How Much Does a Brick Driveway Cost?
Although the upfront costs for a brick driveway can be significantly higher than an asphalt or concrete drive, many homeowners find the aesthetics and increase in value of the home well worth the investment. Additionally, the higher initial price tag for a brick driveway is quickly offset by the fact that a homeowner does not need to spend time and money on the maintenance and repairs that asphalt and concrete both require. A brick driveway can be a unique feature for a home since materials come in a wide range of colors, sizes, shapes and textures. The work can be further personalized through design, including patterns and styles, but consumers should consider carefully a number of factors before investing thousands of dollars in a new brick driveway.
Average cost for a brick driveway per square foot:
- Minimum: Between $5 and $10
- Maximum: Up to $50
There are a number of factors that influence the cost of a brick driveway. The type of paver will play a big role, but since the bulk of a brick driveway has to be installed by hand, labor will be one of the biggest influences on the bottom line of the project. Even if a homeowner decides to complete a brick driveway as a do-it-yourself project, this labor-intensive project will require at least five to seven days to finish.
The following elements will create additional costs, though the aesthetic of the final product will certainly improve:
- Demolition and removal of existing driveway
- Any extensive grading
- Complicated designs or details versus simple patterns
- Curves or slopes
- Additional drains
- Greater numbers of colors versus a single color
Not All Bricks are Created Equal
Bricks, often referred to as pavers, come in several forms: brick pavers, concrete pavers, interlocking pavers and permeable pavers. Brick pavers are baked at extreme temperatures resulting in a hard, dense final product, whereas concrete and interlocking pavers are both formed and dried in climate-controlled settings. Interlocking pavers are designed to interlock, fitting together to create a cohesive surface without the need for caulks, sealants or mortar.
Brick, concrete and interlocking pavers all create a solid driveway surface which sheds water, unlike the permeable pavers that allow water to penetrate the subgrade beneath them, thus causing less runoff. Permeable pavers may cost slightly more than the other pavers, but unlike the other pavers, permeable pavers do not require an additional drainage system and they are environmentally-friendly since they reduce the amount of pollution from runoff.
In the very least, the laying of a brick driveway will require large amounts of gravel, sand and brick as well as a sealant. Some homeowners may also choose to use mortar to hold the bricks in place. The quantity of each of these materials will depend on the size of the driveway, as well as the specifics of the project. Larger spaces will require significantly more materials and more complex designs. Curves, patterns or elaborate detailing will also require more materials.
The Installation Process
The key to a long-lasting brick driveway is in a well-prepared base. One should begin by removing the existing driveway or soil to a depth of at least 12 inches, making sure that the surface is graded to ensure runoff away from the house and garage. The underlying soil must be compacted. Then 8 to 12 inches of gravel should be added. After the gravel is compacted, add 1 1/2 inches of sand and level it with a piece of lumber or the handle of a rake.
When the sand is level, the individual bricks need to be trimmed and then laid in the desired pattern. This part of the process will take the longest amount of time since each brick is positioned by hand. After the driveway bricks are laid, the perimeter bricks need to be set in concrete to ensure that the bricks do not fall away along the edges of the driveway. Then sweep sand into the joints between the bricks. Finally, compact the surface, add more sand and compact again.
Disadvantages of Brick Driveways
Since the process of laying a brick driveway can be lengthy and tedious, many homeowners choose to hire professionals for this job. Remember that the materials and the labor for a brick driveway can become very costly. In addition, the bulk of this project must be done by hand, so expect a brick driveway to take about a week to finish.
Advantages of Brick Driveways
Although homeowners may spend between $20,000 and $30,000 for a customized brick driveway, a well-laid paver driveway will last 30 or 40 years with little maintenance or repair work required. They are beautiful and unique additions to a home that have an immediate visual impact. Additionally, brick pavers can be safer than a traditional concrete or asphalt driveway. The abrasive, textured surfaces of the brick make the driveway more resistant to slips and skids.
With a wide range of natural colors, bricks do not fade over time and the possibilities for patterns make brick driveways one of the best ways to truly customize a home’s exterior.
Last updated on May 18, 2016
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