What Type of Driveway is the cheapest?

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Most people desire to live in a home with a driveway. However, they don’t know that it’s their responsibility to maintain the driveway and keep it in a good condition. With that, it’s essential to note that driveways come in different types—and installing and maintaining a driveway is not cheap!

The following factors determine the cost of installing and maintaining a driveway. 

  • Dimensions of the driveway
  • Paving material
  • Drainage features
  • Adjacent landscaping—in case there’s any
  • Design elements—like lighting and curbs
  • Paid assistance

In this post, we shall discuss different driveway options to determine the cheapest one. 

Here are a few things to consider when choosing a driveway for your home

The type of driveways in your neighborhood

This is the first determinant when choosing the driveway material to use. If you live in a working-class neighborhood or rural area, a gravel driveway will be the best choice. Concrete and asphalt, on the other hand, are ideal or middle-class neighborhoods—and probably outrank stone and gravel. In posher zones, a stone driveway is the best idea.

The right design for your home

If you want a driveway that will increase the curb appeal and value of your home, consider installing an asphalt or stone driveway. If you prioritize utility, concrete or gravel will get the job done.

Your preference

Now, this is where you listen to your designer gut. If you want to pay more for a material that you love, don’t allow anyone to discourage you from choosing it. Also, you shouldn’t install an expensive driveway because of personal insecurities while a more practical substitute will work fine. 

The following are the common driveway options and their costs


Aggregate or gravel driveways are the most durable and cheapest to construct. Besides, it requires minimal maintenance, which also reduces the cost of having an aggregate driveway. However, this material varies depending on your geographical location. In most areas across the US, Class-5 limestone is the most common material used for driveways. It will cost you $15 – $30 per ton of this material, and you will require an average of 1 ton per 50 sq. ft. So, if you have a driveway measuring 50” x 10”, you will need 10 tons of aggregate. This translates to a maximum of $300, excluding other costs. 

  • Cost per sq. ft. – $0.5 – $5—this will depend on the material, number of layers requires, and drainage, among other factors
  • Average lifespan – indefinite, but requires regular resurfacing
  • DIY possibility – high
  • Maintenance – low – moderate

Paving stones

This is the most expensive material for anyone who wants to install a driveway. However, it’s the most attractive since it blends well with other designs and landscaping elements like driveway islands, fountains, xeriscapes, and stone walkways. 

However, paving stones have one major downside—the limited DIY potential. Paving stone driveways require professional tools to install and maintain, thus limiting DIY installation. 

  • Cost per sq. ft. – $7 – $14, depending on the stone material, as well as other installation factors
  • Average lifespan – 30+ years, but this depends on the climate of your area, as well as usage
  • DIY possibility – low
  • Maintenance – low 


Most homes across the United States have asphalt driveways. Apart from the aggregate driveway, an asphalt driveway is the second cheapest. However, the installation process limits DIY installation—unless you are experienced in handling asphalt paving equipment. 

Asphalt driveways require regular maintenance, especially for areas which have harsh climatic conditions. Florida asphalt paving contractor ABC Paving recommends homeowners to seal their asphalt driveways within the first year of installation, and every 3 years after that. However, the lifespan of asphalt driveways is the shortest, as it’s prone to extreme hot and cold temperatures. 

  • Cost per sq. ft. – $4 – $8
  • Average lifespan – 10 – 20 years, depending on use and climate
  • DIY possibility – low
  • Maintenance – moderate – high


Both asphalt and concrete have similar properties. However, concrete driveways are more durable than asphalt driveways. Depending on use and climate, a concrete driveway can last twice longer than an asphalt driveway. Besides, a concrete driveway isn’t limited to DIY installation, even though you might need professional installation if you want a well-installed driveway.  

Concrete driveways don’t require as much maintenance as asphalt driveways. While sealing is recommended immediately after installation, you will only need to wash your driveway after that. However, heavy loads can cause serious damage to concrete driveways—especially in areas that experience frequent freezing and thawing. 

  • Cost per sq. ft. – $5 – $10
  • Average lifespan – 20 to 40 years
  • DIY possibility – low – moderate
  • Maintenance – low – moderate 

Bottom Line

Of all the options discussed above, aggregate driveways are the cheapest to install and maintain. So, if you are installing a driveway on a tight budget, gravel will be your best option. All in all, you should note that a beautifully installed driveway is not the only thing that attracts buyers. However, it can significantly increase the value of your home. So, if you are looking forward to increasing the resale value of your home, consider having a driveway installed professionally. This should be on your to-do list for your future home improvement projects.