and add in any filler areas if there are damaged areas in the existing asphalt. However, should you want to completely tear out the existing driveway, you must measure from the ground up. Typically, asphalt driveways are 2 inches deep.
Determine how much a base you will need to install below the asphalt driveway. If you are going to tear out the old driveway, there must be an installation of base material on which the asphalt sits. The base will use slightly less area than the asphalt but will usually be an inch or two deeper.
Choose the type of asphalt you want to use on your driveway. Pure asphalt is more expensive but lasts longer, while recycled asphalt is cheaper but does not wear as well as pure asphalt. If you plan to sell in few years, you may want to opt for the cheaper asphalt, but if you live there any longer, pure asphalt is best.
Call the local materials supply store to determine the price per square foot of asphalt top coating and base. If you are tearing out the existing driveway, you will need to ask for the price per square foot of base stone.
Calculate the cost of asphalting a driveway by multiplying the square foot size of the driveway by the cost of the asphalt and, if necessary, the base stone. Then multiply that number by the depth of the driveway, because the square foot price of asphalt is usually by the inch in depth.
Add in the cost of labor if you are going to pay others to asphalt the driveway. In a do-it-yourself project, you will need to factor in the cost of renting the asphalting equipment. This is the total cost of asphalting a driveway.