How to calculate costs of paving a driveway

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When you're attempting to handle a paving or re-paving project, there are some basic indicators that will help you estimate the costs. Calculating costs for paving includes some variable factors and some fixed calculations, and as a contractor will tell you, it's not an exact science. Here are some ways to pinpoint paving costs as much as possible.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Calculate square footage. Contractors use square footage estimates to bid on jobs, with both time and materials in mind. Your square footage is one of those baseline fixed factors that will affect the cost estimate.

  2. 2

    Evaluate your base. One big step is deciding whether or not you can get by with re-topping your surface or whether the project is going to require more. If so, the cost will definitely go up, so looking at what condition your base layer is in will help a lot with an estimate.

  3. 3

    See if you will need any specific potholes or cracks fixed. Larger breaches of your asphalt surface may be billed separately or calculated apart from the basic estimate for the re-topping or paving.

  4. 4

    Develop a timeline. An estimate for a lot of contractors has to do with the timeline in which the work is performed. Some contractors bid differently on "quick fix" projects. Think about how a timeline might affect your quote.

  5. 5

    Keep in mind any contract options like escalator clauses. An escalator clause basically allows a contractor to pass higher costs on to you if the price spikes for asphalt materials due to fluctuating oil prices. Don't overlook these contract extras, as they may really affect the estimate.

Tips and warnings

  • Deal with reputable, licensed and registered contractors. You may get a deal from a wandering paver, but in a worker's comp scenario--or even just a regular project with tricky negotiations--you may be left high and dry with unfinished work and an empty wallet (see Resources below).

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