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What is the Perfect Material for a Driveway?

Erickson AsphaltJanuary 12, 2023

Are you looking to install a new driveway and unsure about the ideal material?

Well, there are multiple materials available that are considered excellent choices for driveways. The material used should be able to handle the load that meets your needs.

However, it goes beyond its functionality, as driveways can also improve the appeal of the building and, ultimately, its value. So, if you want your house to stand out, a befitting driveway should be the goal.

While there are several materials for making driveways, only a few satisfy most of the qualities of a good driveway. In this guide, you'll see 5 of the best materials for building driveways, including several supporting reasons and the average cost.


One of the major stumbling blocks to installing quality driveways is the cost of the driveway. Considering the pricing for each driveway material will help you make a better decision. Depending on the type of driveway materials, costs may vary from $1 to $35 per square foot.

The importance of pricing is why we've highlighted these materials from the most affordable to the most expensive, including the cost per square foot for each driveway material. Please note that every project is unique and cost very widely depending on your requirements. 

1.  Gravel Driveway

The gravel driveway is inexpensive as it often involves only the gravel without any binding agent. The absence of any binding agent leaves the driveway material loose and less durable over time as the gravel slowly spreads away from the driveway area. Due to its affordability, gravel is perfect for long driveways typical of rural or country homes.

Cost: $1-$3 per square foot


  • It is the most affordable on the list and helps you save on cost
  • Installation is quick and doesn't require time to set
  • Easy to maintain by raking the gravel back in place and adding gravel to potholes
  • Perfect for long driveways


  • Requires regular maintenance with loose gravel and weeds sprouting
  • Snow removal is difficult due to the loose nature of the driveway
  • Easily forms unattractive ruts

2.  Asphalt Driveway

If durability is essential but budget is a concern the asphalt driveway might be the right fit for you. Asphalt is combination of sand, aggregate, and bitumen. Installation of asphalt requires  special equipment that can’t be rented at the local home center,  which means it should be done by a professional driveway paving company.

Cost: $2.9 - $7.5 per square foot


  • Highly durable as it can last up to 30 years and more with maintenance
  • Easy snow removal as the surface is smooth
  • Less expensive than pavers
  • It hides stains due to its color
  • Flexible structure makes it less likely to crack


  • It can be hot and soften during the summer
  • Typically requires sealcoating every three years
  • Appearance is not the most attractive

3.  Concrete Driveway

Concrete driveways are extremely durable and made from water, Portland cement and gravel to form a solid parking surface. However, concrete driveway installation is extremely labor-intensive, and the cost of concrete keeps rising. A small drive can be done as a DIY project, but it is better left to the professionals for larger driveways

Cost: $5 - $15 per square foot


  • Extremely durable surface as it can last for over 25 years
  • Easy snow removal with its compacted nature
  • Requires minimal maintenance


  • Cracks easily under extreme temperatures as it is rigid
  • It takes a long time to cure, increasing its installation time
  • Repairs are expensive
  • Concrete should be sealed every 2-3 years

4.  Stamped and Decorative Concrete Driveway

Stamped concrete has the durability of concrete driveways with the designs of pavers. In addition, you can customize the concrete by stamping pre-designed frames into the wet concrete. As a result, concrete driveways come with additional appeal away from the boring look of traditional concrete.

Cost: $10 - $25 per square foot


  • Extremely durable due
  • Highly decorative improving its overall appeal
  • Many designs are available as you can customize a unique design


  • The stamped design may fade over time
  • Cracks in fluctuating temperatures
  • Expensive to repair and difficult to match existing concrete.

5.  Pavers Driveway

Driveway paving is popular where an aesthetically pleasing surface is essential. Pavers provide the most appeal of any driveway material with an unlimited design available. These pavers include natural stone, concrete bricks, and molded clay in different sizes and forms. Setting the pavers may utilize concrete or fine sand, which is preferable to allow water to drain from the surface easily.

Cost: $15 - $35 per square foot


  • Aesthetically pleasing designs as it comes in different materials, shapes, and sizes
  • Unlimited design is available since you can mold or cut your desired shape
  • Easy to repair as they are small individual units


  • Extremely expensive putting it out of reach for people under a strict budget
  • Long installation time
  • Requires regular maintenance to ensure longevity


Driveways are vital in providing a stable surface to drive into your garage while also improving the appeal of the overall lock of the building. Typically, the more expensive a driveway material is, the more appeal and durability it offers.