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Cost of Paving a Driveway: Asphalt, Paver stones and Cement

Depending on which type of material you choose, the pavement in a house's entryway could last a very long time. However, sometimes, due to temperature changes or heavy traffic, you may need to redo it. Here is an overview of all the different types of paving materials; their respective pros and cons; the things you should include in your agreement with the contractor as well as the prepping step before paving.

Paving materials and their price

First of all, you have to choose the material. Usually asphalt, paver stones and concrete are the ones that are most commonly used. Since their prices can vary by a large measure, your choice will  depend not only on your preferences but also on your budget. Between the three, asphalt is the cheapest material. It can last around 15 years and, with a good granular base, up to 20 years. 

Mixed with paver stones, it can give a more sophisticated look to the pavement. However, since it cannot be reused, it is one of the least environmentally-friendly options and you’ll have to pay to get rid of it properly. Paver stones have a longer lifespan than asphalt. They are hard blocks made out of concrete, glass, clay, brick, stones  or plastic. They give character to the look of an entrance and can last up to 30 years.

Although their installation costs more than asphalt, with proper maintenance this material can save you money in the long run. Another advantage to paver stones is that you can easily remove and reuse them somewhere else if need.

Concrete comes in different colors, shape and patterns. You can pour it directly on the ground. Its installation cost and lifespan are similar to that of paver stones. Excluding the cost of excavating the entrance, prices can vary a lot depending on the materials, their characteristics (shape, grade, etc.) and where they are bought. The approximate cost of paving an entrance according to different materials:

  • Asphalt : $3 to 10 per square foot
  • Paver stones : $7 to 15 per square foot
  • Concrete : $12 to 20 per square foot

Regardless of the type of material you choose, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, you must have a good drainage system under your paved entry. The contractor should make sure the pavement has a minimum 2 % incline to ensure that water collects and flows to a lower elevation away from it.

If you have water accumulation in your entrance, it could mean that there is a problem with the pavement, whether it is with the paver stones or the surface drainage system, which could damage your entrance in the long term. Also, it is important to specify to your contractor which type of vehicle will pass on your pavement, as there is a chance this will affect the thickness of the material needed for your entryway.

The paving installation process should take place on warm days, when the ground is not frozen. Between June and September is the perfect time to work on pavements in Canada. In the winter be careful if you use a snow plow. Depending on the type of blade, it could damage your pavement. Check with your contractor to see if they have any specific maintenance recommendations to ensure the durability of your pavement. Last but not least, make sure the paving contract fits within legal standards.

To give you a better idea of what the contract should specify, here is what CAA Quebec suggests for asphalt paving:

  • The contractor’s name and address;
  • In Quebec, the “Office de la protection du consommateur” (OPC) permit number if you are dealing with a door-to-door salesperson; in such cases, to avoid any source of conflict, never agree to have the work done before the expiry of the 10-day cancellation (or resolution) period
  • In Ontario, the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) allows you a 10-day cooling off period when you sign a contract for a product or service over $50
  • In Nova Scotia, Service Nova Scotia (SNS) offers a 10 day period in which you can void a contract signed with a value over $25
  • In Alberta, companies that sell products door-to-door must be liscensed under the Fair Trading Act as well as the Direct Selling Business Licensing Regulation. Like other provinces, there is a 10-day cooling off period for voiding any contracts that have been signed
  • The contractor’s proof of liability insurance (insurance company and policy number)
  • The dates the work is to begin and end (the OPC advises including the following sentence in the contract: “The work will be completed no later than (date), or the contractor agrees to refund the deposit.”);
  • The exact dimensions of the surface to be paved;
  • The depth of excavation, whether a geotextile will be used, the type of fill and asphalt and their thickness after compacting;
  • Specification of all extra items (e.g., moving a fence, installing a grid on the driveway drain, etc.);
  • The terms and duration of the warranty provided;
  • Total cost and terms of payment;
  • That the presence of puddles (resulting from a poor drainage incline or settling of the asphalt) will not be tolerated;
  • That the contractor will keep the site reasonably clean and will dispose of the debris and excavation material in keeping with work completion standards.

Further rules and regulations regarding residencial paving are province and municipal specific, so make sure to do extensive research before moving forward with your ashphalt paving project.

Preparing your entrance

Before you install your new pavement, instead of just covering it with the new material, you must get rid of the old one. A good excavation of the ground will help stabilize your entrance, which will not only decrease the risks of cracking, but also help your pavement last longer. For instance, if you choose an asphalt made out of pavement, provided that the excavation process is done properly, it could last up to 20 years.

Therefore, even if you have to pay more money for the excavation, prepping your entrance will save you money in the long run. After you are done with the excavation process, a gravel base should be laid. You will then have to wait about 2 weeks for the gravel base to compact before paving with the chosen material. This important step will give more stability to your entrance.

A geo-textile membrane can also be installed under the gravel base to “prevent the rise of soil particles that are likely to affect the granular mixture” of the gravel and thus decrease it stability, as stated by the CAA. You should check with your contractor to see if you need one. Depending on the type of house you have, you may have to wait before paving your entrance after the excavation. For newly-built houses, it is recommended that you wait a year or at least one complete freeze and thaw cycle.  

This will allow a better compaction of the ground and of the gravel base. Afterwards, your entrance will be more solid. If your house is already a few years old, the paving can be done right after the excavation.

Before starting the paving process, please contact your town council. They will give you more information about the entrance paving regulations in your town.

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